A Karl Lagerfeld for Tiziani design evocative of Lagerfeld’s earliest days as a designer. He had not yet developed his signature sketching style, which later would evolve to including finished makeup, detailed hat, etc. A board member from Versace who saw this sketch said, “The Met should be cataloging this. This is from the period when Lagerfeld and so many of the greats were just getting started, like St. Laurent, Versace, etc.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Jan. 11: Palm Beach Modern to auction Lagerfeld+Liz fashion archive

A Karl Lagerfeld for Tiziani design evocative of Lagerfeld’s earliest days as a designer. He had not yet developed his signature sketching style, which later would evolve to including finished makeup, detailed hat, etc. A board member from Versace who saw this sketch said, “The Met should be cataloging this. This is from the period when Lagerfeld and so many of the greats were just getting started, like St. Laurent, Versace, etc.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

A Karl Lagerfeld for Tiziani design evocative of Lagerfeld’s earliest days as a designer. He had not yet developed his signature sketching style, which later would evolve to including finished makeup, detailed hat, etc. A board member from Versace who saw this sketch said, “The Met should be cataloging this. This is from the period when Lagerfeld and so many of the greats were just getting started, like St. Laurent, Versace, etc.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Karl Otto Lagerfeld is a fashion legend. As head designer and creative director for both Chanel and Fendi, not to mention the mastermind of his own premier label, Lagerfeld’s creations are a staple in the wardrobes of wealthy trendsetters the world over. But few may realize how instrumental Karl Lagerfeld was in transitioning couture to the mainstream in the 1960s.

It was Lagerfeld who, nearly half a century ago, helped launch the designer ready-to-wear concept while still a young and evolving designer with the House of Tiziani in Rome. The historical connection between Lagerfeld and the beginning of designer ready-to-wear has never been widely acknowledged, but a 50-year-old archive to be auctioned Saturday, January 11th in West Palm Beach tells the story in stunning visual detail. Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

“This 1960s archive, which was maintained by the founder of Tiziani, Evan ‘Buddy’ Richards (1924-1994), has been passed down through consecutive estates and is absolutely unique,” said auctioneer Rico Baca of Palm Beach Modern Auctions, the company conducting the sale. “It contains Lagerfeld sketchbooks – some showing entire ready-to-wear lines for a season – hundreds of individual sketches by Lagerfeld and other Tiziani designers, hundreds of photos of couture shows, and several signed photos and personal notes from Elizabeth Taylor to Tiziani.” The collection’s piece de resistance, a Tiziani coral gown with feathered cape, is matched to the original, pre-production sketch. The sale also includes four other pieces of Tiziani couture – three dresses and a beaded top – plus four Mary McFadden couture garments and a mod-style Kiki Hart pantsuit.

Tiziani designed for European royalty and other very wealthy women, including Gina Lollobrigida, Debbie Reynolds, Doris Duke and Princess Marcella Borghese. The label was a particular favorite of Elizabeth Taylor’s. During the years that Lagerfeld designed for Tiziani Roma under the mentorship of Richards – a Texas-born opera singer turned couturier – a close personal and working relationship developed between the three individuals. Taylor even chose Tiziani to design her wardrobe for at least three major motion pictures.

The intimate friendship between “Tizi” and Taylor was revealed in a Nov. 19, 1966 Washington Post News Service article, in which the couturier described a party he was planning at his new apartment in Rome. Richards stated the guests of honor would be “two of [his] favorite people – Elizabeth Taylor and her husband, Richard Burton.” In the article he goes on to say that he is “doing the clothes for Miss Taylor’s new picture (Reflections in a Golden Eye),” but notes that Taylor is unhappy with the skirt length dictated by the film’s postwar timeframe.

“The picture takes place in 1948, when we had that horrible length,” Tiziani told reporter Winzola McLendon, adding that Taylor preferred her skirts “at least 1½ inches above the knee.”

No such problem existed with the designs Tiziani created for Taylor’s personal wardrobe. As the sketches to be auctioned attest, Taylor was right on trend with her fashion choices, whether miniskirts or maxi dresses. Some of the drawings are clearly marked as being for “Elizabeth Taylor Burton.”

The Tiziani archive fills a nebulous gap in fashion history. “It answers the question, ‘How and under what circumstances did couture make the leap to mainstream retail?’” said Baca. “Evan Richards and his brilliant designer Karl Lagerfeld were right at the forefront. Richards had grown weary of his couture designs being purchased, taken apart and copied line for line by top department stores in New York. Eventually, he thought, ‘Why shouldn’t we be the ones selling our designs as ready-to-wear?’ That was the beginning of it all.”

The importance of the Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz archive has been recognized in no uncertain terms by fashion-industry moguls who’ve previewed its contents. “Those who have seen it have become very excited and have had the same sort of reaction a jeweler might have when examining a rare and famous gem for the first time,” Baca said. “One person, who is on the board of a top design house, said he thinks the archive belongs in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s fashion collection. Another said they felt it should be the subject of a video documentary. But what makes this grouping of items so unusual is that it crosses so many areas of interest. It’s historical, it has a unique connection to the last great Hollywood star, Elizabeth Taylor; and it’s also art. Many are going to view the Lagerfeld sketchbooks and sketches as art first, fashion second.”

The archive will be offered in approximately 400 auction lots, complemented by 100 lots of select designer furniture and decorative art from the mid-century era. The auction will open with approximately 200 sketches and photos, followed by the furniture/art, and conclude with the archival sketchbooks and hundreds of drawings. Actual fashions will be interspersed throughout the day.

The Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction will commence at 12 noon ET on Sat., Jan. 11, 2014. The exhibition center and auction venue is located at 417 Bunker Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.

