'Lady with an Ermine' by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1490, oil and tempera on panel. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Tests reveal damage in Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece

'Lady with an Ermine' by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1490, oil and tempera on panel. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

‘Lady with an Ermine’ by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1490, oil and tempera on panel. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – An art expert says recent tests show a weakening and aging of Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th century painting Lady with an Ermine, which is housed in Poland’s National Museum

Janusz Czop, the chief conservationist at the museum in Krakow, said Monday that tests show the chestnut board it had been painted on has weakened due to it being eaten away by bark beetles over the centuries, and the painting has also suffered from a dense network of cracks.

More state-of-the art and noninvasive tests—such as computer tomography—are to be performed to help experts decide what kind of maintenance should be performed on the privately-owned masterpiece, Czop said.

He said the weakening was not related to the work’s recent trips to exhibitions in the Spanish, German and British capitals.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-26-12 1318GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


'Lady with an Ermine' by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1490, oil and tempera on panel. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

‘Lady with an Ermine’ by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1490, oil and tempera on panel. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Image by Atlantacitizen. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

High Museum of Art, Emory U. receive study grants

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Image by Atlantacitizen. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Image by Atlantacitizen. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

ATLANTA – The High Museum of Art and Emory University’s department of art history has received a significant grant from the Mellon Foundation. The grant, which focuses on object-centered curatorial training, will provide funding to support two art history doctoral candidates for a three-year program.

“The Museum is energized around the possibility of working closely with Emory colleagues to integrate materials and conservation training into graduate study in art history,” said Patricia Rodewald, the High’s Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education. “Utilizing our combined resources, we can enable these students to incorporate the latest technologies into their study of works of art.”

Each year, two students will be selected by a committee composed of art history faculty and representatives from the High Museum of Art. One student will serve during the spring semester and summer term and the other will serve summer term and fall semester. Selected students will receive a fellowship plus a full stipend for summer research and travel in the U.S. and abroad.

The first two fellows have been chosen. Ashley Laverock’s fellowship will take place spring-summer 2012. Laverock, a student of French Medieval art, is advised by Elizabeth Pastan, associate professor of art history. Cecily Boles’ fellowship will take place summer-fall 2012. Boles, a student of Italian Baroque art and art theory, is advised by Sarah McPhee, professor of art history. Oversight of the student’s work will be shared by the student’s primary faculty advisor and the relevant curators at the High Museum.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Image by Atlantacitizen. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Image by Atlantacitizen. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Jeroen van Valkenburg, newly appointed international representative for Morphy Auctions. Morphy Auctions image.

Morphy’s moves into European market, taps new rep Jeroen van Valkenburg

Jeroen van Valkenburg, newly appointed international representative for Morphy Auctions. Morphy Auctions image.

Jeroen van Valkenburg, newly appointed international representative for Morphy Auctions. Morphy Auctions image.

LEIDEN, Holland – To address the growing number of consignment inquiries from European collectors, Morphy Auctions has appointed Netherlands-based Jeroen van Valkenburg to the post of international representative. Fluent in Dutch, German, French and English, van Valkenburg will represent Morphy’s at antique shows and collector events across Europe and coordinate the pick-up and shipment of consigned goods to Morphy’s Pennsylvania auction gallery.

A native of the South Holland city of Leiden, van Valkenburg has had a lifelong fascination with antiquities, antiques and fine art. He holds a bachelor’s degree in archeology and a master’s in archeology and prehistory of northwestern Europe, both of which were earned at the University of Leiden.

Van Valkenburg is an accomplished painter in the 17th-century style and has taught more than 30 art students over the past decade. From 2001-2004, van Valkenburg owned and operated a modern art gallery in the center of Leiden, where his own works were offered alongside those of noted Surrealists from many countries. He has shown his work at more than 100 international art fairs.

Van Valkenburg is especially knowledgeable in the categories of pottery and ceramics; glass, wood and metal objects. He worked for several years as a field archaeologist on Neolithic, Roman and Medieval excavations, including the largest and oldest known burial site in the Netherlands. Professionally trained in restoration techniques, he is adept at identifying antiques that have been repaired.

Also a longtime collector, van Valkenburg is a regular at antique fairs and flea markets.

