31.12.10

COHIBA COGNAC BY MARTELL


MARTELL KNOWN FOR PRODUCING HIGH END COGNACS HAS RELEASED IN COLLABORATION WITH CUBAN HABANOS CIGARS A COHIBA COGNAC. THE BLEND OF THE COGNAC IS MADE FROM 'GRANDE CHAMPAGNE', ONE OF THE FINEST EAU DE VIE IN FRANCE AND HAS BEEN AGED BETWEEN FORTY TO FIFTY YEARS IN UNIQUE OAK CASKS TO OBTAIN SOME OF THE WOOD'S EXQUISITE NOTES AND SPECIFIC AMBER HUES DURING THAT TIME. THE COGNAC COMES IN AN ELEGANT BOTTLE WITH A DISTINCT SILK-SCREEN PRINT AND A WOODEN BOX OF A TYPICAL CUBAN TOBACCO FIELD LANDSCAPE WHERE THE ENTIRE DESIGN OF THE ARTWORK CAN BE VIEWED.

30.12.10

TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART ACQUIRES NEW ARTWORK


THE TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART, OHIO, HAS PURCHASED THE DRAMATIC WORK IN GLASS ENTITLED 'IAGO'S MIRROR' BY ARTIST FRED WILSON. THE LARGE, ORNATE WORK IN BLACK MURANO GLASS HAS BEEN INSTALLED IN GALLERY 5 OF THE GLASS PAVILION®. 'FRED WILSON IS AN IMPORTANT ARTIST WHOSE WORKS CROSSES BOUNDARIES BETWEEN THE GLASS WORLD AND CONTEMPORARY ART', SAID TMA DIRECTOR BRIAN KENNEDY. 'ONE OF THE MUSEUM'S GOALS IS TO ACQUIRE WORKS OF ART OF SINGULAR MERIT BY DISTINGUISHED LIVING ARTISTS. 'IAGO'S MIRROR' IS A PERFECT FIT WITHIN OUR COMPREHENSIVE GLASS COLLECTION.'

CONTROVERSIAL MURALS DEPICTING SLAVERY TO BE REMOVED


MURALS OF SLAVES HARVESTING SUGAR CANE ON A GEORGIA PLANTATION AND PICKING AND GINNING COTTON ARE COMING OFF THE WALLS OF A STATE BUILDING ON THE ORDER OF A NEW AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER. THE MURALS ARE PART OF A COLLECTION OF EIGHT WORKS PAINTED BY GEORGE BEATTIE IN 1956 DEPICTING AN IDEALIZED VERSION OF GEORGIA FARMING, FROM THE CORN GROWN BY PREHISTORIC AMERICAN INDIANS TO A 20th CENTURY VETERINARY LAB. IN THE DEEP SOUTH, THE HISTORY IN BETWEEN INCLUDES THE FORCED USE OF SLAVE LABOR. 'I DON'T LIKE THOSE PAINTINGS', SAID REPUBLICAN GARY BLACK, THE NEWLY ELECTED AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER. 'THERE ARE A LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE THEM.' SLAVERY WAS INDISPUTABLY PART OF 19th CENTURY FARMING IN GEORGIA. BY 1840, MORE THAN 280,000 SLAVES WERE LIVING IN THE STATE, MANY AS FIELD HANDS. JUST BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR, SLAVES MADE UP ABOUT 40% OF THE STATE'S POPULATION. BEATTIE'S MURALS TELL PART OF THE STORY. IN ONE PAINTING, TWO WELL-DRESSED WHITE GENTLEMEN IN TOP HATS AND DRESS COATS LEISURELY INSPECT PROCESSED COTTON. THEY'RE FRAMED ON EITHER SIDE BY BLACK SLAVES DOING THE WORK OF COTTON FARMING. ON THE LEFT, A SLAVE HUNCHES OVER TO PICK COTTON BALLS BY HAND. TWO OTHER SLAVES ARE USING THE INFAMOUS WHITNEY GIN, INVENTED NEAR SAVANNAH, TO SEPARATE COTTON FIBER FROM SEEDS AS A WHITE OVERSEER WEIGHS COTTON BAGS BEHIND THEM. 'I THINK WE CAN DEPICT A BETTER PICTURE OF AGRICULTURE', BLACK SAID. BLACK SAID LESS CONTROVERSIAL MURALS, A SCENE AT A STATE FARMERS MARKET, FOR EXAMPLE, MAY FIND A NEW HOME IN A CONFERENCE ROOM OR ELSEWHERE IN THE BUILDING. FEW HAVE OPENLY PROTESTED THE MURALS, MAYBE BECAUSE THE AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT IS NOT HEAVILY VISITED. A FULL CENTURY AFTER THE CIVIL WAS, SOUTHERNERS STILL ARGUE OVER HOW TO HANDLE POTENT SYMBOLS OF SLAVERY AND SEGREGATION IN PUBLIC PLACE. IT'S NOTHING NEW. THE SAME YEAR BEATTIE FINISHED THE MURALS, STATE LAWMAKERS PUT THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG BACK INTO GEORGIA'S STATE FLAG TO PROTEST INTEGRATION. ONLY IN 2001 DID GOV ROY BARNES REPLACE IT, AND SOME SAY IT COST HIM THE ELECTION THE FOLLOWING YEAR. IN 1995, TWO YEARS BEFORE HE DIED, BEATTIE DEFENDED HIS MURALS IN A DEPARTMENT-SPONSORED ARTICLE THAT MENTIONED THE ART HAD SPURRED DEBATE AND CONCERN AMONG VISITORS AND EMPLOYEES. 'AS A HUMAN BEING, I AM VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED TO SLAVERY, AS ANYONE SHOULD BE', BEATTIE SAID, 'BUT IT WAS A SIGNIFICANT EPOCH IN OUR HISTORY; IT WOULD HAVE BEEN INACCURATE NOT TO INCLUDE THIS PERIOD.'