A cocktail party preview benefiting the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens will be held at the Palm Beach Modern Auctions exhibition center (address shown above) on Thursday, January 9th, commencing at 5 p.m. A $25 donation is suggested although not required. RSVP appreciated; tel. Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens at 561-832-5328 or email membership@ansg.org. Palm Beach Modern Auctions has contributed a Karl Lagerfeld original sketch as the door prize for the event.

For additional information on any item in the auction, call 561-586-5500, e-mail info@modernauctions.com.

Click to view a video about the auction:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9GKZ65SOGY&feature=em-upload_owner

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


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


A Karl Lagerfeld for Tiziani design evocative of Lagerfeld’s earliest days as a designer. He had not yet developed his signature sketching style, which later would evolve to including finished makeup, detailed hat, etc. A board member from Versace who saw this sketch said, “The Met should be cataloging this. This is from the period when Lagerfeld and so many of the greats were just getting started, like St. Laurent, Versace, etc.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

A Karl Lagerfeld for Tiziani design evocative of Lagerfeld’s earliest days as a designer. He had not yet developed his signature sketching style, which later would evolve to including finished makeup, detailed hat, etc. A board member from Versace who saw this sketch said, “The Met should be cataloging this. This is from the period when Lagerfeld and so many of the greats were just getting started, like St. Laurent, Versace, etc.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Design for dress by Tiziani, with attached fabric swatch, signed by Karl Lagerfeld and noted as being for Elizabeth Taylor. Inset detail sketch shows back of dress. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Design for dress by Tiziani, with attached fabric swatch, signed by Karl Lagerfeld and noted as being for Elizabeth Taylor. Inset detail sketch shows back of dress. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Many of the archive boxes are marked “Karl.” From one of those boxes came this design of an ankle-length 1960s-style Mod-pattern dress. Quite a few of Lagerfeld’s designs featured this model with chic, blunt-cut bouffant hair. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Many of the archive boxes are marked “Karl.” From one of those boxes came this design of an ankle-length 1960s-style Mod-pattern dress. Quite a few of Lagerfeld’s designs featured this model with chic, blunt-cut bouffant hair. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Tiziani beaded coral gown with long feathered cape, offered with matching original sketch (not shown). From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Tiziani beaded coral gown with long feathered cape, offered with matching original sketch (not shown). From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Mini dress on same model, from box of sketches marked “Karl.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Mini dress on same model, from box of sketches marked “Karl.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Signed photo from Liz to Tiziani says: “To darling Evan with much love. As always, Elizabeth.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Signed photo from Liz to Tiziani says: “To darling Evan with much love. As always, Elizabeth.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Sketch of maxi dress marked for “Elizabeth Taylor Burton,” from box of sketches marked “Karl.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Sketch of maxi dress marked for “Elizabeth Taylor Burton,” from box of sketches marked “Karl.” From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Model Jean Shrimpton with Tiziani (Evan Richards). From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Model Jean Shrimpton with Tiziani (Evan Richards). From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Model Jean Shrimpton with Tiziani (Evan Richards). From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Model Jean Shrimpton with Tiziani (Evan Richards). From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Stamp on back of photos of Jean Shrimpton and Tiziani. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Stamp on back of photos of Jean Shrimpton and Tiziani. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Letter on Grand Hotel Roma stationery that Elizabeth Taylor sent from Salzburg to Evan Richards (“Tiziani”) on Jan. 2, 1968, wishing him well on his new collection. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Letter on Grand Hotel Roma stationery that Elizabeth Taylor sent from Salzburg to Evan Richards (“Tiziani”) on Jan. 2, 1968, wishing him well on his new collection. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

March 17, 1972 list of outfits (with prices) selected for Ohrbach’s Paris-Rome couture shows, with designs by Tiziani as well as Chanel, Valentino, Chanel, Givenchy, YSL, etc. List is followed by a press release from Ohrbach’s. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

March 17, 1972 list of outfits (with prices) selected for Ohrbach’s Paris-Rome couture shows, with designs by Tiziani as well as Chanel, Valentino, Chanel, Givenchy, YSL, etc. List is followed by a press release from Ohrbach’s. From the Jan. 11, 2014 Tiziani: Lagerfeld + Liz Auction. Palm Beach Modern Auctions image.

Cody family photo album including personal and professional portraits, photos of Wild West Shows and Western scenery. Estimate $8,000/$10,000. Cowan's Auctions image.

Cowan’s Auctions to sell collection of Buffalo Bill family photos, Jan. 31

Cody family photo album including personal and professional portraits, photos of Wild West Shows and Western scenery. Estimate $8,000/$10,000. Cowan's Auctions image.

Cody family photo album including personal and professional portraits, photos of Wild West Shows and Western scenery. Estimate $8,000/$10,000. Cowan’s Auctions image.

CINCINNATI — Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. will host the Patsy Garlow Collection of Cody Family Photographs on Jan. 31, 2014, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers. The auction consists of over 200 lots of personal Cody family photographs documenting the showman’s life. Rare family albums and individual photos of Cody’s career with the “Wild West” shows he popularized and promoted will be offered in this extraordinary collection. The Garlow collection is considered the largest privately held collection of Buffalo Bill photographs in existence, and outside of the collection held by the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, is unmatched in its scope.

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917) was an American soldier, Western scout, buffalo hunter and most notably, a showman. Cody founded the “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” in North Platte, Nebraska in 1883. His Wild West shows toured North America and Europe for decades until his death in 1917.