“In particular, I am constantly on the lookout for antique handmade glass marbles,” said Van Valkenburg. “Marbles have been a passion of mine since childhood. When I found my first couple of German handmade marbles, I was hooked. I’ve been collecting them for the past 15 years.”

It was his interest in antique marbles that initially brought van Valkenburg to Morphy’s attention.

“I had posted videos of my marble collection online, which [Morphy Auctions’ CEO] Dan Morphy saw. He contacted me by e-mail, and after corresponding for about a year, he and his company’s marble expert, Brian Estepp, came over to visit me at Europe’s largest collector fair, Utrecht,” van Valkenburg explained.

“We instantly became friends, and Dan asked me to become an international representative for Morphy’s,” van Valkenburg said. “Working for such a fantastic auction house – especially one with the best marble auctions in the world – has always been a dream of mine, so I said ‘yes’ right away.”

Dan Morphy said he is delighted that van Valkenburg has joined Morphy’s team, describing his new representative’s industry connections as “a powerful tool that fits right in with our vision of multinational expansion.”

“Jeroen is tapped into a huge network of European antique dealers and collectors. He has personal friendships and excellent professional relationships with many influential dealers. He’s the perfect person to be representing us at the semiannual Utrecht fair and other European events where collectors congregate,” Morphy said.

To contact Jeroen van Valkenburg, call 31-6-25374185 (Leiden, Holland) or e-mail jeroenvanvalkenburg@yahoo.com.

# # #


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Jeroen van Valkenburg, newly appointed international representative for Morphy Auctions. Morphy Auctions image.

Jeroen van Valkenburg, newly appointed international representative for Morphy Auctions. Morphy Auctions image.

‘Grim Tales’ on Roebling Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

Reading the Streets: D*Face posts murals in Brooklyn

‘Grim Tales’ on Roebling Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

‘Grim Tales’ on Roebling Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

NEW YORK – D*Face posted new murals in Brooklyn in connection with his just completed show with the Corey Helford Gallery. One of Britain’s original street artists, D*Face has a graphic style that nods toward Roy Lichtenstein and reflects a love of punk rock and skate boarding.

These recent murals draw on the themes of love, loss and longing and feature bold cartoon-like characters including a variation on the grim reaper. Not only do they play with pop culture, but they also demonstrate D*Face’s sharp sense of humor.

While the artist has had gallery-success around the world, he retains his interest in creating street art where his pieces force interactions and he’s not constrained by the gallery setting.

At Broadway and Bedford, Handle with Care displays a woman sobbing over a crate labeled with the painting’s title. She holds a giant version of D*Face’s vinyl stickers and one of his symbols is painted into her hair. The giant mural will be on view for the rest of the month.

Grim Tales, on 158 Roebling, between Fillmore Place and Metropolitan Avenue, will be permanent. His Grim Reaper tosses a set of die that are actually 3-D, and drilled into the wall.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


‘Grim Tales’ on Roebling Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

‘Grim Tales’ on Roebling Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

‘Handle with Care’ at the intersection of Broadway and Bedford in Brooklyn. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

‘Handle with Care’ at the intersection of Broadway and Bedford in Brooklyn. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

The dice in ‘Grim Tales’ add a 3-D effect to the painting. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

The dice in ‘Grim Tales’ add a 3-D effect to the painting. Painting by D*Face; photography by Kelsey Savage.

Dan Patch, a famous pacer, is pictured on this coffee tin. The horse was a celebrity in the early 1900s. Today his fame lives on in collectibles and, of course, in harness-racing record books. William Morford Auctions, in Cazenovia, N.Y., sold this 11-inch tin for $2,035.

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of March 26, 2012

Dan Patch, a famous pacer, is pictured on this coffee tin. The horse was a celebrity in the early 1900s. Today his fame lives on in collectibles and, of course, in harness-racing record books. William Morford Auctions, in Cazenovia, N.Y., sold this 11-inch tin for $2,035.

Dan Patch, a famous pacer, is pictured on this coffee tin. The horse was a celebrity in the early 1900s. Today his fame lives on in collectibles and, of course, in harness-racing record books. William Morford Auctions, in Cazenovia, N.Y., sold this 11-inch tin for $2,035.

History becomes more interesting if you learn about it through objects and stories. It’s the “rest of the story” that adds to the fun.

