Barbara Hepworth in the Palais studio in 1963 with unfinished wood carving 'Hollow Form with White Interior.' Photograph by Val Wilmer, courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate.

Calder, Hepworth, Pollock headline Tate exhibit slate for 2015

Barbara Hepworth in the Palais studio in 1963 with unfinished wood carving 'Hollow Form with White Interior.' Photograph by Val Wilmer, courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate.

Barbara Hepworth in the Palais studio in 1963 with unfinished wood carving ‘Hollow Form with White Interior.’ Photograph by Val Wilmer, courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate.

LONDON – Tate announced today highlights of its 2015 exhibition program. They include retrospectives of two of the most significant figures in international modern sculpture – Alexander Calder and Barbara Hepworth – and major exhibitions of the painters Frank Auerbach, Marlene Dumas and Jackson Pollock.

At Tate Modern in the autumn, “Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture” is the artist’s first major retrospective in the UK. Calder (1898-1976) is known for his invention of the mobile and, as a pioneer of kinetic sculpture, played an essential role in reshaping the history of modernism. Earlier in the autumn, The World Goes Pop will tell new and different stories about Pop art from the 1960s and 1970s. It will reveal how one of the world’s most accessible art movements was often a subversive international language for criticism and public protest.

The first half of 2015 at Tate Modern features three major retrospectives by prominent modern and contemporary painters. Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979) celebrated the modern world of movement, technology and urban life as a significant figure of the Parisian avant-garde from the 1920s. American minimalist painter Agnes Martin (1912-2004) came to prominence in the 1960s with her subtle, evocative canvases marked out in pencil grids and pale color washes. And Marlene Dumas’s (b. 1953) paintings reflect contemporary anxieties about life and death, gender and sexuality, and the influence of mass media and celebrity.

At Tate Britain the first retrospective in London since 1968 of the work of Barbara Hepworth (1903-75) opens in the summer. One of the most successful sculptors in the world during the 1950s and 1960s, it will emphasize Hepworth’s now often overlooked prominence and significance in the international art world. Frank Auerbach (b.1931) has made some of the most resonant and inventive paintings of recent times, of people and of the urban landscapes near his studio in Mornington Crescent. Tate Britain is working closely with the artist on an autumn exhibition of works from the 1950s to the present day. From the autumn, the group exhibition Art and Empire will present art of the last three hundred years, including contemporary works, associated with the British Empire.

There is an emphasis on photography at Tate Britain in the spring of 2015. “Salt & Silver: Early Photography 1840-1900” is devoted to original salted prints, one of the earliest forms of photography. “Nick Waplington and Alexander McQueen” is the result of a unique collaboration between photographer Nick Waplington and acclaimed fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Fly-on-the-wall photographs by Waplington of McQueen producing his final collection are integrated with Waplington’s work featuring landfill sites and recycling plants.

Tate Liverpool’s summer exhibition, “Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots,” will bring together the late work of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. The show will include the paintings made between 1950 and 1953 that are often referred to as the “Black Pourings.” During 2015 the gallery will also stage solo exhibitions by Geta Bratescu, Leonora Carrington, György Kepes, Glenn Ligon and Cathy Wilkes.

Tate St. Ives will mark the centenary year of Terry Frost’s birth, with a solo exhibition opening at the same time as one of the work of contemporary artist Jessica Warboys. The exhibitions will look at their shared use of symbolism, their vocabulary of forms and their playful approach to landscape.


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Barbara Hepworth in the Palais studio in 1963 with unfinished wood carving 'Hollow Form with White Interior.' Photograph by Val Wilmer, courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate.

Barbara Hepworth in the Palais studio in 1963 with unfinished wood carving ‘Hollow Form with White Interior.’ Photograph by Val Wilmer, courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate.

This Empire drop-leaf table, circa 8130, has as solid mahogany top and base with crotch cut mahogany veneer on the drawer front and skirt.

Furniture Specific: Is that really mahogany?

This Empire drop-leaf table, circa 8130, has as solid mahogany top and base with crotch cut mahogany veneer on the drawer front and skirt.

This Empire drop-leaf table, circa 8130, has as solid mahogany top and base with crotch cut mahogany veneer on the drawer front and skirt.

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. – All that glitters is not that expensive stuff and all that is red in antique furniture is not mahogany. In fact not even the mahogany is red most of the time and half of what you think is mahogany is not.

The wood most often called mahogany in modern times, since the mid 18th century or so, is commonly known as Honduran mahogany, Swietnia macrophylla, the large leaf version, named after the Dutch physician who described the genus in 1760. Although harvested primarily for convenience along coastal Honduras, this variety also grows in Jamaica, Florida and South America. But this is not the “true” mahogany that started the ball rolling for New World woods. The real stuff is Swietnia mahogani, the so-called Cuban mahogany, which has a higher specific gravity and darker color than its large leafed cousin.

This is the wood originally identified in the 16th century as a type of cedar tree, used by Cortez to build ships and by Raleigh to repair them. It was widely used in royal residences in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries but was far too exotic and expensive for ordinary cabinetmaking. It was not until the beginning of the 18th century that the Honduran variety, known in England as Jamaican mahogany to avoid the heavy import duty, became readily available in commercial quantities.