The majority of the items included in the January 31 auction passed down directly through  in the family of William F. Cody’s daughter, Irma Louise Cody Garlow (1884-1918). Irma married Frederick Harrison Garlow Sr and had three children: Frederick Harrison Garlow Jr, William Joseph Garlow, and Jane Cody Garlow Hallehan-Keane. When their parents died two days apart in the influenza pandemic of 1918, their grandmother, Louisa Cody, raised the three children. Fred Garlow Jr married Margaret Sutherland and they had two children: Patricia Ann Garlow (b. 1948) and Mark Frederick Garlow (b. 1952). Most of these items were in the possession of Patricia (Patsy) Ann Garlow’s family, Buffalo Bills’ direct great-granddaughter. From the 1960s to the late 1990s, the items in the collection were on loan to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming.

One of the featured items in the sale is a Cody family photograph album, including 301 personal and professional portraits; and photos of Wild West Show performers and Western scenery (est. $8,000/$10,000). Another lot, consisting of two albums of William F. Cody at Leisure, compiled and presented by the illustrator R. Farrington Elwell, is expected to sell for $6,000/$8,000.

Other exceptional photographs in the auction include three large-format photographs by Grabill of Indian Chiefs and U.S. officials, including William F. Cody at Wounded Knee. These three photographs will be offered as lot numbers 11, 12 and 13. All three are expected to bring $1,000/$1,500 each at auction.

Many of the images in the sale demonstrate how popular and well-traveled Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show really was. A photograph of the Wild West Show in Naples, Italy, pictured at the foot of Mount Vesuvius is estimated to bring $1,500/$2,500, a large-format portrait of Buffalo Bill Cody in Bath, England, by Walter G. Lewis is expected to sell for $1,000/$1,500; an image of Buffalo Bill Cody meeting the Shah of Persia at a performance in Vichy, France in 1905 is estimated at $800/$1,200; and an exceptional series of four photographs of Buffalo Bill and Wild West Show Indians overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the Cliff House in San Francisco is estimated at $2,500/$3,500.

The January 31st sale includes photographs of William Cody all the way up until his death on January 10th, 1917. Two of the last photographs of Cody, taken five days before his death, with his doctor at Glenwood Springs, Colorado, will hit the auction block with individual estimates of $600/$800.

Additional notable lots include a poster titled “The Life of Buffalo Bill in 3 Reels,” which is estimated to bring $3,000/$5,000; a hat worn by W.F. Cody and given to a Wild West Show advance agent, which is expected to sell for $1,500/$2,500, and a film reel titled “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show: A Grand Review,” which is estimated at $1,000/$1,500.

For more information about the auction call Matt Chapman at 513-871-1670, ext. 216.

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


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Cody family photo album including personal and professional portraits, photos of Wild West Shows and Western scenery. Estimate $8,000/$10,000. Cowan's Auctions image.

Cody family photo album including personal and professional portraits, photos of Wild West Shows and Western scenery. Estimate $8,000/$10,000. Cowan’s Auctions image.

Two albums of 'William F. Cody at Leisure, Compiled and Presented by Illustrator R. Farrington Elwell.' Estimate $6,000/$8,000. Cowan's Auctions image.

Two albums of ‘William F. Cody at Leisure, Compiled and Presented by Illustrator R. Farrington Elwell.’ Estimate $6,000/$8,000. Cowan’s Auctions image.

Indian Chiefs and U.S. officials, including William F. Cody, at Wounded Knee. Large-format photograph by Grabill (1 of 3). Estimate $1,000/$1,500. Cowan's Auctions image.

Indian Chiefs and U.S. officials, including William F. Cody, at Wounded Knee. Large-format photograph by Grabill (1 of 3). Estimate $1,000/$1,500. Cowan’s Auctions image.

‘A Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Hotel Emrich, 485 to 489 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.’ is the wording on the label under glass on this antique holiday gift flask. It once held a half pint of whiskey. The bottle sold for $468 at an online Norman C. Heckler bottle auction.

Kovels Antiques & Collecting: Week of Dec. 30, 2013

‘A Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Hotel Emrich, 485 to 489 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.’ is the wording on the label under glass on this antique holiday gift flask. It once held a half pint of whiskey. The bottle sold for $468 at an online Norman C. Heckler bottle auction.

‘A Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Hotel Emrich, 485 to 489 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.’ is the wording on the label under glass on this antique holiday gift flask. It once held a half pint of whiskey. The bottle sold for $468 at an online Norman C. Heckler bottle auction.

BEACHWOOD, Ohio – New Year’s Eve celebrations have long included alcoholic drinks. A toast to the New Year is part of the party, along with music, noisemakers and a New Year’s wish and kiss. In the early 1900s, bars were the hub of much social activity. Neighborhood folks would eat, drink and talk as they do today, but of course without a sportscast on a nearby TV set.

Gifts from the saloon management to regular customers were expected. In the 1880s, a popular gift was a special small glass flask filled with whiskey. Its label read “Season’s Greetings,” and included the name of the giver – a hotel, bar or bartender. These holiday bottles are very collectible today. Price is determined by the shape and color of the bottle and the historic interest in the giver.

Norman C. Heckler & Co., which operates online bottle auctions, recently sold a circa 1900 gift bottle from the Hotel Emrich in Washington, D.C., for $468. It had a label under glass, which added to the value.

Q: My grandmother, who was born in the late 1800s, had some pieces of silverware that I now own. I would like to preserve them and display them in a shadow box for my children. Is there something I can put on the silver to keep it from tarnishing?

A: Silver that is going to be displayed, not used for eating, can be lacquered to prevent tarnish. It should be cleaned before treating. You can have it lacquered by someone who repairs and restores silver, or you can buy a product meant specifically for silver and do it yourself. This can be a difficult process if the piece has an intricate design. Every bit of the silver must be covered and the lacquer must be applied evenly. Lacquer will yellow over time and may crack. You can use Renaissance Wax, a microcrystalline wax, instead of lacquer, but it will not prevent tarnish for as long. Silver can’t be polished once it is lacquered. The lacquer has to be completely removed first. The type of box the silver will be displayed in also is important. It should have an airtight lid, if possible. Don’t display the silver on felt, velvet or wool.

