The hammer fell at Christie’s New York on the evening of Wednesday November 15th. The crack of the gavel marked a historical night setting a new record for any artwork sold at auction, ever. Read more
Mother Nature has caused heartbreak and devastation in the past few months — California fires, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria — with immeasurable human costs. The costs are still mounting.
Photo by Man Ray (1928)
Rosemonde Cowan [Rosa Rolanda] was born on September 6, 1895 in the Los Angeles area (Azusa), California. Her father, Henry Charles Cowan, was an engineer and her mother, Guadalupe Ruelas, was a descendant of Mexican parents. She had a younger sister Mae. Rolanda excelled in dance and in 1916, a year after high school graduation, she was chosen as one of six students out of 300 to go to New York and perform as the Morgan Dancers. She acted on Broadway, performed at the Globe Theatre as part of the “The Rose Girl” show, joined the cast of the Music Box Revue, and went on to tour with the Ziegfeld Follies in Europe. Rolando was a contemporary of Isadora Duncan.
Born in San Francisco on August 20, 1920, Koblick attended City College of San Francisco then studied English and engineering at San Francisco State College. While there she became interested in using the new material of plastic. Read more
Dos desnudos en el bosque (La tierra misma)
oil on metal
9 7/8 x 11 7/8 inches
Born July 6, Frida Kahlo is revered for her psychologically revealing self-portraits in bold, vibrant colors. She is celebrated for her attention to Mexican and indigenous culture, and for capturing the female experience.
The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit (1882), John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
As collector, you have invested time, energy and resources to build a collection. Regardless of your collection’s value, it is important to determine what you would like to see happen to your artwork beyond your lifetime.
Often times, it difficult to consider the future and final disposition of a life-long collection. Estate planning with fine and decorative art can be a much more emotional process compared with traditional financial assets. Unlike other financial assets or real estate, fine and decorative art is intensely personal – it is less about numbers and more about your visual viewpoint. Your collection reflects who you are and what you have chosen to surround yourself with.
Even if you receive a referral for an appraiser from a friend, your lawyer, insurance agent or wealth management adviser, check the appraiser’s credentials. There is no licensing for personal property appraisers, but reputable professionals are affiliated with at least one of the three major appraisal organizations: Appraisers Association of America (ASA), American Association of Appraisers (AAA), and International Society of Appraisers (ISA). These associations require members to keep up to date with appraisal practices, continuing education, and adhere to a code of ethics. To work with the highest standard, here is what to look for:
Often times when people are divorcing or parceling out belongings of a parent, they do not realize the difficulty their emotions bring to the personal property that must be divided. Some of the biggest disagreements can occur over things. The time it takes to decide who gets what painting or what furniture item is much longer and more sensitive, than the time it takes to divide real estate, cars, bank accounts and other assets. Arguments can be avoided and attorney’s fees reduced if people get a Fair Market Value appraisal report for the valuation of the items to be divided.
Image: Tiffany Studios Wisteria Table Lamp, from: Sotheby’s December 18, 2013, lot 330.
We all have heard of the story of a painting purchased at a tag sale for less than the cost of a ham and cheese sandwich and then the buyer turns around and sells it at auction for the equivalent of a college tuition.
Although this story is not very common, it is important to understand the value of any item in the right marketplace. Whether you want to know an item’s value to sell, for insurance coverage, an estate valuation, charitable donation, or just to satisfy your curiosity, it is worth spending some time and money for peace of mind. Here is what you need to know :
Andre Bouys (1656 – 1740), La Récures (1737)
Keep art and furniture away from direct sunlight. Art, especially paper, photographs, textiles and wood can warp, lighten in color and cause the material become very dry and brittle. Ultraviolet light can also cause severe and often irreversible damage.
Do not store fine art, furniture, silver and carpets in basements or attics. These areas are susceptible to dramatic temperature fluctuations, flooding, leaks, heat, humidity and dampness. Pay attention to any art, furniture pieces with marquetry and metals in bathrooms where long, steamy showers are taken.