A large pail that once held Dan Patch Roasted Coffee auctioned recently for $2,035. The bright-red can features a horse and driver in a harness race. The can is colorful, 11 1/2 inches tall and very decorative, but the price was boosted by the history it represents.

Dan Patch was a brown horse, a pacer, born in Indiana in 1896. He broke the world’s record for a harness race in 1906, and it took 32 years for another horse to go faster. He never lost a race. He was a celebrity, and coffee wasn’t the only product named for him. Automobiles and washing machines and cigars bore his name, and so did popular toys.

Crowds followed his appearances and as many as 100,000 people went to see the horse, which, according to reports, “radiated charisma.” Dan Patch received fan mail and gifts while making as much as $1 million in a year.

He retired from racing in 1909 and died in 1916. He remained a star for many years after his death, partly because his world record was not broken until 1938.

Streets named Dan Patch still exist. Dan Patch Stadium is at a high school in Savage, Minn., where the horse lived after he was purchased by a Minnesotan in 1902. An annual Dan Patch Day festival is celebrated in his hometown of Oxford, Ind., and another annual Dan Patch Day is held in Savage.

Books have been written about him, a movie was made about his life in 1949 and he’s mentioned in a song from the 1957 Broadway musical, The Music Man.

Dan Patch Ground Coffee was named for the horse well before the days of movies and television. You can still find Dan Patch memorabilia in Savage, Minn., today. Go to the Savage Depot Coffee Shop, the Razors Edge Barber Shop or the local library.

Q: I inherited two antique Mettlach steins that were appraised six years ago for $1,700 each. I have been trying to sell them online and locally for less than that, but I have gotten no takers. Some dealers have made insulting remarks about my pricing. What’s going on?

A: Some Mettlach steins in mint condition can sell for $1,700 or even more, but many sell for a lot less. Price depends on the rarity of a particular stein. In addition, you’re dealing with a niche market and may not be reaching interested buyers. Try contacting a national auction house that focuses on steins. You will find several online.

Q: My grandmother, who was born in 1886, left her favorite rocking chair to me. She lived in Chippewa Falls, Wis., and the chair is labeled “Webster Mfg. Co., Superior, Wis.” The chair is oak and has a pressed design in the back’s crest above six turned spindles. What can you tell me?

A: Webster Manufacturing Co. of Superior, Wis., was making chairs by the 1890s. In its early years, it was called the Webster Chair Co. By 1915 it was a major American chair manufacturer and had opened a factory in at least one other city. It appears to have gone out of business during the Depression. Pressed oak chairs like yours were especially popular in the late 19th century, so it is likely your chair dates from that period. Depending on its condition, it would sell for $100 or more.

Q: I have a kerosene lamp marked “Queen Anne” and “Scovill Mfg. Co.” I know it’s about 100 years old. Can you give me some information about it?

A: Scovill Manufacturing Co. opened in 1802 in Waterbury, Conn., under the name Abel Porter & Co. It made brass buttons and operated under various names and owners through the years. James Mitchell Lamson Scovill and William H. Scovill eventually took over the business, which was incorporated as Scovill Manufacturing Co. in 1850. Scovill made brass lamps, artillery fuses, munitions, medals, daguerreotype plates, cameras and other items. After 1866 it also made coin blanks for the U.S. Mint. Scovill holds several patents for improvements to lamp burners. “Queen Anne” is a type of burner that was in common use in the late 1800s. It was made by Scovill and other companies. New Queen Anne burners are available today for repair and restoration of old lamps. Scovill is still in business, with headquarters in Clarkesville, Ga. Today the company makes fasteners for clothing and light industrial use and holds a patent for the gripper snap, introduced in the 1930s. Your lamp was probably made in the late 1800s. If all parts are original, it is worth about $100 to $150.

Q: I have an item called a “motion teaser.” It includes five heavy silver balls about an inch in diameter. Each is attached to a string and the strings are attached to a wooden frame. You swing one ball so it touches the next one and then they all swing back and forth. However, it stops in about a minute. Aren’t they supposed to keep swinging back and forth by themselves? Every once in a while, I see one of these in an old movie and the balls keep swinging back and forth indefinitely. Am I doing something wrong? I don’t see what the big deal is if you have to start it every other minute. Someone gave me this. I think this it’s from the 1970s or ’80s.