Q: I have a dining-room set that includes a French Provincial table with three leaves, a china cabinet with glass doors, six chairs and one armchair. All the chairs have been re-covered. A tag on the bottom of one of the chairs says “B.F. Huntley Co.” The entire set was purchased at an estate sale in the 1970s. When were these pieces made and what might their value be? I’m going to sell them before we remodel.

A: B.F. Huntley, an employee of the Oakland Furniture Co., established his own furniture company in Winston-Salem, N.C., 1906. Later he acquired the Oakland Furniture Co. and two other furniture companies. In 1961 B.F. Huntley Furniture Co. merged with the Thomasville Chair Co. and became Thomasville Furniture Industries. Your vintage furniture is worth what comparable new sets sell for today.

Q: I have a very old glass plate that my great-grandmother gave me when I was 10 years old. That was 73 years ago. It’s decorated with cigar bands on the back with a man’s picture in the center. The back of the dish is covered with a felt-like material glued over the bands and center picture. Can you tell me how old it is and if it has any value?

A: Cigar bands, the decorative strips of paper wrapped around cigars, were first made in the 1830s to identify brand names. Cigar bands made from the late 1800s until about 1920 are the most colorful and decorative. “Cigar band art,” which is sometimes referred to as a form of folk art, was a popular homemade craft in the early 1900s. The bands were used to decorate dishes, coasters, bracelets and other items. Your dish was decorated by gluing the large picture, face down, to the bottom of the dish, then gluing cigar bands face down so they completely covered the rest of the dish’s exterior. The bands were then covered with felt so that when the dish is turned upright, the bands can be seen but the back is protected by the felt. Old cigar band dishes are not hard to find. They sell for $10 to hundreds of dollars, depending on age, condition and the talent of the maker.

Q: I own a 1950s coin-operated bowling alley game. It’s 14 feet long and was made by United Manufacturing Co. of Chicago. It has scoring displays for six bowlers and was made in two sections so it can be transported easily. The game is 11 feet 2 inches long, 28 inches wide and in good condition. Please tell me what it’s worth and how marketable it is.

A: When bowling was at its peak of popularity in the 1950s, United Manufacturing made several coin-operated versions of the game for use in bars and restaurants. Some are now in the homes of collectors. United was purchased by Seeburg in 1964, but the United brand name continued to be used for years. Your game, depending on condition, could sell for $1,500 or more. We have seen the game for sale on eBay and on websites devoted to collectors of coin-operated machines.

Q: I have a cut glass vase that is 20 inches tall and very heavy. It was my mother’s, and I’m wondering what the value would be. There are no markings to show who made it. It has a cracked handle.

A: You might be able to repair the handle, but the value is lower with the crack even if it’s repaired. If in perfect condition, the vase could sell for $300 to $400, but with the crack it is worth much less.

Tip: Cranberry juice will stain stone, so be careful if you have marble-top tables. Other liquids will stain, but cranberry juice stains are especially bad.

Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel answer questions sent to 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 photographs, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The amount 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.

  • Postcard, Happy New Year, black cat, felt hat, 1907, $10.
  • Butter chip, white, Haviland, 1890, $10.
  • Ratchet noisemaker, jesters, tin lithograph, multicolor, U.S. Metal, 1950s, 4 inches, $10.
  • Lighter, Camel Cigarettes, Turkish Blend, silver, circa 1960, $75.
  • Match safe, woman seated next to barrel, porcelain, circa 1875, 7 1/2 inches, $90.
  • Coin Spot finger lamp, oil, opalescent glass, circa 1900, 13 inches, $195.
  • Bronze figure, black boy, seated, arm on knee, striped pants, painted, 2 1/2 x 3 x 3 inches, $360.
  • Mission bookcase, oak, brass knob, lock, 1900s, 58 x 41 inches, $595.
  • Scarf, 1876 Philadelphia World’s Fair, cotton, 25 x 18 inches, $700.
  • Volkstedt ceramic group, children playing chess, seated at table, 19th century, 5 1/2 inches, $795.

The Kovels have navigated flea markets for decades. Learn from the best. Kovels Flea Market Strategies: How to Shop, Buy and Bargain the 21st Century Way by Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel, tells you about the latest smartphone apps and websites to help you shop, share, and ship as well as what to wear, what to bring, and, most important, how to negotiate your way to a bargain. Also, tips on spotting fakes, advice about paying for your purchases and shipping suggestions. Full color booklet, 17 pages, 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 in. Available only from Kovels for $7.95 plus $4.95 postage and handling. Order by phone at 800-303-1996; online at Kovels.com; or mail to Kovels, Box 22900, Beachwood, OH 44122.

© 2013 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


‘A Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Hotel Emrich, 485 to 489 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.’ is the wording on the label under glass on this antique holiday gift flask. It once held a half pint of whiskey. The bottle sold for $468 at an online Norman C. Heckler bottle auction.

‘A Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Hotel Emrich, 485 to 489 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.’ is the wording on the label under glass on this antique holiday gift flask. It once held a half pint of whiskey. The bottle sold for $468 at an online Norman C. Heckler bottle auction.

Sir Alfred Gilbert’s famous Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus enclosed in a snow-glove as part of the Christmas festivities. Image Auction Central News.

London Eye: December 2013

Sir Alfred Gilbert’s famous Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus enclosed in a snow-glove as part of the Christmas festivities. Image Auction Central News.