28.12.10

KUNSTHAUS MUSEUM PRESENTS PICASSO EXHIBITION


IN SEPTEMBER 1932, ALREADY A WORLD-FAMOUS ARTIST, PABLO PICASSO DROVE FROM PARIS TO ZURICH FOR THE OPENING OF A MEGA-EXHIBITION OF HIS WORKS THAT WAS TO MARK A TURNING POINT IN WESTERN CULTURAL HISTORY. ALTHOUGH HE CURATED THE EXHIBITS HIMSELF AT A LUXURY LAKESIDE HOTEL NEARBY FOR TWO DAYS, HOBNOBBING WITH ART CONNOISSEURS AND CRITICS, HE MYSTERIOUSLY NEVER WENT TO SEE THE SHOW AT THE CITY'S KUNSTHAUS MUSEUM. THIS AUTUMN, AND TO CELEBRATE ITS OWN CENTENARY, THE KUNSTHAUS HAS RECREATED THE LANDMARK EXHIBITION, OR SOMETHING UNDER HALF OF IT, AND IT HAS BEEN PULLING IN THE CROWDS. FOR THE ORIGINAL, THE THEN ALREADY 51 YEAR OLD PICASSO CHOSE THE 229 WORKS HIMSELF, PAINTINGS, LITHOGRAPHS AND A HANDFUL OF BRONZE SCULPTURES, TO BE DISPLAYED. 'IN EFFECT', SAYS TOBIA BEZZOLA WHO PUT TOGETHER THE NEW SHOW, 'HE CURATED THIS ONE TOO.' AT A TIME WHEN CONTEMPORARY ART WAS NORMALLY DISPLAYED IN PRIVATE AND COMMERCIAL GALLERIES, THE 1932 EXHIBITION WAS PROBABLY THE FIRST RETROSPECTIVE OF A LIVING ARTIST TO BE PUT ON IN A MUSEUM, CULTURAL HISTORIANS SAY. COVERING THE SPANISH-BORN PICASSO'S OUTPUT FROM 1899, WHEN HE WAS AN 18 YEAR OLD PRODIGY IN BARCELONA, THROUGH THE PINK, BLUE, CUBIST, CONSTRUCTIVIST AND SEMI-SURREALIST PERIODS THAT FOLLOWED WHEN HE MOVED TO PARIS AT THE TURN OF THE 20th CENTURY, IT SET A TREND THAT SWEPT THE ART WORLD AFTER WORLD WAR II AND STILL DOMINATES IT. WITH ITS CATALOGS, IN CHEAP AND EXPENSIVE VERSIONS, ITS POSTERS AND PRESS RELEASES, THE FIRST KUNSTHAUS SHOW WAS A PROTOTYPE OF THE ART BLOCKBUSTERS THAT BOOST REVENUES FOR MAJOR AND MINOR MUSEUM AROUND THE WORLD TODAY. NOT THAT IT BROUGHT MUCH CASH IN THEN, A TIME OF DEEP ECONOMIC WOES AS THE WORLD MOVED INTO THE GREAT DEPRESSION OF THE 1930s, DESPITE, FOR THE TIME, AN IMPRESSIVE TOTAL OF 32,000 VISITORS DURING THE TWO MONTHS IT WAS ON. A REFLECTION OF THE CASH-STRAPPED AGE WAS THAT NONE OF THE CANVASES WHICH PICASSO OFFERED FOR SALE AS THE KUNSTHAUS WERE BOUGHT EXCEPT ONE, BY THE MUSEUM ITSELF. THAT CUBIST WORK, 'GUITAR ON A GUERIDON' OF 1915, IS ONE OF THE CENTRAL PIECES AT THE NEW SHOW, WHICH OPENED ON 15.OCTOBER, CLOSES ON 30.JANUARY AND HAS ALREADY HOSTED 250,000 VISITORS.

