Among Sotheby's highlights of 2010 was their auction in London of

Sotheby’s reports strong 2010 and $161.1M in net income

Among Sotheby's highlights of 2010 was their auction in London of

Among Sotheby’s highlights of 2010 was their auction in London of

NEW YORK – “The net income of $161.0 million that we have been able to deliver in 2010 is our best yearly result ever, apart from 2007. It is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Bill Ruprecht, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sotheby’s, summarizing the global auction company’s successes of the past year. “The recovery of the global art market which was aided in part by the increased buying activity of clients from new markets certainly contributed to these results, as did the difficult decisions we had to make beginning in the autumn of 2008 – the headcount reduction, tightening of our cost structure and steadfast focus on auction commission margins – which have paid off considerably.”

Ruprecht said the positive momentum has continued into 2011. “Our recently concluded London sales of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art, including the exceptional single owner sale, Looking Closely: A Private Collection, brought an outstanding combined total of $390.8 million. This total even exceeds the prior year total of $366.7 million which had included the sale of the then-record breaking Giacometti sculpture which sold for $104.3 million. And we have just announced the sale of a selection of magnificent Imperial Porcelain from the Meiyintang Collection, one of the greatest private collections of Imperial Chinese Porcelain in the world. Estimated from $91-$137 million*, the sale in Hong Kong on April 7th is likely to be of historic importance and brings the estimate for the total April Hong Kong series to in excess of $300 million.”

Aggregate auction sales through the first two months of 2011 showed a solid improvement when compared to the first two months of 2010. “We hope that 2011 will be another strong year for Sotheby’s and for the art market,” Ruprecht concluded.

Highlights of Sotheby’s performance in 2010 include:

· 2010 net income of $161.0 million and 4th quarter net income of $96.2 million are best ever, with the exception of 2007

· Consolidated sales** up 74% to $4.8 billion

· Auction sales up 88 % to $4.3 billion; $2.1 billion increase is largest ever

· Private sales up 5% to $494.5 million

· 609 lots sold for over $1 million (307 in 2009)

· 93 lots sold for over $5 million (38 sold in 2009)

· 37 lots sold for over $10 million (12 sold in 2009)

· 17 lots sold for over $20 million (1 sold in 2009)

· Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art were up 116% to $1.01 billion

· Sales of Contemporary Art were up 97% to $870 million

· Sales of Jewelry were up 113% to $405 million

Hong Kong Sales were up 135% to $638.9 million

Record set for sculpture: Alberto Giacometti, Walking Man I, $104.3 million

Record set for any diamond and jewel: “The Graff Pink”, $46.2 million

Record set for a printed book: John James Audubon, The Birds of America, $11.5 million

Record set for a standard sized bottle of wine: Château Lafite 1869, $232,692

Record set for English Furniture: The Harrington Commode, $5.9 million


Visit Sotheby’s online at www.sothebys.com.

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Bronze infantry helmet. Estimate $23,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Much to bid on at TimeLine’s biggest antiquities sale on March 18

Bronze infantry helmet. Estimate $23,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Bronze infantry helmet. Estimate $23,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

LONDON – With 550 antiquities to go under the hammer on March 18, TimeLine Auctions will stage its largest ever sale at Swedenborg Hall, its favored Bloomsbury, London venue.

LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding.

The lots range across many cultures and time periods: Antiquities within easy reach of beginners’ budgets jostle on the catalog pages with rarities expected to draw bids up to thousands of dollars. This is truly an event for everyone, including visitors to London on the day, and those around the world bidding live online as the sale takes place.

Leading the parade of high value items is a sapphire-mounted gold Medieval nativity reliquary pendant (lot 760) depicting a finely engraved nativity scene, with the Trinity above. Dating from circa the 15th century, formerly enameled, and probably English, its sides are inscribed in black letter script with “me tibi virgo pia genetrix […] ista Maria.” The pendant measures 46.7 mm and its weight is 10.68 grams. Condition is extremely fine, and this excessively rare piece is expected to reach $33,000.

From circa the fourth-fifth century B.C., lot 448 is a bronze infantry helmet of the classic Lucanian type with hinged cheek-pieces and a carinated dome skull with repoussé band detailing over the brow. It has a short leaf-shaped nasal with thick rim, and a scrolled rear neck. Lucanian helmets were widely used throughout Greece and southern Italy. This rare specimen, in very fine condition and with minor restoration, comes from an old English collection and is estimated to reach $23,000.

