Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918), The Kiss, 1907-8, Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere. Courtesy The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.

Golden year for Klimt as Austria marks 150th anniversary

Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918), The Kiss, 1907-8, Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere. Courtesy The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.

Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918), The Kiss, 1907-8, Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere. Courtesy The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.

VIENNA – His golden The Kiss adorns scarves and coffee mugs worldwide, while his portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer sparked a decades-long restitution battle: in 2012, Austria celebrates 150 years since Klimt’s birth.

Gustav Klimt, born on July 14, 1862, is one of the best known figures of the Jugendstil art period.

In honour of this milestone anniversary, Vienna’s biggest museums – led by the Belvedere, the Albertina and the Leopold Museum – are proposing no less than nine exhibits during the course of the year, all promising new insights into the artist’s life.

“More works by Gustav Klimt will be on display in Vienna in 2012 than ever before: from his decoration work in the Burgtheater and the Kunsthistorisches Museum to his largely unknown drawings and world-renowned paintings like The Kiss, which Vienna’s tourism board has already advertised.

Klimt, the co-founder of the turn-of-the-century Secession movement and one of Austria’s key modern artists alongside Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka, was the second of seven children born to a gold engraver and his wife in Baumgarten, near Vienna.

Already as an art student, he founded an artists’ company with his brother Ernst and a friend, taking on major commissions to decorate luxurious salons and create theatre sets.

Although his work adorns the walls and ceilings of prestigious Viennese institutions like the Burgtheater and Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum, KHM), Klimt is best known for his later “Golden Period” paintings.

One of them, the 1907 Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I briefly became the most expensive painting ever sold when it changed hands in the United States in 2006 for 135 million dollars (104 million euros).

Earlier, it had made headlines due to a lengthy dispute between the Belvedere – home to the world’s largest collection of Klimt paintings, including The Kiss – and the family of the portrait’s previous Jewish owner, who said it had been stolen by the Nazis.

The Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I was eventually handed back to the family after the Austrian state refused to buy it.

To celebrate Klimt’s 150th birthday, the Belvedere has planned an extraordinary exhibit, with its entire collection of Klimt paintings going on display from June 15 until January 2013.

A separate exposition on the artist’s collaboration with architect Josef Hoffmann, another Secession co-founder, is already running until March 4.

The Albertina will focus on Klimt’s drawings, while the Leopold museum is promising “Gustav Klimt – Up Close and Personal,” exploring his private life through his letters.

Further exhibits are planned in four more museums including the Wien Museum – the city’s history museum – and the KHM, which will also offer special guided tours in the grand stairwell which Klimt worked on with his artists’ company.

Moreover, his last workshop in a swanky Viennese district, now recreated, will open to the public in mid-2012, although the villa has been entirely remodelled on the exterior.

Klimt died on February 6, 1918 of a stroke.

His paintings recall a heyday in Viennese cultural life when the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire bustled with the greatest artists and intellectuals of the day, from Sigmund Freud to Otto Wagner, Egon Schiele and Adolf Loos.

The Vienna Ballet presented the first tribute of the year to Klimt on Sunday as dancers performed live among his works at the Belvedere during the traditional New Year’s Concert.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918), The Kiss, 1907-8, Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere. Courtesy The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.

Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918), The Kiss, 1907-8, Osterreichische Galerie Belvedere. Courtesy The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.

Mark Twain at age 15, when he was friends with Laura Hawkins. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Couple renovating home of Mark Twain’s girlfriend

Mark Twain at age 15, when he was friends with Laura Hawkins. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Mark Twain at age 15, when he was friends with Laura Hawkins. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

HANNIBAL, Mo. (AP) – At the corner of Fifth and Center streets in downtown Hannibal, local history is coming down section by section, brick by brick.

After years of sitting empty, the old YMCA has met its fate with construction workers and equipment.

Two houses away though, where the dust of the former recreation center settles and blows by in the wind, another historical structure is being brought back to life through passion, determination and care.

To some, 210 Fifth St. is just another house standing among the many older homes in the neighborhood. It’s been there for a century or more, has had a number of residents call it home, and eventually it suffered damage and fell into dire straits.

But Nora Creason wanted this house. She had purchased the Cerretti House next door and when this house became available she went after it. After all, this was the home of a famous Hannibalian, Laura Hawkins Frazer. It’s where she lived her remaining years with her son, it’s where she was living when the world found out who she really was, it’s where she died and went from popular citizen to Hannibal legend.

“That opportunity just dropped in my lap,” Creason, who divides her time between Seattle and Hannibal, said. “We knew it was the famous Laura Hawkins home, so we jumped on it, made an offer to F&M Bank and got it.”

If you’re not familiar with who Hawkins Frazer was, it’s probably because you know her under a different name. She’s better known as Becky Thatcher.

Hawkins was the childhood sweetheart of Samuel Clemens and when he grew up and began writing stories under the name Mark Twain, he used his old flame as the model of the girl who steals the heart of Tom Sawyer in the classic novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Twain modeled Sawyer after himself from his youthful days.

