Among the 185,000 artworks, antiquities and other objects in the Yale University Art Gallery's collection is Vincent van Gogh's Le Cafe de Nuit (The Night Cafe). The 1888 painting came to Yale through a bequest from Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A.,1903.

Yale grad promises $11 million to expand art gallery

 Among the 185,000 artworks, antiquities and other objects in the Yale University Art Gallery's collection is Vincent van Gogh's Le Cafe de Nuit (The Night Cafe). The 1888 painting came to Yale through a bequest from Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A.,1903.

Among the 185,000 artworks, antiquities and other objects in the Yale University Art Gallery’s collection is Vincent van Gogh’s Le Cafe de Nuit (The Night Cafe). The 1888 painting came to Yale through a bequest from Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A.,1903.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) – A Yale graduate has promised $11 million to finance new exhibition galleries at the university’s art gallery.

Stephen Susman pledged the gift in honor of the 50th reunion of the Class of 1962, of which he is a member. Yale recently announced the gift.

The Houston resident says he’s been interested in art since college and is grateful that his father’s Yale classmates gave him a scholarship to attend.

The Yale University Art Gallery remains open during renovation.. When the expanded portions of the gallery open in December 2012, the new space will be known as the Stephen Susman Galleries.

The gallery was founded in 1832 when patriot-artist John Trumbull donated more than 100 of his paintings to Yale College.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


 Among the 185,000 artworks, antiquities and other objects in the Yale University Art Gallery's collection is Vincent van Gogh's Le Cafe de Nuit (The Night Cafe). The 1888 painting came to Yale through a bequest from Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A.,1903.

Among the 185,000 artworks, antiquities and other objects in the Yale University Art Gallery’s collection is Vincent van Gogh’s Le Cafe de Nuit (The Night Cafe). The 1888 painting came to Yale through a bequest from Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A.,1903.

Remnants of the First Century Stairs of Ascent, discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, leading to the entrance of the courtyard, Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the temple would have entered and exited by this stairway. Photo by Mark A. Wilson, Dept. of Geology, The College of Wooster.

Ancient seal found in Jerusalem linked to ritual

Remnants of the First Century Stairs of Ascent, discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, leading to the entrance of the courtyard, Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the temple would have entered and exited by this stairway. Photo by Mark A. Wilson, Dept. of Geology, The College of Wooster.

Remnants of the First Century Stairs of Ascent, discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, leading to the entrance of the courtyard, Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the temple would have entered and exited by this stairway. Photo by Mark A. Wilson, Dept. of Geology, The College of Wooster.

JERUSALEM (AP) – A rare clay seal found under Jerusalem’s Old City appears to be linked to religious rituals practiced at the Jewish Temple 2,000 years ago, Israeli archaeologists said Sunday.

The coin-sized seal found near the Jewish holy site at the Western Wall bears two Aramaic words meaning “pure for God.”

Archaeologist Ronny Reich of Haifa University said it dates from between the 1st century B.C. to 70 A.D. – the year Roman forces put down a Jewish revolt and destroyed the second of the two biblical temples in Jerusalem.

The find marks the first discovery of a written seal from that period of Jerusalem’s history, and appeared to be a unique physical artifact from ritual practice in the Temple, said Reich, co-director of the excavation.

Very few artifacts linked to the Temples have been discovered so far. The site of the Temple itself – the enclosure known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary – remains off-limits to archaeologists because of its religious and political sensitivity.

Archaeologists say the seal was likely used by Temple officials approving an object for ritual use _ oil, perhaps, or an animal intended for sacrifice. Materials used by Temple priests had to meet stringent purity guidelines stipulated in detail in the Jewish legal text known as the Mishna, which also mention the use of seals as tokens by pilgrims.

The find, Reich said, is “the first time an indication was brought by archaeology about activities in the Temple Mount – the religious activities of buying and offering and giving to the Temple itself.”

The site where the seal was found is on the route of a main street that ran through ancient Jerusalem just outside the Temple compound.

Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University, a biblical archaeologist not connected to the dig, said the seal was special because it “was found right next to the Temple and is similar to what we see described in the Mishna.”

“It’s nice when we can connect an activity recorded in ancient sources with archaeological finds,” he said.

The seal was found in an excavation run by archaeologists from the government’s Israel Antiquities Authority. The dig is under the auspices of a broader dig nearby known as the City of David, where archaeologists are investigating the oldest part of Jerusalem.

The City of David dig, located inside the nearby Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan and funded by a Jewish group affiliated with the settlement movement, is the Holy Land’s highest-profile and most politically controversial excavation.

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Remnants of the First Century Stairs of Ascent, discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, leading to the entrance of the courtyard, Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the temple would have entered and exited by this stairway. Photo by Mark A. Wilson, Dept. of Geology, The College of Wooster.

Remnants of the First Century Stairs of Ascent, discovered by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, leading to the entrance of the courtyard, Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Pilgrims coming to make sacrifices at the temple would have entered and exited by this stairway. Photo by Mark A. Wilson, Dept. of Geology, The College of Wooster.