Other striking pieces certain to generate interest on the day include lot 404: an Egyptian 26th Dynasty, glazed composition shabti figurine, nearly 7 inches in height and dating from circa 664-525 B.C., with eight rows of hieroglyphic text impressed in the lower body, (expected to fetch $3,000); and lot 802: a circa 15th-century knight’s armorial seal matrix with a crested helm, a shield of arms, and the inscription “IOHAN BRIDSALE” in black letter script. Almost 1.6 inches in height, this perfectly patinated copper-alloy piece should attract bids up to $8,000. From more than 100 ancient rings in the auction, lot 772 is a superb circa 15th-century gold example with a rectangular bezel depicting the engraved figure of St. Catherine with sword and wheel. Weighing 2.98 grams, it is expected to reach $6,500.

Although the number of coins in this latest auction falls short of the number of antiquities, there are nevertheless some superb numismatic gems on offer. Feast your eyes on lot 030 and recall Julius Caesar’s immortal words, “Et tu Brute?” This is a gold stater depicting Brutus, leader of the assassins, as a Roman consul in Thrace. The obverse shows Brutus flanked by two of his officers; the reverse has an eagle raising a wreath in its left claw. Bids up to $1,500 are expected.

“Our greatest achievement,” said CEO Brett Hammond, “is that in the space of just four sales TimeLine Auctions has gained the loyal support of so many collectors from around the world. I’m proud that we have so much to offer our modest, as well as our biggest, clients. If you are new to our auctions please view the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee, or live via the Internet as the sale takes place.”

For further details contact Christopher Wren at +44 (0) 1708 222824.

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Gold medieval Nativity reliquary pendant. Estimate: $33,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Gold medieval Nativity reliquary pendant. Estimate: $33,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Egyptian Shabti figurine. Estimate: $3,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Egyptian Shabti figurine. Estimate: $3,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Armorial seal matrix. Estimate: $8,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Armorial seal matrix. Estimate: $8,000. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Gold St. Catherine ring. Estimate: $6,500. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Gold St. Catherine ring. Estimate: $6,500. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Brutus stater coin. Estimate: $1,500. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

Brutus stater coin. Estimate: $1,500. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions.

The American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, visited Affiliated Auctions in Tallahassee, Fla., and posed with the Affiliated team. Left to write: Mike Wolfe, Brett Svenson, Jason Winogrond, Katie Whitworth, John Whitworth, Frank Fritz, Lisa Whitworth, Tristan Shelfer, Erin Bessette, Tessa Jones. Image courtesy of Affiliated Auctions.

TV’s American Pickers visit Affiliated Auctions during Florida tour

The American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, visited Affiliated Auctions in Tallahassee, Fla., and posed with the Affiliated team. Left to write: Mike Wolfe, Brett Svenson, Jason Winogrond, Katie Whitworth, John Whitworth, Frank Fritz, Lisa Whitworth, Tristan Shelfer, Erin Bessette, Tessa Jones. Image courtesy of Affiliated Auctions.

The American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, visited Affiliated Auctions in Tallahassee, Fla., and posed with the Affiliated team. Left to write: Mike Wolfe, Brett Svenson, Jason Winogrond, Katie Whitworth, John Whitworth, Frank Fritz, Lisa Whitworth, Tristan Shelfer, Erin Bessette, Tessa Jones. Image courtesy of Affiliated Auctions.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (ACNI) – On Jan. 26, while preparing for their March 5-6 auction, the management and staff of Affiliated Auctions received a visit from Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, stars of the History Channel’s popular American Pickers reality show.

The “Pickers” had been traveling around the Southeast, searching for rare and unusual antiques to feature on upcoming episodes. They called on Affiliated to provide an on-camera appraisal of an object discovered during their journey up and down the Sunshine State.

“They called us a week before their visit, so it wasn’t a surprise,” said Affiliated Auctions’ Brett Svenson. Asked for details about the article the Pickers brought in for appraisal, Svenson declined, other than to say it had come from South Florida. “It has to be kept a secret prior to the episode’s airdate,” Svenson explained, “but I can tell you that they were happy with the appraisal we gave them, which was along the lines of what they had thought before they came in.”