“We learned quite a bit of history, although there’s very little written history about her. We know of that stuff about her that you can find if you scour history books,” Creason said. “The thing about Laura Hawkins, is after she got married and saved her husband (Dr. James Frazer)—her husband was supposed to have been shot during the Civil War—after that, there’s no written information about Laura Hawkins until way after (her husband died) and she became matron of the friends of the homeless. Since we bought the Laura Hawkins house, our interests have turned more toward restoring historical Hannibal and really educating ourselves on a lot of the history in Hannibal other than Mark Twain, and that’s how we came to restoring the Laura Hawkins house.”

Creason and her husband, Don Metcalf, bought the home in 2007 and have been working to restore it to the days of Hawkins Frazer’s residency. The house had previously been foreclosed on by F&M Bank and was gutted out by Ron Smith who was hired by Creason and Metcalf to renovate it. Previous owners didn’t leave the structure in the best shape.

“It was nasty,” Smith said. “There was junk everywhere, old wood, old clothes, it was a shamble. I took three 40-yard dumpsters out of this place and a 20-yard dumpster out of the garage. There was so much (stuff) in here it was like everybody left everything they owned in here.”

With the trash cleared and a plan in place, the former home of Laura Hawkins Frazer is being rehabbed back to life. Within the next year, Creason hopes to be 90 percent of the way done. Once again, the staircase in the front of the house will stand grand, the fireplaces will burn long trails of smoke out of the chimney tops and the custom windows will bring sunshine into home for the first time in years.

“Our restoration plan is to restore it as Laura had lived there. We would keep all the old radiators and we would do it in a way people would not notice that. We’ll be putting a new efficient furnace in there, but at the same time we will still be keeping the old heating registers,” Creason said. “We’re going to get something as similar, historical in reproduction as what was originally there. The only wallpaper we were able to match, almost exactly, is the wallpaper that’s going to be put along the hallways. We were able to find that with a little more embellishment.

“The plan is to make it a museum. We want this to be as period as possible, trying to replace everything as close as possible, of course that’s hard to do, and I have to rely on folks who used to live in the house, what their memories were of it. We’re basing the interior of the house on those sources.”

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Information from: Hannibal Courier-Post, http://www.hannibal.net

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-01-02-12 1723GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Mark Twain at age 15, when he was friends with Laura Hawkins. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Mark Twain at age 15, when he was friends with Laura Hawkins. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A contemporary Navajo rug. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Navajo weavers get a fair shake at monthly auction

A contemporary Navajo rug. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

A contemporary Navajo rug. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – On the second Friday of every month, two very different groups of people, most of them New Mexicans, get together at a school on the Navajo reservation for one of the state’s most unique commercial customs.

The Crownpoint Rug Auction got started in 1968 as a way for Navajo weavers to profit more from their hand-spun and woven textiles that were once used casually as saddle blankets, but were quickly becoming expensive works of art.

By 4 p.m., when the doors open to the Crownpoint Elementary School, more than 100 Navajo weavers and their families begin moving into the gymnasium with the results of months of work rolled up in plastic containers.

They unroll their rugs at the registration desk, giving their names and hometowns, which are written onto small cards that are stapled to the rugs that are then displayed on four folding tables.

By 5 p.m., the bidders, almost all of them Anglos, begin to arrive and look through what will be for sale. The biggest contingency is from Albuquerque, with a few from Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Farmington, Gallup, Las Cruces and other New Mexico towns, a handful from the contiguous states, a smattering from other states, and one European couple.

Some of the bidders look as if they are dripping with money. Most of them appear to know what they’re doing, taking notes and occasionally measuring the rugs. Sizes are not mentioned on the cards. A few bidders appear to be professional traders. They are the most discreet of all.

On Dec. 9, there were 227 rugs up for auction – ranging from 1-by-2-foot wall hangings selling for as little as $35 to rugs up to 8-by-4 feet that went for up to $1,500. About half of them failed to get a minimum bid. Fifty-five people signed up as bidders—slightly less than average, said to be about 75. The auction lasted about two hours.

Before the auction begins, there’s time for a Navajo taco and soda from a vendor inside the little school, and to look through more than a dozen tables with Native American crafts—Acoma pottery, Zuni fetishes, Navajo jewelry.

At 7 p.m., Christina Ellsworth, manager of the Crownpoint Rug Weavers Association, takes to the stage to welcome the bidders and weavers, and warn bidders against trying to buy the rugs outside in the parking lot. That would be unfair to the weavers who pay the association 15 percent of their selling price at auction, she said.

Then the auctioneers, Wayne Connell and Delbert Arty, take over. Mountainair residents who run cattle auctions in Belen, they begin with brief descriptions of each rug as young people display them to the audience. Then they begin their chant, “Do I hear eight hundred? Eight hundred, eight hundred. Eight hundred there! Do I hear nine hundred? Nine hundred, nine hundred … ”

If the rug fails to get a minimum bid after 30 seconds, the auctioneers declare it a no sale and direct it to be put in a special pile. Occasionally, the auctioneers drop the minimum price by $100 or so. In those cases, the rugs often draw a single bid from people seated quietly in the back—apparently professional traders seeking a discount.