The common name for the tree was bestowed upon it by workers from Nigeria, enslaved on the early plantations of Jamaica. They identified a tree that appeared to be identical to one from their homeland, Khaya sengalenisi, and gave it the same tribal name they used in Africa: M’Oganwo. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out how that became “mahogany,” although at different times and in different places it was known as mohogony, mohogani, mehogeny, etc., etc. You get the drift. Except in France of course, where it was called “Acajou.”

No matter what it was called, it became a standard for English furniture after 1715. It was particularly favored for tabletops because of the immense size of the available planks. It was not unknown for a single plank to be 6 feet wide and 20 feet long – or more in some cases – something that no European source could match.

And mahogany had several other things going for it. Even though it had been around for 200 years, the new availability opened opportunities for cabinetmakers who had not been given the chance to work with it. Not only was it something new and novel, it was easy to work with, a trait not found in the indigenous walnut and oak of the English Isle. Its close grain, smooth texture and softer surface were much more amenable to intricate carving and not nearly so hard on the tools of the period as the native resources. It also polished up nicely to a warm glow and the almost infinite variety of grain patterns was a delight to designers. But the crowning impetus for the beginning of the “Age of Mahogany” was the loss of the nearest competitor. The standing stock of European walnut was virtually eradicated by the Walnut Blight of the winter of 1709. Since it takes 10 to 20 years to slow dry a walnut log, after the existing stocks of cured wood were exhausted there was no more furniture grade walnut available in commercial quantities until late in the century. (The same thing, to a lesser degree, occurred in the United States during World War II. The hardwood stands of America were denuded since nearly every G.I., whether stateside or overseas, carried an M1 Garand or M1 carbine with a walnut stock. The forests did not recover commercially until the early 1960s.

Mahogany really came into its own in the mid 18th century with the designs of Thomas Chippendale and the Georgian explosion that lasted for decades. The first real slowdown in the mahogany rage came as the result of Napoleon’s blockade in 1806 to close the Continent to British trade. Since English ships carried the most mahogany from the Caribbean, it did hurt the overall industry but English cabinetmakers still had plenty of good stock, while French artisans had to make do with coloring domestic woods “in the fashion of mahogany.”

This initial imitation of mahogany eventually launched a major commercial change in direction for the furniture industry. The search for a cheaper, more readily available substitute for the expensive rain forest import took on new importance in the Victorian era. In America newly built furniture factories were in full operation by mid century and it took an enormous quantity of wood to keep them operating seven days a week. All manner of techniques were employed to disguise various woods, mostly maple and birch, as mahogany. Cherry was used liberally in Empire and Restauration furniture because of the base color. Other domestic woods were stained, painted, glazed or grained in an effort to create a faux Swietnia.

But the ultimate answer came quite accidentally and was not immediately recognized for what it was. In 1856 an English chemist by the name of William H. Perkin, had an accident while trying to produce quinine from coal tar. What he ended up with was the first aniline dye, mauve. Aniline itself is a colorless, highly toxic liquid produced from chlorobenzene and is used in the manufacture of explosives. The new dye, based on this potentially lethal base, became the foundation for the process that produced the vividly colored fabrics of the late 19th century.

By the time the furniture industry caught on to this new coloring agent it was almost 1900. The effect was dramatic. Structural members made of mahogany became almost unheard of in the retail furniture trade. Mahogany was relegated to strictly a decorative role in the form of veneer for the most part. And the manufacturers and dealers of the early 20th century made no secret of the substitutes. Sears, Roebuck & Co., in its 1902 wish book, took great pains to explain and promote its use of other than mahogany. In the description of a five piece parlor set, its “$17.90 SWELL SUITE”, the text points out “The frames are substantially made of the best selected birch with a fine mahogany finish. … It gives the same general effect as genuine mahogany and is very much less expensive … and you have the same strength as you would have in genuine mahogany furniture.” Elsewhere the catalog describes the finish as “simulated mahogany” or “imitation mahogany.” Thus the cat was out of the bag in a big way.

And it was not just Sears. It was the entire industry for the most part. The great Colonial Revival movement of the 20th century owes it very existence to the use of dyes used to simulate mahogany and walnut in furniture that would not have been produced during the Depression years had the real thing been employed. That revelation and the development of a curing process that allowed the commercial use of red gum as a secondary wood in the 1920s were the cornerstones of 20th century American furniture until the introduction of particleboard in the late 1950s, which ended the history of furniture as far as I am concerned.

Is it still possible to find furniture made of mahogany? Of course. Go to any real antique store, auction or show and most of what you see will be mahogany of some type or another. But be prepared to be just skeptical enough to not believe that every dark red piece of wood is mahogany.

Send your comments, questions and pictures to me at PO Box 215, Crystal River, FL 34423 or email them to me at info@furnituredetective.com

 

Send comments, questions and pictures to Fred Taylor at P.O. Box 215, Crystal River, FL 34423 or email them to him at info@furnituredetective.com.

Visit Fred’s newly redesigned website at www.furnituredetective.com and check out the new downloadable “Common Sense Antiques” columns in .pdf format. His book How To Be a Furniture Detective is available for $18.95 plus $3 shipping. Send check or money order for $21.95 to Fred Taylor, P.O. Box 215, Crystal River, FL, 34423.