Alfred Edward Emslie (1848–1918), Dinner at Haddo House (1884)
Using art as a commodity to purely buy in order to resell within a limited period of time for a profit is NEVER a good idea. It is a fast way to diminish the joy you receive from your belongings and a good way to get blacklisted from galleries. Buy what you want, what resonates with you. Buy things that mean something to you, buy for cultural content. And most certainly use and cherish them.
Born on August 19 in Helsinki, Finland, Maija Grotell studied painting, sculpture and design at the The Ateneum, the Central School of Industrial Art graduating in 1920. Grotell is sometimes described as the “mother of American ceramics” and was revered for her experiments in glaze technology. She came to New York in 1927 and during the Summer studied at the New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University, Alfred, New York. There were not huge opportunities for a career in ceramics despite the success of the Art Potteries — American ceramics was still either industry or hobby based.
From 1936-1938, Grotell became the first art instructor at the School of Ceramic Engineering at Rutgers University. In 1938 she joined the Cranbrook Academy of Art and taught until 1966. Her teaching philosophy was to foster students’ creative independence. In her career she would win over twenty-five major exhibition awards and have her work included in over twenty-one museums.
Grotell worked in stoneware and porcelain. She used simply thrown geometric forms with brushed-on colored slips and glazes. Her glaze formulas remain part of her legacy, and in fact, one of her glaze formulas was requested by architect Eliel Saarinen to be used on bricks. This opened the door to the architectural uses of colored bricks in mid-20th century architecture.
Grotell died in Pontiac, Michigan in 1973.
Born on June 14 was a trailblazer in twentieth century photojournalism. She was one of the best known foreign photographers — the first female war correspondent and first woman working in combat zones. She was also the first female to be published in Life magazine making the cover.
Bourke-White attended Columbia University to study photography. In 1927 she moved to Cleveland opening her own studio where she documented the effects of modern industry on people and land. In 1929, everything changed. She was hired as a staff photographer by Fortune magazine. The following year, she went to the Soviet Union to document industrialization under the Communist regime, and a year later published Eyes of Russia.
In 1934, she documented the effects of the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and areas of the Plains. By this time, she used a more candid and sequential style using her images to create visual narratives. In 1936, she published these images entitled You Have Seen Their Faces.
Bourke-White examined social issues from a humanitarian perspective documenting some of twentieth-century’s most notable moments. Her life and career was cut short from Parkinson’s disease. She died in 1971.
Alice Gertrude Jackson (nee Ritchie) was almost 50 years old before she launched a career in architecture. Born on April 19th/20th in Waukegan, Illinois she graduated from high school in Seward, Nebraska. On June 12, 1884 she married David Sthreshley Jackson, fourteen years her senior, who tried his hand at various jobs including ranching and running a silver mine. They had a son James the following year, then a daughter Ellen in 1888. James studied at the University of Nebraska then took a job at the Kansas City Star. His parents moved to Kansas City to be with him around 1910. Kansas City, at this time, was growing rapidly.
In 1910, Alice Jackson hired an architect to build a home. Disappointed, she decided she could design one better herself. She had no architectural training, only a high school education, but was adept with oils and watercolors. The first house she designed (and acted as contractor) was 3914 Tracy. The majority of her structures were were in the Square Manor development — between Troost and Paseo, Armour and 39th street.
Charles E. Phillips, a Kansas City hotel and apartment builder who worked with Nelle Peters, helped Jackson get her start. Between 1922 and 1927, Jackson created her most impressive works with the design of five houses in the 600 block of Westover Road. Their designs were based upon English cottages and set upon spacious lots. Brick or stone was used for the ground floor with half-timerbing or stucco for the upper floors. The kitchens placed in front overlooking the street and the back of the houses receiving southern sun were for the private living areas.
David Sthreshley Jackson died on 7 December 1925 at 637 Westover Rd, Kansas City, MO, at age 77. She died in March 1937 at 601 Westover Road, Kansas City, MO, at age 73.