In most cases, the rugs that do sell go for a third to half what they would be priced in a gallery in Santa Fe or other cities. Payments can be made in cash or personal check at a desk set up beside the auction stage, but no credit cards are accepted.

There are no overnight accommodations in Crownpoint, about three hours by car from Santa Fe. The nearest motels are in Thoreau on Interstate 40, with better lodging in Gallup or Grants. The next auction is Jan. 13.

Weavers Association manager Ellsworth said she has taken classes in rugmaking and is an amateur weaver herself. She said she’s not a professional, but is experienced enough to understand the amount of work that goes into shearing sheep, carding, dyeing and spinning wool into yarn, setting up a loom and weaving a rug with a unique pattern.

“I’ve done some weaving, but I don’t want to sell what I make,” she said. “It’s my rug, my design, and then I look at these rugs and I think, ‘How can they come up with these designs?’ You get these guys from Blue Gap, from Chinle, from Wide Ruins. How do they get these designs in their heads? I sit at my loom and I think, ‘What kind of design shall I make?’ It’s real puzzling.”

Ellsworth laughs at the prices paid for Navajo rugs off the reservation—“an arm and a leg”—versus what weavers get. She recalled how she and her mother stopped at a trading post near Farmington years ago to overhear a trader trying to persuade an elderly woman to sell him a big Ganado red at a low price.

“He just wanted to give her peanuts for it,” she said, “so my mom told her in Navajo, she said, ‘Don’t be selling your rug like that. You put a lot of work into it. Take it to the Crownpoint Rug Auction. You’ll get better money for it.’ So the lady got her rug and she left, and I felt like saying something to that man: ‘Why are you just giving them peanuts for those rugs? It’s a lot of hard work for them.’”

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-12-30-11 0703GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


A contemporary Navajo rug. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

A contemporary Navajo rug. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Critics contend the Cyclorama Building blocks views showing the expanse of the Gettysburg battlefield. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Preservationists fear end near for Gettysburg Cyclorama

Critics contend the Cyclorama Building blocks views showing the expanse of the Gettysburg battlefield. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Critics contend the Cyclorama Building blocks views showing the expanse of the Gettysburg battlefield. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) – Fans of the Cyclorama building on the Gettysburg battlefield are awaiting a study on the building’s fate, but say they fear the end is already a foregone conclusion.

The National Park Service commissioned the study from a consulting company to determine what to do with the 47-year-old building, which once housed a 360-degree painting of Pickett’s charge that is now on display at the park visitors’ center and which has become the center of a struggle between military historians and preservationists and fans of modern architecture.

The review of alternatives is expected early next year, but backers of the building say they believe it is only being done because the courts ordered it following opposition to the planned demolition.

“I think this is all window dressing. The Park Service’s intention has always been to tear this building down. I don’t think that’s going to change now,” Dion Neutra, a California architect who helped his renowned father, Richard, design the building, told The (Hanover) Evening Sun.

Neutra said he once toyed with the idea of chaining himself to the building, but he’s now in his 80s and too old for such protests.

Some Civil War historians and preservationists have advocated demolition of the building, which closed in 2005, saying it blocks views necessary to teach the story of the Civil War battle of Gettysburg.

“The Cyclorama is literally just a huge view block between two very important parts of the (Union) line,” said Dan Rathert, a licensed battlefield guide. “That’s the biggest problem. With it there, it’s harder for people to understand how parts of the battlefield fit together.”

But architects hail the building as one of the flagships of the “Mission 66” program, launched in the 1950s by President Eisenhower to modernize national parks. It was one of five visitor centers built under the program, and famed architect Richard Neutra was contracted to design the structure, which opened with great fanfare in 1963 on the 100th anniversary of the battle.

Scholars say the building is an artifact of the historic program and one of the last remaining public structures designed by Neutra, considered one of the century’s most influential architects.

“You’ll never have another building that was actually touched by this architectural master,” said Christine Madrid French, who teaches architecture history at the University of Central Florida and wrote her master’s thesis on the Mission 66 buildings.

The National Park Service’s long-term plan for the battlefield unveiled in 1999 called for removal of the building, but Dion Neutra and others began to campaign to save the structure. A federal judge halted the plans, saying officials had not adequately considered alternatives. Federal officials argued in court documents that restoration of the battlefield and telling its story was a “historic mission of the highest order” and outweighed architectural preservation goals at the site.

The park service must now compile an environmental assessment to analyze the alternatives, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, and with the aid of consulting firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. is considering four options: leave the building as it is, repair and reuse it, move it, or demolish it.

Park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said the National Park Service will release the study and the public we be invited to scrutinize the findings.