Fred and Gail Taylor’s DVD, Identification of Older & Antique Furniture ($17 + $3 S&H) is also available at the same address. For more information call 800-387-6377 (9 a.m.-4 p.m. Eastern, M-F only), fax 352-563-2916, or info@furnituredetective.com. All items are also available directly from his website.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


This Empire drop-leaf table, circa 8130, has as solid mahogany top and base with crotch cut mahogany veneer on the drawer front and skirt.

This Empire drop-leaf table, circa 8130, has as solid mahogany top and base with crotch cut mahogany veneer on the drawer front and skirt.

This late 18th century table is made of very wide single boards of solid mahogany with satinwood edge banding.

This late 18th century table is made of very wide single boards of solid mahogany with satinwood edge banding.

This settee from a parlor set, circa 1900, is made entirely of birch with a mahogany finish as described in the Sears catalog. A similar five-piece upholstered set was shown in the 1902 catalog for $12.45.

This settee from a parlor set, circa 1900, is made entirely of birch with a mahogany finish as described in the Sears catalog. A similar five-piece upholstered set was shown in the 1902 catalog for $12.45.

This lamp table from the late 1940s has a crotch cut mahogany veneer top and a red gum edge. Crotch cut veneer is cut from the intersection of a large branch with the trunk or the intersection of two large branches. That creates the

This lamp table from the late 1940s has a crotch cut mahogany veneer top and a red gum edge. Crotch cut veneer is cut from the intersection of a large branch with the trunk or the intersection of two large branches. That creates the

The turned and carved pedestal, legs and feet of the lamp table, like the edge of the top, are  made of gum, colored to look like mahogany.

The turned and carved pedestal, legs and feet of the lamp table, like the edge of the top, are made of gum, colored to look like mahogany.

Gallery Report: August 2014

Famille rose plaques, $463,000, Michaan’s

A pair of famille rose porcelain plaques from the Republic period of Wang Qi (1884-1937) sold for $463,000 at a Fine Asian Works of Art Auction held June 23 by Michaan’s Auctions in Alameda, Calif. Also, a folding screen inset with porcelain plaques coasted to $59,000; two huanghuali horseshoe back armchairs with side table fetched $100,300; a landscape hanging scroll by Wu Hufan (1894-1968) made $59,000; a cinnabar lacquer scroll form box brought $38,350; and a spinach double gourd-form wall vase reached $23,600. Prices include a 17 percent buyer’s premium.

Read more

Alex Katz (b. 1937), 'Katherine and Elizabeth,' 2012. Oil on linen, 72 x 186 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise. © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

Alex Katz mural going up near Whitney museum’s new home

Alex Katz (b. 1937), 'Katherine and Elizabeth,' 2012. Oil on linen, 72 x 186 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise. © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

Alex Katz (b. 1937), ‘Katherine and Elizabeth,’ 2012. Oil on linen, 72 x 186 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise. © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

NEW YORK (AP) – A monumental mural by Alex Katz will be mounted directly across from the Whitney museum’s future home in New York’s Meatpacking district.

The work by the New York-based artist is titled Katherine and Elizabeth.

The 17-foot-by-29-foot digital print depicting close-ups of two friends will flank the TF Cornerstone building. It will be visible from the nearby High Line.

It’s expected to be installed in September.

It is part of a series of planned public art installations in the space that will feature different American artists. The museum is collaborating with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art on the five-year project.

The Whitney is moving from its longtime uptown location to a new Renzo Piano-designed building next spring.

TF Cornerstone is a real estate development company.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-07-30-14 1353GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Alex Katz (b. 1937), 'Katherine and Elizabeth,' 2012. Oil on linen, 72 x 186 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise. © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

Alex Katz (b. 1937), ‘Katherine and Elizabeth,’ 2012. Oil on linen, 72 x 186 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise. © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y.

American mastodon molars at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Diver scoured Fla. riverbeds for prehistoric artifacts

American mastodon molars at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

American mastodon molars at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

OCALA, Fla. (AP) – A fishing trip to Orange Springs in 1960 introduced Alvin Hendrix to a hobby that would take him on underwater treasure hunts for the next 40 years.

Hendrix and a friend were bringing their fishing boat to a pier on the Ocklawaha River when they encountered two men docking a boat. They were carrying scuba tanks and a piece of a mastodon tooth that caught Hendrix’s attention.

“I was fascinated,” he said. “I had grown up on that river, and I didn’t know that kind of thing was there.”

Before Hendrix could make a bid for the tooth, a bikini-clad woman came out of a nearby fish camp and asked if she could have it.

“The guy said yes and the lady took the tooth and left. That just shattered me,” he said.

The incident motivated him to buy a wet suit and second-hand scuba gear, and sign up for lessons at a Crystal River diving school.

After training, Hendrix went back to the place where he had seen his first mastodon tooth. What followed were a series of adventures at the bottom of a half-dozen north central Florida rivers, where he collected thousands of historic and prehistoric artifacts.

Among Hendrix’s finds were spear tips, mammoth teeth, mastodon jawbones, a variety of tools once used by Native Americans and the bones of many animals.