A: Your toy was invented in 1967 by Simon Prebble, an English actor, and is known as “Newton’s Cradle” because it demonstrates one of Isaac Newton’s laws of motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you pull the first ball back and release it so that it swings and hits the row of balls, the energy is transferred through the line of balls to the ball on the other end, causing it to swing out at approximately the same distance and back to hit the stationary balls. If you pull two balls out, two balls will swing out from the opposite end. It’s not a perpetual motion machine, because some momentum and energy are lost with each hit due to friction. The length of time it will keep going is based partly on how well it’s built. Toys like this were made under several names and in different sizes. They always have an odd number of balls, usually five or seven. Someone has even made Newton’s Cradle using 15-pound bowling balls hung from 20-foot cables.

Tip: An unglazed rim on the bottom of a plate usually indicates it was made before 1850.

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.

Shade pull, Mayflower ship, cast iron, original paint, double-sided, circa 1930s, 2 x 1 5/8 inches, $75.

Luncheon set, porcelain, rainbow luster, lakeside cottage, trees, white swan handles with gold leaf, plates, cups, saucers, teapot, sugar and creamer, service for four, $100.

Mickey Mouse pocket comb, black plastic, two-sided case, Mickey combing his hair on 1 side, Minnie holding comb on other, American Hard Rubber Co., 1930s, 5 inches, $115.

Girl Scout doll, hard plastic, auburn hair, uniform, Terri Lee Doll Co., 1952, 8 inches, $160.

Evening palazzo pants set, black pants, knife pleats, gold and white metallic brocade bodice, sleeveless, 1960s, 34 bust, 26 waist, $185.

Toy, dancing sailor, tin lithograph, blue shirt and pants, moves back and forth, Lehmann, Germany, 1903, 8 inches, $255.

Sign, Smith Brothers Cough Drops, easel back, image of three men dressed in heavy coats, another in underwear waving pennant, 1930s, 24 x 17 inches, $330.

Francie doll, Twist ‘n Turn, painted face, pierced ears, long black hair, Mattel, 1967, 11 inches, $450.

Egg serving set, glass, chicken-on-nest basket dish, six egg cups, basket-weave tray, Vallerysthal, France, signed, tray 11 inches, 10 pieces, $515.

Screen, Louis XV-style, three panels, carved fruitwood frame, padded and tufted inserts, reversible hinges, 1930s, 73 x 69 x 67 inches, $3,200.

New! The Kovels.com “Premium” offers are up and running. In addition to 750,000 free prices for antiques and collectibles, many with photographs, premium subscribers will find a dictionary of marks for silver and another for ceramics, with pictured marks and company histories. Premium membership also includes a subscription to the digital edition of our newsletter, “Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles,” and its archives, where you’ll find articles about almost anything you might collect. Up-to-date information for the savvy collector. Go to Kovels.com and click on “Subscriptions” for more information.

© 2012 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Dan Patch, a famous pacer, is pictured on this coffee tin. The horse was a celebrity in the early 1900s. Today his fame lives on in collectibles and, of course, in harness-racing record books. William Morford Auctions, in Cazenovia, N.Y., sold this 11-inch tin for $2,035.

Dan Patch, a famous pacer, is pictured on this coffee tin. The horse was a celebrity in the early 1900s. Today his fame lives on in collectibles and, of course, in harness-racing record books. William Morford Auctions, in Cazenovia, N.Y., sold this 11-inch tin for $2,035.

The top offering at Clars’ March auction was lot 8147, a pair of Korean polychrome decorated wood figures, Joseon dynasty, which sold for a staggering $50,363. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Clars reports strong prices for top items in March sale

The top offering at Clars’ March auction was lot 8147, a pair of Korean polychrome decorated wood figures, Joseon dynasty, which sold for a staggering $50,363. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

The top offering at Clars’ March auction was lot 8147, a pair of Korean polychrome decorated wood figures, Joseon dynasty, which sold for a staggering $50,363. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

OAKLAND, Calif. – Prices realized at Clars Auction Gallery’s March 17 and 18 Antiques and Fine Art Sale were led by staggering Asian prices realized on several lots offered. As the nation kicked off Asian Week, expectations were high even against conservative estimates, but surprises were still plentiful. Overall, the two-day event earned $800,000 and record Internet bidder numbers were seen for the sale.

The top offering of the two-day event was among the final lots offered. Lot 8147, a pair of Korean polychrome decorated wood figures, Joseon dynasty, were estimated at $1,000 to $1,500. Prior to the sale, several phone bidders were already scheduled on the piece. Clars President Redge Martin opened the bidding at $1,000 and within minutes, competitive bidding drove the final sale price to $50,363.

Just a few lots prior, a Korean large underglaze blue decorated stoneware jar, also Joseon dynasty, flew past it $500 to $700 estimate selling for $17,775. Rounding out the top sellers in the Asian category was a Chinese large greenish-white nephrite “imperial style” jade seal which also sold for $17,775. Even though the prices realized across the board in the Asian category surpassed expectations, which has become the norm over the past few years, Martin commented that he feels the Asian market “may be leveling off a bit which should be expected.”

It wasn’t just Asian that performed well throughout this two-day sale. Again, according to Martin, “decoratives were strong, furniture did well indicating people are buying again and special collections also performed well.” Closing the first half of their 2011-2012 fiscal year, Clars stands at 5 percent ahead of last year.

Among the special collections that were offered was a rare rock ’n’ roll photography collection from legendary music photographer Jim Marshall (1936-2010). Overall, the entire collection which was sold in seven lots earned over $15,000 with the top lot being a portfolio of 10 unframed platinum prints entitled The Jazz Portfolio which sold for $8,295. Bob Dylan drew the next highest price. A signed unframed gelatin silver print taken in 1966 in New York City sold for $1,300.

Complementing the Jim Marshall collection offered on Sunday, an extensive collection of Hollywood and celebrity memorabilia including posters and autographs was offered during the Saturday session. Comprised of over 200 lots, with names from Lyndon B. Johnson to Elizabeth Taylor, this collection earned just over $18,000. A framed Elizabeth Taylor autographed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof movie poster inscribed “Best Wishes, Elizabeth Taylor” sold for just over $500 as did a signed typewritten letter dated March 6, 1967 by the Beatles indicating “we have just signed a nine year contract with Capital records.”

The Saturday session also featured a rich offering of 19th century European dolls of varying compositions. Expected to sell well, which it did, was a circa 1870 French fashion doll, probably Francois Gaultier, that earned $3,500. Taking second place in this special group was an antique German bisque socket head doll. Expected to sell for $200 to $400, this wonderful example sold for $1,900.

Rounding out the interesting special collections offered were reproduction 19th and 20th century suites of armor. The high seller in this collection was a 15th century-style reproduction comprised of an armet (helmet), full arm defenses, breast, neck and back plates which sold for $1,890. Furthering the arms and armor category was a collection of 19th century Persian flintlock Jezail long-barrel muskets and pistols. The top lot in this collection was a jezail long-barrel musket highly decorated with bone and inlaid coral. This piece earned $1,540.

Turning to Clars’ always strong fine art category, the top seller was the framed oil on canvas, Rheinlandschaft, by Johann Gottfried Pulian (German, 1809-1875) which sold for $11, 258. The next high lot was a framed watercolor on double-sided paper by Jake Lee (Californian, 1915-1991) titled Chinatown and Jalopy, 1959,” which earned a respectable $8,888 followed by Path Through the Mountains by Maurice Brown (Californian, 1890-1948) that sold for $6,518.

Topping the furniture category was a circa 1820 William IV figured mahogany breakfront sold for nicely within estimate at $7,110 and a Continental carved console table executed in the Renaissance taste sold for almost twice its high estimate at $2,225.

The jewelry category, offered late Sunday, saw strong prices on several lots offered. Tied for topping this category was a lady’s cast double spiral design necklace by ilias LALAoUNIS in 22-karat yellow gold which earned $6,517 and a open-face Waltham Premier Maximitts pocket watch which earned the same price.

Clars next two-day Antiques and Fine Art Sale will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 14-15. A highlight of the April sale will be the estate of Seymour Frommer, founder of the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the University of California, Berkeley.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


The top offering at Clars’ March auction was lot 8147, a pair of Korean polychrome decorated wood figures, Joseon dynasty, which sold for a staggering $50,363. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

The top offering at Clars’ March auction was lot 8147, a pair of Korean polychrome decorated wood figures, Joseon dynasty, which sold for a staggering $50,363. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Among the special lots at Clars’ sale were rare rock ’n’ roll images from legendary music photographer Jim Marshall (1936-2010). The top lot in this collection was a portfolio of 10 unframed platinum prints titled ‘The Jazz Portfolio’ (pictured here: Miles Davis) which sold for $8,295. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Among the special lots at Clars’ sale were rare rock ’n’ roll images from legendary music photographer Jim Marshall (1936-2010). The top lot in this collection was a portfolio of 10 unframed platinum prints titled ‘The Jazz Portfolio’ (pictured here: Miles Davis) which sold for $8,295. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

‘Rheinlandschaft,’ a framed oil on canvas by Johann Gottfried Pullan (German, 1809-1875) topped the fine art category selling for $11,258. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

‘Rheinlandschaft,’ a framed oil on canvas by Johann Gottfried Pullan (German, 1809-1875) topped the fine art category selling for $11,258. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

This double-sided watercolor by Jake Lee (Californian, 1915-1991) entitled ‘Chinatown and Jalopy, 1959,’ earned a respectable $8,888. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

This double-sided watercolor by Jake Lee (Californian, 1915-1991) entitled ‘Chinatown and Jalopy, 1959,’ earned a respectable $8,888. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Topping the furniture category was this circa 1820 William IV figured mahogany breakfront which sold for $7,110. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Topping the furniture category was this circa 1820 William IV figured mahogany breakfront which sold for $7,110. Image courtesy Clars Auction Gallery.

Itō Jakuchū, 'Peonies and Butterfies' (J. Shakuyakuguncho zu), Shakuyaku gunchō zu), c. 1757 (Hōreki 7), ink and color on silk, from 'Colorful Realm of Living Beings,' (J. Dōshoku sai-e), set of 30 vertical hanging scrolls, c. 1757–1766, Sannomaru Shōzōkan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections), The Imperial Household Agency. Image courtesy National Gallery of Art.

Masterful Japanese floral scrolls come to Washington

Itō Jakuchū, 'Peonies and Butterfies' (J. Shakuyakuguncho zu),  Shakuyaku gunchō zu), c. 1757 (Hōreki 7), ink and color on silk, from 'Colorful Realm of Living Beings,' (J. Dōshoku sai-e), set of 30 vertical hanging scrolls, c. 1757–1766, Sannomaru Shōzōkan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections), The Imperial Household Agency. Image courtesy National Gallery of Art.

Itō Jakuchū, ‘Peonies and Butterfies’ (J. Shakuyakuguncho zu), Shakuyaku gunchō zu), c. 1757 (Hōreki 7), ink and color on silk, from ‘Colorful Realm of Living Beings,’ (J. Dōshoku sai-e), set of 30 vertical hanging scrolls, c. 1757–1766, Sannomaru Shōzōkan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections), The Imperial Household Agency. Image courtesy National Gallery of Art.

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Thirty bird-and-flower paintings by the Japanese master Ito Jakuchu will go on display this week in Washington, marking the first time the full, fragile collection has traveled overseas.

The National Gallery of Art will show the 30-scroll collection for only one month starting on Friday, part of major celebrations to mark 100 years since Japan gifted the capital’s now celebrated cherry trees to the U.S. capital.

The Imperial Household Agency lent the set of 30 silk scrolls after a six-year restoration effort. The collection, known as “Colorful Realm of Living Beings,” represents a series of meditative themes from nature.

Earl Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art, said the exhibition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the public to see “the most important and remarkable collection of flower painting ever in the history of Japan.”

Ito Jakuchu, who was born to a wealthy merchant family in 1716, decided in 1755 to devote himself exclusively to Zen meditation and painting. He spent nearly a decade on the scrolls and once said that it would take 200 years for his works to be understood.

The earliest of the scrolls depicted peonies and butterflies, invoking two classic symbols from Japanese and Chinese thought that are associated respectively with beauty and freedom.

Other scrolls included depictions a magnificent rooster in a blooming garden, of an octopus and fish descending through the water, of a peacock in a dark forest and of birds perched on snowy branches.

Jakuchu produced the paintings through painstaking pigmentation. He employed new techniques that came from China and introduced the color Prussian blue for the first time in Asia, according to experts.

The paintings were initially not for public viewing and instead assisted meditation at the Buddhist monastery of Shokoku-ji in Kyoto.

“The paintings were never intended to be displayed more than a day,” said Yukio Lippit, an expert on Japanese art at Harvard University.

The monastery donated the scrolls to the Imperial Household in 1889 in gratitude for restoration of the building. Since then, the paintings have mostly been enjoyed privately by emperors.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Itō Jakuchū, 'Peonies and Butterfies' (J. Shakuyakuguncho zu),  Shakuyaku gunchō zu), c. 1757 (Hōreki 7), ink and color on silk, from 'Colorful Realm of Living Beings,' (J. Dōshoku sai-e), set of 30 vertical hanging scrolls, c. 1757–1766, Sannomaru Shōzōkan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections), The Imperial Household Agency. Image courtesy National Gallery of Art.

Itō Jakuchū, ‘Peonies and Butterfies’ (J. Shakuyakuguncho zu), Shakuyaku gunchō zu), c. 1757 (Hōreki 7), ink and color on silk, from ‘Colorful Realm of Living Beings,’ (J. Dōshoku sai-e), set of 30 vertical hanging scrolls, c. 1757–1766, Sannomaru Shōzōkan (The Museum of the Imperial Collections), The Imperial Household Agency. Image courtesy National Gallery of Art.

Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of President William McKinley. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Ohio museum restoring former first lady’s dresses

Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of President William McKinley. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of President William McKinley. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) – The 19th century dresses of first lady Ida McKinley are undergoing a thorough cleaning in Ohio, and detailed embroidery and beading have complicated the work.

The work is under way at Canton’s William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum. The museum has 20 dresses authenticated as having been worn by the president’s wife.

The Repository newspaper says the museum’s auxiliary is involved in a long-term project to raise funds to restore and preserve the dresses. That work will cost an estimated $5,000 per dress. The cost of restoration is partly due to the numerous embellishments and delicate silk fabric.

The McKinleys lived for many years in Canton. William McKinley served as congressman and Ohio governor before his election as president. He was assassinated in 1901 in Buffalo, N.Y.

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Information from: The Repository, http://www.cantonrep.com

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

AP-WF-03-25-12 1332GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of President William McKinley. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Ida Saxton McKinley, wife of President William McKinley. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Image by Matt Gagnon, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Judge sides with Maine governor on removing labor mural

Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Image by Matt Gagnon, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Image by Matt Gagnon, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Maine Gov. Paul LePage was within his rights when he ordered the removal of a mural depicting the history of the labor movement from a state office building, a federal judge ruled Friday, a year after the mural was put into storage at an undisclosed location.

Judge John Woodcock dismissed a lawsuit aimed at restoring the labor mural to its original location in on the ground floor of the Department of Labor building.

The governor’s decision created a national uproar that proved to be a major distraction, but LePage felt vindicated by the judge’s ruling.

“We’ve always believed this was a frivolous, politically motivated lawsuit,” said Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s spokeswoman. “It would be stunning if government officials were to be barred from making different artistic choices than their predecessors.”

One of the lawyers who challenged the governor’s decision suggested that both LePage and the judge were out of step.

“The public understands what the court apparently did not, which is that there cannot, nor should there be, censorship of art by the government,” said lawyer Jeff Young. “We believe strongly that although we have not prevailed today in the court of law, that we have prevailed perhaps more importantly in the court of public opinion.”

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor contended the Republican governor violated the U.S. Constitution as well as the state’s contract with the artist.

But the judge agreed with the LePage administration’s claim that the governor is entitled to engage in “government speech,” a doctrine that says the government is free to express itself.

“Having concluded that the state of Maine engaged in government speech when it commissioned and displayed the labor mural, it follows that Governor LePage also engaged in government speech when he removed the mural. The governor’s message—whether verbal or in the form of the expressive act of removal—is government speech,” Woodcock wrote.

After taking office, LePage was alerted to the mural by a “secret admirer” who claimed it was an affront. LePage decided that it presented a one-sided view that bowed to organized labor.

Featuring World War II’s “Rosie the Riveter,” a 1937 shoe strike in Maine, and New Deal-era U.S. Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the 36-foot mural commissioned by then-Democratic Gov. John Baldaci included 11 panels, each 7 feet tall. It was created by artist Judy Taylor, who won a competition commissioned by the Maine Arts Commission.