“When the study is published, we want everybody to take a very careful look at it,” she said. “We want people to see we’ve done a very rigorous job at looking at the alternatives, and the potential impacts and benefits to each.”

Some of the building’s fans express doubt that officials will be open to keeping the building, given the past decision to demolish the structure.

“They let the building sort of neglect,” said Jason Hart of CUBE design + research LLC, which works to save architecturally significant buildings. “It’s just been sitting there for a few years.”

In late 1999, the Cyclorama building was nominated to the National Historic Landmarks program. Three of the five flagship Mission 66 visitor centers have since been recognized as landmarks, but the Cyclorama building and another Neutra-designed center at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona have not been accorded that status.

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Information from: The Evening Sun, http://www.eveningsun.com

AP-WF-01-01-12 1830GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Critics contend the Cyclorama Building blocks views showing the expanse of the Gettysburg battlefield. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Critics contend the Cyclorama Building blocks views showing the expanse of the Gettysburg battlefield. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Gettysburg Cyclorama, a depiction in the round of the Battle of Gettysburg. Image courtesy of The Gettysburg National Museum Foundation.

The Gettysburg Cyclorama, a depiction in the round of the Battle of Gettysburg. Image courtesy of The Gettysburg National Museum Foundation.

Detail from the Gettysburg Cyclorama. Image courtesy of The Gettysburg National Museum Foundation.

Detail from the Gettysburg Cyclorama. Image courtesy of The Gettysburg National Museum Foundation.

Antiques Roadshow appraiser Lark Mason with the collection of Chinese rhinoceros-horn cups appraised at the TV show's stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Image copyright Antiques Roadshow, used by permission.

Antiques Roadshow announces 2012 tour destinations

Antiques Roadshow appraiser Lark Mason with the collection of Chinese rhinoceros-horn cups appraised at the TV show's stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Image copyright Antiques Roadshow, used by permission.

Antiques Roadshow appraiser Lark Mason with the collection of Chinese rhinoceros-horn cups appraised at the TV show’s stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Image copyright Antiques Roadshow, used by permission.

BOSTON —Antiques Roadshow, PBS’s most-watched primetime series, has announced its Summer 2012 Tour destinations: Boston, Myrtle Beach, SC; Rapid City, SD; Cincinnati; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Seattle.

Programs recorded in those locations will make up Roadshow’s 17th broadcast season on PBS, airing in 2013.

“Antiques Roadshow turns seventeen in 2013,” said Roadshow executive producer Marsha Bemko “and even though Justin Bieber beat us to it, we couldn’t be more excited or grateful for having reached this milestone. We’ll be inviting almost 40,000 fans to celebrate with us this summer as we travel across the country.”

Roadshow’s 2012 Tour features a series of local events at which top appraisers offer the public free evaluations of antiques and collectibles—revealing the often surprising history and value of these items.

Antiques Roadshow 2012 stops and dates include:

Boston – June 9, 2012

Myrtle Beach, SC – June 23, 2012

Rapid City, SD – July 14, 2012

Cincinnati – July 21, 2012

Corpus Christi, Texas – Aug. 4, 2012

Seattle – Aug. 18, 2012

Admission to Antiques Roadshow events is free, but tickets are required and must be obtained in advance. Ticket applications and complete ticketing rules will be available on pbs.org/antiques or by dialing toll-free 1-888-762-3749 at 9 p.m. ET, after Antiques Roadshow’s season premiere, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central on PBS.

Ticket applications must be received by April 16, 2012. Tickets will be awarded by random drawing. Additional information about the summer 2012 tour is available at pbs.org/antiques.

This year’s broadcast lineup, with host Mark L. Walberg, kicks off from Tulsa, Okla., with the highest-value treasure ever seen on Antiques Roadshow: a collection of late 17th/early 18th-century Chinese carved rhinoceros horn cups valued at between $1 million and $1.5 million.

Visit pbs.org/antiques for a preview of this season premiere.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Antiques Roadshow appraiser Lark Mason with the collection of Chinese rhinoceros-horn cups appraised at the TV show's stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Image copyright Antiques Roadshow, used by permission.

Antiques Roadshow appraiser Lark Mason with the collection of Chinese rhinoceros-horn cups appraised at the TV show’s stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Image copyright Antiques Roadshow, used by permission.

Expert Lark Mason (left) breaks the good news to the anonymous owner of the Chinese rhino-horn cups that his mini trove is worth $1-$1.5 million. The episode featuring this appraisal will air on Jan. 2, 2012 on PBS's Antiques Roadshow. Image copyright Antiques Roadshow, used by permission.

Expert Lark Mason (left) breaks the good news to the anonymous owner of the Chinese rhino-horn cups that his mini trove is worth $1-$1.5 million. The episode featuring this appraisal will air on Jan. 2, 2012 on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. Image copyright Antiques Roadshow, used by permission.

Museo del Prado, 2008 image by Brian Snelson, licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license.