Sir Alfred Gilbert’s famous Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus enclosed in a snow-glove as part of the Christmas festivities. Image Auction Central News.

LONDON — Happy New Year from London.

Imagine arriving at Piccadilly Circus a few days before Christmas to find Alfred Gilbert’s statue of Eros — one of the city’s most iconic landmarks — standing amid wreaths of falling snowflakes. I mean, how romantic can London get at Christmas time? But hold on … sadly we have to report that it was not real snow falling around the monument but the artificial kind, for the statue had been temporarily enclosed within a snow-globe to simulate the white Christmas we all dream about, but which never seems to happen on this wet and windy isle.

We can never be sure of a white Christmas but there is no doubt that the year ahead will bring more stormy weather thanks to the earth’s changing ecology. The ecology of the art market is also changing. We have reported here before on the imminent eviction of the art trade from venerable Cork Street, the row of galleries and small dealerships that stretches from the Royal Academy at its southern end to New Bond Street in the north. It is one of London’s longest established art streets, the first galleries opening there in the 1930s.

London’s Cork Street, poised to undergo a transformation as more and more art galleries are forced to move away by rising rents. Image Auction Central News.

London’s Cork Street, poised to undergo a transformation as more and more art galleries are forced to move away by rising rents. Image Auction Central News.

Peggy Guggenheim launched her first London venture, Guggenheim Jeune, in Cork Street, as did Freddy Mayor, founder of the Mayor Gallery. The street was originally populated mainly by tailoring businesses, commonly known as “the rag trade.” Its contemporary equivalent — up-market fashion labels — have recently come to dominate neighboring New Bond Street and Old Bond Street, two other historically important centers of the art trade (Sotheby’s has been located on New Bond Street since 1917).

Increasingly the art trade zone around New Bond Street is being occupied by high fashion brands at the expense of art galleries and dealerships. Image Auction Central News.

Increasingly the art trade zone around New Bond Street is being occupied by high fashion brands at the expense of art galleries and dealerships. Image Auction Central News.

As the fashion brands have moved in, so the rents have risen in Cork Street and environs, increasingly squeezing out the galleries that gave the area its art trade ambience.

Just before Christmas, the Mayor Gallery threw a party to bid farewell to the premises it has occupied since the 1930s before it moves in the new year to a smaller upstairs location further up the street. Unsurprisingly, given its decades-long pedigree as a crucible of irreverent surrealist fun and games, the Mayor was packed to the gunnels with ageing bohemians keen to bid the gallery a lachrymose and bibulous Christmas farewell.

Night owls at the Mayor Gallery’s valedictory Christmas party in early December, ahead of its move from the Cork Street premises it has occupied since the 1930s. Image Auction Central News.

Night owls at the Mayor Gallery’s valedictory Christmas party in early December, ahead of its move from the Cork Street premises it has occupied since the 1930s. Image Auction Central News.

Arty party animals assemble at the Mayor Gallery to bid farewell to its old premises. Image Auction Central News.

Arty party animals assemble at the Mayor Gallery to bid farewell to its old premises. Image Auction Central News.

New York party animal and trans-Atlantic art world commentator Anthony Haden-Guest was on hand to read his “noir poetry,” at times forced to scream to be heard above the din,

Anthony Haden Guest, long-time habitué of the London and New York demi-monde, reads his ‘noir verse’ at the Mayor Gallery’s farewell Christmas party. Image Auction Central News.

Anthony Haden Guest, long-time habitué of the London and New York demi-monde, reads his ‘noir verse’ at the Mayor Gallery’s farewell Christmas party. Image Auction Central News.

while British underground artist, musician and curator Richard Strange provided a two-man rock band and grungy video projection to embroider the evening’s art-punk mayhem. Whether it was Strange himself languishing in the gallery window clad in a silver mermaid outfit was not revealed, but it was very much in the spirit of a London trade refusing to go down without a stylish flourish.
A Surrealist slumbering silver mermaid greeted guests to the Mayor Gallery’s Christmas party. Image Auction Central News.

A Surrealist slumbering silver mermaid greeted guests to the Mayor Gallery’s Christmas party. Image Auction Central News.

That this brief flash of quintessentially English art world eccentricity represents the end of an era is beyond doubt. Certainly Cork Street will not be the same without the Mayor. Its forced departure from the premises it has occupied since the era of Peggy Guggenheim offers further proof, if any were needed, that corporate business gives not a fig for the cultural traditions that have given London its unique edge over other world cities.

Happily it was not all gloomy news for London art market real estate at the end of 2013. Bonhams recently opened their stunning new auction rooms just two doors up from Christie’s new private dealing gallery on New Bond Street, demonstrating that the fashion brands have not yet entirely squeezed out the art market.

Bonhams grand new premises in New Bond Street, almost next door to Christie’s new private dealing gallery. Image Auction Central News.

Bonhams grand new premises in New Bond Street, almost next door to Christie’s new private dealing gallery. Image Auction Central News.

How times have changed, though. Back in the 19th century you could pull up your horse and cart outside Bonhams Auction Rooms, but you’d have difficulty doing that today.
In the 19th century you could park your horse and cart outside Bonhams London auction rooms. Image by kind permission of Bonhams.

In the 19th century you could park your horse and cart outside Bonhams London auction rooms. Image by kind permission of Bonhams.

It will be interesting to see whether the spacious new light-filled galleries bring improved market share to Bonhams as they continue to challenge the dominance of the “big two” — Christie’s and Sotheby’s — in 2014.

Bonhams is, of course, a in the vintage transport market, having sold the world’s most valuable motor car — the Fangio 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 single-seater
— for £19,601,500 ($32.4 million) at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed Auction back in July. They at least have that specialist expertise that neither Christie’s nor Sotheby’s can match.