After the appraisal, Wolfe and Fritz spent time chatting with the gallery staff.

“They were exactly as we expected them to be,” Svenson said. “There wasn’t any sort of Hollywood thing going on.”

Visit Affiliated Auctions online at www.affiliatedauctions.com.

View Affiliated’s fully illustrated catalog for their upcoming auction and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Copyright 2011 Auction Central News International. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


The American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, visited Affiliated Auctions in Tallahassee, Fla., and posed with the Affiliated team. Left to write: Mike Wolfe, Brett Svenson, Jason Winogrond, Katie Whitworth, John Whitworth, Frank Fritz, Lisa Whitworth, Tristan Shelfer, Erin Bessette, Tessa Jones. Image courtesy of Affiliated Auctions.

The American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, visited Affiliated Auctions in Tallahassee, Fla., and posed with the Affiliated team. Left to write: Mike Wolfe, Brett Svenson, Jason Winogrond, Katie Whitworth, John Whitworth, Frank Fritz, Lisa Whitworth, Tristan Shelfer, Erin Bessette, Tessa Jones. Image courtesy of Affiliated Auctions.

The American Pickers' Mercedes-Benz van, with Mike Wolfe at the wheel and Frank Fritz riding shotgun, pulls into the parking lot at Affiliated Auctions' gallery. The logo on the van, Antique Archaeology, represents Wolfe's company located in LeClaire, Iowa. Image courtesy of Affiliated Auctions.

The American Pickers’ Mercedes-Benz van, with Mike Wolfe at the wheel and Frank Fritz riding shotgun, pulls into the parking lot at Affiliated Auctions’ gallery. The logo on the van, Antique Archaeology, represents Wolfe’s company located in LeClaire, Iowa. Image courtesy of Affiliated Auctions.

Signed Erte' vase. Estimate: Estimate: $1,500-2,500. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

S.B. & Co. to auction Bostonian’s lifetime collection, March 13 and 27

Signed Erte' vase. Estimate: Estimate: $1,500-2,500. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Signed Erte’ vase. Estimate: Estimate: $1,500-2,500. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – Nanna Stoyanoff of Newton, Mass., an avid collector of fine quality antiques, lived with her prized possessions until her death in September 2009. S.B. & Co. Auctioneers will sell Stoyanoff’s collections in two auctions – without additions – Sunday, March 13, and Sunday, March 27. Both sales will begin at noon Eastern.

Liveauctioneers will provide Internet live bidding both days.

A special four- day preview will be offered for the public to view the items prior to each sale.

The auctions will feature a diverse collection of art glass, sterling silver, Orientalia, rugs, and Arts and Crafts metalware including a three-piece Tiffany Studios “Chinese” desk set, an Erte vase and Heintz Art.

Glass highlights include a DeCorchemont bowl, cameo glass, Mount Washington, vaseline glass, D’Argenta, Lalique, Orrefors, Val St. Lambert, Rosenthal, 20th-century Kosta Boda, many 20th-century paperweights, cobalt overlay, swirl glass oil lamp, and Murano glass.

Satsuma, Imari, Rose Famille, cloisonné, wood blocks, tapestry, lacquer ware, silver, book leaf, covered jars, bronze burners, over 40 Oriental carpets, several Oriental marble-top and carved stands round out the Oriental lots.

Sterling lots are represented by Tiffany, Gorham, Wallace, Georg Jensen, Bigelow and Kinnard, 20th-century Lenore Doskow, Russian silver, plique-a-jour, enamel and more.

Porcelain is offered in for form of two 18th-century tankards, Royal Worcester, Meissen, Royal Bayreuth, Wedgwood, Sevres, Royal Copenhagen, Fajance, Mettlach, Moorcroft, Quimper, Argenta, Weller, Van Briggle, Limoges, Beleek, Capo-di-Monte and others.

Fine art includes a Marie Laurencin colored etching; a primitive oil by Jean Fous; J.W. Studley oil, Italian oils, young girl with chickens; initialed watercolor of ship signed “F.M.C.;” pastoral oils and watercolors; several 19th-century wood block prints; August Moreau bronze, miniature portraits on ivory of Napoleon and Josephine; Venus De Galapygos by Kia Nielson, Frank Art nude F. Debon bronze tray; and Classical form bronzes made into lamps.