Madrid’s top museums post record attendance in 2011

Museo del Prado, 2008 image by Brian Snelson, licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license.

Museo del Prado, 2008 image by Brian Snelson, licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license.

MADRID (AFP) – Madrid’s top three museums — the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza — received a record number of visitors last year as blockbuster exhibits drew crowds despite a weak economy.

The private Thyssen-Bornemisza, which displays works by artists ranging from El Greco to Picasso, posted the biggest rise in visitor numbers of the three museums that make up the Spanish capital’s so-called “Golden Triangle of Art.”

It drew 1,070,390 visitors, a 30.4 percent jump over the previous year and the biggest number since the museum opened its doors in 1992.

The rise is due to the success of the seven temporary exhibits it held last year, longer opening hours and an increase in the number of visitors to Madrid, the museum’s director general Miguel Angel Recio said.

“All of this helped improve visitor numbers,” he told AFP.

A temporary exhibit of works by Spanish painter Antonio Lopez, who is known for his realistic style, drew 320,000 visitors, the most of any temporary exhibit ever hosted by the museum.

The visitors to the museum last year were split almost evenly between Spaniards and foreigners.

Spain’s top modern art museum, the Reina Sofia which houses Dali’s masterpiece Guernica, drew 2,705,529 visitors in 2011, a 17 percent increase over the previous year, it said in a statement.

The Prado Museum, which houses works from before the 20th century, received the most visitors of the three but its rise over the previous year was the smallest.

It drew 2,911,767 visitors, a 6.6 percent increase over 2010 with the majority of visitors, 59 percent, from outside of Spain.

Italy, the United States and France accounted for the greatest number of foreign visitors to the museum, it said in a statement.

The number of visitors was buoyed by the 919,584 people who flocked to temporary exhibits held by the museum, including the nearly 220,000 people who saw an exhibit of works on loan from Russia’s Hermitage Museum.

The three museums are all within an easy walk of one another on the Paseo del Prado in the centre of Madrid.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Museo del Prado, 2008 image by Brian Snelson, licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license.

Museo del Prado, 2008 image by Brian Snelson, licensed under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license.

A work typical of David Hockney's style is the 1961 oil on board titled 'We Two Boys Together Clinging.' Fair use of copyrighted low-resolution image used to demonstrate Hockney's artistic genre.

Artist Hockney takes humorous approach to recent Royal honor

A work typical of David Hockney's style is the 1961 oil on board titled 'We Two Boys Together Clinging.' Fair use of copyrighted low-resolution image used to demonstrate Hockney's artistic genre.

A work typical of David Hockney’s style is the 1961 oil on board titled ‘We Two Boys Together Clinging.’ Fair use of copyrighted low-resolution image used to demonstrate Hockney’s artistic genre.

LONDON (AFP) – British artist David Hockney has responded tohis appointment to the Order of Merit with typical humor, saying he was gladhis controversial campaign for smokers’ rights had not worked against him.

Hockney, who came to prominence during the British pop art movement in the 1960s, was named as a member of the exclusive order on Sunday by Queen Elizabeth II.

Accepting the royal honour is a turnaround for the 74-year-old who famously turned down a knighthood in 1990, has refused to paint the Queen and once said he sees no value in prizes.

Asked for a response to his appointment to the Order of Merit, Hockney told the Guardian newspaper: “No comment – other than it’s nice to know they are not prejudiced against the older smoker.”

Hockney is a pro-tobacco campaigner who has regularly spoken out in favor of smokers’ rights.

The Order of Merit has 24 members as well as additional foreign recipients, who are recognized for great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning, literature, science and other areas like public service.

The honor is a personal gift from the sovereign and is restricted to the living, meaning new inclusions can only be made following the death of an existing member.

Other members of the order include former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and architect Norman Foster.

After bursting on to the art scene in the ’60s, Hockney extended his talents to work as a photographer, draftsman, printmaker and stage designer.

He spent many years in California and is probably best known for his paintings based on his adopted home.

In recent years he has returned to his home county of Yorkshire in northern England and embraced new technology, composing works on an iPad.

Some of the iPad works will feature in a new exhibition, “David Hockney: a Bigger Picture,” at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, which opens on January 21.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


A work typical of David Hockney's style is the 1961 oil on board titled 'We Two Boys Together Clinging.' Fair use of copyrighted low-resolution image used to demonstrate Hockney's artistic genre.

A work typical of David Hockney’s style is the 1961 oil on board titled ‘We Two Boys Together Clinging.’ Fair use of copyrighted low-resolution image used to demonstrate Hockney’s artistic genre.

The Deming Luna Mimbres Museum is housed in the town's former armory. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Visitors to New Mexico museum call it ‘the little Smithsonian’

The Deming Luna Mimbres Museum is housed in the town's former armory. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Deming Luna Mimbres Museum is housed in the town’s former armory. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

DEMING, N.M. (AP) – You wouldn’t know it from its austere exterior, a former Armory built in 1918, but inside, the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum is as warm and inclusive as a bulging family photo album.