Earlier this week, a smiling Hendrix showed off some of the treasures he has collected at the Silver River Museum, where his donations number more than 16,000 items, many displayed in glass-fronted cabinets or placed on shelves in the classrooms where children come on field trips to learn about Florida’s history.

To Hendrix, 81, the best use of such treasures is sharing them with youngsters.

“It’s a thrill,” he said. “I used to make speeches to the children’s classes. It’s satisfying when the children take an interest in something they never heard of before.”

Scott Mitchell, museum director, touted Hendrix’s donation of all the items as “one of the more important private artifact and fossil collections in Florida.”

“Alvin explored the rivers of North Florida with scuba equipment during the ’60s and ’70s, long before most people knew that the bottoms of these rivers were full of treasures, such as prehistoric stone tools and ice age fossils,” Mitchell noted.

“He also collected just about everything, including broken items, which gives us a very complete picture of the history of these areas in Florida. Many of his objects are on display, and all of them are available to researchers and people interested in the prehistory of North Central Florida,” Mitchell added.

Hendrix’s collection recently caught the eye of researchers who came to Ocala to study mammoth kill sites on the Silver River.

Morgan F. Smith, a candidate with the Center for the Study of Early Americans at Texas A&M University, said Hendrix directed the group to sites where he found artifacts. They also toured the museum.

“Alvin’s collection is a really phenomenal representation of the cultural diagnosis of the Paleo-Indian in Florida,” Smith said. “It’s really important in archaeology to be able to work with people who have collections like Alvin’s. When you get a collection that large, you can find out all kinds of things. The thing about Alvin is, he’s so open. He’s been very forthcoming about where he found everything, which is the way scientists and collectors should communicate.”

From the time he started collecting, Hendrix spent long hours numbering and categorizing each item, noting when and where they were found and what they likely were used for. He first stored the treasures in orange crates and shoved them underneath his house.

Hendrix said he received encouragement from many professionals, among them Barbara Purdy, retired professor of anthropology at the University of Florida and former curator in archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

In a phone interview, Purdy said most amateurs fail to keep the detailed records Hendrix has.

“Alvin’s collection was so well-documented, I really learned a lot by studying it,” Purdy said. “Because of my interest in prehistory, I was interested in his stone tool collection. I think what made Alvin make his final decision to give most of his collection to the Silver River Museum (is that) he was living in Marion County, and they were willing to take it and catalog it. It’s where it should be.”

In recent years, the cataloging fell to museum volunteer Monty Pharmer and his wife, Martha. Pharmer, 81, a retired Air Force pilot, puts in 20 to 30 hours every month at the museum. About 75 percent of his time is dedicated to Hendrix’s collection.

“They asked me if I’d be interested,” Pharmer said. “I jumped at the opportunity. While we were doing that large collection we did the computer work at home. My wife helped me immensely. We sorted the collection and put the information in the computer, so it’s easily available to researchers. They are not only important to the Silver River Museum, it’s an important bunch of Florida artifacts that date back to historical times and help to understand early Florida.”

Guy Marwick, executive director of the Felburn Foundation, founded the Silver River Museum in 1991 and served as its director until 2004. Marwick also noted the importance of Hendrix’s detailed numbering system.

“It tells a better story about what may have happened, who may have lived there, and what time periods are represented in that area,” Marwick said. It’s a tremendous collection. I mean, what kid doesn’t want to find a mastodon’s tooth or a mammoth’s tooth? Alvin never lost that passion.”

Born in 1933 in a home in McIntosh, Hendrix spent part of his boyhood scavenging for relics among the groves in Orange Springs. After graduating from Reddick High School in 1951, he put in several years at the University of Florida, but his college education was interrupted when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Afterward, Hendrix returned to UF and earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Pharmacy. In 1962, he returned to his hometown and opened a pharmacy. Hendrix lost his wife, Juliette, to cancer 15 years ago, and he retired 10 years ago.

Looking back on what he considers the greatest hobby a guy can have, he talked about some of his most memorable adventures.

“The first time I went to Sunday Bluff, about five or six miles upstream from Eureka, I found 300 pieces,” Hendrix said, his voice filled with excitement. “No one had ever been there. The water was clear and running fast. I was just picking them up off the top of one another. Two hundred of them were broken, but we found 100 complete. There was some beautiful material – bones and chert.”

Most of Hendrix’s dives were in shallow, clear water, but he also found objects in fields, in burial mounds and along shorelines. Some items were given to him by other divers. But, to him, the greatest thrill is scouring a river-bottom and coming up with your own find.

“There’s actually a tool named after me,” he said. “It’s called a Hendrix scraper. It’s a tool Indians used to scale fish.”

Then, there were the deep rivers, like the St. Johns, where Hendrix would go down about 20 feet where it was pitch black. He rigged his own lighting system using a lawn mower battery and an aircraft landing light, and attached it to his weight belt with duct tape.

Hendrix said he would spend up to seven hours a day underwater, gathering everything from stone tools and glass bottles to animal bones and conch shells. There were disappointing times when he spent all day searching and came up with nothing.

“It’s what we called bombing out when we didn’t find anything,” he said. “Sometimes, the water was too murky; sometimes there was too much silt.”