Over 40 lots of antique Oriental carpets will be sold on March 13 after the cataloged sale at approximately 4 p.m.

For details and photos go to www.sbauctioneers.com or call 802-460-1190 or 617-413-4054.

 

View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Unique signed Weller vase.  Estimate: $200-$300. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Unique signed Weller vase. Estimate: $200-$300. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Sterling horn vases. Estimate: Estimate: $200-$300. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Sterling horn vases. Estimate: Estimate: $200-$300. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Auguste Moreau bronze. Estimate: $200-$300. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Auguste Moreau bronze. Estimate: $200-$300. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Kai Nielsen figure, ‘Venus Kalipygos.’ Estimate: $200-$300. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Kai Nielsen figure, ‘Venus Kalipygos.’ Estimate: $200-$300. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Art glass vase ‘signed DeCorchemont #989 V,’ 5 1/2inches wide by 3 1/2 high. Estimate: $400-$600. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Art glass vase ‘signed DeCorchemont #989 V,’ 5 1/2inches wide by 3 1/2 high. Estimate: $400-$600. Image courtesy of S.B. & Co. Auctioneers.

Frank Woodruff Buckles, last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, age 106, during an interview at the US Library of Congress in 2007. On his jacket, Buckles wore his French Legion of Honor medal. United States Federal Government image.

In Memoriam: Frank Buckles, last U.S. vet of WWI, age 110

Frank Woodruff Buckles, last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, age 106, during an interview at the US Library of Congress in 2007. On his jacket, Buckles wore his French Legion of Honor medal. United States Federal Government image.

Frank Woodruff Buckles, last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, age 106, during an interview at the US Library of Congress in 2007. On his jacket, Buckles wore his French Legion of Honor medal. United States Federal Government image.

CHARLES TOWN, W.V. – Frank Buckles enlisted for World War I at 16 after lying about his age. He made it home again and ultimately became that war’s last surviving U.S. veteran, campaigning for greater recognition for his comrades-in-arms before dying at 110.

Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died of natural causes Sunday at his home in Charles Town, biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said. He was 110.

Buckles had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of the Great War in the nation’s capital and asked about its progress weekly, sometimes daily.

“He was sad it’s not completed,” DeJonge said Monday. “It’s a simple straightforward thing to do, to honor Americans.”

When asked in February 2008 how it felt to be the last of his kind, he said simply, “I realized that somebody had to be, and it was me.” And he told The Associated Press he would have done it all over again, “without a doubt.”

On Nov. 11, 2008, the 90th anniversary of the end of the war, Buckles attended a ceremony at the grave of World War I Gen. John Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery.

He was back in Washington a year later to endorse a proposal to rededicate the existing World War I memorial on the National Mall as the official National World War I Memorial. He told a Senate panel it was “an excellent idea.” The memorial was originally built to honor District of Columbia’s war dead.

Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the United States entered the “war to end all wars” in April 1917. He was repeatedly rejected before convincing an Army captain he was 18. He was actually 16 1/2.

“A boy of (that age), he’s not afraid of anything. He wants to get in there,” Buckles said.

Details for services and arrangements will be announced later this week, but DeJonge said Buckles’ daughter, Susannah Flanagan, is planning for burial in Arlington National Cemetery. In 2008, friends persuaded the federal government to make an exception to its rules and allow his burial there.

Buckles had already been eligible to have his cremated remains housed at the cemetery. To be buried underground, however, he would have had to meet several criteria, including earning one of five medals, such as a Purple Heart.

Buckles never saw combat but joked, “Didn’t I make every effort?”

“We have lost a living link to an important era in our nation’s history,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. “But we have also lost a man of quiet dignity, who dedicated his final years to ensuring the sacrifices of his fellow ‘Doughboys’ are appropriately commemorated.”

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller called Buckles “a wonderfully plainspoken man and an icon for the World War I generation” and said he will continue fighting for the memorial Buckles wanted.

“He lived a long and rich life as a true American patriot,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, “and I hope that his family’s loss is lightened with the knowledge that he was loved and will be missed by so many.”

The family asked that donations be made to the National World War One Legacy Project. The project is managed by the nonprofit Survivor Quest and will educate students about Buckles and WWI through a documentary and traveling educational exhibition.

