The Verendrye Plate, pictured here, was buried in 1743 on a Fort Pierre hillside by French-Canadian explorers Francois and Louis-Joseph Verendrye. Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.

Children uncovered South Dakota treasure 100 years ago

The Verendrye Plate, pictured here, was buried in 1743 on a Fort Pierre hillside by French-Canadian explorers Francois and Louis-Joseph Verendrye. Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.

The Verendrye Plate, pictured here, was buried in 1743 on a Fort Pierre hillside by French-Canadian explorers Francois and Louis-Joseph Verendrye. Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – It’s 4:30 p.m. on a mild winter Sunday, Feb. 16, 1913. And on a bluff above Fort Pierre, a group of children are about to scuff their toes on history.

As 14-year-old Hattie May Foster recalled later, “In the beginning, we girls were out walking, and went on the hill. We were up there a little while, and in a short time three boys came up on the hill. They had been out hunting. We were standing there talking. As I was scraping in the dirt with my foot, I saw the square end of a lead plate showing about one inch above the ground. When I saw it I kicked it out and picked it up. As I picked it up it looked like a lining out of a big range stove. ‘What is this?’ I asked.”

George O’Reilly answered that it was a piece of lead.

As Hattie recalled, “George had a knife and said, ‘Hand it here and I’ll scrape the dirt off so we can read what’s on it.’”

When he scraped away the dirt, all they could read was part of a date that had the number 17 in it, Hattie recalled. George announced it wasn’t anything but a piece of lead and said he would sell it. The others scoffed.

A girl named Martha Burns said, “It is the stone on which Moses wrote the Ten Commandments.”

Not quite as important an artifact as that, perhaps, but still crucial for South Dakota and the other states along the upper Missouri River, the Capital Journal newspaper reported.

What those Fort Pierre children had found was a marker buried 170 years earlier, in 1743, by two French explorers, a pair of brothers. Their own journal, discovered in a French archive in 1851, describes their journey as “the Expedition of the Chevalier de la Verendrye and one of his brothers to reach the Sea of the West.” They aren’t named, but many historians believe the Chevalier was Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Verendrye and the brother was Francois de La Verendrye.

They had been sent by their father, Pierre Gaultier De La Verendrye, an explorer himself, from the Hudson Bay area of Canada in search of a fabled water route to the Orient.

THE PLATE

The plate they buried measures about 8 inches by 6 inches. It’s about one-eighth of an inch thick. It is significant as a marker of French exploration in North America, and also as a document that helps establish French claim to a vast area of North American real estate.

Fortunately for history, George O’Reilly’s plan to sell the plate for scrap metal took a different turn when he and his father met two members of the South Dakota Legislature who were out for a walk on the bluffs above Fort Pierre that Sunday. Elmer Anderson and George W. White examined the place, deciphered the date “1743” and the name, “Verendrye.”

When they returned to Pierre later that day, they telephoned Doane Robinson, the secretary of the State Historical Society, who went out next day to see the plate for himself. Eventually Robinson arranged to buy the plate with money raised from the society’s membership.

The original is now in the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, while an exact replica remains with the Verendrye Museum in Fort Pierre.

The Latin text on one side of the plate – probably stamped in France into the lead before being brought to America, historians of the South Dakota State Historical Society believe – says:

In the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Louis VX, the most illustrious Lord, the Lord Marquis of Beauharnois being Viceroy, 1741, Pierre Gaultier De La Verendrye placed this.

The French writing scratched with a knife or some other sharp implement on the other side of the plate. It is harder to read but historians think it says:

“Placed by the Chevalier Verendrye, Louis La Londette, and A. Miotte. 30 March 1743.”

WHAT IT MEANS FOR HISTORY

The Verendrye plate was one the greatest finds for history in South Dakota.

As area history enthusiast John Duffy of Fort Pierre explains, “There’s no doubt the Verendrye plate is the most significant artifact that the state owns and it’s one of the most significant artifacts of the Louisiana Purchase. It’s the document that begins the title for France that eventually leads to the Louisiana Purchase.”

Jay Vogt, director of the South Dakota State Historical Society, doesn’t disagree. He said it’s one of the two crown jewels from among the 31,000 total artifacts in the South Dakota State Historical Society’s collection – the other being the carved Sioux horse effigy that is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Native American sculpture. But the Verendrye plate is significant because it establishes without doubt where and when European explorers made their first documented visit to South Dakota.

“It’s the oldest Euro piece in our collection,” Vogt said. “French explorers tended to bury lead plates as markers of where they had been. But they weren’t too good about recording where they had buried them.”

Those Fort Pierre school children in 1913 provided an assist by unearthing the plate. Jay Smith, the museum director for the South Dakota State Historical Society, said that settled conclusively some of the scholarly speculation about where the Verendryes had traveled.

“It validates what we thought we knew about where these brothers went,” Smith said.