THIEVES TRY TO SELL STOLEN ARTWORK AT SCRAPYARD


POLICE HAVE RECOVERED IN GOOD CONDITION 34 OF THE 35 WORKS OF ART THAT WERE STOLEN FROM A TRUCK THREE WEEKS AGO IN GETAFE (MADRID) AND WHICH ARE WORTH MORE THAN $4 MILLION. THE SAME SOURCES ACKNOWLEDGED THAT, FOR NOW, THEY FAILED TO APPREHEND THE PERPETRATORS OF THE ROBBERY. THE VEHICLE, WHOSE KEYS WERE KEPT IN THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT, WAS ABANDONED IN ALCORCON TO CONFUSE OFFICIALS. ALTHOUGH IT WAS INITIALLY THOUGHT THAT THE WORKS OF ART WERE STOLEN ON REQUEST AND THAT THEY MAY HAVE ALREADY HAVE HAD A BUYER, WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME THE INVESTIGATION TOOK A TURN AFTER IT EMERGED THAT A SCULPTURE BY CHILLIDA HAD ENDED UP IN A JUNKYARD. THE STARTLING REVELATION SHOWS THAT THE THIEVES (THREE MASKED MEN WHO DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO SWITCH OFF THE ALARMS) WERE MET WITH A COMMODITY THEY DID NOT EXPECT AND DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO WITH IT. ACCORDING TO THE INITIAL INVESTIGATION, THE THIEVES TRANSFERRED THE WORKS TO A VAN AFTER LEAVING THE TRUCK. THE INVESTIGATING OFFICERS INITIALLY FOUND A WORK BY CHILLIDA, THE THIEVES HAD SOLD IT AT A JUNKYARD IN MADRID FOR $50. THE LEAD ALLOWED THEM TO FIND 33 OF THE STOLEN ARTWORKS IN A VAN. ALL THE STOLEN MATERIAL IS IN GOOD CONDITION AND MOST OF WERE PROTECTED IN THEIR ORIGINAL PACKAGING. ONLY ONE OF THE BOXES WAS RECOVERED BROKEN. THE OWNER OF THE JUAN GRIS GALLERY, THE FINAL DESTINATION OF THE STOLEN ART, ACKNOWLEDGED THE 'UNEXPECTED' NEWS. DAVID FERNANDEZ BRASO CONFESSED THAT 'HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE' TO RECOVER THE WORKS AND THAT IT WAS 'A ROBBERY DONE BY PROFESSIONALS'. IT HAS BEEN SHOWN THAT IT WAS QUITE THE OPPOSITE.

TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART RETURNS NEREID SWEETMEAT STAND TO HEIRS


FOLLOWING A US IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT'S (ICE) HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS (HSI) INVESTIGATION, THE UNITED STATES HAS ENTERED INTO A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH THE TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART, OHIO, THAT PROVIDES FOR THE RETURN TO A ROYAL FAMILY IN GERMANY OF THE 'NEREID SWEETMEAT STAND', A FAMED SWAN SERVICE COLLECTION'S CENTERPIECE. DURING WORLD WAR II, WHILE ON LOAN TO THE DRESDEN MUSEUM FROM THE FAMILY OF THE FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF SAXONY, THE 'NEREID SWEETMEAT STAND' WAS STOLEN FROM A CASTLE WHERE IT WAS HIDDEN. THE PORCELAIN PIECE, VALUED AT MORE THAN $1 MILLION, WAS RECENTLY LOCATED AT THE TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART, WHICH HAS AGREED TO RETURN IT TO THE HEIRS OF THE FORMER PRIME MINISTER. IN 1737, COUNT HEINRICH VON BRUEHL, THE PRIME MINSTER OF SAXONY AND THE FOUNDING PATRON OF THE MEISSEN PORCELAIN FACTORY, ORDERED THE FACTORY'S CHIEF MODELER TO CREATE A ROYAL DINNER SERVICE. THE RESULT, FOUR YEARS IN THE MAKING, WAS THE SWAN SERVICE, A SERVICE FOR 100 COMPRISING 2,200 PIECES. THE NEREID SWEETMEAT STAND, PART OF THE CENTERPIECE ARRANGEMENT, IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MASTERPIECES OF THE COLLECTION. IN AUGUST 1920, THE DRESDEN MUSEUM RECEIVED 25 PIECES FROM THE SWAN SERVICE, INCLUDING THE NEREID STAND, ON PERMANENT LOAN FROM THE VON BRUEHL FAMILY. THESE PIECES AND 12 OTHERS FROM THE SWAN SERVICE DONATED TO THE MUSEUM AFTER 1920, WERE HIDDEN AT THE REICHSTAEDT CASTLE IN GERMANY DURING WORLD WAR II. AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE WAR, THE BOXES WERE FOUND OPENED WITH THE NEREID STAND AND SEVERAL OTHER PIECES MISSING. IN 1955, THE STAND WAS PURCHASED FROM A EUROPEAN ART DEALER, SUBSEQUENTLY IMPORTED INTO THE UNITED STATES, AND SOLD TO THE TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART. RECENTLY, THE STAND WAS DETERMINED TO BE THE STOLEN NEREID SWEETMEAT STAND AFTER BEING EXAMINED BY STAFF FROM THE TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART, THE DRESDEN MUSEUM, THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART AND SPECIAL AGENTS FROM ICE AND HSI.

POLICE SEARCH FOR STOLEN NEW YORK ART COLLECTION


AUTHORITIES ARE RAMPING UP THEIR EFFORT TO SOLVE A MANHATTAN MYSTERY: WHO DRILLED A HOLE INTO THE HOME OF A BEEF FORTUNE HEIR AND STOLE A COLLECTION OF ICONIC ARTWORKS BY ROY LICHTENSTEIN AND ANDY WARHOL. THE THIEVES ALSO MADE OFF WITH SURVEILLANCE VIDEO FOOTAGE THAT MIGHT HAVE CAUGHT THEM IN THE ACT. THE NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT RELEASED IMAGES OF THE ART, HOPING SOMEONE MIGHT HELP SOLVE LAST MONTH'S CRIME IN THE TRENDY MEATPACKING DISTRICT BY RECOGNIZING WORKS LIKE THE WELL-KNOWN LICHTENSTEIN PRINT CALLED 'THINKING NUDE'. AUTHORITIES ESTIMATE THE FIVE-STORY APARTMENT WAS BURGLARIZED SOMETIME DURING THANKSGIVING WEEK, WHEN THE OWNER AND ART COLLECTOR ROBERT ROMANOFF WAS AWAY. ALSO TAKEN FROM THE BUILDING WAS A LICHTENSTEIN PRINT CALLED 'MOONSCAPE', THE CARL FUDGE OIL PAINTING 'LIVE CAT', THE WARHOL PRINTS 'THE TRUCK' AND 'SUPERMAN', AND A SET OF EIGHT SIGNED WARHOL PRINTS FROM 1968 CALLED 'CAMOUFLAGE'. THEY'RE AMONG THE ARTIST'S LAST WORKS BEFORE HIS DEATH THE FOLLOWING YEAR. AUTHORITIES ESTIMATE THE ARTWORKS, PLUS A STOLEN CARTIER AND ROLEX WATCHES AND OTHER JEWELRY, ARE WORTH OVER $750,000. THE ROMANOFF HOME IS IN A NEIGHBORHOOD FILLED WITH OLD WAREHOUSES AND MEATPACKING COMPANIES NOW TURNED INTO RETAIL AND LIVING SPACE, RESTAURANTS AND BOUTIQUES. POLICE SAY THE THIEF DRILLED A HOLE THROUGH THE WALL OF A HALLWAY SOMETIME BETWEEN 24-28.NOVEMBER. LICHTENSTEIN, WHO DIED IN 1997, CREATED 'THINKING NUDE' IN 1994, ONE OF 40 ILLUSTRATED EDITION WORKS THAT ARE PART OF HIS 'NUDES' SERIES BASED ON COMIC-BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS. A SIMILAR PRINT RECENTLY SOLD FOR $85,000 AT CHRISTIE'S, ACCORDING TO THE AUCTION HOUSE'S WEBSITE. WARHOL'S 'SUPERMAN' PRINT IS PART OF HIS 1980s 'MYTHS' SERIES FEATURING FICTIONAL CHARACTERS WITH MASS-CULTURAL APPEAL, INCLUDING MICKEY MOUSE AND UNCLE SAM.