More than 4.7 million people joined the U.S. military from 1917-18. As of spring 2007, only three were still alive, according to a tally by the Department of Veterans Affairs: Buckles, J. Russell Coffey of Ohio and Harry Richard Landis of Florida.

The dwindling roster prompted a flurry of public interest, and Buckles went to Washington in May 2007 to serve as grand marshal of the national Memorial Day parade.

Coffey died Dec. 20, 2007, at age 109, while Landis died Feb. 4, 2008, at 108. Unlike Buckles, those two men were still in basic training in the United States when the war ended and did not make it overseas.

The last known Canadian veteran of the war, John Babcock of Spokane, Wash., died in February 2010.

There are no French or German veterans of the war left alive.

Buckles served in England and France, working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk. An eager student of culture and language, he used his off-duty hours to learn German, visit cathedrals, museums and tombs, and bicycle in the French countryside.

After Armistice Day, Buckles helped return prisoners of war to Germany. He returned to the United States in January 1920.

Buckles returned to Oklahoma for a while, then moved to Canada, where he worked a series of jobs before heading for New York City. There, he again took advantage of free museums, worked out at the YMCA, and landed jobs in banking and advertising.

But it was the shipping industry that suited him best, and he worked around the world for the White Star Line Steamship Co. and W.R. Grace & Co.

In 1941, while on business in the Philippines, Buckles was captured by the Japanese. He spent more than three years in prison camps.

“I was never actually looking for adventure,” Buckles once said. “It just came to me.”

He married in 1946 and moved to his farm in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle in 1954, where he and wife Audrey raised their daughter. Audrey Buckles died in 1999.

In spring 2007, Buckles told the AP of the trouble he went through to get into the military.

“I went to the state fair up in Wichita, Kansas, and while there, went to the recruiting station for the Marine Corps,” he said. “The nice Marine sergeant said I was too young when I gave my age as 18, said I had to be 21.”

Buckles returned a week later.

“I went back to the recruiting sergeant, and this time I was 21,” he said with a grin. “I passed the inspection … but he told me I just wasn’t heavy enough.”

Then he tried the Navy, whose recruiter told Buckles he was flat-footed.

Buckles wouldn’t quit. In Oklahoma City, an Army captain demanded a birth certificate.

“I told him birth certificates were not made in Missouri when I was born, that the record was in a family Bible. I said, ‘You don’t want me to bring the family Bible down, do you?'” Buckles said with a laugh. “He said, ‘OK, we’ll take you.'”

He enlisted Aug. 14, 1917, serial number 15577.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Frank Woodruff Buckles, last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, age 106, during an interview at the US Library of Congress in 2007. On his jacket, Buckles wore his French Legion of Honor medal. United States Federal Government image.

Frank Woodruff Buckles, last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, age 106, during an interview at the US Library of Congress in 2007. On his jacket, Buckles wore his French Legion of Honor medal. United States Federal Government image.

Frank Woodruff Buckles, last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, in a picture taken in 1917, at age 16. At the time the photo was taken, Buckles was a corporal.

Frank Woodruff Buckles, last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, in a picture taken in 1917, at age 16. At the time the photo was taken, Buckles was a corporal.

Copyrighted logo of The Carter Center, Inc. Fair use of low-resolution image in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law. All rights reserved, The Carter Center.

Auction nets $841,000 for Carter Center

 Copyrighted logo of The Carter Center, Inc. Fair use of low-resolution image in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law. All rights reserved, The Carter Center.

Copyrighted logo of The Carter Center, Inc. Fair use of low-resolution image in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law. All rights reserved, The Carter Center.

ATLANTA – An original painting by former President Jimmy Carter is among more than 150 items that raised more than $841,000 at an auction to benefit the Carter Center.

The painting by the ex-president got the highest bid, bringing in $150,000, at the Saturday auction held during the Carter Center’s annual Winter Weekend event in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Organizers say the annual event is a critical source of support for the not-for-profit center’s international work to advance peace and health. The Carter Center is based in Atlanta.