And, adds Dan Brosz, the society’s curator of collections, it makes a mark in time well. “It’s the earliest proof of European presence in what we now know as South Dakota,” Brosz said.

However, he notes that the oldest Native American artifacts in the collection are much older, some dating to 12,000 years ago.

THE SITE

The Verendrye Monument on the bluffs above Fort Pierre, with its historical marker, is one of only 16 National Historic Landmarks in South Dakota, Vogt said. In the Pierre area, the only other National Historic Landmarks are the former fur-trading post, Fort Pierre Choteau, just north of Fort Pierre near state Highway 1806; and the Arzberger Site in Hughes County, which was a large fortified Native American village on a mesa overlooking the Missouri River from about A.D. 1500.

Not only people from France and Canada, but even members of the Verendrye family have visited Pierre and Fort Pierre to see the artifact and the location where it was found.

Darby Nutter, board president for the Verendrye Museum of Fort Pierre, which takes its name from the Verendrye brothers, said the location is a natural vantage point to see the Missouri River, making a bend out of site toward the southeast; and it also overlooks the Bad River Valley, coming in from the west to join the Missouri.

Vogt agrees that would make the site an ideal location to leave a marker because it is the kind of site that later Europeans would be sure to visit.

“It is a fantastic view of the river and it is close to the river,” Vogt said. “There is no doubt that it was a very important place in terms of sight lines and a strategic view of the area.”

Nutter adds that the location also happened to be close to the route of the ox and mule trains as they climbed out of the Missouri River Valley to begin the long journey from Fort Pierre to Deadwood in the last decades of the 19th century.

That may have played a role in how the plate was discovered.

Though the Verendrye brothers originally stacked a cairn of rocks above the plate they buried the mark the place, the rocks had long since vanished by the time the plate was found in 1913. Nutter said the story is that passing freight wagons occasionally picked up a few rocks to take with them to help even out deep places in the trail that might otherwise be difficult for their wagons to cross.

That left no indication that anything interesting might have been buried on the bluffs above Fort Pierre.

On the other hand, Nutter adds, removing the rocks also allowed causes such as frost and erosion – and, yes, the foot traffic of Fort Pierre’s children – to expose one of the great buried secrets in South Dakota history.

___

Information from: Pierre Capital Journal, http://www.capjournal.com

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-14-13 2203GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


The Verendrye Plate, pictured here, was buried in 1743 on a Fort Pierre hillside by French-Canadian explorers Francois and Louis-Joseph Verendrye. Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.

The Verendrye Plate, pictured here, was buried in 1743 on a Fort Pierre hillside by French-Canadian explorers Francois and Louis-Joseph Verendrye. Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society.

The reverse of the Verendrye Plate. The artifact is significant because it establishes where and when European explorers made their first documented visit to South Dakota. Image courtesy of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

The reverse of the Verendrye Plate. The artifact is significant because it establishes where and when European explorers made their first documented visit to South Dakota. Image courtesy of the South Dakota State Historical Society.

Edward Hopper, ‘Blackwell’s Island,’ 1928, oil on canvas, 35 x 60 inches. Estimate: $15 million - $20 million. Image courtesy Christie’s.

Edward Hopper painting coming to Christie’s auction

Edward Hopper, ‘Blackwell’s Island,’ 1928, oil on canvas, 35 x 60 inches. Estimate: $15 million - $20 million. Image courtesy Christie’s.

Edward Hopper, ‘Blackwell’s Island,’ 1928, oil on canvas, 35 x 60 inches. Estimate: $15 million – $20 million. Image courtesy Christie’s.

NEW YORK (AP) – A Edward Hopper painting of New York City’s Roosevelt Island is coming to auction where it’s estimated to sell for up to $20 million.

Blackwell’s Island will be offered May 23 at Christie’s. The large-scale oil has never come to auction before.

The 1928 painting has been exhibited in major museums including New York’s Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

It was recently included in the first major retrospective of Hopper’s work at the Grand Palais in Paris.

It depicts the island from across the river against a dark silhouette of buildings. The island was renamed for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1971.

The current Hopper record is $26.9 million for Hotel Window.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-26-13 1827GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Edward Hopper, ‘Blackwell’s Island,’ 1928, oil on canvas, 35 x 60 inches. Estimate: $15 million - $20 million. Image courtesy Christie’s.

Edward Hopper, ‘Blackwell’s Island,’ 1928, oil on canvas, 35 x 60 inches. Estimate: $15 million – $20 million. Image courtesy Christie’s.

Auguste Rodin, ‘The Fallen Caryatid with Stone,’ 1911-18, with Moore's ‘Upright Motive No.9,’ 1979, in the background. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Musée Rodin, Paris.

Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin meet in English field

Auguste Rodin, ‘The Fallen Caryatid with Stone,’ 1911-18, with Moore's ‘Upright Motive No.9,’ 1979, in the background. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Musée Rodin, Paris.