Though Hendrix has given away most of his artifacts, he has kept a few treasures that sit in a pile on his grandfather’s roll-top desk.

Laws now restrict people from taking such things from Florida’s rivers, but Hendrix believes some leeway should be given to professionals.

“They’ve got to make a distinction between looters and legitimate anthropologists,” he said. “It’s a good law, because people were going out and selling these things on Craigslist. We don’t know where they’re going. We want to keep them in Florida.”

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-07-30-14 1458GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


American mastodon molars at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

American mastodon molars at the State Museum of Pennsylvania. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Chelsea Hotel lobby in 2009. Image by Historystuff2. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Artist’s foundation sues over missing NYC hotel painting

Chelsea Hotel lobby in 2009. Image by Historystuff2. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Chelsea Hotel lobby in 2009. Image by Historystuff2. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

NEW YORK (AP) – A former owner of the Chelsea Hotel, for decades a famed artists’ haunt, has removed and won’t return a loaned Larry Rivers painting that hung in the lobby, the pop art pioneer’s foundation said in a lawsuit Tuesday.

Dutch Masters was plucked from its prominent spot after real estate baron Joseph Chetrit bought and began renovating the Manhattan hotel in 2011, and his management rebuffed demands to return it, the Larry Rivers Foundation’s suit says.

“Unfortunately, the foundation was put in the position of having to file this lawsuit,” said one of its lawyers, Judith Wallace.

A representative for Chetrit, who has since sold his stake in the hotel, had no immediate comment.

The landmark hotel gained renown as a haven for the creative. Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol, and Arthur Miller were a few of those who spent time there (Bob Dylan recounted “stayin’ up for days in the Chelsea Hotel / writin’ ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’” in his 1975 song Sara). In the hotel’s most infamous moment, Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, there in 1978.

Rivers, who died in 2002 after a career that also included acting and filmmaking, was among the artists in the hotel’s orbit. He painted Dutch Masters – also known as Syndics of the Drapery Guild as Dutch Masters – in the late 1970s as part of a series of similar works, according to the foundation, which safeguards his legacy. The image was plainly based on the cover of a Dutch Masters cigar box, even including the cigars.

Rivers lent the roughly 8-foot-by-5 1/2-foot (2.4-meter-by-1.65-meter) Dutch Masters painting to the hotel in about 1998, to replace another painting of his that he had sold, according to the lawsuit. It values the painting at $250,000 or more.

A Chetrit spokeswoman said in January 2012 that all the artwork in the hotel had been cataloged and stored elsewhere for safekeeping during the renovations, according to a Daily News report then.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-07-30-14 0732GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Chelsea Hotel lobby in 2009. Image by Historystuff2. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Chelsea Hotel lobby in 2009. Image by Historystuff2. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

An Egyptian death mask from the 18th dynasty at the Louvre in Paris. Image by Anonymous - Rama. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 France.

US drops effort to reclaim mummy mask for Egypt

An Egyptian death mask from the 18th dynasty at the Louvre in Paris. Image by Anonymous - Rama. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 France.

An Egyptian death mask from the 18th dynasty at the Louvre in Paris. Image by Anonymous – Rama. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 France.

ST. LOUIS (AP) – A 3,200-year-old mummy mask at the center of a years-long custody fight will stay at the St. Louis Art Museum now that the U.S. government is giving up its fight to reclaim it for Egypt.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said Tuesday that the Department of Justice will take no further legal action to reclaim the funeral mask of Lady Ka-Nefer-Nefer, a noblewoman who died in 1186 B.C.

The mask went missing from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo more than 40 years ago. The St. Louis Art Museum said it researched the provenance of the mask and legitimately bought it in 1998.

A federal judge ruled in 2012 that the U.S. government provided no evidence of “theft, smuggling or clandestine importation.” An appeals court panel later agreed.

“We were relying on the lack of any records showing a lawful transfer,” Callahan said. “The court ended up deciding that wasn’t enough to lead to an inference of stealing.”

A message seeking comment from Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Museum attorney David Linenbroker applauded the decision, saying: “We believe that it received a full and fair proceeding, and we’re glad that it’s finally coming to an end.”

The mask is 20 inches (50 centimeters) long, made of painted and gilded plaster-coated linen over wood with inlaid glass eyes. It was excavated from one of the Saqqara pyramids, south of Cairo, in 1952.

U.S. government investigators suspected that the mask was stolen sometime between 1966, when it was shipped to Cairo for an exhibit, and 1973, when the Egyptian Museum discovered it was missing.

The art museum bought the mask in 1998 for $499,000 from a New York art dealer. The museum’s research showed that the mask was part of the Kaloterna private collection during the 1960s, before a Croatian collector, Zuzi Jelinek, bought it in Switzerland and later sold it to the dealer, Phoenix Ancient Art of New York, in 1995.

Egyptian officials began trying to get the mask back once they learned of its whereabouts in 2006. Negotiations failed, prompting the legal fight between the U.S. government and the art museum that began in 2011.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-07-29-14 1842GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


An Egyptian death mask from the 18th dynasty at the Louvre in Paris. Image by Anonymous - Rama. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 France.

An Egyptian death mask from the 18th dynasty at the Louvre in Paris. Image by Anonymous – Rama. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 France.