Other items auctioned off to benefit the center included historic memorabilia from Carter’s presidential campaign and a baseball signed by Carter and three other former presidents: Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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Someone painted a red swimsuit over Titian’s ‘Venus Anadyomene,’ on a billboard in Minneapolis. (National Gallery of Scotland). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

That’s cold: Billboard owner replaces vandalized Venus image

Someone painted a red swimsuit over Titian’s ‘Venus Anadyomene,’ on a billboard in Minneapolis.  (National Gallery of Scotland). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Someone painted a red swimsuit over Titian’s ‘Venus Anadyomene,’ on a billboard in Minneapolis. (National Gallery of Scotland). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A billboard for a Minneapolis museum has been replaced after someone spray-painted clothing and the word “Brrr!” in red over its depiction of nudity from a 16th-century Venus painting.

The advertisement is for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ exhibition of works by the Italian master Titian. The museum chose to feature the famous Venus Rising from the Sea painting on the billboard because “it’s very typical of paintings in the show,” said MIA spokeswoman Anne-Marie Wagener.

The graffiti was discovered on a billboard in Long Lake, a western suburb, last week. None of the other Minneapolis area billboards advertising the show have been damaged. The one that was vandalized has been restored to its previous condition, despite objections from museum officials.

“We said ‘We think it’s funny, just leave it, don’t bother replacing it,’” Wagener said Thursday.

But she said Clear Channel Outdoor, the company that owns the billboard, has a policy that ads with graffiti must be taken down so as not to encourage vandalism.

The billboards are slated to come down in mid-March.

The museum has fielded about 10 calls from angry passers-by who said they weren’t comfortable seeing nudity outside of the museum, said MIA marketing director Kristin Prestegaard. Some people said it forced them to talk to their children about nudity in art, a conversation they weren’t ready to have.

But during the Italian renaissance period, the human body was held in high esteem and wasn’t seen as erotic, Wagener said.

“It was the absolute of perfection,” she said. “I think it’s only now that people project certain ideas – but it’s art.”

The billboard raises the question of whether it’s acceptable to impose one’s culture and aesthetics on others, said Paul Rosenblatt, a family social science professor at the University of Minnesota.

“That art comes out of a particular culture,” Rosenblatt said. “I can really understand why there are plenty of people who, from their own cultural perspective, would be really uncomfortable.”

The classic paintings in the MIA exhibit – on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland – feature a number of Venetian women, religious figures, mythical Cupids and soldiers. The exhibit closes on May 1.

Wagener denied that the graffiti was a publicity stunt to attract attention to the exhibit, which she said is exceeding attendance projections.

“We’re not that creative,” she said flatly.

Nonetheless, both Prestegaard and Wagener said they think whoever did the graffiti was probably just trying to be funny, not censor the image.

It would be different “if the words ‘Brrr!’ weren’t there and they hadn’t given her such a nice, shapely swimsuit,” Wagener said. “I mean, if you were angry, why would you make it kind of pretty?”

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WS-02-24-11 1935EST


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Someone painted a red swimsuit over Titian’s ‘Venus Anadyomene,’ on a billboard in Minneapolis.  (National Gallery of Scotland). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Someone painted a red swimsuit over Titian’s ‘Venus Anadyomene,’ on a billboard in Minneapolis. (National Gallery of Scotland). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Paris Through the Window (Paris par la fenêtre), 1913. Marc Chagall, French (born Belorussia), 1887‑1985. Oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 55 3/4 inches (135.9 x 141.6 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Chagall’s formative period in Paris subject of new exhibition

Paris Through the Window (Paris par la fenêtre), 1913. Marc Chagall, French (born Belorussia), 1887‑1985. Oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 55 3/4 inches (135.9 x 141.6 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Paris Through the Window (Paris par la fenêtre), 1913. Marc Chagall, French (born Belorussia), 1887‑1985. Oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 55 3/4 inches (135.9 x 141.6 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A new exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is taking a fresh look at the influence that Paris had on Marc Chagall and his fellow modernists from 1910 to 1920.

The show, “Paris Through the Window: Marc Chagall and His Circle,” opens Tuesday. It is being presented in conjunction with an international arts festival in Philadelphia that opens in April.

The exhibition “represents the Museum’s contribution to this festival and will focus on the powerful influence that Paris had on Chagall and his contemporaries,” museum director Timothy Rub said.

The show, located in the museum’s Perelman annex, includes roughly 40 paintings and sculptures culled mainly from the museum’s own collection but reconfigured in a new way. Other featured artists include Chaim Soutine, Amedeo Modigliani and Jacques Lipschitz.

Curator Michael Taylor said the show will provide visitors with “a unique opportunity to reconsider the cross-fertilization that took place” when Chagall and his contemporaries lived and worked in Paris.

Among the show’s highlights is Chagall’s painting Paris Through the Window from 1913, on loan from the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The work is a dreamlike and colorful interpretation of Chagall’s world outside his studio window in the La Ruche building near Montparnasse, a thriving artistic community and home to Chagall and fellow Eastern European artists who fled the repression and persecution of their homelands.

“This is indisputably Chagall’s early masterpiece,” said curator Michael Taylor. Chagall’s inspiration from Cubism and his enthusiasm for Paris, where he arrived after finishing art school in Russia, are clear in this and another massive work on display, Half Past Three (The Poet) of 1911.

Time was not always kind to Chagall, however, as political upheavals repeatedly interrupted his life and work. He went back to Russia after the start of World War I, creating dark works reflective of the war and joyous pieces recalling his childhood in Vitebsk, now in Belarus.

He returned to Paris after the war, but he and many of his fellow Jewish artists were again forced to flee with the Nazi occupation of Paris. He left in 1941 and spent the war in New York, returning again to his beloved France in 1948, where he lived and worked until his death in 1985.

The exhibit is the museum’s contribution to the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, a citywide celebration that runs from April 7 to May 1.

Organized by the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts around the theme of early 20th-century Paris – what Taylor called “one of the most experimental and creative periods in Western art” –  the festival will include 135 events presented by 1,500 artists from 140 artistic and cultural groups in a variety of collaborations.

“We thought long and hard what would make the most sense (for the festival), and I immediately thought of Chagall,” Taylor said.

Dance, theater, visual arts, music, culinary and fashion worlds will be presenting events and newly commissioned works for the festival. Philadelphia-based Pig Iron Theatre Company and The American Poetry Review will hold “performative poetry readings” at the museum by Parisian poets of the era, and a musical cabaret inspired by Chagall’s wife, Bella, will make its world premiere at a downtown theater.

___

Online:

Philadelphia Museum of Art: http://www.philamuseum.org

Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts:

http://www.pifa.org

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-02-27-11 0030EST

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Paris Through the Window (Paris par la fenêtre), 1913. Marc Chagall, French (born Belorussia), 1887‑1985. Oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 55 3/4 inches (135.9 x 141.6 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Paris Through the Window (Paris par la fenêtre), 1913. Marc Chagall, French (born Belorussia), 1887‑1985. Oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 55 3/4 inches (135.9 x 141.6 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Chagall in a 1921 photograph taken in Paris. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Chagall in a 1921 photograph taken in Paris. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One of the documents returned to Russia was an 18th-century decree by Empress Catherine the Great. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

U.S returns 21 historic documents smuggled out of Russia

One of the documents returned to Russia was an 18th-century decree by Empress Catherine the Great. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One of the documents returned to Russia was an 18th-century decree by Empress Catherine the Great. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

MOSCOW (AP) – A trove of historic archive documents dating back to Catherine the Great that were stolen after the Soviet breakup were returned to Russia by the United States on Friday.

The 21 documents include decrees issued by historical figures such as Czar Nicholas II and Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov. Among them are a top secret paper on the reconstruction of Russian military airfields in the 1930s; and Catherine the Great’s decree to divide command of forces in Poland during the 18th-century partitions of the country.

U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle said the return of the documents is “just one part of our efforts to broaden and deepen the relationship between our two countries overall.”

Russian officials alerted Washington about the documents when they appeared on websites of U.S. auction houses. U.S. officials seized them between April and November, but no one had been charged in connection to the theft, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official James Wolynetz said.

Russian authorities at the ceremony declined to name the potential value of the retrieved documents, calling them “priceless,” but Viktor Petrakov, the head of Russia’s cultural heritage protection agency, said some of the documents could fetch tens of thousands of dollars.

More than 2,500 pages of documents from archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg have been stolen since the early 1990s and only 500 have been retrieved, Petrakov said.