25.12.10

MERRY CHRISTMAS


I WISH ALL OF YOU MY FRIENDS, FAMILY AND FOLLOWERS A BLESSED AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! MAY THIS CHRISTMAS BE FULL OF NEVER FAILING KINDNESS, BEAUTY AND THE WARMTH OF LOVE...

24.12.10

PINEL & PINEL FOR RICOLA


RICOLA CONFECTIONERY KNOWN WORLDWIDE FOR ITS DELICACIES HAS RECENTLY TEAMED UP WITH LUXURY LEATHER GOODS MAKER PINEL & PINEL FOR A STUNNING COLLECTION OF 11 TRUNKS FOR RICOLA CANDY. WITH THE HOLIDAY JUST AROUND THE CORNER, IT MAKES SENSE TO RECEIVE A SPECIAL LEATHER TRUNK TO ENCASE 11 JARS OF RICOLA CANDY. THE ONE IN THE CENTER IS AN EXTRA LARGE FEATURING A 'BLIND TEST' DRAWER JUST BELOW IT. AN ABSOLUTE GIFT FOR ANY CANDY LOVER, IT WILL BE AVAILABLE IN A LIMITED EDITION. THE BEES WILL ALSO BENEFIT FROM THE RICOLA TRUNK BY PINEL & PINEL AS THE COMPANY INTENDS TO DONATE PROFITS FROM THE SALE OF THE TRUNKS TO THE LAND OF BEES ASSOCIATION THAT FIGHTS FOR PRESERVATION OF THE SPECIES IN EUROPE.

23.12.10

MCM/ASSOULINE TRAVEL TRUNK



RECENTLY LUXURY DESIGNER MCM AND SPECIALTY PUBLISHER ASSOULINE COLLABORATED TO CREATE A STUNNING TRAVEL TRUNK FOR ASSOULINE'S 40 BOOK SIGNATURE MEMOIRES SERIES ON FASHION, ART AND DESIGN. THE TRUNK IS COVERED IN MCM's ICONIC SIGNATURE MONOGRAM CANVAS WITH BRASS ACCESSORIES. THE UNIQUE TRAVEL TRUNK IS AVAILABLE AT MCM BOUTIQUES AND ASSOULINE SHOPS WORLDWIDE AND IS PRICED AT $4,995

ABSOLUT 'KRINK'