Opened in 1965, the Astrodome was the world's first multipurpose, domed sports stadium. Image by EricEnfermero. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Vote to designate Astrodome state landmark postponed

Opened in 1965, the Astrodome was the world's first multipurpose, domed sports stadium. Image by EricEnfermero. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Opened in 1965, the Astrodome was the world’s first multipurpose, domed sports stadium. Image by EricEnfermero. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

HOUSTON (AP) – The Texas Historical Commission has postponed a vote on whether to designate the Houston Astrodome as a “state antiquities landmark,” a status that would make demolishing the iconic structure harder.

The commission postponed the vote Wednesday during its meeting in the West Texas city of Alpine.

The Astrodome is in no immediate danger of being torn down, despite voter rejection last year of a $217 million bond issue to turn it into a multipurpose special events center. Nevertheless, its future remains uncertain.

The designation would mean any proposal to alter or demolish the Astrodome would need commission approval. While the designation doesn’t bar demolition, preservation groups say it would provide an extra layer of protection.

The Astrodome has been closed to all events since 2009.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-07-30-14 0504GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Opened in 1965, the Astrodome was the world's first multipurpose, domed sports stadium. Image by EricEnfermero. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Opened in 1965, the Astrodome was the world’s first multipurpose, domed sports stadium. Image by EricEnfermero. This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Marburger Farm Antique Show image

Marburger Farm show taps Fountain of Youthfulness, Sept. 30-Oct. 4

Marburger Farm Antique Show image

Marburger Farm Antique Show image

ROUND TOP, Texas – While, other antique shows strategize how to attract younger buyers, the Marburger Farm Antique Show in Round Top strategizes how to make the aisles big enough for baby strollers to pass both ways. Younger shoppers in their 20s, 30s and 40s abound at the blockbuster show held twice a year in central Texas. Expect to see multiple generations, interior designers, store buyers, moms, dads, dogs, grandparents, hipsters and celebrities enjoying the 43 acres of antiques assembled by 350 top exhibitors from across the U.S. and around the world.

“Marburger Farm attracts younger buyers because it is not a traditional antique show,” said exhibitor Christopher English of Antediluvian Antiques & Curiosities from Lake Placid, N.Y. “Just the amazing booth displays at Marburger are worth the trip, plus such exciting merchandise – there is no other show like it.” What do younger shoppers like? “They like old things, but with a ‘wow’ factor,” English continued. “Weird things like Victorian taxidermy and tramp art, the unusual and the curious.” English will arrive in Texas with plenty of curiosities, including lodge and Adirondack antiques, high-end decorative antiques and a life-size carved wooden cow from the Borden Dairy family estate.

The mix of Marburger Farm merchandise includes French, Swedish, English, American, Asian, Industrial, Mid-Century Modern, jewelry, art, silver, rugs, lighting, folk art and more. With dealers spilling out of 10 huge tents and 12 historic buildings, shoppers will seek sustenance for more shopping at the full-service Marburger Café and refreshment at the Blacksmith Shop bar with ice-cold beer and “Marburitas.”

In the Artisan Tent shoppers will find Marburger artisan Dakota Pratt, himself a young adult, who started coming to Marburger from California with his parents to sell one-of-a-kind sculptures made from bottle caps and other vintage components. Now an Austin resident, Pratt sells his art at Marburger to all age groups. “At any age, Marburger buyers are adventurous. But for many shoppers my age, Marburger Farm is the place to be, it has its own uniqueness and you just want to be there.” At the fall show Pratt will unveil an oversize wooden carved ram’s head covered in Shiner Bock bottle caps as well as a new line of furniture in the tradition of early Texas horn furniture, but with each horn carved from wood with exposed grain, wired together with a bottle cap seat that is more comfortable than the originals.

For Michigan exhibitor Mike Roberts, “Young buyers are looking for bargains. You can’t just have one price range. We shop all summer for garden antiques such as urns and marble statues, plus Italian, French, art, ironstone and American antiques. They will be priced from $6 to $6,000. Some antiques have gone down a little in price such as Victorian and country, so young people are snapping these up at good values. You can’t make it hard. You have to help new buyers get started.”

Another thing you can’t do? “You can’t just show up at a show to sell anymore,” said Marburger artisan Dolan Geiman. “Social media leading up to the show helps to cultivate younger buyers. They like the sneak peek and they arrive already excited and interested.” What are they most excited about? “They like iconic pieces, such as carved long horns, but with an edge, iconic with a twist. Marburger Farm is one of the few shows where younger buyers are ready to buy large-scale major pieces. They get rolling pretty fast.” Geiman will offer two- and three-dimensional art on reclaimed wood with a hint of his Southern roots in fresh contemporary colors, as well as an epic collage 8 feet in length.

Sterling silver dealer Carol O’Steen of Tallahassee, Fla., sells to all age groups at Marburger, but she finds that younger buyers are starting to want quality antiques such as the silver serving pieces and the nearly 800 figural and monogrammed napkin rings that she will offer. “When young people settle down with a house and a job, they want nice things. I’ll have young couples come looking for napkin rings with their initials. Some just like the graphics of any initials! A young man once showed up at Marburger with a single silver spoon that he had eaten cereal from as a child. He wanted to find out what the pattern was and to get more pieces. Young people give a lot of gifts – baby gifts, wedding gifts, anniversary gifts, house-warming gifts, so antique silver or silver plate is a great choice for gifts. Silver is timeless.”