If the brick facade seems to say “you cannot pass,” the museum staff says “all are welcome.”

Inside, visitors encounter a dizzying variety of items, sometimes perplexing, always fascinating, in the halls of the 30,000-square-foot museum: from hundreds of dolls dating from the 19th century through the 1970s, fine examples of Mimbres pottery, war memorabilia and a room crammed with whiskey bottles in every conceivable shape, from the Pope to leprechauns to Spock from Star Trek.

Museum administrator Virginia Pool says the institution’s roughly 13,000 annual visitors, the bulk of whom arrive during winter with the snowbird invasion, are charmed by the diversity.

“We get comments all the time, they call it ‘the little Smithsonian,’” said Pool. “When you look around, we’ve got something for everybody. Whatever a person’s interests are, we’ve got something for them. That’s what I love about it.”

Dr. Jerry Brody, retired professor of anthropology at the University of New Mexico and former director of the Maxwell Museum, said that for community-based museums that rely on donations from local residents, having a wide-ranging collection “comes with the territory.” But, Brody said, that’s not a bad thing.

Brody said that Deming’s museum, run and managed by a staff that is all volunteer with the exception of a custodian, is one of his favorites. In the Albuquerque Archaeological Society Newsletter some years back, Brody wrote that the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum “is the only volunteer-begun, volunteer-run, low-budget museum that I know of to not only survive for a full human generation, but also to flourish.”

Las Cruces resident John Porter Bloom, a former historian with the National Park Service and an at-large board member of the Historical Society of New Mexico, called the museum “terrific.”

“It’s head and shoulders above anything in any town of its size anywhere in the United States,” Bloom said. “I’d bet you $10 to a doughnut on that.”

Fittingly enough, the museum made its way to the landmark Armory building in 1977 in order to display the town’s first powered washing machine.

The washing machine was once owned by the mother of a local businessman, Hubert Ruebush. When it was purchased in 1921, curious residents came from all over the town to see it work, according to a booklet written by former museum director Ruth Brown.

Ruebush wanted to give the washer to the Luna County Historical Society, but the organization, then renting a four-room house on Nickel Street for a museum, had little display space, so Ruebush suggested buying the National Guard Armory then for sale.

Ruebush put up half the money for the purchase, and local residents raised the rest, Brown said.

Funded largely by a state appropriation combined with help from Deming and Luna County, the museum completed a $1.1 million renovation project in 2007 to install new flooring, an elevator, restrooms and a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

From its opening in the Armory, the museum displayed items of local historical interest, such as an upright Steinway grand piano and late 19th-century dresses worn around the time of the town’s founding in 1881 when the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads completed the nation’s second transcontinental railroad.

Soon after the new museum’s first open house, the wife of a Michigan transplant, who became the museum’s director, donated her collection of dolls, including many China dolls, some dating to the early 19th century.

That gift, it turned out, was the first of many from local residents that would reflect individuals’ passions or hold some strong personal value. So, the doll collection, housed in a former small arms firing range, has grown with other gifts. It now includes kitsch (a 1963 Bam Bam doll from the Flintstones cartoon series and a 1977 replica of actress Kristy McNichol) along with an eerie Japanese doll, undamaged, that an American sailor from Wisconsin plucked from the rubble of the atomic blast in Hiroshima in 1945.

The Japanese doll, acknowledged assistant director Katy Hofacket, has no real connection to Deming. But the veteran, after visiting the museum, “just thought it should have a good home,” and the museum accepted, she said.

Other rooms in the museum are dedicated to an impressive collection of Mimbres pottery and other artifacts donated by two local ranchers in the mid-1990s; thousands of fossils, geodes and thunder eggs donated by world-renowned collector Robert Colburn; military relics, some dating back to an 1860s fort, up to more modern conflicts. Visitors can inspect handcrafted saddles and a chuck wagon reflecting ranching and cowboy culture, and see examples of local fine art and quilts.

The museum’s Main Street room includes detailed representations of local storefronts from yesteryear, like a barbershop, a mercantile and a beauty shop, each housing equipment from the past. The room includes the town’s first traffic light and the first car owned by a local resident, a 1904 Reo.

The museum covers the gamut of Deming’s social life, with fine china from local families on the first floor and, on the second floor, the wooden-wheeled hand cart from which a local man, Leonardo Reyes, sold tamales in the city’s downtown from the 1930s to the early ’50s.

Visitors looking to be surprised by wonderfully odd exhibits will not be disappointed. Spend time on the second floor and one will encounter, near a display of Alaskan native artifacts, cases with scores of tiny hand bells from around the world as well as one late local’s nearly 200 button hooks from a bygone era. On the ground floor there is a horse-drawn sleigh, built in Michigan in the early 1900s, that probably got little use in the Chihuahuan desert, but was acquired by a local.

“Sometimes we just get things that we think are really cute,” Hofacket said.

And somewhere in the museum’s storage, Pool said, is a rare early edition of Playboy magazine—in braille.