Meanwhile, for regional auctioneers Hartley’s it was a rather more down-to-earth mode of transport that provided an interesting moment at their December auction in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. So, if you are wondering how much a penny farthing — or, more properly, an “Ordinary Bicycle” — is worth at auction these days, we can report that the “Rational National” brand version offered at Hartleys pedaled its way up to a respectable £1,300 ($2,150).

This ‘penny farthing’ bicycle fetched £1,300 ($2,150) at Hartleys’ December sale in Ilkley West Yorkshire. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

This ‘penny farthing’ bicycle fetched £1,300 ($2,150) at Hartleys’ December sale in Ilkley West Yorkshire. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

One or two other items at the Ilkley sale are also worth mentioning, including a surprise in the ceramics section and more extraordinary prices for the painter known as “Braaq.”

Damage is never an easy thing to account for when appraising an object’s commercial potential. It all depends on rarity and whether restoration is viable. Take, for example, the mid-1930s Lenci pottery figure known as “Nella.”

A 1930s Lenci figure, ‘Nella,’ which despite damage fetched £2,500 (£4,135) at Hartleys’ auction rooms in Ilkley in December. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

A 1930s Lenci figure, ‘Nella,’ which despite damage fetched £2,500 (£4,135) at Hartleys’ auction rooms in Ilkley in December. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

Hartley’s was careful in estimating this at £200-£300 for the figure’s vulnerable outstretched fingers had sustained some damage and there were chips to the foot and ankle.
This damage to the Lenci ‘Nella’ figure did not deter bidders at Hartleys’ sale in December. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

This damage to the Lenci ‘Nella’ figure did not deter bidders at Hartleys’ sale in December. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

Back in 2011, Christie’s sold an example of Nella at their South Kensington “Interiors” sale where, despite some “restoration and damages,” it fetched £4,000 ($6,488), while Bonhams sold one at their Los Angeles rooms in October 2013 for $4,000 (£2,422). Given these precedents, Hartley’s hammer price of £2,500 (£4,135) seemed about right.

The furniture section included a Victorian mahogany extending dining table with enough leaves to make it as long as the M1 motorway. Even the extending mechanism itself looked like a section of the Hadron Collider.

Victorian engineering at its best. The mechanism of an extending dining table offered at Hartleys in West Yorkshire. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

Victorian engineering at its best. The mechanism of an extending dining table offered at Hartleys in West Yorkshire. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

Tables this long can either fly or fall flat, depending on whether the right people are present on sale day. In the event a cautious estimate of £1,000-£1,500 was replaced by a hammer price of £6,000 ($9,925), a perfectly fair outcome given the number of diners it will accommodate.
The Victorian extending dining table that made £6,000 ($9,925) at Hartleys in West Yorkshire. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

The Victorian extending dining table that made £6,000 ($9,925) at Hartleys in West Yorkshire. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

Oils on canvas by the late Yorkshire oil painter Brian Shields (1951-1997), better known as Braaq, continue to command high prices at Hartleys. The firm sold no fewer than 23 works by the artist in 2013 alone. This sale featured six Braaq lots, including two that suggest something of his debt to now critically acclaimed “stick-men” painter L.S. Lowry and the great Netherlandish painter of winter scenes, Pieter Brueghel the Elder. The two highest prices were for Figures Approaching a Frozen Lake, Industrial Town in the Distance,

This oil on canvas, ‘Figures Approaching a Frozen Lake, Industrial Town in the Distance,’ by the late Brian Shields (Braaq), realized £16,500 ($27,290) at Hartleys in West Yorkshire in December. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

This oil on canvas, ‘Figures Approaching a Frozen Lake, Industrial Town in the Distance,’ by the late Brian Shields (Braaq), realized £16,500 ($27,290) at Hartleys in West Yorkshire in December. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

which realized £16,500 ($27,290), and Snowscape with Figures in a Park, which made £14,000 ($23,150).
‘Snowscape with Figures in a Park,’ by Brian Shields (Braaq) which made £14,000 ($23,150) at Hartleys’ December auction in Ilkley, Yorkshire. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

‘Snowscape with Figures in a Park,’ by Brian Shields (Braaq) which made £14,000 ($23,150) at Hartleys’ December auction in Ilkley, Yorkshire. Image courtesy of Hartleys.

So, what will 2014 hold for the London and UK art market? One thing is for sure; Cork Street may be declining, but the “event-driven” art market is thriving and so we can be sure to see more art and antiques fairs. Business kicks off in January with the Mayfair Antiques & Fine Art Fair from Thursday, Jan. 9, to Sunday, Jan. 12, at the London Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square, where 45 specialist dealers will offer a range of material across the four days, while at the end of the month the Petersfield Antiques Fair takes place at the Hampshire town’s Festival Hall, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. Art dealer Graham Bentley will be showing a number of lithographs by Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949), who specialized in wood-engraving and illustration.

This archery-themed lithograph by Sir William Nicholson, who won an Olympic gold medal for his sport-related art at the 1926 Olympics in Amsterdam, will be on view at the Petersfield Antiques Fair from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. Image courtesy art dealer Graham Bentley and Petersfield Fair.

This archery-themed lithograph by Sir William Nicholson, who won an Olympic gold medal for his sport-related art at the 1926 Olympics in Amsterdam, will be on view at the Petersfield Antiques Fair from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. Image courtesy art dealer Graham Bentley and Petersfield Fair.

Interestingly, Nicholson has the distinction of being Britain’s only known artist to win an Olympic gold medal, having competed in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam at a time when the Games included a section devoted to sport-related art.

Olympics will not, however, be top of mind in the UK this year, for 2014 is World Cup soccer year. Over to Brazil!