Covered bridge in Guilford, Vt., from which an antique sign has been removed for safekeeping. Aug. 20, 2004 photo by Jared C. Benedict, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Vermont police probe theft of covered bridge sign

Covered bridge in Guilford, Vt., with now-missing sign that warns of 'Two dollars fine to drive on this bridge faster than a walk.' Aug. 20, 2004 photo by Jared C. Benedict, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Covered bridge in Guilford, Vt., with now-missing sign that warns of ‘Two dollars fine to drive on this bridge faster than a walk.’ Aug. 20, 2004 photo by Jared C. Benedict, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

GUILFORD, Vt. (AP) – Vermont State Police are investigating the theft of an antique traffic sign from a Guilford covered bridge that warned teamsters not to drive their horses across the bridge faster than a walk.

The theft from the Green River Covered Bridge in Guilford was reported on Saturday.

Police say the 2-foot by 3-foot sign with white letters on a dark background that said “Two dollars fine to drive on this bridge faster than a walk.”

Police say the sign has deep historic and sentimental value.

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Covered bridge in Guilford, Vt., with now-missing sign that warns of 'Two dollars fine to drive on this bridge faster than a walk.' Aug. 20, 2004 photo by Jared C. Benedict, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Covered bridge in Guilford, Vt., with now-missing sign that warns of ‘Two dollars fine to drive on this bridge faster than a walk.’ Aug. 20, 2004 photo by Jared C. Benedict, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Wright and Lighthouse Relay.

NY radio station joins Lighthouse Relay sonic-art project

Image courtesy of Jonathan Wright and Lighthouse Relay.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Wright and Lighthouse Relay.

CATSKILL, N.Y. –Britain’s Lighthouse Relay project will take radio back to the future on Jan. 7 as a group of international artists collaborates in a conceptual work of art to be heard ’round the world. A New York radio station, free103point9 (WGCX 90.7) has joined the broadcasters taking part in the experimental transmission that was spawned as part of the arts festival offshoot known as Folkestone Fringe.

In the special Jan. 7 broadcast selection, which can heard between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, short works by 14 artists will respond to Guglielmo Marconi’s pioneering experiments with radio transmission in Dungeness and at the South Foreland Lighthouse on the southeastern coast of Kent, England.

The Lighthouse Relay project celebrates the significant contribution to both saving seafarers’ lives and the development of global communication systems that lighthouses have used throughout history. The importance of lighthouses to coastal regions is, in part, due to that history but also due to the emotional response their architectural prominence creates. As well-known landmarks, their austere beauty combines with the practicality of their signals and light to produce a recognized worldwide phenomenon. Many existing lighthouses originated as ancient beacon sites, reflecting the innate human desire to communicate.

In 2011, Folkestone Fringe invited more than 40 artists to create site-specific sound and visual works for more than 20 lighthouse sites around the UK and in Europe, Asia, South America and the Antipodes. Each artist began by creating a sonic artwork in response to a lighthouse of their choice, with an accompanying visual component. The artists were also commissioned to collaborate on the Lighthouse Relay – the creation of a set of transitional sound pieces via the exchange of site- or concept-related sound samples, that were developed as the work moved from one lighthouse site to the next.

Award-winning British artist Jonathan Wright explained how the various sound components are meshed to create a fluid, cohesive transmission: “At each location, a sound recording is made. The sound is then passed on to the next artist, who adds, distorts or morphs the sound with his or her own input. Eventually, the relay comes full circle, and the first artist receives a sound work that is the culmination of all of the interventions – a kind of ‘sound cloud.’”

Wright said works have included the insertion of Morse Code, foghorns, ringing bells and even people drumming on the walls of the lighthouse to create music.

“We are all very pleased and excited that WGCX 90.7 has agreed to collaborate with the Lighthouse Relay in transmitting our radiophonic works,” Wright said. “This represents a fantastic outcome for the Relay as it makes a trip across the Atlantic akin to that made by Marconi’s original transmissions, which were the actual inspiration for the Relay.”

WGCX 90.7 / free103point9 is a New York State-based nonprofit arts organization. It provides a unique and remarkable platform for artists experimenting in the genre of “transmission arts.”

To learn more about the visual elements in the relay, log on to: http://www.folkestonefringe.com/2011/lighthouserelay.html

View Jonathan Wright’s trailblazing art projects online at www.jonathanhwright.com

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Image courtesy of Jonathan Wright and Lighthouse Relay.

Image courtesy of Jonathan Wright and Lighthouse Relay.

Civil War flag from 10th Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, produced August 1863, from the Archive of J.G. Miller, auctioned Dec. 4, 2008 at Cowan's Auctions for $435,500. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Cowan's Auctions Inc., Cincinnati.

US Civil War’s 150th stirs trove of memories

Civil War flag from 10th Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, produced August 1863, from the Archive of J.G. Miller, auctioned Dec. 4, 2008 at Cowan's Auctions for $435,500. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Cowan's Auctions Inc., Cincinnati.

Civil War flag from 10th Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, produced August 1863, from the Archive of J.G. Miller, auctioned Dec. 4, 2008 at Cowan’s Auctions for $435,500. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Cowan’s Auctions Inc., Cincinnati.