“Timeless” is how Marburger exhibitor Shannon Vance of Stash describes her collection of vintage and handmade clothing and accessories. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, Vance scours the U.S. for antique and vintage fabric, jackets, boots, old Levis and T-shirts, some silk-screened with new art. “Our look and pieces are timeless for anyone from teens to people in their 70s,” said Vance. For the fall show, she has collaborated with a New York artist to create oil paintings on a collection of WWI and WWII military clothing, jackets and pants. “Young people especially are drawn to things that are timeless, one-of-a kind, handmade, unique,” said Vance. “And the cost averages $45 per piece.”

Marburger Farm exhibitors use the summer months to buy at all price ranges, in all styles, all over the world, with their containers arriving just in time for the fall show. Rebecca Looten of Monsoon Imports has two shipments coming to Marburger, “the biggest load I have ever had,” she said. Buying in India for 10 years, Looten will unpack ancient Mughal-era marble platters, 2 and 3 feet long, used for early dough bowls and weddings, but now appreciated as sculpture. Nearby will be colonial era architectural trim pieces repurposed into mirror frames and furniture. For younger buyers, Looten is experimenting with mid-century retro objects from India. “It’s more of an urban antique, very clean-lined and simple, lots of teak and more neutral colors. It’s a fresh look that I think will mix well with the older pieces.”

Marburger Farm will also feature benefit booths for Dwell with Dignity of Dallas and for the Brookwood Community near Houston. The Brookwood exhibit offers plants grown by and specialty décor, garden and kitchen items made by the special needs adults who are served by the residential community near Houston. See www.brookwoodcommunity.org. Dwell with Dignity will offer a donation-fee bag check near the Marburger Food Pavilion. Founded by interior designers, Dwell with Dignity transforms donated furnishings into dignified interiors for families escaping poverty and homelessness. At the end of each Marburger Farm week, the show’s dealers donate antiques and vintage objects that will go back to Dallas to be used in dwellings or to be sold in the Dwell with Dignity Thrift Studio sale Oct. 9- Nov. 8 in the Dallas Design District. See www.dwellwithdignity.org .

The Marburger Farm Antique Show opens on Tuesday, Sept. 30, with early buying from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. for $25 for adults, free for children 15 and under. Regular $10 admission begins Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. One admission is good all week, with the show running on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance tickets and group tickets are available. Parking is free.

See information on travel, maps, vendors, special events, lodging, on-site shipping and the Marburger Cafe at www.roundtop-marburger.com or call Ashley Ferguson at 800-947-5799. Get a sneak peek on Facebook or on the show blog at www.roundtop-marburger.com/blog .


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Marburger Farm Antique Show image

Marburger Farm Antique Show image

Marburger Farm Antique Show image

Marburger Farm Antique Show image

Marburger Farm Antique Show image

Marburger Farm Antique Show image

A model of a retriever on rectangular base by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877). It has a saleroom estimate of £1,200-£1,500. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries

Miscellaneana: Bronzes

A model of a retriever on rectangular base by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877). It has a saleroom estimate of £1,200-£1,500. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries

A model of a retriever on rectangular base by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877). It has a saleroom estimate of £1,200-£1,500. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries

LONDON – Bit of a dilemma this week. I thought I’d write about collecting bronzes … so we visited one of our local antiques fairs but failed to find a single one. And then we came across the large grouping pictured below. There’s not an antique among them, although at the outset, let me make it clear the dealer selling them went to great pains to point out the fact that they are modern reproductions.

Each piece was made, using the traditional lost wax method, from real bronze and not poured resin, and each stands on a real marble base. The bronzes are imported from their manufacturers in Europe, not China, and retail for between £100-£300. In a hundred years’ time they will be antiques, but a cursory glance is enough to show they might have been made yesterday. All together in a big group like this, it’s easy to see their rawness and lack of patination, which is the sheen brought on by age. Put one at the back of a dusty junk shop or poorly lit saleroom and the single figure might fool the unwary.

So, let’s be careful out there. Learn about bronze figure groups, how they were made and by whom, and short of buying only from those sources where purchases are guaranteed, you stand a better chance of not being “taken.”

First, let’s go over the lost wax production method. Cire-perdue, to use the French name by which some collectors know it, has been used since ancient times, because it achieves greater definition than straightforward mold-casting methods. Rembrandt Bugatti (1884-1916), brother of the great car maker, Ettore, was an internationally known bronze sculptor of animals, an “animalier,” as they were called, and one of many fans of the process.

In 1903, he moved to work in Paris, where he met and consequently signed an exclusive contract with one of the greatest bronze founders of the time, Adrien-Aurélien Hébrard. The deal was that Rembrandt’s work should be cast in only small limited and numbered editions, while the very best pieces would be cast as unique one-offs.

His inspiration was the animals he saw in zoological gardens, where he found an almost endless supply of subject matter, notably his favorite, the Jardin des Plantes in the city where he modeled wolves, lions, panthers and deer.