Train station and fire station at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. Photo by Rolf Blauert.

Nebraska’s Pioneer Village gets $1M donation match offer

Train station and fire station at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. Photo by Rolf Blauert.

Train station and fire station at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. Photo by Rolf Blauert.

MINDEN, Neb. (AP) – An anonymous donor has offered to match up to $1 million in unrestricted donations to Pioneer Village in Minden.

Two donations announced last week totaled $126,000. Pioneer Village foundation board member Larry Wilcox called them “a good start to our campaign.”

The donations follow on the heels of good financial news that came from the Nebraska Supreme Court earlier this month. The court reversed a 2011 decision by the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission said Pioneer Village’s motel and campgrounds should not get the same property tax exemptions as the museum.

Pioneer Village museum says it has the world’s largest private collection of Americana, with about 50,000 exhibits in 28 buildings on 20 acres of land in the south-central Nebraska community.

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Train station and fire station at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. Photo by Rolf Blauert.

Train station and fire station at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. Photo by Rolf Blauert.

The People's Store at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. Photo by Rolf Blauert.

The People’s Store at Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska. Photo by Rolf Blauert.

The rotunda at the north end of Ohio Stadium at arts-minded Ohio State University was designed to look like the dome at the Pantheon in Rome. Photo by Wally Gobetz, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Ohio State wants to create arts district in Columbus

The rotunda at the north end of Ohio Stadium at arts-minded Ohio State University was designed to look like the dome at the Pantheon in Rome. Photo by Wally Gobetz, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The rotunda at the north end of Ohio Stadium at arts-minded Ohio State University was designed to look like the dome at the Pantheon in Rome. Photo by Wally Gobetz, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio State University wants to invest as much as $200 million over the next decade to create an arts district with a goal of helping make Columbus a world-class arts destination.

The university envisions tying together its arts, dance, music and performing arts buildings, and eventually connecting them to the art galleries, museums and other artistic spaces in downtown Columbus and a trendy district in between known as the Short North.

The goal is to bring together artists, dancers and musicians from Ohio State and the community, College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Manderscheid told The Columbus Dispatch.

“We live in a wonderful city, and it makes sense for us to take advantage of the cultural gems that surround us and to expand the partnerships we already have with the various arts organizations,” Manderscheid said.

Plans call for Sullivant Hall, Wexner Center for the Arts and Mershon Auditorium — all on High Street — to serve as the entrance to the district.

Sullivant Hall, which got a $33 million makeover that took more than two years, is now home to world’s largest museum of comics art, as well was OSU’s dance- and art-education departments.

William B. Conner, managing director and CEO of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, lauded the plans.

“Our relationship with the university is very important to us,” he said. “And Ohio State’s vision of creating an arts district on campus that connects the university to downtown will create a really dynamic environment for all of us.”

Instead of trying to come up with $200 million for the district all at once, the university is paying for each project one at a time. OSU has set aside $50 million for the new arts district from the $483 million up-front payment the school received for leasing its parking operation to a private investor.

The master plan also suggests that the university consider building a performing-arts complex along High Street that might include a black-box theater and a theater that could accommodate opera.

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Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The rotunda at the north end of Ohio Stadium at arts-minded Ohio State University was designed to look like the dome at the Pantheon in Rome. Photo by Wally Gobetz, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The rotunda at the north end of Ohio Stadium at arts-minded Ohio State University was designed to look like the dome at the Pantheon in Rome. Photo by Wally Gobetz, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

One of the quirky highlights of Sydney Festival 2013 was Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Duck. Made of a PVC material similar to that used in jumping castles, the duck was constructed in New Zealand by a company that specializes in sewing stadium rooftops and large sails. Photo by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Apologies issued after giant duck explodes in Taiwan…again

One of the quirky highlights of Sydney Festival 2013 was Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Duck. Made of a PVC material similar to that used in jumping castles, the duck was constructed in New Zealand by a company that specializes in sewing stadium rooftops and large sails. Photo by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

One of the quirky highlights of Sydney Festival 2013 was Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck. Made of a PVC material similar to that used in jumping castles, the duck was constructed in New Zealand by a company that specializes in sewing stadium rooftops and large sails. Photo by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) – A giant yellow duck on display in a northern Taiwan port exploded Tuesday, just hours before it was expected to attract a big crowd to count down the new year.

The 18-meter-tall (59-feet) duck on show at Keelung burst around noon and deflated into a floating yellow disc, only 11 days after it went on display.

It was the second time that a giant inflatable duck — a bath toy replica created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman — had burst while on show in Taiwan.

“We want to apologize to the fans of the yellow rubber duck…. the weather is fine today and we haven’t found the cause of the problem. We will carefully examine the duck to determine the cause,” organizer Huang Jing-tai told reporters.

Organizers had planned to stay open past midnight Tuesday in anticipation of a large new year crowd.

The Central News Agency cited an eyewitness as saying the rubber bird might have fallen victim to eagles which scratched it with their claws.

Three Taiwanese cities exhibited their versions of the yellow duck in 2013. But all were forced temporarily to suspend the exhibit due to bad weather or damage.

Last month the duck on display in the northern county of Taoyuan became a high-profile victim of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which triggered a power outage that caused it to deflate when an air pump stopped working.

Powerful winds caused the duck’s rear end to burst while it was being re-inflated. Organizers in Taoyuan had to borrow another duck commissioned by the Kaohsiung city government to continue the show.

The duck at Kaohsiung, which attracted four million visitors during a one-month display, was temporarily deflated and lifted ashore as a safety precaution when Typhoon Usagi pounded the island in September.