RICHMOND, Va. – A diary with a lifesaving bullet hole from the Gettysburg battlefield. An intricate valentine crafted by a Southern soldier for the wife he would never see again. A slave’s desperate escape to freedom.

Across the United States, state archivists are using the sesquicentennial of the Civil War to collect a trove of wartime letters, diaries, documents and mementoes that have gathered dust in attics and basements.

This still-unfolding call will help states expand existing collections on the Civil War and provide new insights into an era that violently wrenched a nation apart, leaving 600,000 dead. Much of the Civil War has been told primarily through the eyes of battlefield and political leaders.

These documents are adding a new narrative to the Civil War’s story, offering insights into the home front and of soldiers, their spouses and African-Americans, often in their own words.

Historians, who will have access to the centralized digital collections, are excited by the prospect of what the states are finding and will ultimately share.

“I think now we’re broadening the story to include everybody—not just a soldier, not a general or a president—just somebody who found themselves swept up in the biggest drama in American life,” says University of Richmond President Edward Ayers, a Civil War expert. “That’s what’s so cool.”

In Virginia, archivists have borrowed from the popular PBS series Antiques Roadshow, traveling weekends throughout the state and asking residents to share family collections, which are scanned and added to the already vast collection at the Library of Virginia.

Started in September 2010, the Civil War 150 Legacy Project has collected 25,000 images.

Virginians have been generous, knowing they can share their long-held mementos without surrendering them, said Laura Drake Davis and Renee Savits, the Library of Virginia archivists who have divided the state for their on-the-road collection campaign.

“They think someone can learn from them rather than just sitting in their cupboards,” Savits said of the family possessions. “And they’re proud to share their family’s experience.”

Patricia Bangs heeded the call when a friend told her about the project. She had inherited 400 letters passed down through the years between Cecil A. Burleigh to his wife, Caroline, in Mount Carmel, Conn.

“I felt this would be useful to researchers, a treasure to somebody,” said Bangs, who works for the library system in Fairfax, Virginia. In one letter, she said, Cecil writes of Union troops traveling from Connecticut to Washington, crowds cheering them along the way.

The letters, like many collected by archivists, are difficult to read. Many are spelled phonetically, and the penmanship can be hard to decipher. Typically, they tell of the story of the home front and its daily deprivations.

Researchers in Tennessee, a battleground state in the war, teamed up with Virginia archivists earlier this year in the border town of Bristol. Both states have seen their share of bullets, swords and other military hardware.

“We have grandmothers dragging in swords and muskets,” said Chuck Sherrill, Tennessee state librarian and archivist.

Documents are fished from attics, pressed between the pages of family bibles and stored in trunks.

Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and many other states have similar programs, or at least are trying to gather materials for use by scholars and regular folks.

Pennsylvania has been especially ambitious in adding new layers to the state’s deep links to the Civil War, including a traveling exhibit called the “PA Civil War Road Show.” The 53-foot-long (16-meter) museum on wheels also invites visitors to share their ancestors’ stories and artifacts in a recording booth. The remembrances will be uploaded on the website PACivilWar150.com.

One visitor brought in a bugle that an ancestor was blowing when he was fatally shot at the Battle of Gettysburg.

“He wouldn’t let anyone touch it,” said John Seitter, project manager of the Pennsylvania Civil War project. “It shows you how deeply these artifacts connect people with the Civil War. There’s some serious memorialization going on here.”

The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State University is also amid a survey of all the public archives in the state to produce a searchable database.

The ambitious project aims to shed light on small, underfunded public historical societies where records are often “hidden from historians and scholars” and not used, Matt Isham of the “The People’s Contest: A Civil War Era Digital Archiving Project” wrote in an email.

Some people are even donating items without being solicited.

In Maine, for instance, some residents have submitted letters from ancestors who served in the war, but the sesquicentennial also saw an unusual submission from James R. Hosmer.

Hosmer’s mother, Mary Ruth Hosmer, died in 2005. He was going through her possessions in Kittery, Maine, when he made a discovery: dozens of cartes de visite, small photographs carried by some Union troops, an early version of dog tags. They were stored in a suitcase in an attic.

“The state archives was quite thrilled with it,” Hosmer said.

The Virginia archivists said they were especially pleased by a submission from the family of an escaped slave who wrote of his love for a woman named Julia at the same time he fled his master for an outpost on the Chesapeake Bay, where Union ships were known to pick up men seeking their freedom. David Harris found his freedom in 1861, serving as a cook for Union troops.

“I love to read the sweet letters that come from you, dear love,” David Harris wrote to Julia. “I cannot eat for thought of you.”

A valentine made of pink paper and shaped into a heart using an intricate basket weave was addressed by Confederate soldier Robert H. King to his wife Louiza. He was killed in 1862.

As for the diary tucked in a soldier’s breast pocket that shielded him from death at Gettysburg, “He kept using the diary,” Savits said. “He just wrote around it.”

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Civil War flag from 10th Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, produced August 1863, from the Archive of J.G. Miller, auctioned Dec. 4, 2008 at Cowan's Auctions for $435,500. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Cowan's Auctions Inc., Cincinnati.