Amanda Elizabeth Evans Rivard was born in Kansas City on February 7, 1899 to William Reese and Grace Truman (nee Crouch). A short time later the family moved to Lawrence. Rivard expressed interest in designing houses at an early age and intended to study at the University of Kansas. World War I interrupted, there was a shortage of men, so she took a course in drafting then found summer employment with the drafting department of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad in Parsons, Kansas. Parsons was a main line junction between two army posts and map tracings of troop movements was crucial to the war effort. The head draftsman wasn’t too keen on having a woman in the drafting room, but her skills were needed.
Born on a rare snowy day in San Francisco on January 21, Jade Snow Wong was the fifth of nine children of Chinese immigrant parents, and raised with the traditional beliefs and customs of Chinese culture. Her father would not allow her to date and disapproved of her having a college education. But she was determined.
Constance Fauntleroy was born on January 15 to a leading family in New Harmony Indiana. She was the granddaughter of British Utopian socialist, philanthropist and textile industrialist, Robert Owen.
In 1859, Constance Fauntleroy Runcie (1836-1911) founded the first women’s social club east of the Mississippi in New Harmony, Indiana. She called it The Minerva Society.
On December 21, 1909 Alice Latimer Moseley was born in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the oldest daughter of Earl and Mildred Latimer. After graduating from Ensley High School, she attended the University of Alabama. In 1929, her father died and shortly thereafter she married William Jones “Moses” Moseley. They moved to Batesville, Mississippi — a place depicted in a number of her works.
Located on the Katy Trail in downtown Boonville, Missouri, there is a newly renovated old landmark which possesses and preserves the original look and feel of the old Riverfront Inn capturing the essence Boonslick’s Cooper County.
Heartily built like a perfectly grilled juicy piece of rib-eye, The Frederick Hotel is the best example of Romanesque Revival architecture in the region.
Ink and colored crayon drawing, sold Sotheby’s, April 11, 2011, realized: $6,250.
Happy Anniversary Madeline! 75 years ago Ludwig Bemelmans (Austrian-American, 1898-1962) published his first story of the little girl in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. That was 1939. Five more were published between 1953 and 1961; a seventh, published posthumously in 1999, was discovered after his death.
Many of us who grew up with this series can still recite from memory:
“In an old house in Paris,
that was covered with vines,
lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
…the smallest one was Madeline.”
Born on August 23, 1908, Hannah Frank was one of the last artists to work in the Glasgow Style during Art Nouveau period. She had a long career working as an illustrator and sculptor. Although she was inspired by Margaret MacDonald and Jessie M King, her work demonstrates a distinctive style.
Freelan Oscar Stanley (1849-1940) was suffering from tuberculosis. His doctor prescribed him the thin fresh summertime air of Colorado. He secured a rental cabin for Stanley and his wife, Flora, for the summer of 1903. There, Stanley’s health began to improve dramatically, and they decided to move permanently.
With his twin brother, Francis Edgar Stanley (1849-1918), Freelan founded Stanley Steamer, the steam-powered motor carriage company. Prior to that the brothers experienced success developing a photographic process and selling it to the founder of Kodak, George Eastman. Stanley was ready for something new. He witnessed the momentum gathering in the early twentieth century of travelers making Estes Park their summer destination. More and more tourists journeyed along the rough roads to admire the soaring mountains, sweeping broad meadows, cool streams, wildlife and crisp air.
On April 1, 1995, Lucie Rie’s death at the age of 93 brought an end to the long and productive life of one of the leading studio potters of the 20th century. In many ways, it also marked the end of an era for the craft itself.
Born on March 16 in Vienna in 1902, Lucie Rie (née Gomperz) was the third and youngest child of a prosperous ear, nose and throat doctor who possessed progressive artistic taste — his surgery and waiting-room was designed in the latest Viennese Modernism style. Gisela, her mother, family’s fortune was in the wine business. She divided her time between her family’s city and country home and watched her father play chess with Sigmund Freud.
