01 July 2009
24 February 2009
Instruments de musique sur un guéridon
Pablo Picasso, 1914-1915
When asked by the Wall Street Journal what his plans for the Picasso pictured above that was one of only two lots (the other being a Picasso as well) that failed to meet their reserves in Monday's sale, Mr. Berge characteristically cut to the chase. . . "I will keep it."
12 February 2009
I received an email this past Wednesday announcing that the catalogue for Wright's Post War and Contemporary Art sale was available online. For a group of us, the receipt of any auction catalogue signifies that we will be on the phone early the next morning, discussing the sale, page by page, lot by lot.
Two lots that I found particularly interesting in their similarities are a painting by Ludwig Sander and a sculpture by Carl Andre. The Sander was painted in 1961 and has an estimate of $2,000 to $3,000. The Andre was fabricated of aluminum in 2006, and has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. Guess which is my pick . . . .
I visited Cristina Grajales last week to preview the beautiful work of Aureliano and Malba Palmeri. I was quite impressed by what I discovered.
I paraphrase from the Pulowi website:
Pulowi is a collection of jewelry in the tradition of the Wayuu of what is now Colombia. This tradition is merged with a contemporary sensibility to create unique pieces that put forward objects found in nature. For the creators of this theater, minerals play the leading roles; agates, emeralds, citrines and quartz portray beauty in hand carved settings. The minerals are mounted on horn, silver or stone rings that underscore the untamed forms and the significance of the minerals.
04 February 2009
John Alexander showed a wonderful pair of chairs that piqued my interest. I always enjoy stumbling upon something that I cannot readily identify. Asian? Austrian? Maybe Scottish?
From John Alexander:
"Harry Napper (1860–1940) was a polymath designer of furniture, metalwork and textiles, although primarily focused on the latter. As a designer for The Silver Studio, under Arthur Silver from 1893 to 1896, and as the studio manager from 1896 to 1898, Napper was a significant force in English fin de siècle design.
In 1898, Napper founded his own studio, continuing to design textiles that were sold to firms such as G.P. & J. Baker and Alexander Morton as well as a number of Continental manufacturers.
In 1901, Napper was contracted by the London furniture manufacturer Norman and Stacey to design a range of furniture for their installation at the Earls Court Military Exhibition that year-- the “Officers Ideal Quarters.” The suite of rooms including a Hall, a Dining Room, and various bedrooms, all furnished in the latest “artistic” style, received excellent notices both in England and on the Continent. A photograph from The Artist (Volume 31, 1901) shows a chair identical in design to those in question against the wall in the Hall adjacent to a tall case clock and close to a rack for swords and polo mallets . . . "
01 February 2009
One of the most beautiful offerings at the Winter Antiques Show was a woodcut by Karl Schmidt-Routloff, titled "Bildnis G" (Portrait of Guttman), presented by Hill-Stone. Lesley Hill and Alan Stone are dealers that possess that rare ability in which aesthetics and academics are served with equal gusto.
"One of the principal figures of German Expressionism, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff founded in 1905, together with his friends, Ernst-Ludwig Kirchner and Erich Heckel, the artistic movement which they called Die Brücke, whose aim was to sever connections with the traditional art of the past. In these aims the group found kindred spirits in the French Fauves whose flat planes of color and brutal dissonances of form and color were taken up by the members of Die Brücke.
Although the group did not remain together for long – by 1913 their association was for all intents and purposes over – their efforts in combination and as individual artists created a new kind of art which even in the face of middle-class hostility, had influential proponents.
Schmidt-Rottluff was a prime mover in the rediscovery of the artistic potential of the woodcut. No doubt influenced by the woodcuts of Gauguin, who himself had only died in 1903, Schmidt-Rottluff had begun to make his own woodcuts by 1909. They took the simplification of form already visible in Gauguin’s examples even further.
The jagged linear energy of Schmidt-Rottluff’s woodcuts had yet another important source: the esthetic discovery of tribal sculpture of Africa. The European colonization of the continent had occasioned an ethnographic interest in this material; by the first years of the new century artists and collectors began to appreciate the immediacy and talismanic force of this sculpture and Schmidt-Rottluff was eager to incorporate these forms into his woodcuts. In fact, it can be no accident that it was African wood sculpture that impelled the artist to use wood blocks as his chosen matrix, as he often used the wood grain of his blocks as an element in the design of the woodcuts."