He would spend hours and sometimes days on end in all types of weather watching the creatures and their movements. He took no notes, but working with Plasticine (a putty-like modelling clay similar to Play-Doh). He would suddenly dash off a bold model quickly but with great accuracy, destroying anything he was not immediately satisfied with. Back in the studio and using the Plasticine as a working “study,” Rembrandt then executed his more detailed models to send to the foundry to be cast in bronze.

There a mold was taken and coated on the inside with wax to produce an exact replica of the finished bronze. In simple terms, this is coated with ceramic slurry and silica sand to produce a shell around the wax. When the shell is heated, the wax melts and is “lost,” through drain holes, leaving a void to be filled with the molten bronze. When cool, the shell is broken away, leaving an exact replica in metal. However, modern lost-wax processes use flexible rubber, which can be easily removed and reused.

The golden period of the French Animalier School was between 1830 and 1890, and the creatures chosen to be immortalized ranged from the humble to the mighty. The hunter might commission a model of his favourite gun dog with its quarry, while the racehorse owner might celebrate a victory with a study of the victor. When not working to specific commissions, sculptors produced export items from the entire animal kingdom, much of it finding its way to Britain.

Arguably the first and perhaps most highly regarded member of the school was Antoine Louis Barye (1796-1875). He was born in Paris and worked almost exclusively on studies of wild animals, his masterpieces including Tiger devouring a Gavial (crocodilian) of the Ganges, now in the Louvre; and Lion and Serpent, for the Gardens of the Tuileries royal residence. Many royal commissions followed, but because of an obsession with perfection, Barye was not financially successful. He was declared bankrupt in 1848 and his molds and models sold to pay his debts. Undaunted, Barye continued to work and was appointed Professor of Drawings at the Museum of Natural History at the Jardin de Plantes in 1854, a post he held until his death.

By 1857, he was rid of his debts and began casting works again to great acclaim. He was awarded the Grand Medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1867 and was named the first President of the Central Union of Beaux Arts. Today, most of Barye’s plasters and models are the property of the Louvre, while his bronzes are the preserve of the wealthiest collectors.

A more accessible member of the Animalier School is Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877) a contemporary of Barye whose bronze groups are still regularly found in fine art auctions. They can be picked up at prices starting at £600-£1,000. Mêne was born in Paris, the son of a metal worker who was no doubt responsible for much of his son’s technical grounding in the art of bronze casting. But as a sculptor, Mêne was largely self taught. His career was studded with honors and accolades. By 1838, he had opened his own foundry, and in the same year he exhibited for the first time at the Paris Salon. He went on to win a number of medals there, culminating in him being awarded the Legion d’Honeur in 1861.

Mêne’s work was greeted in Britain with as much enthusiasm as in his native France, and he exhibited at the Great Exhibitions of 1851 and 1862. Among a number of bronzes made specifically for the British market was his Derby Winner, which he exhibited at the Salon in 1863. Such was Mêne’s success in Britain that the Coalbrookdale Company made copies of his work, signing them “Coalbrookdale Bronze,” while Staffordshire potters such as Copeland’s cast copies in unglazed, white porcelain intended to resemble marble and known as Parian.

If you care at all for bronze, don’t ever polish it. Bronze is highly susceptible to corrosion – it turns dark brown or greenish brown when exposed to the atmosphere — but this is considered one of the metal’s wonderful attributes. The surface color – or patina, as it is called – should be protected at all costs. To do otherwise could have a seriously adverse affect on the value of a bronze object and spoil its appeal for years to come.

So, under no circumstances should any metal polish be used on a bronze, and it’s also best kept away from water. Instead, a light dusting is all that is required and perhaps careful rubbing with a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing hard, particularly on raised parts where the patina could be worn away. Dust in crevices can be removed with a cotton-tipped swab (Q-Tip) moistened with saliva. Dull patination can be revived with the sparing application of a microcrystalline wax.

#   #   #


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


A model of a retriever on rectangular base by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877). It has a saleroom estimate of £1,200-£1,500. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries

A model of a retriever on rectangular base by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877). It has a saleroom estimate of £1,200-£1,500. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries

Reproduction bronzes at a local antiques fair. Photo by Christopher Proudlove

Reproduction bronzes at a local antiques fair. Photo by Christopher Proudlove

'La Mère Blessée' (The Blessed Mother), a unique Rembrandt Bugatti bronze dating from 1911. It was cast by the Hébrard Foundry in Paris, using the lost wax process. Photo: PJ Gates / courtesy of Sladmore Gallery, London

‘La Mère Blessée’ (The Blessed Mother), a unique Rembrandt Bugatti bronze dating from 1911. It was cast by the Hébrard Foundry in Paris, using the lost wax process. Photo: PJ Gates / courtesy of Sladmore Gallery, London

A splendid model of the Arab stallion 'Ibrahim' by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877), which sold for £4,200. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries

A splendid model of the Arab stallion ‘Ibrahim’ by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877), which sold for £4,200. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries

An Italian greyhound and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel modeled by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877). It has a saleroom estimate of £700-£900. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries

An Italian greyhound and a Cavalier King Charles spaniel modeled by Pierre Jules Mêne (1810-1877). It has a saleroom estimate of £700-£900. Photo: The Canterbury Auction Galleries