Since 2007 the original duck designed by Hofman — which is 16.5 meters tall — has traveled to 13 cities in nine countries, including Brazil, Australia and Hong Kong, on its journey around the world.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


One of the quirky highlights of Sydney Festival 2013 was Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's Rubber Duck. Made of a PVC material similar to that used in jumping castles, the duck was constructed in New Zealand by a company that specializes in sewing stadium rooftops and large sails. Photo by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

One of the quirky highlights of Sydney Festival 2013 was Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck. Made of a PVC material similar to that used in jumping castles, the duck was constructed in New Zealand by a company that specializes in sewing stadium rooftops and large sails. Photo by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Most known images of Sam Houston (1793-1863) show the 1st President of the Republic of Texas as a middle-aged or older man. This portrait of Houston by Thomas Flintoff (1809-1892) was painted between 1849 and 1853. Current location of painting: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Statue to portray Sam Houston as young man

Most known images of Sam Houston (1793-1863) show the 1st President of the Republic of Texas as a middle-aged or older man. This portrait of Houston by Thomas Flintoff (1809-1892) was painted between 1849 and 1853. Current location of painting: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Most known images of Sam Houston (1793-1863) show the 1st President of the Republic of Texas as a middle-aged or older man. This portrait of Houston by Thomas Flintoff (1809-1892) was painted between 1849 and 1853. Current location of painting: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A statue of Sam Houston planned for the Maryville Municipal Center will portray the American hero and former Blount County resident as a 20-year-old man.

Artist Wayne E. Hyde told The Daily Times that the sculpture will portray Houston at the age in which he enlisted in the U.S. Army in downtown Maryville.

Maryville city manager Greg McClain said he “knows of no other statue of Houston’s early time here.”

Hyde said he hopes to have the 7-foot-tall bronze sculpture ready for display by March 2015.

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Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.thedailytimes.com

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Most known images of Sam Houston (1793-1863) show the 1st President of the Republic of Texas as a middle-aged or older man. This portrait of Houston by Thomas Flintoff (1809-1892) was painted between 1849 and 1853. Current location of painting: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Most known images of Sam Houston (1793-1863) show the 1st President of the Republic of Texas as a middle-aged or older man. This portrait of Houston by Thomas Flintoff (1809-1892) was painted between 1849 and 1853. Current location of painting: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

News & Views: January 2014

Charger estimated at $900 hits $1.1 million

Arare Chinese charger (large flat plate) estimated by the auction house to hammer for between $600 and $900 ended up realizing more than $1.1 million. Jeffrey Walker, president of Walker’s Fine Arts & Estate Auctions in Toronto, Canada, admitted he wasn’t up on his late Yuan/early Ming Dynasty chargers prior to the auction, so he assigned the plate a modest pre-sale estimate even after several people told him it was quite rare. No kidding. Produced in an imperial kiln, only a few examples are known to exist.

The glazed pottery, featuring a three-clawed dragon, is between 300 and 500 years old. The seller was the George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art in Toronto. It acquired it as a gift from Mrs. Waltraud Ellis, the widow of John Ellis, a former member of the Canadian Parliament. Upon her passing in June, she donated the plate to the museum. It was believed to have been passed down by her Austrian grandparents. The museum decided to sell it to invest in Canadian pottery and ceramics. The buyer was not identified.

 

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An evening view of the courtyard at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian.

Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery showcases Egyptians’ reverence for Nile

An evening view of the courtyard at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian.

An evening view of the courtyard at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The new “The Nile and Ancient Egypt” show at the Freer Gallery poses an obvious question: What’s an exhibit of Egyptian artifacts doing at one of the two Smithsonian museums of Asian art?

“Most of these objects were collected by Charles Lang Freer himself,” says curator Alexander Nagel, so it makes sense to display them in his eponymous museum. And Freer felt his mission — to help scholars draw connections between great civilizations throughout human history — would be unfulfilled without specimens from Egypt.

A self-made millionaire, Freer retired at age 46 and spent the rest of his life gathering art. Most of it originated in Asia, but he also made three trips to Egypt between 1906 and 1909. He died in 1919, and his collection became the Freer Gallery, which opened in 1923.

While traveling through Egypt by train, sailboat and donkey, Freer brought back about 1,500 objects, most of which are no bigger than a nickel.

Nagel plucked around 20 pieces (plus some larger items) from these multitudes, including jewel-like glass vessels, mosaic tiles and animal-shaped amulets.

Ancient Egyptians believed that the amulets, which came in the shape of crocodiles, hippos and other river creatures, provided the wearer protection and blessings, perhaps because of their close relationship to the Nile’s life-giving waters, Nagel says.

Small cosmetics bottles decorated with wave-like patterns also reflect ancient Egyptians’ deep reverence for the Nile, Nagel says. The curator and his colleagues recently X-rayed these vessels to find clues about ancient glassmaking methods. The shape of the bottles’ interior walls suggests that Egyptian craftsmen used a sandy-clay core to mold the glass, and then dug out the clay once the glass was cool.

Freer also bought tiny glass tiles featuring detailed images of faces or masks. Artisans mass-produced the objects by fusing together long glass rods and then cutting tiles off the end like slice-and-bake cookies, Nagel says.

Though beautiful, these tiles are fairly common. “Every museum has a few,” he says. That’s perhaps because Freer — a discerning collector of Asian art — was not very schooled in Egyptian antiquities. His purchases include hundreds of underwhelming artifacts (shards of pottery, seed-sized glass beads) and even a few which are clearly fakes.

His occasional credulity can be chalked up to his sheer awe of Egypt. In 1907, Freer told a friend that his hoard would be incomplete without examples of “the greatest art in the world.”

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


An evening view of the courtyard at the Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian.

An evening view of the courtyard at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian.