According to a friend, Ai Weiwei has been ordered to pay $1.9 million in back taxes and fines by the Chinese government. Image coutesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Hong Kong art fair to display work by detained artist Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei in a June 2007 photo by Benutzer. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

Ai Weiwei in a June 2007 photo by Benutzer. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Germany license.

HONG KONG (AFP) – A leading international art fair is to display a provocative work by detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Hong Kong in a show of solidarity with the outspoken dissident amid a government crackdown.

Director Magnus Renfrew said the organisers of ART HK shared the concerns of the international community over Ai’s fate, and called for “due process” of the law to be upheld in his case, which has sparked an international outcry.

“Ai Weiwei’s works have been greatly admired,” he said.

The fair, starting Thursday, is to display Ai’s 2007 sculpture Marble Arm, which depicts an outstretched arm and hand – with its middle finger raised.

The artist was taken into custody in Beijing last month during the government’s biggest crackdown on dissidents and activists in years, with authorities later saying he was suspected of unspecified “economic crimes.”

The U.S. and European Union have called for Ai’s release, but Beijing has rejected such calls, denouncing them as interfering and inappropriate.

Marble Arm is being brought to the fair by Switzerland-based Galerie Urs Meile, which also runs a gallery in Beijing.

“By presenting his work, we believe his situation will be discussed,” the gallery’s assistant Rene Meile told AFP.

Chinese police alleged last week that a firm controlled by Ai had evaded taxes, in a move that appeared to be aimed at building their case against the detained artist.

Hong Kong maintains semi-autonomous status from China and enjoys civil liberties not seen on the mainland. Artists and campaigners have staged a series of protests there calling for Ai’s release.

ART HK, which is now in its fourth year, will see a record 260 galleries from 38 countries taking part in the four-day fair. It is expected to draw at least 45,000 visitors to see work by over 1,000 artists.

The city, which has become the world’s third-biggest auction hub behind London and New York, has ambitions to establish itself as a center for art in Asia.

The fair will also show new works by cutting-edge artist Barnaby Furnas and an acclaimed anamorphic projection by South African artist William Kentridge.

Organizers said they expect to see tens of millions of dollars in sales over the four days, but could not provide a forecast for the private transactions.

Several auctioneers, including Christie’s and Sotheby’s, are holding Hong Kong art sales to coincide with ART HK. The auctions are expected to gross in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Virtually complete Triceratops skeleton. Heritage Auctions image.

Unprecedented dinosaur display planned for June 9-12 in Dallas

Virtually complete Triceratops skeleton. Heritage Auctions image.

Virtually complete Triceratops skeleton. Heritage Auctions image.

DALLAS – Visitors to Dallas’ Fair Park, where the Texas State Fair is held annually, will soon be taking a trip back in time – way back in time, to the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth. A display of no fewer than four complete or near-complete dinosaur skeletons is being prepared for its public unveiling at the fairgrounds’ 179-ft.-tall Tower Building.

Heritage Auctions is hosting the unprecedented exhibition, which includes “the fighting pair” – Allosaurus and Stegosaurus; a near-complete Triceratops, and a complete duck-billed Maiasaurus – along with dozens of important prehistoric treasures. All of the specimens are highlights from Heritage’s June 12, 2011 Natural History Auction and may be viewed in the Tower Building Thursday to Saturday, June 9-11, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Every one of these incredible fossils is museum quality,” said David Herskowitz, director of Natural History at Heritage Auctions. “It’s rare to find even one truly great dinosaur for an auction, let alone the four we’ve managed to assemble for this summertime auction.”

Far and away, the stars of the dino show are the Allosaurus and Stegosaurus, known collectively as “the fighting pair” because of their proximity to one another when discovered in the Dana Quarry in Wyoming, in spring of 2007. The team of excavators at this legendary site thought they were on to the find of a lifetime when they found the Allosaur, whose name is Dracula. Imagine their surprise when they subsequently found a complete Stegosaur – named Fantasia – occupying the same space.

“They were literally right on top of one another,” said Herskowitz, “and they were evidently engaged in mortal combat at the time of their demise, as the leg of the Stegosaurus was found in the mouth of the Allosaurus. The association is undeniable.”

“The fighting pair” is being sold as a set due to its scientific importance. It carries a pre-auction estimate of $2.8 million.

Next in line is a virtually complete Triceratops skeleton, checking in at more than 19 feet long, seven feet across and more than 12 feet tall, found in the famous Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota in the spring of 2004. It is estimated at $700,000+, and will be on display at the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science, also at Fair Park in Dallas, through early June.

“The completed skeleton is enormous,” said Herskowitz. “If you can imagine this animal when it was alive bearing down on you with that massive skull and those epic horns, you wouldn’t stand a chance. This creature was the size of a small bus, and certainly a lot meaner.”

A complete duck-billed Maiasaurus, hailing from the Two Medicine Formation in northern Montana, completes the dinosaur quintet being sold in the auction. The specimen, named Cory, was originally discovered almost 20 years ago, but was not fully mounted until a few years ago. Measuring more than 17 feet (5 meters) in length, it is one of the most complete mounted specimens of this species known and possesses a particularly well-preserved skull. It is estimated at $450,000+.

While the dinosaurs will be center stage in the auction, it is the largest set of prehistoric shark jaws ever assembled, from the ferocious Megalodon, the largest predator that has ever existed, that may well steal the show from his terrestrial cousins. The jaws, when fully assembled, measure an impressive 11 feet across and almost 9 feet tall. It is estimated at $700,000+ and is also currently on display at the Dallas Museum of Nature and Science in Fair Park.

“The Megalodon was a shark that grew up to the length of two freight cars and preyed on whales and other sharks,” said Herskowitz. “This is the biggest Megalodon jaw ever assembled. It took 16 years to assemble and is composed of 182 fine-quality fossil teeth up to 7¼ inches in length. With jaws this size, and an appetite that was hugely voracious, you or I would be no more than an hors d’oeuvre for this monster.”

Most of the teeth in this specimen were personally collected in the rivers of South Carolina by the esteemed Vito Bertucci. The late Mr. Bertucci collected Megalodon teeth for more than 20 years, and his tireless work is on display in the American Museum of Natural History, the Houston Museum and the Baltimore Aquarium and has been featured in National Geographic World magazine and on the National Geographic Channel. He opened and operated a shark museum in Port Royal, S.C., before passing away in October of 2004 while diving for shark teeth.

Other prehistoric highlights of the auction include a superb Giant Ground Sloth skeleton, Late Pleistocene, 180,000 to 550,000 years old, estimated at $450,000+; a huge ferocious Dinosaur-Age Fish, dating to the Cretaceous period, estimated at $120,000+, and a giant Devonian Armored Fish skull more than 400 million years old, estimated at $40,000+.

Additional information is available by visiting Heritage Auctions online at www.ha.com.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Virtually complete Triceratops skeleton. Heritage Auctions image.

Virtually complete Triceratops skeleton. Heritage Auctions image.

Skeletons of Allosaurus and Stegosaurus, known as

Skeletons of Allosaurus and Stegosaurus, known as

World's largest shark jaw. Heritage Auctions image.

World’s largest shark jaw. Heritage Auctions image.

Superb specimen of skeleton of Giant Ground Sloth. Heritage Auctions image.

Superb specimen of skeleton of Giant Ground Sloth. Heritage Auctions image.

Skeleton of Duckbill Dinosaur. Heritage Auctions image.

Skeleton of Duckbill Dinosaur. Heritage Auctions image.

Visitors to the Cincinnati Art Museum can get a firsthand view of the restoration of van Gogh's 'Undergrowth with Two Figures.' Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Performance art: Museum restores van Gogh masterpiece

Visitors to the Cincinnati Art Museum can get a firsthand view of the restoration of van Gogh's 'Undergrowth with Two Figures.' Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Visitors to the Cincinnati Art Museum can get a firsthand view of the restoration of van Gogh’s ‘Undergrowth with Two Figures.’ Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

CINCINNATI (AP) – One of the Cincinnati Art Museum’s most famous works, Vincent van Gogh’s 1890 masterpiece Undergrowth with Two Figures appears to most visitors to be a beautiful, well-preserved, post-Impressionist painting.

After 121 years, the broad, vigorous brushstrokes of green, yellow and white on the forest floor and the imposing gray-blue tree trunks still pop from the canvas, providing a stark contrast to the two shadowy figures walking through them.

The painting is a visitor favorite, voted the No. 1 piece of art in the Museum’s 60,000-piece collection in its 2006 People’s Art Poll. While the museum does not release the values of works in its collection, van Goghs have fetched tens of millions of dollars at auction.

But most visitors don’t see what the museum’s chief conservator, Per Knutas, sees in this van Gogh, one of the great artist’s last masterpieces: extensive damage done by well-intended conservation efforts in the mid-1970s.

But now, they can.

Knutas himself is on view in the Cincinnati Wing of the Museum as he carefully restores the painting to lengthen its lifespan and prepare it for loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art next year.

The Cincinnati Art Museum has displayed conservation work before. But this is the first time that, at Knutas’ suggestion, the museum has connected the powerful microscope he uses – the same kind that’s used for surgical procedures – to a 42-inch flat screen TV hanging on the wall behind him. Visitors can see the painstaking conservation work like never before.

“For me, it’s really important to heighten the awareness of conservation,” Knutas said. “Most of the time, conservators are tucked in the back vaults of museums. People just expect the paintings to look great. But there’s actually a profession behind the painting.”

Born in Sweden, Knutas was trained in Denmark and previously worked at the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art before coming to Cincinnati two years ago.

It likely will take him through July to finish restoring the van Gogh.

In 1975, Cincinnati Art Museum conservators, following the best practices at the time, used a wax resin to attach a second canvas to the back of the original 20-by-39 1/2-inch canvas.

The purpose of the wax lining was to secure any loose paint and to make the original canvas less vulnerable to fluctuations in humidity and temperature, Knutas said. But over the years, the wax penetrated microscopic cracks in the canvas, pooled in the heavily textured brushwork of the painting and turned from clear to a milky white color.

“It obscures the colors that van Gogh was so famous for,” Knutas said. “By gently removing the wax, I expose the intended colors so the painting will be more vibrant, and the texture will be more true to how the painting looked when van Gogh was done with it.”

Knutas uses a soft brush dipped in solvent to soften the wax, then a soft bamboo stick to scrape off the wax without harming the paint.

He also will be removing varnish, a clear protective top coat, which past conservators had applied to the painting. While varnish can protect a painting, it also can alter its composition, hardening once-soft transitions and deepening colors. Research has shown that van Gogh did not varnish his paintings, Knutas said.

Watching Knutas work recently, museum director Aaron Betsky compared the painting’s amorphous, magnified forms appearing on the TV screen to contemporary video art and said it was a revelation to watch the conservation process happen.

“It’s going to make the quality of the painting come alive so much more,” he said. “One of the joys to me is when we clean our great works of art, and so much comes out that has remained hidden. It’s quite often as if you’re seeing them for the first time.”

The Cincinnati Art Museum is one of many that are opening up conservation labs to public view, said Eryl Wentworth, executive director of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

“What I love about it is that the public is becoming more aware of what conservation is and what conservators do and the importance of conservation for preserving our cultural materials for the future,” she said. “And this is a way to get kids excited about science and the arts.”

Knutas will also field questions from visitors while he works, like this one: How does it feel to be tracing the brushstrokes of a master?

“Working on the paintings, you can’t think about the value. You can’t think about the importance of the piece. You just can’t,” he said. “And ethically, within our professional organization, we are supposed to treat this painting the same as a painting painted by (anyone), with the same respect and the same care.

“It hits you sometimes, but very rarely,” he said. “You know what you’re doing.”

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com

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

AP-WF-05-22-11 2102GMT

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Visitors to the Cincinnati Art Museum can get a firsthand view of the restoration of van Gogh's 'Undergrowth with Two Figures.' Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Visitors to the Cincinnati Art Museum can get a firsthand view of the restoration of van Gogh’s ‘Undergrowth with Two Figures.’ Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. Image copyright Sarah Lyon, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Stolen 14th-century painting recovered at Kentucky museum

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. Image copyright Sarah Lyon, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. Image copyright Sarah Lyon, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A stolen 14th-century panel painting depicting the Virgin Mary and Child has been recovered at a Kentucky art museum, which agreed Monday to return the piece to Italian authorities.

The triptych, taken from an Italian villa in 1971, was traced to the permanent collection of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville. Court records state that the Speed Art Museum bought the painting in 1973 from the Newhouse Galleries in New York for $38,000.

The piece was one of 14 taken from the Italian villa. Federal prosecutors say the stolen art had a total value of $33 million.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Robert Nardoza in Brooklyn, N.Y., said no one has been charged in the theft. Nardoza declined to say how the painting was traced to Kentucky and said he couldn’t get into the details of the investigation.

Charles Venable, director of the Speed Museum, said a scholar in Italy matched a photograph that the family had taken with photos of the work in the Speed collection a couple of months ago and the match was reported to authorities in that country.

“To be honest, works of art have complicated histories sometimes, particularly ones that could be very old works of art,” Venable said.

An email sent to Newhouse Galleries in New York was not immediately answered Monday.

Recovering stolen art is sometimes difficult. The FBI lists more than 6,200 pieces of art as stolen on its website. Interpol, the international law enforcement group, lists Italy and France as the two countries most affected by art thefts.

The three-panel painting recovered in Kentucky features the Virgin Mary and a child in the center, surrounded by two saints, John the Baptist and Catherine of Alexandria. The right panel depicts the crucifixion of Jesus and the annunciation to the Virgin Mary, with the left panel showing two saints.

The painting has been attributed to Jacopo del Casentino, who died in 1358.

The triptych disappeared from the Villa La Giraffa owned by Lidia Bianchi Perdomini in Goito, Italy, on Oct. 2, 1971. Italian police reported that burglars cut through metal bars and a glass window, leaving with multiple pieces, including works by Italian realist painters Giovanni Fattori and Silvestro Lega.

Federal prosecutors say the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage in Rome contacted Homeland Security Investigations in New York about the painting, which was tracked to the Speed Art Museum. Art consultants identified the work based on unique markings in old photographs.

A stipulation filed in court says Speed Art Museum officials had no knowledge the painting was stolen until Homeland Security Investigations contacted the museum in 2010. Because Bianchi is dead, Italian authorities will determine what will become of the painting, federal prosecutors said.

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Associated Press reporter Brett Barrouquere can be reached at http://twitter.com/BBarrouquereAP

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

AP-WF-05-23-11 2201GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. Image copyright Sarah Lyon, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky. Image copyright Sarah Lyon, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The New Kingdom Cemetery is in South Saqqara, better known for its pyramids. The Step Pyramid of Djoser is 203 feet tall. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Egypt opens restored New Kingdom tombs to tourists

The New Kingdom Cemetery is in South Saqqara, better known for its pyramids. The Step Pyramid of Djoser is 203 feet tall. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The New Kingdom Cemetery is in South Saqqara, better known for its pyramids. The Step Pyramid of Djoser is 203 feet tall. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

CAIRO (AP) – The tombs of seven men, including several who served King Tutankhamen and his father, the pharaoh Akhenaten, were opened to tourists on Monday after restoration.

Egypt’s minister of antiquities, Zahi Hawass, told reporters that the tombs in the New Kingdom Cemetery could draw more visitors to the site in South Saqqara, which is better known for its pyramids, including the Step Pyramid of Djoser.

The area served as the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital at Memphis.

Hawass noted that two of the men who built tombs for themselves – Maya, the treasurer of King Tutankhamen – and Horemheb, a general under King Tut who later became king himself, “were very important men during one of Egypt’s most tumultuous periods.”

Akhenaten, who lived some 3,300 years ago, closed down the temples where Egyptians worshipped in Luxor and moved his capital to a site in the desert known as Amara. After he died, King Tut tried to restore order in Egypt by moving the religious capital back to Luxor and re-establishing worship of the traditional god, Amun.

Under King Tut, “Maya was responsible for restoring order in Egypt, while his colleague Horemheb restored order abroad,” the antiquities ministry said in a statement.

A tomb built for Meryneith, who was temple steward under Akhenaten, was of mudbrick encased in limestone blocks. A scene on a rear wall shows metal workers plying their trade.

Other tombs were built for Ptahemwia, who was the royal butler to both Akhenaten and King Tut; Tia, a top official under Ramses II who ruled from 1303-1213 B.C.; and Pay and his son, Raia. Pay was the overseer of the harem under King Tut, and Raia was a soldier who later took over his father’s post.

Some of these tombs were first discovered in 1843 by German explorer Richard Lepsius, but were not fully excavated until an Anglo-Dutch mission began excavating there in 1975. Now a Dutch team from Leiden University excavates at the site and has been restoring the tombs.

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

AP-WF-05-23-11 1610GMT

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The New Kingdom Cemetery is in South Saqqara, better known for its pyramids. The Step Pyramid of Djoser is 203 feet tall. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The New Kingdom Cemetery is in South Saqqara, better known for its pyramids. The Step Pyramid of Djoser is 203 feet tall. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Rare and important Cowan Jazz bowl designed by Viktor Schreckengost and executed at Cowan, circa 1930. Height 12 inches tall and over 16 1/4 inches in diameter. Estimate: $40,000-$70,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Humler & Nolan presents Keramics, Rookwood, June 4-5

Rare and important Cowan Jazz bowl designed by Viktor Schreckengost and executed at Cowan, circa 1930. Height 12 inches tall and over 16 1/4 inches in diameter. Estimate: $40,000-$70,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Rare and important Cowan Jazz bowl designed by Viktor Schreckengost and executed at Cowan, circa 1930. Height 12 inches tall and over 16 1/4 inches in diameter. Estimate: $40,000-$70,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

CINCINNATI – Humler & Nolan will hold its annual auction of Rookwood pottery, American and European ceramics and art glass at its showroom, located in the Tower Place Mall, 28 W. Fourth St. in downtown Cincinnati on June 4 and 5.

LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern both days.

Humler & Nolan, who auctioned Rookwood pottery, art glass and other ceramics for nearly 20 years at Cincinnati Art Galleries, is now an independent company, but with the same auction staff. The 1,300-lot sale will be held at their showroom at Fourth and Race streets, convenient to many attractions, restaurants and hotels.

Saturday, June 4, begins with the Keramics section. Some excellent examples of Weller pottery will be presented, including a Hudson vase colorfully decorated with a peacock by Mae Timberlake (est. $4,000-$6,000). Also charming is a Dancing Frogs lawn ornament, estimated at $7,000-$9,000, so the high bidder probably won’t display this happy pair on his lawn.

A large group of Cowan pottery pieces, most from a single collector couple, will prove interesting. A large Jazz Bowl, an Art Deco icon, is predicted to sell for between $50,000 and $70,000. The first of these was ordered by Eleanor Roosevelt for her husband, and the small number of subsequent examples are all individually decorated and unique. A pair of Gothic Monk bookends, with a brown crystalline glaze, is scarce and appealing (est. $1,500-$2,000). Selections from other potteries – George Ohr, Fulper, Newcomb, University of North Dakota, Saturday Evening Girls, Tiffany and Doulton – will also be offered.

On Saturday afternoon, the art glass portion begins with a nice variety of works from accomplished artisans, including Steuben, Galle, Tiffany, Lotton, Labino, Daum Nancy, Lalique, Loetz, English cameo and Orientalia. A Galle cameo vase featuring a small hamlet abounds with charm (est. $3,500-$4,000) as does a scenic vase with two rowboats (est. $2,500-$3,000). Also interesting is a Loetz vase ensconced in an Art Nouveau-style pewter mount, estimated at $900-$1,200. Quite striking is a Tiffany Lily Pad bowl replete with vines and leaves and estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

A new entry in the sale is a group of World War II era posters from the collection of Vernon Rader. The Cincinnati Enquirer and USA Today recently profiled Rader and his posters in an article by Cliff Radel.

Sunday, June 5, brings over 400 lots of Cincinnati’s own Rookwood Pottery. Gracing the cover of the printed catalog is a 17 1/2-inch-tall decorated porcelain vase, crafted by John Dee Wareham in 1924. Wareham encircled the vessel with lush grapes, vines and leaves against a mottled maroon ground (est. $8,000-$10,000).

A rare French Red vase decorated with incising and painting by the creative Sara Sax displays detailed carving and lavish use of color and is estimated at $8,000-$10,000. A standard-glaze vase with a full-length portrait of a Native American member of the Ute tribe, by Grace Young, is estimated at $20,000-$25,000, while a portrait of a Maori mother and child of New Zealand is predicted to bring $2,000-$3,000.

Another standard-glaze vase, with a trio of barn swallows and having sterling silver overlay by Gorham, displays great detail and color use ($4.000-$5.000). Carrying the same estimate is a vase attributed to Jens Jensen featuring Pablo Picassoesque faces and having descended in the family of one of the Rookwood Pottery’s last owners. Spectacular describes a sea-green vase decorated with five white geese flying around the shoulder. Decorated by Amelia Sprague in 1899, it is estimated at $9,000-$12,000. A wide variety of styles, glazes and estimates are available in the generous selection of Rookwood.

For details go to the auctioneer’s website www.humlernolan.com or phone 513-381-2041.

 

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


Decorated Porcelain Rookwood vase by John Wareham in 1924, 17 1/2 inches tall. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Decorated Porcelain Rookwood vase by John Wareham in 1924, 17 1/2 inches tall. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Important Native American portrait vase in Standard glaze, painted by Grace Young for Rookwood in 1900. Marks include the Rookwood logo and date code, shape number 904 C, Young's incised monogram and the incised notation, 'Suriap Ute.' Estimate: $20,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Important Native American portrait vase in Standard glaze, painted by Grace Young for Rookwood in 1900. Marks include the Rookwood logo and date code, shape number 904 C, Young’s incised monogram and the incised notation, ‘Suriap Ute.’ Estimate: $20,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Weller Hudson scenic vase by Mae Timberlake, 12 1/2 inches tall, Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Weller Hudson scenic vase by Mae Timberlake, 12 1/2 inches tall, Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Tiffany glass 10-inch bowl with flower frog. Engraved 'Louis C. Tiffany Furnaces Inc. Favrile' and the number 1790-8553 M. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Tiffany glass 10-inch bowl with flower frog. Engraved ‘Louis C. Tiffany Furnaces Inc. Favrile’ and the number 1790-8553 M. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

N.C. Wyeth 'Buy War Bonds' World War II poster, 30 inches x 40 inches. Estimate: $600-$800. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

N.C. Wyeth ‘Buy War Bonds’ World War II poster, 30 inches x 40 inches. Estimate: $600-$800. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Galle four-color cameo vase, 14 inches tall, with logo that reads 'Fabrication Francaise' and the Cross of Lorraine acid pressed beneath the base. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

Galle four-color cameo vase, 14 inches tall, with logo that reads ‘Fabrication Francaise’ and the Cross of Lorraine acid pressed beneath the base. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Image courtesy of Humler and Nolan.

The tiger oak side-by-side bookcase with bowed glass is in excellent condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Specialists of the South to facilitate downsizing effort June 11

The tiger oak side-by-side bookcase with bowed glass is in excellent condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

The tiger oak side-by-side bookcase with bowed glass is in excellent condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – The living estate of James Commander, a collector of vintage primitives and American Victorian furniture, will be sold on Saturday, June 11, at 9 a.m. Central by The Specialists of the South Inc. It will be an on-site and Internet auction to be held at the Commander residence, 443 North Star Ave., in Panama City.

Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers. Hundreds of lots of quality primitives and furniture items will cross the block as the owners downsize their collections.

Items to be sold include a copper rooster weather vane made circa 1920, a nice gingerbread mantel clock, a blue and white wash bowl with pitcher, a butter churn crock with painted blue decoration and two table-top butter churns, silver pieces (to include a complete flatware service), shadow boxes, beaded purses, crocheted neck collars, vintage ladies’ leather boots, and baby shoes.

Antique furniture includes an immaculate oak icebox, a painted Hoosier cabinet, a round oak pedestal dining room table with large scrolling feet, an oak side table with spool turned legs, and an interesting tiger oak side-by-side bookcase with bowed glass and fall-front desk over serpentine drawers.

There will be a square oak table with decorative scrolling feet and large turned legs and five wide half-back chairs with pierced hand-holds and applied decoration, a tiger oak hall tree and a large solid oak roll-top desk. A Depression-era dining room suite has a table with hidden fold-out leaf, trestle base and large Jacobean-style legs, plus six chairs with linen fold decorations on the backs and large turned front legs. It also has a matching buffet with linen fold decoration. Also to be sold is an antique settee with beautiful carving and a vintage oak commode washstand with curving towel rack.

For details go to the auctioneer’s website www.SpecialistsoftheSouth.com or phone 850-785-2577.

 

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 LOT OF NOTE


The tiger oak side-by-side bookcase with bowed glass is in excellent condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

The tiger oak side-by-side bookcase with bowed glass is in excellent condition. Image courtesy of Specialists of the South.

Buenos Aires is a city of color and artistry, as evidenced by this picture of Caminito (Little Way) in the neighborhood known as La Boca (Mouth). July 16, 2008 photo by Luis Argerich, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Buenos Aires: a graffiti artist’s paradise

Buenos Aires is a city of color and artistry, as evidenced by this picture of Caminito (Little Way) in the neighborhood known as La Boca (Mouth). July 16, 2008 photo by Luis Argerich, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Buenos Aires is a city of color and artistry, as evidenced by this picture of Caminito (Little Way) in the neighborhood known as La Boca (Mouth). July 16, 2008 photo by Luis Argerich, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) – A portrait of a murdered activist stares from the graffiti on the wall, a slogan makes a passer-by smile, a colorful pastiche turns visitors’ heads: welcome to the city where the walls talk.

“Buenos Aires has become a haven for street art, like Sao Paulo and Mexico City,” said Fernando Aita, one of several young editors of the project “Grafiti escritos en la calle” – or “Graffiti street writings.”

His website, which encourages fans to “look at the city through different eyes,” has compiled 1,000 photographs of graffiti art dating back to 2009 in a remarkable visual and linguistic archive of modern times in Argentina.

“Plants do not bite,” “A present for our future” and “The fight continues”are among the phrases that stop passers-by in their tracks, amid a flourishing collection of colorful frescoes.

“It’s difficult to speak of graffiti as the city’s heritage because they are ephemeral, but it’s true that street art is part of Buenos Aires,” said Luis Grossman, who heads the city’s historical center.

He supports the blossoming of graffiti which he says “embellishes the city.”

But the scribblings are also a menace. The Cabildo colonial building, where an uprising on May 25, 1810, sparked a revolution, is constantly tagged. Authorities have spent huge sums repainting it, in vain.

Graffiti Mundo, a local firm, is tapping into a touristic goldmine by organizing guided tours of the city’s best frescoes.

Even tragedy finds a place among the writings on the wall. “No more Cro-Magnon,” wrote the parents of victims who perished in a fire at the club of the same name in December 2004 that left 194 people dead.

Another graffiti reads “Caution: they are armed and at large,” a reference to alleged police brutality, complete with a stencil of a policeman’s cap next to the warning.

These walls can speak, providing a detailed account of how Argentine society has evolved over the past 10 years.

“In 2002, in the middle of Argentina’s economic crisis, the graffiti was even more political,” said Lelia Gandara, an expert in the study of signs and symbols at the University of Buenos Aires. “People were expressing their anger and outrage.”

Aita explained that after those fury-filled times, “more colored frescoes began appearing. And now, hip-hop tags are prevalent.”

But political commentary regained a graffiti foothold after the death of former president Nestor Kirchner in October.

He was featured on walls as the character “Nestornauta”, a reference to sci-fi comic El Eternauta, created by comic strip writer Hector Oesterheld, who was kidnapped and killed under the country’s 1976-1983 dictatorship with his three daughters.

Mariano Ferreyra, a student killed in 2010 by union activists, is also a popular character in the graphics dotted across the city.

Another popular figure is Julio Lopez, the first person to go missing after democracy was restored in Argentina. He was kidnapped in 2006 after testifying against policemen for crimes committed under the military dictatorship.

Along Defensa Street, one of the oldest in the San Telmo neighborhood home to many antique dealers, a cartoon cow, painted every 30 meters, asks: “Who is thinking about us?”

Scenes of people dancing the tango follow further down the street.

“The streets used to be gloomy. Painting the walls brings a little bit of joy,” said Jaz, a 29-year-old screenwriter who has had a passion for graffiti since he was a teenager. “It’s my way of making the city mine.”

Jaz acknowledged street painting is illegal, “but the government and the police turn a blind eye as they have more important problems to deal with.”

Sometimes even homeowners give in to the trend and order custom frescoes, some more expensive than others, to decorate their walls.

“What a beautiful wall to paint!” read one graffiti on a wall that had just been freshly whitewashed.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Buenos Aires is a city of color and artistry, as evidenced by this picture of Caminito (Little Way) in the neighborhood known as La Boca (Mouth). July 16, 2008 photo by Luis Argerich, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Buenos Aires is a city of color and artistry, as evidenced by this picture of Caminito (Little Way) in the neighborhood known as La Boca (Mouth). July 16, 2008 photo by Luis Argerich, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Hubley Messenger Boy cast-iron doorstop, designed by Fish, est. $4,000-$5,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

‘Toys with Character’ in spotlight at Bertoia’s, June 10-11

Hubley Messenger Boy cast-iron doorstop, designed by Fish, est. $4,000-$5,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Hubley Messenger Boy cast-iron doorstop, designed by Fish, est. $4,000-$5,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

VINELAND, N.J. – It took weeks to catalog the enormous array of beautiful toys, banks and doorstops chosen for Bertoia Auctions’ June 10-11 Toys with Character sale, and gallery associate Rich Bertoia says it was worth every minute of the effort. “When collectors get this catalog, they’re going to want to take their time,” he said. “There’s literally a surprise on every page. We didn’t plan it that way; it just turned out like that.”

Both auction sessions feature Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com and will open with still banks, including what may be the largest and finest single-owner collection of “safe” banks ever to pass through Bertoia’s doors. Many are pictured in Bob and Shirley Peirce’s Iron Safe Banks book. “We were quite fortunate to get this collection. It’s extraordinary,” Rich said. “Guy and Kim Zani, who built the collection, only went for rarity. They didn’t collect anything common.”

Between the still banks and safes, there will be nearly 400 lots from which to choose, including many rare examples. Standouts among the “stills” include one of only two known Grover Cleveland banks, as well as J.M. Harper’s Lincoln, Indian Family and Peaceful Bill. Rare safes include what may be the only known Uncle Sam bank.

Friday will be devoted primarily to cast iron, including automotive toys; with the addition of a small selection of antique advertising, paintings and primitives from the Tom McCandless collection. “The McCandless collection includes two very unusual stagecoach horns and two important silver-finished firemen’s presentation horns fabulous embossing,” said Bertoia.

Pressed-steel toys to be offered include popular work vehicles, fire trucks and even airplanes by favored manufacturers like Buddy ‘L,’ Keystone and Structo. A Buddy ‘L’ Tugboat is among the top pieces in the grouping.

A sampling of Marx toys will close out the session and serve as a preview for Saturday. “We think the diversity of Friday evening’s selection will hold everyone’s interest. It’s going to be one of those ‘I don’t want to get out of my seat’ sales,” said Bertoia.

Saturday begins with round two of the still and safe banks. Stills that might ignite strong competition include a Betty Boop bank and a Santa bank that Bertoia describes as “one of the better ones I’ve seen. It came in on its own, as a single consignment.”

Bell toy collectors are sure to be raising their paddles for a Mr. Flip, a second Mr. Flip with comic character pal Little Nemo, a Buster Brown, and a Goose waddler.

Mechanical-bank choices span various price points. The assortment includes a superior Picture Gallery and more-familiar banks like Teddy and the Bear, Leap Frog, Peg Leg Beggar, Eagle and Eaglets, Mason, Santa, and Football. Banks with black Americana crossover interest include Darktown Battery and ’Spise a Mule.

After the banks have accepted their last coins from bidders, it will be time for the phenomenal selection of comic character toys, with themes spanning radio, TV and print. Approximately 300 of the toys are from the collection of Ronnie and Sandy Rosen. Originally Lionel train enthusiasts, the Rosens spotted a Li’l Abner Band while at a train show in 1994. “We learned it was one of four or five toys with a similar action – Howdy Doody, Ham and Sam, the MerryMakers Band – and the quest began.”

The Rosens, who are members of both the TCA and the ATCA, became such avid comic character collectors, they had to custom-build a wall unit across their 23-ft.-long living room to accommodate the 1,200 toys they eventually amassed.

The collection grew from character bands to include walkers, Lehmanns, Martins, eccentric cars and Popeye toys – all in beautiful condition. When the decision was made to downsize to a more-manageable home, the Rosens contacted Bertoia’s to consign their collection. The June 11 session includes a wonderful variety of toys, from Pinocchio and Harold Lloyd walkers to an Amos & Andy Fresh Air Taxi and Mickey Mouse Sparkler.

The Rosens’ Lehmann toys tie in nicely with the selection of European limos and cars. Highlights include a large Carette limo, a boxed Gunthermann Silver bullet, and a very rare circa 1915-1920 Carl Brandt clockwork open touring car made of wood. The fleet of autos continues with a boxed Carette rear-entry tonneau and a series of Marklin constructor cars. The section then moves into boxed Mecannos, a few gas-powered Speed King racers and several other motorcars.

Some great Disney toys will be offered, including the perennially popular Minnie pushing Felix in a pram made by Isla (Spain), an early boxed version of the Mickey Mouse celluloid walker, and a Distler Mickey/Minnie Hurdy Gurdy.

Cast-iron automotive collectors will be lining up for the super-rare Arcade “White” oil truck. “I had seen old ads for this truck but had never held one in my hand till now,” said Bertoia. Other top lots in the category include a 12-inch White van in a red and tan color scheme, two different Hubley Static speedboats, and a very rare red and orange Kilgore motorcycle with side-body boxcar.

Possibly unique, an electrified 16- to 18-inch-long aluminum Twin Coach bus has hinges that allow it to open in halves. It’s a striking production in silver with yellow and green trim. “We believe it was presented to the top executive of Twin Coach. You can just picture it in a CEO’s office,” Bertoia said.

Cast-iron doorstop collectors can look forward to seeing a festive array of figural rarities slated for the Saturday session. Jeanne Bertoia, owner of Bertoia Auctions, has spent years collecting, studying, writing about and selling the very best doorstop examples at auction. She said the June sale contains about 75 doorstops, many of them in outstanding condition.

“There are so many highlights to mention, starting with the Hubley Fish series, which is so Deco,” said Jeanne. “There is a mint-condition Bathing Beauties under Parasol, Charleston Dancers, a Messenger Boy, Parlor Maid and the Double Footmen. All of the Fish series doorstops came from a single owner’s collection. They’re the nicest examples of the Messenger Boy and Bathing Beauties we’ve ever sold. The present consignor bought them in one of our sales several years ago.”

Other desirable doorstops include Bradley & Hubbard’s Turkey, Standing Rabbit and an extra-special floral. Hubley designs include a Grace Drayton Little Red Riding Hood doorstop in “spectacular condition,” a Banjo Player, Mexican Guitar Player, and a Penguin in Top Hat that Jeanne describes as “so mint, it must have been leftover store stock.” Rounding out the group are a mint-condition Fred Everett Quail doorstop and a matching set of Quail bookends in near-mint condition.

For information on any item in the auction, call 856-692-1881 or  e-mail toys@bertoiaauctions.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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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


Lighthouse clock made by German toymaker Doll et Cie., with celluloid main clock face and world time clocks as windmill blades, est. $5,000-$7,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Lighthouse clock made by German toymaker Doll et Cie., with celluloid main clock face and world time clocks as windmill blades, est. $5,000-$7,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Lehmann Baker and Chimney Sweep clockwork toy, original box, est. $3,500-$4,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

Lehmann Baker and Chimney Sweep clockwork toy, original box, est. $3,500-$4,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

J.M. Harper cast-iron “safe” still bank incorporating bust of Pres. Grover Cleveland, one of two known, est. $8,000-$9,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

J.M. Harper cast-iron “safe” still bank incorporating bust of Pres. Grover Cleveland, one of two known, est. $8,000-$9,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Linemar lithographed-tin, battery-operated Popeye Stopping Tank, est. $3,000-$3,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

Linemar lithographed-tin, battery-operated Popeye Stopping Tank, est. $3,000-$3,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

Shepard Hardware Picture Gallery cast-iron mechanical bank, circa 1885, est. $10,000-$12,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Shepard Hardware Picture Gallery cast-iron mechanical bank, circa 1885, est. $10,000-$12,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Arcade cast-iron “White” gasoline delivery truck, circa 1931, est. $4,000-$5,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Arcade cast-iron “White” gasoline delivery truck, circa 1931, est. $4,000-$5,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Marklin hand-painted tin “New York” ocean liner with lifeboats and other accoutrements, 19½ inches, est. $20,000-$22,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Marklin hand-painted tin “New York” ocean liner with lifeboats and other accoutrements, 19½ inches, est. $20,000-$22,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Bradley & Hubbard cast-iron Standing Rabbit doorstop, est. $2,000-$2,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

Bradley & Hubbard cast-iron Standing Rabbit doorstop, est. $2,000-$2,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

Charles Bukowski, At Terror Street and Agony Way, No. 71 of 75 copies, first edition with original watercolor painting by Bukowski inserted at front, publ. 1968. Est. $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

PBA Galleries to auction Runfola’s Bukowski collection June 2

Charles Bukowski, At Terror Street and Agony Way, No. 71 of 75 copies, first edition with original watercolor painting by Bukowski inserted at front, publ. 1968. Est. $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

Charles Bukowski, At Terror Street and Agony Way, No. 71 of 75 copies, first edition with original watercolor painting by Bukowski inserted at front, publ. 1968. Est. $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

SAN FRANCISCO – On June 2, 2011, PBA Galleries will offer at auction one of the finest private collections in existence of the literary and artistic work of poet Charles Bukowski. Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.

Featuring a large selection of original typed, signed poems, a rare group of original paintings, and scarce broadsides and ephemera in additional to books, the collection presents a vivid picture of the earthy realism that was Charles Bukowski (1920-1994).

Dr. Ross Runfola, Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the University of Buffalo, was introduced to Charles Bukowski when his brother sent him a copy of Love is a Dog from Hell, and discovered a rare kinship with the alcohol-fueled poet and his work. Inspired to write poetry in the Bukowski mode, Runfola was also spurred to collect the creations of the German-American writer. After years of ferreting out rarities, haunting rare bookshops, searching the Internet, he has assembled a superb gathering, which he is now making available for sale at public auction.

Probably the most remarkable part of the collection is the nearly 175 original typed manuscripts, mostly poems, by Bukowski, many in the signed carbon or photocopy format that he would send to his publisher John Martin. Among the poems are “the copulative blues” from 1973, a signed and dated poem that was a gift to Runfola from Martin; “time off” written in 1978, a carbon signed and dated by Bukowski, a long poem (4 pages), with, suitably, a ring stain from a wine glass on the first page; and “Hawley’s leaving town” from 1975, again a signed and dated carbon typescript, 1½ pages, this time with a coffee stain, and, notably, nearly 20 ink manuscript corrections by Bukowski.

These rare manuscript poems by Bukowski are partnered with 35 or so original letters from Bukowski to various publishers, his agent and German translator Carl Weissner, assorted girlfriends and others, many offering rare insights into life and relationships.

Another high point of the auction is the superb selection of original art by Charles Bukowski, the finest private collection extant. Included are several self-portraits, abstract mixed media creations, expressionistic watercolors, still lifes, and more, 15 pieces in all. A number of these were used in a show curated in 2007 by Donald Friedman on the theme of “The Writer’s Brush,” about the paintings and drawings of famous writers.

But these manuscripts and paintings would not be the sought-after rarities they are if Bukowski’s raw poetry and short stories had not been published, and published they were after many years of rejection, and in large number. The printed books and broadsides are fittingly the core of the collection, and Ross Runfola has acquired the most difficult to obtain. Paramount among these is The Genius of the Crowd, perhaps the rarest of the “Top Twenty Bukowski Rarities” listed by Al Fogel. The 11-leaf poem in chapbook form, illustrated with prints by Paula Maria Savarino, was printed at the 7 Flowers Press in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966, in an edition of 103 copies, but all but 40 of these were confiscated and destroyed by the Cleveland police department, deeming it obscene. Charles Bukowski’s first book, Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail, 1960, limited to 200 copies is also on the block, a fine, fresh copy in the original wrappers, very rare thus, with only the slightest rusting to the staples, a seemingly inevitable occurrence. Another rarity on offer is the printed broadside True Story, 1966, one of 30 copies, signed by Bukowski, the first publication of John Martin’s Black Sparrow Press, which was to become Bukowski’s primary, almost exclusive, publisher. Also from the Black Sparrow Press is a copy of their first hardcover book, At Terror Street and Agony Way, 1968, one of 75 copies with an original signed painting by Bukowski, their first book issued with an original painting. Finally, there is Bukowski’s most popular book, Post Office, a novel based on his long tenure with the United States Postal Service. It is number 2 of 50 copies, from the collection of Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin, hand-bound in boards by Earle Gray, with a cloth U.S. flag-motif spine, and an original painting by Bukowski. The book is in remarkably fine condition, with spine completely unfaded, rarely found thus.

For additional information on any item in the sale, call 415-989-2665 or tollfree 866-999-7224, or e-mail pba@pbagalleries.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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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


The Bukowski/Purdy Letters: 1964-1974, A Decade of Dialogue, with an original, signed pastel drawing by Charles Bukowski. Est. $7,000-$10,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

The Bukowski/Purdy Letters: 1964-1974, A Decade of Dialogue, with an original, signed pastel drawing by Charles Bukowski. Est. $7,000-$10,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

Charles Bukowski, The Genius of the Crowd, illustrated book publ. 1966 with four linoleum cuts by Paula Marie Savarino. Est. $6,000-$9,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

Charles Bukowski, The Genius of the Crowd, illustrated book publ. 1966 with four linoleum cuts by Paula Marie Savarino. Est. $6,000-$9,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

Charles Bukowski, The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills, No. 4 of 50 copies with an original, signed watercolor and ink painting by Bukowski, 1969. Est. $5,000-$8,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

Charles Bukowski, The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Hills, No. 4 of 50 copies with an original, signed watercolor and ink painting by Bukowski, 1969. Est. $5,000-$8,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

Charles Bukowski, original abstract watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 in., matted and framed, signed lower right, publ. circa 1970. Est. 5,000-$8,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.

Charles Bukowski, original abstract watercolor on paper, 9 x 12 in., matted and framed, signed lower right, publ. circa 1970. Est. 5,000-$8,000. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and PBA Galleries.