___

Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-01-01-12 1903GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The Deming Luna Mimbres Museum is housed in the town's former armory. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Deming Luna Mimbres Museum is housed in the town’s former armory. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

Eva Zeisel's most famous dinnerware line is Town and Country, shown here in a dark brown metallic glaze. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Rago Art and Auction Center.

In Memoriam: Eva Zeisel, ceramic designer, 105

Eva Zeisel's most famous dinnerware line is Town and Country, shown here in a dark brown metallic glaze. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Rago Art and Auction Center.

Eva Zeisel’s most famous dinnerware line is Town and Country, shown here in a dark brown metallic glaze. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Rago Art and Auction Center.

BUDAPEST (AFP) – Hungarian-born ceramic artist Eva Zeisel, who was once jailed in Stalin’s Soviet Union, died in New York on Friday aged 105, friends announced Sunday on a website dedicated to her.

Born on Nov. 13, 1906 in Budapest to a Jewish family, Zeisel made a name for herself mostly after she left Europe.

She developed designs for fine china companies and major department stores, with many of her pieces now in museums around the world, according to a biography by the Eva Zeisel Forum.

After traveling around Europe to develop her skills, she landed in jail in the Soviet Union in 1936 during Stalin’s purges and later just made it out of Austria to England on the eve of the Nazi invasion.

The Hungarian-born British writer Arthur Koestler used her experiences as inspiration for his 1940 novel Darkness at Noon, a scathing critique of the Soviet regime, according to the Forum.

It was in the United States that Zeisel eventually settled, where New York’s Museum of Modern Art dedicated an exhibit to her in 1947.

A recipient of design awards in the United States and Britain as well as Hungary’s Middle Cross of the Order of Merit, her designs are featured in the collections of the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Eva Zeisel's most famous dinnerware line is Town and Country, shown here in a dark brown metallic glaze. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Rago Art and Auction Center.

Eva Zeisel’s most famous dinnerware line is Town and Country, shown here in a dark brown metallic glaze. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Rago Art and Auction Center.

Two Schramberg majolica designs by Eva Zeisel, Mondrian pattern, to be auctioned Jan. 11 at Leslie Hindman's gallery in Chicago. Est. $300-$500. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

Two Schramberg majolica designs by Eva Zeisel, Mondrian pattern, to be auctioned Jan. 11 at Leslie Hindman’s gallery in Chicago. Est. $300-$500. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

England's Derby Porcelain Works made these figurines, copies of famous statues of William Shakespeare and John Milton. The 12 1/4-inch figures sold as a pair for $460 at a 2010 Charlton Hall auction in West Columbia, S.C.

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of Jan. 1, 2012

England's Derby Porcelain Works made these figurines, copies of famous statues of William Shakespeare and John Milton. The 12 1/4-inch figures sold as a pair for $460 at a 2010 Charlton Hall auction in West Columbia, S.C.

England’s Derby Porcelain Works made these figurines, copies of famous statues of William Shakespeare and John Milton. The 12 1/4-inch figures sold as a pair for $460 at a 2010 Charlton Hall auction in West Columbia, S.C.

Figurines were the “photographs” of the 18th and 19th centuries. Well-known politicians, royalty, sports figures, actors, writers, religious subjects and newsworthy criminals, places and events were the inspiration for the figurines. They were made to sell, so the figurines had to depict something that would add decorative value to a home. But the potters had few sources to use when making a portrait—just a few prints, paintings and sometimes statues.

Staffordshire potters wanted to tap the American market by selling figurines of American politicians. George Washington was a popular subject, and both standing figures and busts of Washington were made. But since no English potter had ever seen the first U.S. president, some potters wound up labeling figurines of Benjamin Franklin as George Washington.

William Shakespeare and John Milton were famous British writers seldom shown in widely distributed prints, but a large statue of Shakespeare stands in Westminster Abbey, and a smaller one of Milton is owned by the York Castle Museum. So several Staffordshire potteries made 12-inch copies of the statues that could be displayed on a fireplace mantel. And, of course, displaying the statues suggested that the owners were well-read.

Q: My mother gave me a pressed-glass plate that has a frosted center embossed with a picture of a man on horseback spearing a lion. The scalloped edges have alternating panels of oak leaves and diamonds. It’s signed “Jacobus.” It’s approximately 11 1/2 inches in diameter. I’d like to know more about it and its value.

A: Your plate was made by Gillinder & Sons of Philadelphia, which was founded by William Gillinder in 1861. It’s part of the Classic pattern designed by P.J. Jacobus (1844-1910). There were five plates in this pattern. The others pictured the 1884 U.S. presidential and vice presidential candidates, Democrats Grover Cleveland and Thomas A. Hendricks and Republicans James G. Blaine and John A. Logan. Value: under $100.

Q: Can you tell me if there is a market for vinyl records from the 1940s and ’50s? I have two albums’ full.

A: Most records made before the 1940s were made with a hard shellac surface, so they usually broke if dropped. By 1946, unbreakable vinyl records were being sold commercially. Companies began phasing out the production of phonograph records after compact discs became available in 1982. There has been renewed interest in vinyl recordings in the past few years because they produce a fuller sound than digital recordings, which don’t capture every tone. Some companies are even making new vinyl records. Most old records sell for less than $20, but an early rare recording by Elvis Presley might sell for several hundred dollars. Elvis Presley’s first recording for Sun Record Co. in 1954, That’s All Right and Blue Moon of Kentucky, recently sold for $896.

Q: I have a collection of swanky swigs with various decorations. Most of them are in good shape, but some of them are cloudy. I’ve tried soaking them with denture cleaner and scrubbing the outside gently with liquid dish detergent, to no avail. Do you have any other suggestions for getting the glass clear again?

A: It depends on what caused the glasses to become cloudy. Hard water can cause calcium deposits to build up on the glass and make it cloudy. Filling the glasses with warm water and adding a denture tablet usually clears it up. Other solutions include soaking the glasses in a mixture of hot water and a cup of white vinegar, or washing them in a dishwasher with a cup of vinegar poured in the bottom of the dishwasher. You also can try using a cleaner meant for shower doors. If none of these solutions works, your glasses probably are permanently etched. Sometimes this happens if the water is too soft and too much detergent is used. This condition can’t be cured.

Q: I have a mahjong set that I’d like to know more about. The cabinet holding the drawers of tiles is elaborately carved on all four sides and the top. I’ve been assured that the tiles are real ivory and bamboo. I’ve had the set for about 65 years. Can you tell me anything about its origin or value?

A: The game of mahjong is based on a card game played in China in the late 1800s. The game became popular in the United States in the 1920s. Early sets were imported from China. Tiles were made of ivory, bone or wood. Some sets came in intricately carved rosewood boxes, while others were packed in cardboard boxes. Sets made in the United States during the 1930s usually have Bakelite or plastic tiles. Joseph Park Babcock, a Standard Oil Co. civil engineer, often is credited with bringing the game to the United States after he saw it being played when he was sent to Suzhou, China, in 1912. One of the names the Chinese used for the game was “ma que,” which means “sparrow.” Babcock trademarked the name “Mah-Jongg” and published a book of game rules in 1920. Several manufacturers made their own versions of the game but had to use other names for it. Babcock assigned his rights to the name to Parker Brothers in 1924. Mahjong is still played in the United States, but the version played now is different fromthe version played in the 1920s, according to the National Mah-Jongg League.

Tip: Rotate your dining room, kitchen, and coffee tables on your birthday. If you remember to do this each year, the furniture will fade evenly.

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, Auction Central News, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

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.

Nestle’s Nescafe world globe glass mugs, marked, 6 ounces, set of six, $30.

Hobby horse, Texas stallion, red stuffed vinyl head, broom handle, vinyl ears, white nylon mane, reins with bell, Nu-Cushion Products, 1950s, 36 x 7 inches, $75.

Cast-iron doorknockers, Amish man and woman, woman with black hair, man with black hat and beard, Wilton Products, original boxes, 1950s, 4 1/2 x 3 5/8 inches, pair, $80.

Sterling-silver nut dish, leaf shape, Tiffany & Co., original box, 1960s, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches, $110.

Boy Scouts of America hat, Official BSA Scout Master, leather band and chin strap, Stetson, box, 1940, 13 3/4 x 14 1/2 inches, $125.

Doll, Bully Good Skookum, with papoose, baby tucked under blanket, composition masks, mohair wigs, suede headbands, label, marked “Trade Mark Registered,” circa 1930, 11 inches, $135.

Copper teapot, pewter handle and spout, Rochester Stamping Works, Rochester, N.Y., 8 1/2 inches, $145.

Lladro figurine, Death of the Swan, ballerina, No. 4855, pale-pink tutu, 5 x 9 1/2 inches, $225.

Pepsi-Cola cup holder with cup, Bakelite holder, double-dot “Enjoy Pepsi-Cola” embossed on sides, Paper Container Mfg. Co., Chicago, circa 1943, 6 1/2 x 4 inches, $250.

Boy’s bicycle, J.C. Higgins, red, white-wall tires, horn, white tank with “Higgins” name on both sides, 1959, 26 inches, $500.

Available now. The best book to own if you want to buy, sell or collect—and if you order now, you’ll receive a copy with the author’s autograph. The new Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide, 2012, 44th edition, is your most accurate source for current prices. This large-size paperback has more than 2,500 color photographs and 40,000 up-to-date prices for more than 775 categories of antiques and collectibles. You’ll also find hundreds of factory histories and marks, a report on the record prices of the year, plus helpful sidebars and tips about buying, selling, collecting and preserving your treasures. Available online at Kovelsonlinestore.com; by phone at 800-303-1996; at your bookstore or send $27.95 plus $4.95 postage to Price Book, Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

© 2011 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.