Civil War flag from 10th Virginia Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, produced August 1863, from the Archive of J.G. Miller, auctioned Dec. 4, 2008 at Cowan’s Auctions for $435,500. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Cowan’s Auctions Inc., Cincinnati.

This 29-inch-high swinging-arm clock sold for $5,175 at a James D. Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine. It will keep time for eight days after it's wound and will count the first hours of 2012. Happy New Year!

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of Dec. 26, 2011

 This 29-inch-high swinging-arm clock sold for $5,175 at a James D. Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine. It will keep time for eight days after it's wound and will count the first hours of 2012. Happy New Year!

This 29-inch-high swinging-arm clock sold for $5,175 at a James D. Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine. It will keep time for eight days after it’s wound and will count the first hours of 2012. Happy New Year!

Mystery clocks have been popular since the 18th century. The clock seems to have no mechanism, yet keeps time. One of the most famous is the “swinging-arm clock.” A tall classical figure, usually bronze, holds some long rods with a pendulum bob on the bottom and a ball with a clock face on the top. The pendulum swings back and forth and the clock keeps time. These clocks were made for display in jewelry-store windows because their motion attracted customers. One famous example was made by the Ansonia Clock Co. of Ansonia, Conn. It is known as “Gloria.” The winged figure of a woman in a revealing draped dress holds the large clock ball in her right hand. How the clock works is not really a mystery. The clock mechanism is inside the ball. When wound, the pendulum moves back and forth for about eight days. Ansonia made these clocks in the early 1900s using different figures, including “Huntress,” “Juno” and “Fisher.” The Gloria clock sold for $5,175 at a recent James D. Julia auction.

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Q: I was hoping you might be able to give me some information about my maple chair. It has a padded back and seat. I was told it is a “cricket chair,” but I don’t know what that is.

A: A cricket chair is a small armchair or rocker with a back cushion and padded seat. The padded seat usually has a drop skirt. The chair has turned legs and posts. Nobody knows why it’s called a cricket chair.

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Q: My husband was left a majolica tobacco jar that must be about 100 years old. It originally belonged to his grandfather. It’s in the shape of a man’s head topped by a green hat brim. The man has longish hair and a large mustache, and he’s wearing a blue collar and red cravat. Unfortunately, the hat that would be the tobacco jar’s top is missing. Would it still be worth something to a collector?

A: Your tobacco jar, probably made in Europe, might sell without its top for about $50. With the top, it would sell for several times that. You may be better off saving the heirloom as a keepsake rather than trying to sell it.

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Q: My family has owned a cast-iron mechanical bank for more than 60 years. I understand it originally cost about $40. The base of the bank is titled “Hometown Battery.” On the base’s platform there’s a baseball pitcher, batter and catcher. You put a coin in the pitcher’s hand, press a lever and the coin is pitched past the batter and into the catcher’s coin slot. Embossed on the bank’s bottom are the words, “Reproduced from Original in Collection of The Book of Knowledge.” What is the bank worth?

A: Several thousand “Book of Knowledge” reproductions of 30 19th-century American cast-iron mechanical banks were made between 1957 and 1972. Yours is a copy of a bank originally titled “Darktown Battery,” which featured black ballplayers (the players on your bank are white). The original bank, patented in 1888, was made by J. & E. Stevens Co. of Cromwell, Conn. The copies, made by Grey Iron Casting Co. of Mt. Joy, Pa., were cast from originals, so they are slightly smaller than the original banks. The originals used as models for the copies were in a collection assembled by Grolier Inc., the publisher of a children’s encyclopedia called “The Book of Knowledge.” That’s how the reproductions got their name. A reproduction bank like yours sells today for $50 to $100.

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Q: I bought a rattan-covered stoneware jar at a flea market and hope you can help me date it. The paper label on the bottom has Chinese words but it also says, “Shanghai Handicrafts” and “Made in the People’s Republic of China.”

A: Your jar, marked with an English-language label, was made for export. The People’s Republic of China was not the official English-language name for mainland China until 1949. But trade with the United States did not resume until after President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972. And once the United States established full diplomatic relations with China in 1979, labels on exported goods read “Made in China.” So your jar most likely dates from the mid 1970s.

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Q: I have a copy of the August 1946 issue of Salute magazine with Marilyn Monroe’s photograph on the cover. There’s no picture credit saying it’s Monroe, but it definitely is. Any idea of the magazine’s value? It has been in a frame for 20-plus years.

A: The Salute cover photo was taken before Marilyn Monroe ever made a movie and before she changed her name. She was born Norma Jean Mortenson in 1926. An Army photographer took her picture while she was working in a munitions factory during World War II. The photo was printed in Yank magazine in 1945. That led to her signing with a modeling agency and bleaching her hair blond. She appeared on several more magazine covers before she signed her first movie contract in August 1946 and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. She died in 1962. Salute magazine was published from March 1946 until sometime in 1948. The masthead said it was “produced by former editors and writers of Yank and Stars & Stripes.” It was meant to appeal to World War II veterans, but it didnsell well and its focus was changed to “a picture magazine for men” in February 1948. The magazine evidently went out of business later that year. The value of your magazine depends on its condition. In excellent shape, it could be worth $650.