Auguste Rodin, ‘The Fallen Caryatid with Stone,’ 1911-18, with Moore’s ‘Upright Motive No.9,’ 1979, in the background. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Musée Rodin, Paris.

PERRY GREEN, England (AP) – Henry Moore has company on his muddy home turf.

At the late British artist’s former home in the English countryside, swooping sculptures sit on rain-sodden fields, and sheep graze at the base of monumental bronzes. Now they have been joined by figures created by Auguste Rodin, for an exhibition that aims to tease out the connections between the French master sculptor and the English modernist.

The only problem, right now, is the weather. Britain’s long, wet winter has left the countryside a soaking mess. Unlike most art shows, this one is best approached in waterproof boots.

“You’ve got water on the fields reflecting the forms, which is beautiful – but it’s muddy,” curator Anita Feldman said during a preview of the show on Tuesday. “But the lambs are out, which is beautiful.”

The Henry Moore Foundation owns the house and farmland where the artist lived from the 1940s until his death in 1986. Set amid woods and fields about 30 miles north of London, it is a gallery and sculpture park devoted to the work of Moore, whose large, fluidly curved bronzes stand in 39 countries around the world.

“Moore Rodin,” which opens Friday and runs to Oct. 27, marks the first time the foundation has placed pieces by another artist alongside Moore’s work on the lawns and fields.

The two artists never met; Moore was a 19-year-old soldier in World War I when Rodin died in 1917. But Moore Foundation Director Richard Calvocoressi said that between then they “reinvented the language of figurative sculpture.”

Feldman acknowledged that people may not immediately see the connections between Moore – best known for massive abstracted forms – and Rodin, creator of The Thinker and other iconic human figures.

“The first thing people think of with Henry Moore is that it’s weighty and static and timeless,” she said Tuesday. “Whereas Rodin is all about movement and gesture.”

Rodin’s muscular nudes are more obviously classical in inspiration than Moore’s stretched and warped figures.

But Feldman said Moore admired Rodin and owned a cast of the French artist’s Walking Man, which he photographed in detail. And the two are both unmistakably modern artists: Inspired by antiquity and by Renaissance geniuses like Michelangelo, they studied classical art then took it apart.

Feldman said both felt that “by breaking down and condensing form you can distill it to something that’s essential.”

“They are connecting with the past to make a modern sculpture that is very humanistic,” Feldman said.

They also both thought a great deal about locating art in a landscape – and made big works that are shown off to excellent effect on the Moore Foundation’s 50-acre site.

The exhibition of more than 100 works, including 12 large outdoor sculptures, includes many pieces loaned by the Musee Rodin in Paris – and one uprooted from its plinth outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

The Burghers of Calais – Rodin’s affecting depiction of the French city’s leaders surrendering to the English after a 14th-century siege – has stood for decades outside the seat of British government.

Moore called it the best piece of public sculpture in London. Now it stands in a field, near Moore’s bronze Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae. The juxtaposition makes it clear that both are kinetic sculptures that unfold as the viewer walks around them.

Nearby, Rodin’s Jean d’Aire, a nude figure with clenched fists from 1887, stands opposite Moore’s The Arch, made 80 years later – a completely different work with some of the same tense energy.

In an inside gallery are models and drawings by both artists that reveal more links. Both men often fragmented the human body, sculpting isolated torsos and hands and heads. Moore’s drawings of hunched Londoners sheltering from the Blitz in Underground stations are hung alongside Rodin’s “black drawings,” illustrations of vulnerable human figures drawn in the years after the Franco-Prussian War.

Moore’s daughter, Mary Moore, has assembled a cabinet full of objects collected by both men. Rodin’s are mostly classical antiquities; Moore’s, reflecting his fascination with found objects and art from non-Western cultures, include a Persian model of a lynx, a stone Aztec head and a piece of driftwood.

Mary Moore, who grew up in the house and watched as her father began buying more land and dotting it with his creations, said she was struck by the differences between the two artists, rather than the similarities.

“It’s a generational difference. I was amazed to hear that Rodin didn’t carve. He was a modeler, whereas my father was a consummate carver.”

But she said she welcomed the visiting artworks.

“They are human scale,” she said. “They fit perfectly in the parkland landscape.”

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-19-13 1959GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Auguste Rodin, ‘The Fallen Caryatid with Stone,’ 1911-18, with Moore's ‘Upright Motive No.9,’ 1979, in the background. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Musée Rodin, Paris.

Auguste Rodin, ‘The Fallen Caryatid with Stone,’ 1911-18, with Moore’s ‘Upright Motive No.9,’ 1979, in the background. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Musée Rodin, Paris.

Henry Moore, ‘Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae,’ 1968-69, with other sculptures in the gardens at Perry Green. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Mus√©e Rodin, Paris.

Henry Moore, ‘Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae,’ 1968-69, with other sculptures in the gardens at Perry Green. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Mus√©e Rodin, Paris.

Auguste Rodin, ‘Cybele,’ large model 1905 with other sculptures in the gardens at Perry Green. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Mus√©e Rodin, Paris.

Auguste Rodin, ‘Cybele,’ large model 1905 with other sculptures in the gardens at Perry Green. Photo: Mike Bruce. By permission of the Henry Moore Foundation / Mus√©e Rodin, Paris.

Diego Velazquez portrait of Francesco I d'Este. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Velázquez masterpiece makes US debut at Metropolitan Museum

Diego Velazquez portrait of Francesco I d'Este. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Diego Velazquez portrait of Francesco I d’Este. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

NEW YORK – Velázquez’s Portrait of Duke Francesco I d’Este, one of the great portraits of the 17th century from one of the most prestigious regional museums in Italy, will be on view at the Metropolitan United States, will also coincide with and celebrate the May opening of the Metropolitan Museum’s renovated New European Paintings Galleries, 1250-1800.

The painting is temporarily leaving its home during the closure of the Galleria Estense in Modena due to damages sustained during the severe earthquake in the Emilia Romagna region in May 2012.

The exhibition, “Velázquez’s Portrait of Duke Francesco I d’Este: A Masterpiece from the Galleria Estense, Modena,” is organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with the Soprintendenza per i Beni Storici, Artistici ed Etnoantropologici di Modena e Reggio Emilia and the Galleria Estense.

Diego Velázquez’s depiction of Francesco I d’Este (1610-58), the Duke of Modena, is one of the artist’s most distinctive portraits. Authoritative and sophisticated, the Duke of Modena appears in Velázquez’s portrait as the quintessential 17th-century ruler and aristocrat. Painted while the duke was visiting Madrid in 1638 to secure the support of King Philip IV, the work conveys the duke’s air of arrogance and sensuality, and is a high watermark in the history of baroque portraiture, while also illustrating the importance of Velázquez’s portraits to Spanish diplomacy.

Francesco I d’Este became Duke of Modena and Reggio Emilia in 1629 and his rule was shaped by the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48). Caught between France and Spain and those countries’ interests in the Italian peninsula, he tried to steer his small state effectively through the perilous waters of international politics. In the fall of 1638, Francesco traveled to Spain, trying to forge a stronger alliance with King Philip IV and to garner financial support for Modena. Philip IV was keen to please and impress his Italian ally, and upon his arrival in Madrid, Francesco was given quarters in the new royal residence of the Buen Retiro, where he could admire some of the king’s extraordinary art collections. Philip appointed him Viceroy of Catalonia, Admiral of the Fleet, and a member of the Council of State. The king then bestowed on Francesco the most prestigious honor in Spain, the order of the Golden Fleece.

While the duke was in Spain, the king’s court artist, Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660), painted his portrait. Originally from Seville, Velázquez had moved to Madrid in 1622 and worked for the royal court. Over the years, he produced magnificent portraits of the king and members of the royal family. Philip commissioned an equestrian portrait of the duke and, while the large portrait was never finished, Velázquez must have completed the head of the duke soon after he was given the Golden Fleece, which Francesco sports in the painting. The portrait, therefore, must date between Oct. 24 and Nov. 4, 1638, when the duke left to return to Italy. This work may have been preparatory for the equestrian portrait and could have been brought back to Italy by Francesco. In 1843 the painting was acquired by the Galleria Estense in Modena, Italy.

The exhibition and its related programs will be featured on the museum’s website at www.metmuseum.org.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Diego Velazquez portrait of Francesco I d'Este. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Diego Velazquez portrait of Francesco I d’Este. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The oldest and best preserved parchment manuscript of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Photo provided by Cincinnati Museum Center.

Ten Commandments scroll making brief run in Cincinnati

The oldest and best preserved parchment manuscript of the Ten Commandments will be on display in 'Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times' at Cincinnati Museum Center from March 29 to April 14. Photo provided by Cincinnati Museum Center.

The oldest and best preserved parchment manuscript of the Ten Commandments will be on display in ‘Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times’ at Cincinnati Museum Center from March 29 to April 14. Photo provided by Cincinnati Museum Center.

CINCINNATI (AP) – The Ten Commandments scroll – one of the most important of the Dead Sea Scrolls in existence – is going on display in Cincinnati beginning Friday.

The tightly guarded scroll, one of the approximately 900 Dead Sea Scrolls in existence, can be seen through April 14 at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

The Ten Commandments scroll will be added for the last 17 days of the exhibit “Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times,” which also features 10 other scroll fragments from Israel. The scrolls are of great historical and religious significance because they include the earliest known surviving manuscripts of text included in the Hebrew Bible.

The Ten Commandments scroll is one of only two ancient manuscripts to feature the commandments, the foundation of Jewish and Christian religions. The other one, known as the Nash Papyrus, is at Cambridge University in England.

Written in Hebrew on a narrow strip of parchment, the scroll is believed to be between 2,010 and 2,060 years old. It is a reasonably well-preserved fragment, including one piece sewn onto another.

The scroll’s arrival in Cincinnati is huge for the Museum Center, which has been negotiating with the Israel Antiquities Authority for months to show it.

“From the way they set up its restrictions for travel, this is their most protected,” David Duszynski, the museum’s vice president of featured experiences, told The Cincinnati Enquirer for a story Wednesday. “It was an opportunity that we couldn’t resist bringing to Cincinnati.”

Duszynski said the Antiquities Authority requires that this particular scroll be stored in darkness for one year after every 10 days of exhibition, although Cincinnati was able to get that display period extended to 17 days.

When the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit was in New York early last year, the Ten Commandments scroll was briefly displayed, but it was not part of the Philadelphia stop and will not be at the next venue, Boston. It has come to North America only twice before, to Toronto and San Diego.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves near the ancient Israel desert settlement of Qumran, near the sea, in the 1940s and ’50s. There are different theories as to who wrote them.

___

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

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-27-13 1328GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The oldest and best preserved parchment manuscript of the Ten Commandments will be on display in 'Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times' at Cincinnati Museum Center from March 29 to April 14. Photo provided by Cincinnati Museum Center.

The oldest and best preserved parchment manuscript of the Ten Commandments will be on display in ‘Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times’ at Cincinnati Museum Center from March 29 to April 14. Photo provided by Cincinnati Museum Center.

Even a vintage metal dress form like this one from Paris becomes a design element in a contemporary home setting. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Kamelot Auctions.

Mixing elements is key to creating personal decorating style

Even a vintage metal dress form like this one from Paris becomes a design element in a contemporary home setting. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Kamelot Auctions.

Even a vintage metal dress form like this one from Paris becomes a design element in a contemporary home setting. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Kamelot Auctions.

SAN FRANCISCO (PRWEB) – Rustic, industrial, eclectic, ’60’s modern or early 20th century vintage are favorite home interior designs today. Within each style, the individual personalities of a home’s inhabitants can add personal accents – edgy, masculine, feminine, time-worn appeal or budget chic – with their choices and personal collections. Often these styles are mixed and matched, as each family member makes their mark.

One of the hallmarks of home styles today is the way elements are mixed together. Wood with metal, stone with glass, brick with brass, as well as other combinations, can work together. Metal that’s tarnished, faded, dented or worn is what’s most striking in industrial or rustic home designs – while polished chrome and shiny finishes are found in contemporary decor styles.

Rustic, industrial, eclectic, ’60s modern or early 20th century vintage have become today’s favorite home-interior designs because of the plethora of flea markets, antique fairs, swap meets, garage sales and secondhand stores that have attracted so many homeowners. Every collector/homemaker has had the freedom to put together a unique home design with each market treasure scored. In fact, to many of these flea market warriors, the more abused and time-worn the industrial, rustic or vintage piece appears, the better. Men and women both find the character of the imperfections in wood or metal pieces irresistible. Bold wooden furniture pieces can provide the charm of a room design and add a one–of–a-kind style with its imperfections. Perhaps most interestingly, this beaten up patina works well when placed next to a leather sofa or upholstered chair.

The wonderful aspects of industrial or modern furniture designs are the clean lines and lack of adornment of each furniture piece. Industrial or modern room styles are not accentuated with many accessories. The original graphic artwork found on a large metal sign looks fantastic by itself against an exposed brick wall. A table full of knick knacks is often found in an eclectic home style that combines artwork collections with vintage décor piece collections. However, a few décor accessories often work better as accents in any interior design, rather than the entire collection. So a vintage décor collection pared down to a few objects will provide a greater design impact. Often items that are simple in function and have a bold industrial or rustic look to them can be the most eye-catching.

Common design characteristics of both the rustic and industrial styles are the intricate designs of early metal machine parts that have often been repurposed into light fixtures, lamp bases, wall décor, table tops and room sculpture. To some, a connection to a past industrial or rural era evokes the design spirit of a purer or more simplistic time. The opposite is true of more contemporary styles. Instead of the patina of imperfections or age, a contemporary style will showcase the highly polished perfections of machine-age designs that evoke the desire for a shiny and perfect future.

Find design ideas online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com and at www.KindaChic.com.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Even a vintage metal dress form like this one from Paris becomes a design element in a contemporary home setting. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Kamelot Auctions.

 

Even a vintage metal dress form like this one from Paris becomes a design element in a contemporary home setting. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Kamelot Auctions.

Premier contemporary designers led the charge in combining disparate elements and styles. This Albert Paley (American, b. 1944-) console/sofa table is made of forged and fabricated steel and wood, with eccentrically pleated and mashed metal adornments. It is expected to make $25,000-$45,000 at Palm Beach Modern's March 30 auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Premier contemporary designers led the charge in combining disparate elements and styles. This Albert Paley (American, b. 1944-) console/sofa table is made of forged and fabricated steel and wood, with eccentrically pleated and mashed metal adornments. It is expected to make $25,000-$45,000 at Palm Beach Modern’s March 30 auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Mount Vesuvius as seen from the ruins of Pompeii, which was destroyed in the eruption of AD 79. The active cone is the high peak on the left side. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Pompeii exhibition brings doomed Roman town to life

Mount Vesuvius as seen from the ruins of Pompeii, which was destroyed in the eruption of AD 79. The active cone is the high peak on the left side. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Mount Vesuvius as seen from the ruins of Pompeii, which was destroyed in the eruption of AD 79. The active cone is the high peak on the left side. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

LONDON (AP) – Pompeii is the little Roman town that became a byword for sudden, violent death. A new exhibition at the British Museum wants it to be equally famous for raucous, exuberant life.

Most visitors will know how residents of Pompeii and its neighbor Herculaneum died – in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. The volcano, long thought dormant, belched out a superheated cloud of fast-moving gas and debris that incinerated residents where they stood – and preserved the towns as museums of Roman life, frozen in time.

“Pompeii and Herculaneum were ordinary towns, but it was an extraordinary disaster,” said Vanessa Baldwin, assistant curator of the exhibition. “It was a tragedy, but it preserved them for us.”

Pompeii’s extraordinary end still fascinates, making it one of the world’s most-visited ancient sites. “Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum,” which opens Thursday and runs to Sept. 29, looks set to be one of the museum’s biggest-ever hits. It has sold 50,000 advance tickets, and will reach an even bigger audience when a live event in June is broadcast to hundreds of movie theaters across Britain.

It aims to un-freeze the picture, bringing to life a vibrant society completely unaware that disaster was about to strike.

Many of the 450 objects in the show have never left Italy before. They have been loaned by Italian archaeological officials, who have themselves come under fire for the fragile state of the ancient site on the Bay of Naples.

The exhibition aims to give a vivid sense of how the towns’ ancient residents lived, through artifacts including mosaics, paintings, carbonized furniture and even the charred remains of residents’ meals.

“We want people to take a fresh look at the Romans,” Baldwin said Tuesday. “We want them to come away feeling a bit closer to them, feeling like they can relate more to them. They can go into their kitchens and recognize things that they have in their own kitchen.”

The exhibition is structured around the rooms of a typical wealthy resident’s house, from the shops at the entrance to the atrium, bedrooms, kitchen and garden – and even the latrine. Among the items proudly displayed are the contents of a cesspit: broken jars, lamps and perfume bottles, coins and jewelry – though not, thankfully, the 700 bags of ancient excrement also found there.

Elsewhere there are sturdy cooking pots, elegant serving dishes and sleek mass-produced tableware, along with wooden items whose survival for 2,000 years – carbonized by the heat of the volcano – seems miraculous.

An elegant wooden side table and a baby’s crib are not much different from versions in use today. The heat also preserved items of food, including bread, grains, dates and pomegranates.

Then, as now, food was a key part of home life and the economy. Some merchants grew rich from fish sauce, or garum, a Roman kitchen staple made from fermented mackerel heads and guts. Both ordinary and kosher varieties were available, and several of the elegant clay jars are on display.

British Museum Director Neil MacGregor said that what has emerged from the ash at Herculaneum and Pompeii “was not at all the Rome people thought they would find. It was much more complex – a much funnier, a much livelier place to live.”

The exhibition shows that it was certainly a richly decorated, colorful world. Floors and walls were adorned with mosaics and frescoes of plants, animals and humans – the latter often in explicitly sexual poses.

Phalluses abound – on monuments, good-luck charms, even wind chimes – and there are examples of erotic art that shocked the 18th-century Europeans who rediscovered them. A marble statue of the god Pan coupling with a nanny goat is likely to stop 21st-century visitors in their tracks, too.

For all the familiarity of this Roman world, there are surprises. The exhibition reveals that Pompeii and Herculaneum were less stereotypically “Roman” places than we might think. Many residents were descended from Greeks or other groups, and more than half were slaves or freed slaves.

It was also an era of considerable social mobility. Freed slaves, known as liberti, were a powerful segment of society, owning businesses and properties.

A prominent role was played by women, who could own wealth and go into business, but not vote or hold public office. A fresco of a baker and his wife shows them as business partners and apparent equals.

Inevitably, the towns’ sudden end casts a poignant shadow over the exhibition.

It’s not known how many people died in the eruption of Vesuvius, but 1,500 bodies have been found in the two towns, which are still only partially excavated. Two-thirds of Herculaneum and a third of Pompeii remain buried.

In one room of the exhibition is a floor mosaic of a guard dog – an ancient “Beware of the Dog” sign. Elsewhere is the dog himself, contorted in agony in his final moments. Volcanic ash hardened around the canine corpse, which eventually rotted away. Centuries later, archaeologists poured plaster into the gap, creating a perfect dog-shaped mold.

The same technique has been used on some of the human victims, including a whole family, hunched against the deadly heat, a child huddled in its mother’s lap.

Despite all the death, it is the vivid life of the towns that makes the strongest impression.

One exhibit is a sign from a dining room, which advises guests: “Don’t dirty the couch covers, keep your eyes off other people’s partners and take your quarrels home with you.”

That’s good advice, even now.

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Online: http://www.britishmuseum.org

Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-26-13 1701GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Mount Vesuvius as seen from the ruins of Pompeii, which was destroyed in the eruption of AD 79. The active cone is the high peak on the left side. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Mount Vesuvius as seen from the ruins of Pompeii, which was destroyed in the eruption of AD 79. The active cone is the high peak on the left side. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Illustration of a dodo from Martyn's 'A New Dictionary of Natural History' (London, 1785). Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.

Rare dodo bone leads Apr. 24 Natural History sale at Christie’s

Illustration of a dodo from Martyn's 'A New Dictionary of Natural History' (London, 1785). Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.

Illustration of a dodo from Martyn’s ‘A New Dictionary of Natural History’ (London, 1785). Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2013.

LONDON – The flightless and perennially intriguing dodo bird may have disappeared from earth more than 300 years ago, but a tangible reminder of the remarkable-looking creature is already creating a buzz in the run-up to Christie’s April 24 auction in London. The company will be offering a rare fragment of a dodo bone femur in its Travel, Science and Natural History sale at its South Kensington gallery. The bone is entered in the sale with a $15,100-$22,700 estimate.

The specimen is believed to be the first dodo bone to come to auction since 1934. First recorded by Dutch sailors in 1598 on the remote island of Mauritius, the dodo was driven to extinction in the late 17th century, less than a hundred years after its discovery. This femur bone was almost certainly excavated in 1865 at Mare aux Songes, in the southeastern part of Mauritius during the famous dig by George Clark (1807-1873), a natural history enthusiast.

Comprising more than 260 lots, Christie’s April 24 auction features a wide array of works, including curiosities of natural history, globes, scientific instruments, rare books and maps, alongside paintings and works of art from the ages of exploration.

James Hyslop, Head of Travel, Science and Natural History, Christie’s South Kensington commented: “As an icon of extinction, the dodo is second to none. From its appearance in Alice in Wonderland to the expression “dead as dodo,‟ the bird has cemented its place in our cultural heritage. This exciting discovery is one of the few pieces of dodo material in private hands, and it is a privilege, and humbling experience, to have been entrusted with the bone. It is a reminder of the effect humans have on the natural world, and presents a rare opportunity to engage with this now lost and most enigmatic bird.”

Another marvel of the natural world that highlights the upcoming auction is a very rare and complete sub-fossilised elephant bird egg (Aepyornis maximus), pre-17th century. It is expected to make $32,000-$45,000.

The egg is 100 times the size of an average chicken egg. It measures 8¾ inches (21cm) in diameter and 12 inches (30cm) in height.

The extinct elephant bird, a native of Madagascar, was the largest bird ever to have lived. Resembling a heavily-built ostrich with long legs and talons, it grew to around 10-11ft in height and is thought to have been hunted to extinction in Madagascar between the 14th and 17th centuries. Fragments of eggs can be found in the southern part of the island, but whole examples such as the one to be auctioned by Christie’s are extremely rare.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Illustration of a dodo from Martyn's 'A New Dictionary of Natural History' (London, 1785). Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.

Illustration of a dodo from Martyn’s ‘A New Dictionary of Natural History’ (London, 1785). Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2013.

Portion of dodo femur, the first to come to auction since 1934. To be auctioned at Christie's South Kensington gallery on April 24. Est. $15,100-$22,700. Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.

Portion of dodo femur, the first to come to auction since 1934. To be auctioned at Christie’s South Kensington gallery on April 24. Est. $15,100-$22,700. Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2013.

Sub-fossilized pre-17th century elephant bird egg. To be auctioned at Christie's South Kensington gallery on April 24. Est. $32,000-$45,000. Image courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.

Sub-fossilized pre-17th century elephant bird egg. To be auctioned at Christie’s South Kensington gallery on April 24. Est. $32,000-$45,000. Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2013.

Picture postcard depicting the Saratoga track, 1907. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Historic Saratoga track plans thoroughbred walk of fame

Picture postcard depicting the Saratoga track, 1907. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Picture postcard depicting the Saratoga track, 1907. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) – They’re saddling up to celebrate the 150 years of thoroughbred racing in Saratoga Springs.

Local tourism and New York Racing Association officials have gathered Tuesday at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame to announce the Hoofprints Walk of Fame. The project will pay tribute to the most accomplished thoroughbreds to compete at Saratoga Race Course over the past century and a half.

The Walk of Fame will be just outside the clubhouse gates and feature an inaugural class of 30 horses. Each thoroughbred will be represented by a granite plaque with information on its owner, trainer, jockey and signature wins at Saratoga.

Installation of the plaques will begin this spring and be completed before opening day in July.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-26-13 1615GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Picture postcard depicting the Saratoga track, 1907. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Picture postcard depicting the Saratoga track, 1907. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Oglethorpe Auctions, St. Simons, Ga., will sell this hand-painted Mathushek piano on April 6. The piano was made in New Haven, Conn., and has a June 24, 1884 patent date. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com and Oglethorpe Auctions.

5 tips to help determine the value of an old piano

Oglethorpe Auctions, St. Simons, Ga., will sell this hand-painted Mathushek piano on April 6. The piano was made in New Haven, Conn., and has a June 24, 1884 patent date. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com and Oglethorpe Auctions.

Oglethorpe Auctions, St. Simons, Ga., will sell this hand-painted Mathushek piano on April 6. The piano was made in New Haven, Conn., and has a June 24, 1884 patent date. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com and Oglethorpe Auctions.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (PRWEB) – A vintage instrument often occupies a special place in a person’s heart and mind, whether it is the heirloom piano from a grandparent’s home or an old piano from church. As such, many people find themselves coming into possession of these antiques as they get passed down or handed off.

Michael Stinnett, owner of the Antique Piano Shop in Tennessee, says the most common question he receives through his website is, “What is this piece worth?”

“The best way to determine the value of your old piano is to get it appraised by a professional,” he said. “However, there are a few things an owner can look for that can give a sense of whether the piano is valuable or not.”

Stinnett offers these five tips to determine the potential value of an antique piano.

1. Age – Piano age is different from car age. A car becomes an antique when it’s 25 years old. However, most 50-year-old pianos are considered modern. In order for a piano to be considered antique, it needs to be closer to 100 years old, and age alone does not make it valuable. The Antique Piano Shop generally deals in instruments built before the Great Depression, although there are some rare pieces built during the World War II years that are considered historically important.

2. Unique qualities – Does the piano have any ornate or custom woodworking? Does it have an interesting or unusual design? Is it made with an uncommon wood or other material? Was it previously owned by or made for a celebrity? An answer of “yes” to any of these questions may mean that particular piano is more valuable than its counterparts.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, pianos were generally offered in different grade levels. For example, a manufacturer would offer “Good,” “Medium” and “Best” grades. The “Good” grades were usually the basic and simple models, often with only two pedals instead of the more popular three pedals, and were usually sold at a more affordable price for the average consumer. The “Medium” grades, which were sold in the largest quantities, were usually a bit more elaborate, larger and offered additional features such as three pedals instead of two pedals. The “Best” grades were extremely elaborate, and would have cost as much as a small house at the time.

3. Brand name – In general, particularly when dealing with pianos made in the 20th century, pianos that cost more when they were originally purchased are worth more today. In theory, brand names with a lot of name recognition like Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Knabe and Chickering, could potentially have more value than lesser-known brands. In the real market, however, Stinnett says he is seeing lesser-known brand names, often of superior quality, selling for as much or more than pianos from more well-known manufacturers because they are perceived as more rare.

4. Condition – This one comes with a caveat. While a piano that needs a lot of work may not have much “as is” value, it could be worth much more after restoration. However, when determining that value of the piano as it currently sits, condition certainly comes into play. Is the finish coming off? Are the pedals functional? What do the hammers and strings look like on the inside? The answers to these questions can determine how much a piano can sell for right now. Before selling, an owner might want to consider having a professional restore an antique piano, as restoration can significantly increase the value of the instrument.

5. Level of restoration – Similar to condition, the level of restoration can go toward determining the value of a piano. Many people often mistake a piano as being “restored” when in fact only a few cosmetic improvements were made. Since most people don’t know what to look for, especially on the inside, they might be surprised to learn that their piano wasn’t restored at all, but just refinished or painted, which is a far cry from complete restoration. This can mean the piano isn’t worth as much as the owner might have thought.

To learn more, visit the Antique Piano Shop restoration services page at http://www.antiquepianoshop.com/restoration-services/ or the online museum at http://www.antiquepianoshop.com/online-museum.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Oglethorpe Auctions, St. Simons, Ga., will sell this hand-painted Mathushek piano on April 6. The piano was made in New Haven, Conn., and has a June 24, 1884 patent date. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com and Oglethorpe Auctions.

Oglethorpe Auctions, St. Simons, Ga., will sell this hand-painted Mathushek piano on April 6. The piano was made in New Haven, Conn., and has a June 24, 1884 patent date. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com and Oglethorpe Auctions.