Artistically inclined but uncertain of her path, Rie enrolled at the Vienna Kunstgewerberschule in 1922. She studied under Michael Powolney who was more of a modeler than a potter with an old-fashioned eye. Under him, she learned to throw, a technique she continued to use all her life.
Her work was hugely influenced by pared-down and functional forms advocated by Josef Hoffman. Adapting Hoffmann’s credo, she made earthenware pots, tall cylinders, rounded bowls, and tea-sets that were sparse in form and often with fine rims and thick handles.
Born on February 11, 1916, Manderfield had a distinguished industrial design career for five decades. Growing up in Chicago, she helped her father in woodworking projects and decided to become a furniture designer. But her father said furniture design was not a profession for a woman. She graduated from Mundelein College of Loyola University in Chicago with a BFA then studied commercial art graduating in 1939. Manderfield worked for the next six years as a graphic and packaging designer. She worked for a number of companies: Meyercord Co. in Chicago and Colonial Radio Corp. of Buffalo NY (later Sylvania Electric).
Agnes Sampson was a Scottish healer and midwife known as the “wise wife of Keith.” After James VI married Anne of Denmark and returned from Oslo, he brought with him the fear of black arts. Agnes was accused and 55 charges were made against her: raising the devil in the form of a black dog, digging up bones to make magic witchcraft powder, and commanding the devil to destroy one of James’ ships.
Interrogated by the king himself, she was deprived of sleep, subjected to barbaric torture for days and under extreme duress she confessed. She was found guilty at her trial stripped, shaved and strangled. Then burned at the stake on January 28, 1591 at Castle Hill, Edinburgh. The naked ghost of Agnes is said to roam Holyrood Palace.
“I would prefer to have a more appealing job. If I could still change careers, I would prefer it. This unfortunate art is made for long beards and ugly faces rather than for a relatively well-endowed woman.”
~ Camille Claudel
Considered one of the greatest sculptors, Claudel’s work is often eclipsed by her relationship with August Rodin.
Born to to a family of gentry farmers, Claudel was clear at a very early age of her artistic path before her. At fifteen she created accomplished sculptures. At nineteen, she became a student and muse of Rodin. They soon began a tumultuous relationship that was to last nearly fifteen years. He was twenty-four years her senior. Some critics say that without his guidance and patronage, she would have never been known. Others say she was the one who helped build his reputation working on numerous of his works. It was not easy to be a female artist then. Medical journals and doctors argued that women’s brains were inferior, their temperament not suited to such taxing artistic pursuits.
Born on December 5 in Rome, Italy, Lina Bo Bardi was a prolific architect and designer. She studied architecture at the University of Rome, then moved to Milan after graduation and worked with Gio Ponti. In 1942, she opened her own architectural office, but lacked work during wartime. She illustrated for newspapers and magazines such as Stile, Grazia, Belleza, Tempo, Vetrina and Illustrazione Italiana. And then she was invited to run Domus magazine.
Born on the 29th of November in 1843, Gertrude Jekyll had one older sister and four brothers. Her earliest recollection was making daisy chains in a garden.. At sixteen, she enrolled at the Kensington School of Art. Her favorite subjects were painting and embroidery. Her success let to an interior design commission for the Duke of Westminster’s mansion in Cheshire. But her life was to take a very different course.
Her eyesight was deteriorating.
A garden designer and writer, Jekyll designed her gardens very carefully, demonstrating a sensitive and sympathetic relationship between a house and its surroundings. She believed each plant should be studied for habit, foliage and color to achieve a practical, harmonious effect that was most appropriate for its area.
Born in Santiago, Chile on October 17, 1868. Her father was an American from New England and her mother was South American. When Sophia was six, she was sent to Boston, Massachusetts to live with her paternal grandparents. She became interested in architecture in high school. In 1886 she was the first woman to be accepted to the architecture program at MIT; she graduated with honors in 1890.