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Tip: Save your wine corks. Cut them in thin slices with a bread knife and slide a piece under a wobbling chair leg.

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Take advantage of a free listing for your group to announce events or to find antique shows and other events. Go to Kovels.com/calendar to find and plan your antiquing trips.

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Terry Kovel answers as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, (Name of this newspaper), King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

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CURRENT PRICES

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

Royal Doulton Bunnykins ball-shaped bank, afternoon tea scene, children playing on floor, plastic insert, 1939 trademark, $35.

“Gone With the Wind” cookbook, Scarlett and Tara on cover, heavy paper, Pebeco Toothpaste premium, c. 1939, 48 pages, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, $45.

“Lindy-Lou ‘n’ Cindy-Sue” paper dolls, uncut, four dolls, 18 wraparound outfits, two dogs and two kittens, Merrill, 1954 copyright, 14 x 10 inches, $65.

Rubina Rib Optic water pitcher and tumbler, pink enamel painted palm trees, applied clear glass handle, 8-inch pitcher, 3 3/4-inch tumbler, late 1800s, $125.

Dick Tracy record set, two 78 rpm story records, comic book-style sleeve, Mercury Records, 1947, 10 x 10 inches, $175.

Kentucky Fried Chicken globe light, bucket shape, pink, 1954, 10 1/2 x 6 inches, $245.

Squeaky the Clown Fisher-Price pull toy, lithographed paper on wood, head bobs, arms go up and down, squeak sound, 1958-60, 9 x 6 1/2 inches, $275.

Bulldog bookends, cast iron, three English bulldogs in barrel, Wilton Products, 1930s, 5 1/8 x 5 3/8 inches, pair, $265.

Dental cabinet, golden oak, six drawers, two tambour compartments, drop-lid desk, tool caddy, mirror, Harvard Dental Co., Canton, Ohio, early 1900s, 74 x 30 inches, $1,175.

Li’l Abner countertop snack dispenser, images of comic-strip characters, two knobs, California Dispenser Co., 1950, 23 inches, $1,500.

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New! Contemporary, modern and mid-century ceramics made since 1950 are among the hottest collectibles today. Our special report, “Kovels’ Buyers’ Guide to Modern Ceramics: Mid-Century to Contemporary” identifies important pottery by American and European makers. Includes more than 65 factories and 70 studio artists, each with a mark and dates. Works by major makers, including Claude Conover, Guido Gambone and Lucie Rie, as well as potteries like Gustavsberg, Metlox and Sascha Brastoff, are shown in color photos. Find the “sleepers” at house sales and flea markets. Special Report, 2010, 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, 64 pages. Available only from Kovels. Order by phone at 800-303-1996; online at Kovels.com; or send $25 plus $4.95 postage and handling to Kovels, Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

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© 2011 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

 

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011) Mountains and Sea, 1952. Under the provisions of U.S. Copyright Law, Auction Central News exercises its right to fair use of this copyrighted artwork for which there is no alternative, public domain or free-copyrighted replacement available.

In Memoriam: Abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler, 83

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011) Mountains and Sea, 1952. Under the provisions of U.S. Copyright Law, Auction Central News exercises its right to fair use of this copyrighted artwork for which there is no alternative, public domain or free-copyrighted replacement available.

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011) Mountains and Sea, 1952. Under the provisions of U.S. Copyright Law, Auction Central News exercises its right to fair use of this copyrighted artwork for which there is no alternative, public domain or free-copyrighted replacement available.

NEW YORK (AFP) – Helen Frankenthaler, an abstract expressionist painter known for pouring pigments directly onto the canvas, died Tuesday at her home in Darien, Connecticut. She was 83.

In announcing her death with “profound sadness,” Frankenthaler’s family said she died after a long illness, but declined to provide further details.

Frankenthaler, whose career spanned six decades, was an eminent painter among the second generation of postwar abstract American artists who played a key role in the transition from abstract expressionism to Color Field painting.

Artists like Mark Rothko and Clifford Still later became known as the foremost Color Field painters.

Frankenthaler was inspired by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, and later influenced such colorists as Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis.

Key to the development of the Color Field movement was the “soak stain”technique Frankenthaler first expressed in Mountains and Sea (1952), whose color washes and unfinished look struck a balance between painting and drawing similar to watercolors. One of her best known works, it is currently on loan at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Born in New York City on December 12, 1928, to New York State Supreme Court judge Alfred Frankenthaler and German immigrant Martha Lowenstein, Frankenthaler’s talent was recognized early on by renowned art critic Clement Greenberg, who helped propel her career.

She was the recipient of 26 honorary doctorates and numerous honors and awards, receiving the National Medal of the Arts in 2001.

Although she is best known as a painter, Frankenthaler also made notable forays in lithographs, etchings and screen prints, making a significant mark on printmaking. She even dabbled briefly into sculpture, though with far less success.

In 1958, Frankenthaler married Robert Motherwell, a preeminent figure among the first generation of postwar American abstract expressionists. Known as “the golden couple” for the lavish parties they threw in New York, the pair divorced in 1971.

Frankenthaler is survived by her husband Stephen DuBrul, an investment banker she married in 1994, as well as two stepdaughters — Jeannie and Lise Motherwell — and nieces and nephews. Her older sisters Gloria Ross Bookman and Marjorie Iseman died before the artist.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011) Mountains and Sea, 1952. Under the provisions of U.S. Copyright Law, Auction Central News exercises its right to fair use of this copyrighted artwork for which there is no alternative, public domain or free-copyrighted replacement available.

Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928-2011) Mountains and Sea, 1952. Under the provisions of U.S. Copyright Law, Auction Central News exercises its right to fair use of this copyrighted artwork for which there is no alternative, public domain or free-copyrighted replacement available.

Illustration of Chinese gold miners in California during the 19th century, from the book Chinese, Gold Mining in California, from the Roy D. Graves (1889-1971) pictorial collection, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Dig for SF’s transport terminal unearths artifacts

Illustration of Chinese gold miners in California during the 19th century, from the book Chinese, Gold Mining in California, from the Roy D. Graves (1889-1971) pictorial collection, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Illustration of Chinese gold miners in California during the 19th century, from the book Chinese, Gold Mining in California, from the Roy D. Graves (1889-1971) pictorial collection, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

SAN FRANCISCO – The big dig for San Francisco’s multibillion dollar transportation terminal has unearthed some artifacts from the city’s heady Gold Rush days, including opium pipes from a Chinese laundry and a chipped chamber pot found in a backyard outhouse.

The 70 artifacts have city archaeologists eager for more and local residents pondering the ground beneath their feet.

“It’s not often that you get a chance to stop for a moment and have a window into what used to be,” said James M. Allan, an archaeologist with William Self Associates, the firm ensuring the items are unearthed and preserved. “It gives you pause.”

The $4 billion Transbay Transit Center under construction in the South of Market financial district is billed as the “Grand Central Station of the West.” The 1 million-square-foot bus and train station will serve as the northern end of California’s planned high-speed rail between San Francisco and Los Angeles; the West Coast’s tallest skyscraper is slated to rise above the center.

It’s all sleek and modern — and on the same blocks once inhabited by working-class Irish immigrants and Chinese laborers who lived back to back on the sand dunes of the busy Gold Rush port known as Yerba Buena Cove.

They were the Donahues and the Dollivers, the Wings and the Lings, and the now-seemingly quaint accoutrements of their lives are being unearthed: clay opium pipes and ceramic tea pots from China; French perfume bottles; dainty English serving dishes, apothecary jars and the heads of hand-painted porcelain dolls; as well as animal bone toothbrushes and abandoned chamber pots.

They all date back to the mid-to-late 1880s, when the cove was reclaimed and clapboard houses went up on Mission, Natoma and Minna streets, between First and Beale. They were filled with Irish, Swedish, German and Italian immigrants, as well as the Chinese who had come during the Gold Rush and then stayed on to help build the railroads and bridges.

Today’s residents and workers can see the exhibit in the lobby of the building that houses the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.

“I live and work in the neighborhood so I’ve been walking by the excavation site for a while and resisting the temptation to sneak in and see what might be lying around,” said Tom Pagel, an investment adviser. “The neighborhood has changed so much in a relatively short period of time. It’s a big evolution and gives you a glimpse into how the world has changed in those years.”

The artifacts are accompanied by historic photos and documents, including an 1885 article from the San Francisco Chronicle in which Irish landlords — J.S. and Mary W. Dolliver — were seeking $500 in damages from Ah Wing and 11 Chinese tenants for the “offensive smells from the laundry that have injured the rental value of the plaintiff’s premises.”

Today, Ming Ng is a Chinese engineer with a firm that hopes to work on bus storage for the new terminal. He had just held a meeting with Transbay officials upstairs and checked out the exhibit as he was leaving the building.

“It’s very interesting to see the pottery compared to the metal things that are all rusted and ruined,” the engineer said, looking at a pristine blue-and-white Chinese tea pot, then pointing toward a rope pulley and iron chisel found in the back yard of a brick mason.

“The pottery looks almost new,” he said. He then smiled and noted, “That’s the Chinese character for longevity.”

Allan said the artifacts were not necessarily unique and that they expect to unearth hundreds more.

“What is unusual is that we were able to identify the people and occupations of the early Gold Rush,” he said. “When the Gold Rush started in the 1850s, the miners came here and there was no place for them to live, so they lived in the sand dunes and then tent camps. We found the evidence: a wooden floor and a lot of bottles, barrels, a privy, leather shoes and boots.”

They would have worked in the Risdon Iron Works — which built pipes for Hawaiian plantations — the Selby Smelting Works, Miners Foundry or the San Francisco Gas and Light Co.

Allan said his favorite find was an oblong, earthen storage jar found fully intact. The unglazed pot with a thin neck and bulbous belly was used to store grain, olives or water.

“It’s the equivalent of today’s plastic water bottle in that they were used, and used, and then thrown away,” Allan said.

He also likes a porcelain chamber pot found at the bottom of an outhouse. It might have been part of a toiletry set sold by Sears back then for $2.25.

“Typically that goes under the bed and you use it at night so you don’t have to go out and use the privy,” Allan said. “I found it sort of ironic that we would find a chamber pot in the privy.”

Ellen Joslin Johnck, an archaeologist who ducked in to see the exhibit, said the items should give San Franciscans “pride and ownership” of their city.

“To me, this lends more understanding and a greater appreciation for what it took to build this great city,” she said.

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Illustration of Chinese gold miners in California during the 19th century, from the book Chinese, Gold Mining in California, from the Roy D. Graves (1889-1971) pictorial collection, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Illustration of Chinese gold miners in California during the 19th century, from the book Chinese, Gold Mining in California, from the Roy D. Graves (1889-1971) pictorial collection, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

The Drake Family carved and painted joined chest with drawer, foliated vine group attributed to the Deacon John Moore (1614-1677, Windsor, Conn.) Shop tradition. Est. $80,000-$120,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Keno Auctions opens Americana Week with major sale Jan. 17

The Drake Family carved and painted joined chest with drawer, foliated vine group attributed to the Deacon John Moore (1614-1677, Windsor, Conn.) Shop tradition. Est. $80,000-$120,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

The Drake Family carved and painted joined chest with drawer, foliated vine group attributed to the Deacon John Moore (1614-1677, Windsor, Conn.) Shop tradition. Est. $80,000-$120,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

NEW YORK – Keno Auctions will showcase a remarkable selection of Americana consisting of furniture, decorative arts and paintings in an important auction on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the start of Americana Week.

The auction will be held in Wallace Hall at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, 980 Park Ave. at 84th Street, starting at 10 a.m. Eastern time. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.

Many of the dazzling treasures are from various estates and a private Connecticut collection, including a fine selection of furnishings and late-19th-century and early-20th century carpets and rugs. Also to be sold during the morning session will be a beautiful selection of blown American flasks and Sandwich glass and a handsome collection of 17th- and 18th-century rare European pocket watches from the estate of Atlanta art patron George E. Missbach.

The morning session will be immediately followed by the sale of the Peter Brams Collection of important woodlands Indian art. Nearly 450 lots will be offered in the two consecutive auctions.

Furniture highlights include a Drake family carved and painted joined chest with drawer attributed to Deacon John Moore (1614-1677), Windsor, Conn., (est. $80,000-$120,000); a fancy painted and gilt card table attributed to Thomas Seymour, Boston, circa 1808-1812, (est. $40,000-$80,000); and an eastern New England Chippendale carved and inlaid candle stand with octagonal top, circa 1780, (est. $10,000-$20,000).

Artwork ranges from a circa 1835 prior-Hamblin School oil on canvas of Baby in a Rocking Basket With Cherries (est. $25,000-$35,000) to a Norman Rockwell charcoal and pencil on paper Study for Maternity Waiting Room (est. 40,000-$80,000.)

The Peter Brams Collection of Important Woodlands Indian Art, which will be sold in the second session, is the largest and most important of its kind to have been amassed in the United States. The depth of property reflects Native American creations, many of burlwood, from the 17th through 19th centuries, and is composed of more than 50 bowls and nearly 150 ladles.

“Peter Brams is one of the most exciting and fearless collectors I have ever had the pleasure of meeting; he is charming, driven and incredibly educated,” said Leigh Keno, president of Keno Auctions. “The evolution of Peter’s collecting interests includes contemporary paintings, outsider art and American folk art, and it was the sculpture from his American Folk Art collection that led Peter to Woodlands art. Peter refined his collection pairing down to the most critical elements of great sculpture—form, quality of execution, and surface—which is the Woodlands creative sensibility to its essence,” Keno continued.

Highlights from the Peter Brams Collection includes the Thompson Family Lenni Lenape seated human effigy feast ladle, 18th century, (est. $40,000-$60,000); and an important elm burl effigy bowl, 18th century, (est. $30,000-$60,000).

Previews will be Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 14-15, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Monday, Jan. 16, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; and the day of the auction, 8 a.m. through the end of sales.

Purchase or view catalogs online at Kenoauctions.com. Catalogs may be purchased by calling 212-734-2381 or ordering by email at Catalogues@kenoauctions.com.

Session I:

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.

Session II:

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 Drake Family carved and painted joined chest with drawer, foliated vine group attributed to the Deacon John Moore (1614-1677, Windsor, Conn.) Shop tradition. Est. $80,000-$120,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

The Drake Family carved and painted joined chest with drawer, foliated vine group attributed to the Deacon John Moore (1614-1677, Windsor, Conn.) Shop tradition. Est. $80,000-$120,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Fancy painted and gilt card table, attributed to Homas Seymour (1771-1848) with decoration attributed to the school of John Ritto Penniman (1782-1841) probably executed by Joshua Holden, Boston, circa 1808-1812. Est. $40,000-$80,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Fancy painted and gilt card table, attributed to Homas Seymour (1771-1848) with decoration attributed to the school of John Ritto Penniman (1782-1841) probably executed by Joshua Holden, Boston, circa 1808-1812. Est. $40,000-$80,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Chippendale spiral and fluted and C-scrolled carved and inlaid candle stand with octagonal top, eastern New England, circa 1780. Est. $10,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Chippendale spiral and fluted and C-scrolled carved and inlaid candle stand with octagonal top, eastern New England, circa 1780. Est. $10,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Prior-Hamblin school, ‘Baby in a Rocking Basket with Cherries,’ circa 1835, oil on canvas, 27 x 22 in. Est. $25,000-$35,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Prior-Hamblin school, ‘Baby in a Rocking Basket with Cherries,’ circa 1835, oil on canvas, 27 x 22 in. Est. $25,000-$35,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978), ‘A Study for Maternity Waiting Room,’ charcoal and pencil on paper, 24 x 34 in. (sight). Est. $40,000-$80,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978), ‘A Study for Maternity Waiting Room,’ charcoal and pencil on paper, 24 x 34 in. (sight). Est. $40,000-$80,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Fine Federal work table painted on curly maple, attributed to John and Thomas Seymour, Boston, circa 1805. Est. $15,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Fine Federal work table painted on curly maple, attributed to John and Thomas Seymour, Boston, circa 1805. Est. $15,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Pair of Federal inlaid mahogany shield-back side chairs, Hartford, Conn., circa 1790-1800, probably by Lemuel Adams. Est. $12,000-$18,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Pair of Federal inlaid mahogany shield-back side chairs, Hartford, Conn., circa 1790-1800, probably by Lemuel Adams. Est. $12,000-$18,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Diminutive Federal mahogany upholstered settee, carving attributed to Samuel McIntire (1751-1811), Salem, Mass., circa 1800-1811. Est. $40,000-$80,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Diminutive Federal mahogany upholstered settee, carving attributed to Samuel McIntire (1751-1811), Salem, Mass., circa 1800-1811. Est. $40,000-$80,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Frederick Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935), ‘Smelt Fishers, Cos Cob, 1902,’ signed and dated lower right ‘Childe Hassam/1902,’ pastel and charcoal over pencil on paper board, 9 5/8 x 10¾ in. Est. $30,000-$50,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Frederick Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935), ‘Smelt Fishers, Cos Cob, 1902,’ signed and dated lower right ‘Childe Hassam/1902,’ pastel and charcoal over pencil on paper board, 9 5/8 x 10¾ in. Est. $30,000-$50,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

The Thompson Family Lenni Lenape Seated Human Effigy Feast Ladle, 18th century, probably first half. From the Peter Brams Collection of Important Woodland Indians Art. Est. $40,000-$60,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

The Thompson Family Lenni Lenape Seated Human Effigy Feast Ladle, 18th century, probably first half. From the Peter Brams Collection of Important Woodland Indians Art. Est. $40,000-$60,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Important elm burl effigy bowl, 18th century, probably first half. From the Peter Brams Collection of Important Woodland Indians Art. Est. $30,000-$60,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Important elm burl effigy bowl, 18th century, probably first half. From the Peter Brams Collection of Important Woodland Indians Art. Est. $30,000-$60,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Carved and painted Indian 'totem' figure from the Red Men's Lodge. Headdress painted 'TOTEM.' Axe blade marked 'I.O.R.M.' (Improved Order of Redman). Est. $10,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

Carved and painted Indian ‘totem’ figure from the Red Men’s Lodge. Headdress painted ‘TOTEM.’ Axe blade marked ‘I.O.R.M.’ (Improved Order of Redman). Est. $10,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Keno Auctions.

The Colosseum in Rome shot at dusk. Photo by David Iliff, taken April 30, 2007. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Colosseum loses another chunk as restoration looms

The Colosseum in Rome shot at dusk. Photo by David Iliff, taken April 30, 2007. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The Colosseum in Rome shot at dusk. Photo by David Iliff, taken April 30, 2007. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.

ROME (AFP) – The Colosseum lost another piece on Tuesday as Rome’s most famous monument deteriorates further ahead of a long-delayed restoration funded by an Italian billionaire now scheduled to start in March.

The chunk of volcanic tuff fell from one of the iconic arches of the nearly 2,000-year-old structure — just two days after a similar incident reported by a group of concerned tourists on Christmas Day put local staff on alert.

The Colosseum — a 50,000-seat amphitheatre that was completed in 80 AD and used for gladiator contests and mock sea battles — is at the centre of a busy traffic junction and is inundated with thousands of tourists every day.

The cultural branch of the Uil trade union criticised the management of the site saying that “the monument is facing a situation of urgency.”

But the manager of the Colosseum, Rossella Rea, said: “There is a psychosis of collapse. It’s something that happens. It’s already happened before.”

In May 2010, falling pieces of the Colosseum also sparked concern.

Diego Della Valle, the owner of high-end shoemaker Tod’s, has agreed to fund 25 million euros ($33 million) for a three-year restoration project that will increase by a quarter the areas to which tourists will have access.

The number of visitors to the site has gone from around one million visitors a year to around six million a year over the past decade — thanks mainly to Ridley Scott’s 2000 epic film Gladiator starring Russell Crowe.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The Colosseum in Rome shot at dusk. Photo by David Iliff, taken April 30, 2007. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.

The Colosseum in Rome shot at dusk. Photo by David Iliff, taken April 30, 2007. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0.