The mural was unveiled in August 2008.

The decision to remove it ignited a firestorm of criticism, in addition to the federal lawsuit filed on behalf of three artists, a workplace safety official, an organized labor representative and an attorney.

“We have a legal decision but nothing resembling justice,” said artist Robert Shetterly, one of the plaintiffs. “What’s been censored, what’s been removed and suppressed, is not just Judy Taylor’s free speech against the governor’s free speech or government speech—what’s been censored is our history.”

But Maine Attorney General William Schneider said the judge made the right decision, saying “one of the cornerstones of American democracy is free expression—by individuals and the government.”

“As citizens, we want our government officials to speak and express their views. Any effort by a small group to attempt to control government’s speech by bringing elected officials to trial should be viewed as a threat to our democratic principles,” Schneider said.

The judge’s decision left open the door for a separate lawsuit in state court, so the plaintiffs could file a federal appeal, pursue a lawsuit in state court, or do both, Young said.

As for mural, its location has been a mystery ever since its removal from public view. The LePage administration has declined to divulge the location.

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Associated Press writer Clarke Canfield in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.

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

AP-WF-03-23-12 2011GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Image by Matt Gagnon, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Image by Matt Gagnon, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Coca-Cola soda fountain made by Liquid Carbonic for the Columbian Exposition of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The bar back is 10 ft. high and 19 ft. 9 in. long. It realized $4.5 million in Richard Opfer Auctioneering's March 24-25 sale of contents of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Richard Opfer Auctioneering.

1893 World’s Fair soda fountain hits $4.5M at Coca-Cola museum auction

Coca-Cola soda fountain made by Liquid Carbonic for the Columbian Exposition of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The bar back is 10 ft. high and 19 ft. 9 in. long. It realized $4.5 million in Richard Opfer Auctioneering's March 24-25 sale of contents of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Richard Opfer Auctioneering.

Coca-Cola soda fountain made by Liquid Carbonic for the Columbian Exposition of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The bar back is 10 ft. high and 19 ft. 9 in. long. It realized $4.5 million in Richard Opfer Auctioneering’s March 24-25 sale of contents of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Richard Opfer Auctioneering.

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP/ACNI) — An anonymous buyer paid $4.5 million for a soda fountain at an auction of Coca-Cola memorabilia held March 24-25 in central Kentucky. Richard Opfer Auctioneering of Timonium, Md., conducted the sale.

The one-of-a-kind fountain has bars of marble and alabaster, and includes leaded-glass lamps that function as soda dispensers. It was exhibited at the Columbian Exposition, at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

The News-Enterprise reports that the buyer bid by phone Sunday for the item offered by the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia in Elizabethtown. The fountain was entered in the sale with a presale estimate of $75,000-$125,000.

Nearly 800 Internet bidders using LiveAuctioneers.com contributed to the event’s success. They lodged 1,641 absentee bids and 3,557 interactive bids using the LiveAuctioneers online console. Over the two-day period, Internet participants succeeded in purchasing 268 lots – an average of 39% per day.

“There was tremendous presale interest in this famous collection,” said LiveAuctioneers’ CEO Julian R. Ellison. “More than 6,000 people viewed the online catalog through LiveAuctioneers.com, with nearly 42,000 page views recorded.”

Click below to view the fully illustrated catalogs for both the March 24 and 25 sessions of Richard Opfer’s auction of contents of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia, complete with prices realized, at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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Information from: The News-Enterprise, http://www.thenewsenterprise.com

Auction Central News International and Associated Press contributed to this copyrighted report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Coca-Cola soda fountain made by Liquid Carbonic for the Columbian Exposition of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The bar back is 10 ft. high and 19 ft. 9 in. long. It realized $4.5 million in Richard Opfer Auctioneering's March 24-25 sale of contents of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Richard Opfer Auctioneering.

Coca-Cola soda fountain made by Liquid Carbonic for the Columbian Exposition of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The bar back is 10 ft. high and 19 ft. 9 in. long. It realized $4.5 million in Richard Opfer Auctioneering’s March 24-25 sale of contents of the Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Richard Opfer Auctioneering.