Some of the documents returned to Russia on Friday were stolen from archives in St. Petersburg in the early 1990s. Russian authorities accuse a Russian antiques dealer in Israel, Vladimir Feinberg, of stealing the documents and have been unsuccessful in obtaining his extradition.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-02-25-11 0752EST

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


One of the documents returned to Russia was an 18th-century decree by Empress Catherine the Great. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One of the documents returned to Russia was an 18th-century decree by Empress Catherine the Great. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Automatic Trap Co. advertised this device as ‘The Best Trap in the World.’ Made of wood, tin and wire, the trap stands 11 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and Richard Opfer Auctioneering Inc.

Build a better mousetrap and a collector will beat a path to your door

Automatic Trap Co. advertised this device as ‘The Best Trap in the World.’ Made of wood, tin and wire, the trap stands 11 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and Richard Opfer Auctioneering Inc.

Automatic Trap Co. advertised this device as ‘The Best Trap in the World.’ Made of wood, tin and wire, the trap stands 11 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and Richard Opfer Auctioneering Inc.

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) – Mary Putsch’s hobby is a trap. Lots of them, actually.

“I am basically a collector,” said the 73-year-old woman, standing among the wall-to-wall collectibles that decorate the front living room of her Janesville home.

Along with extensive collections of frogs, kaleidoscopes, spinning wheels and Winnebago Indian baskets, Putsch particularly enjoys collecting children’s books.

Surprisingly, that drew her into one of her strangest collectibles – mousetraps.

“I love the story of ‘Cinderella’ and how the fairy godmother transforms a pumpkin into a beautiful carriage and the mice and rats into horses to pull it,” Putsch said. “I really like the illustrations, and that’s what brought me to mousetraps.

“In my picture book, when Cinderella went to get these mice for her fairy godmother, they were in something that looked to me like a bird cage,” she said.

It was, in fact, a live trap for mice.

“Having never seen anything except one of those flat, snap mousetraps, I couldn’t imagine how even a fairy godmother could make anything out of what was left in one of those.”

While browsing an antique shop one day, Putsch noticed a bird cage-like device hanging from the ceiling. The tag on the item read “rat trap,” and Putsch instantly understood what the story and illustration in her Cinderella book was about.

“So I had to buy that trap,” she said.

Later, Putsch found the same trap – only smaller and designed to catch mice.

“So I was off and running,” she said.

A 20-year obsession was born.

Putsch is so fascinated with mousetraps she weaves historical facts and stories about them into her conversations.

“I believe man created cats to get rid of mice.”

“The house mouse came to this country with man’s ancestors in 1775.”

“There are 4,400-some patents on mousetraps. That’s more than any other single item.”

Although Putsch has never counted her traps, she estimates she has at least 100 dating back to the 1800s. She’s found her treasures in antique shops and flea markets, had them given as gifts, bought them on trips abroad and even had a few made by her husband.

She’s also bought more modern mousetraps, amused by advertisements promoting them as everything from disposable to reusable, depending on economic conditions.

Made mostly of metal, plastic or wood, the traps cost Putsch anywhere from $1 to $35. Her favorite and most unusual item is “the world’s best trap,” which was made in Germany and given to her by her husband, Joseph, as an anniversary gift.

Collecting mousetraps might not seem mainstream, but Putsch is quick to explain their appeal.

“It’s man’s challenge to solve this problem. The mousetrap is the icon of man’s creativity and ingenuity, yet he’s still working on how to get rid of the mouse,” she said.

Putsch is a member of The Questers, a group for people who enjoy history and antiques, and has been invited to give programs about her mousetraps to three local chapters. She’s also spoken to the Janesville Area Retired Educators Association, Luther Valley Historical Society and Wisconsin Historical Society.

People who know Putsch collects mousetraps often buy her stuffed or plastic mice and rats to display with them. And on the off chance someone has a question about the contraptions, she’s always ready.

“When people want to hear about ’em,” she said, “I drag them out and talk about them.”

___

Information from: The Janesville Gazette,

http://www.gazetteextra.com

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-02-25-11 2015EST

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Automatic Trap Co. advertised this device as ‘The Best Trap in the World.’ Made of wood, tin and wire, the trap stands 11 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and Richard Opfer Auctioneering Inc.

Automatic Trap Co. advertised this device as ‘The Best Trap in the World.’ Made of wood, tin and wire, the trap stands 11 inches high. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers and Richard Opfer Auctioneering Inc.