TO MARK THE LAUNCH OF AN EXCEPTIONAL ABSOLUT LIMITED EDITION BOTTLE, ABSOLUT VODKA IS SET TO UNVEIL 'A WORK IN PROGRESS' WITH INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED NEW YORK ARTIST, KRINK AND ART, FASHION AND PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINE, EXIT. SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 1979, ABSOLUT HAS BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF DESIGN AND CREATIVITY, SHARING ITS UNIQUE AND PIONEERING VISION OF THE WORLD THROUGH CREATIVE COLLABORATIONS WITH SOME OF THE WORLD'S MOST EMINENT FIGURES, INCLUDING ANDY WARHOL, KEITH HARING AND MORE RECENTLY SPIKE JONZE AND JAY-Z. 'KRINK', AKA 'KR', IS ONE OF THE MOST VISIONARY AND INSPIRATIONAL STREET ARTISTS WORKING TODAY, AND IS ALSO THE CREATOR OF KRINK, A LINE OF THE FINEST QUALITY HANDMADE INKS AND MARKERS, USED BY ARTIST THE WORLD OVER. ORIGINALLY FROM QUEENS AND STILL BASED IN NEW YORK CITY, KRINK'S UNIQUE TECHNIQUE HAS ALMOST SINGLE-HANDEDLY POPULARIZED A GLOBAL OBSESSION WITH DRIPPING INK IN STREET ART. WITH THE BOTTLE AS HIS INSPIRATION, KRINK HAS CREATED FIFTEEN INDIVIDUAL CUSTOM-DESIGNED ABSOLUT LIMITED EDITION BOTTLES, WITH EACH 70cl BOTTLE BEING UNIQUELY CUSTOMIZED USING THE ARTIST'S SIGNATURE; KRINK INK, IN STRIKING BLACK, SILVER AND WHITE. STEPHEN TONER, EDITOR OF EXIT MAGAZINE SAID: 'EXIT'S RELATIONSHIP WITH ABSOLUT SPANS THE PAST DECADE. BOTH SHARE A UNIQUE VISION OF IMAGINATIVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH ARTISTS AND GROUNDBREAKING PROJECTS. THIS AUTUMN/WINTER ISSUE WE COMMISSIONED ONE OF EXIT'S FAVORITE STREET ARTISTS, KRINK, TO BRING HIS CREATIVE IDEAS TO LIFE AND MAKE THE PRESENT EXCEPTIONAL WITH HIS OWN INTERPRETATION OF THE ABSOLUT LIMITED EDITION BOTTLE.' THE ARTWORK CREATED FROM THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN ABSOLUT, KRINK AND EXIT MAGAZINE WILL BE FEATURED ACROSS TWELVE PAGES OF EXIT MAGAZINE.

BOND NO. 9 CHANDELIER AMPHORA BOTTLE


INSPIRED BY THE IRRESISTIBLE CRYSTAL-CLEAR TEARDROP PRISM-BEAD CHANDELIERS GLEAMING LIKE AN EXPLOSION OF DIAMONDS INSIDE THE VINTAGE BOUTIQUES AND CLASSIC DEPARTMENT STORES. BOND NO. 9 NEW YORK HAS CREATED A STUNNING AND UNIQUE CHANDELIER. THE CHANDELIER AMPHORA FEATURES A BOTTLE DECORATED WITH FACETED, CHANDELIER-SIZED BEADS. THE CHANDELIER AMPHORA FRAGRANCE BOTTLE IS PRICED AT $2,500 AND IS SURE TO BECOME A TREASURED GIFT.

22.12.10

SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS TREE


IN CELEBRATION OF THE FESTIVE HOLIDAY SEASON, SWAROVSKI PRESENTED A 30 METER HIGH OUTDOOR CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS TREE AT STATUE SQUARE IN CENTRAL HONG KONG. INSPIRED BY URBAN EFFERVESCENCE, AND A LANDSCAPE DOMINATED BY SKYSCRAPERS AND BUILDINGS WITH A SEEMINGLY ENDLESS NUMBER OF WINDOWS, THE SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS TREE TOWERS OVER 30 METERS. RHOMBAS-SHAPED MIRRORS IN SILVER AND GOLD, REMINISCENT OF WINDOW PANES, SHEATH THE TREE. THEY ARE EMBELLISHED WITH OVER 20 MILLION PIECES OF SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS. AT NIGHT, THE SWAROVSKI CHRISTMAS TREE DAZZLES BY MEANS OF INTERACTIVE LIGHTS FROM OVER 200 PIECES OF SWAROVSKI ANNUAL EDITION 2010 CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS.

PIERRE HERME BOUCHE DE NOEL


THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON, RENOWNED FRENCH PATISSIER PIERRE HERME ONCE AGAIN RULES THE FESTIVE HOLIDAY. THE 'PICASSO OF PASTRY' RE-ENACTS THE CLASSIC BOUCHE DE NOEL INTO A MODERN HIT OF CHOCOLATE BISCUITS LAYERED WITH LIGHT CHOCOLATE GANACHE. THE LOGS COME IN A SILVER BOX SPECIALLY DESIGNED BY LOUIS-MARIE DE CASTELBAJAC THAT UNFOLDS INTO A POSTER. THE STUNNING YULE LOG IS AVAILABLE AT ALL PIERRE HERME BOUTIQUES FOR AROUND $125.

BOMBAY SAPPHIRE SWAROVSKI BOTTLES


BARCARDI IS OFFERING AT SIDNEY AIRPORT THE CHANCE TO BUY ONE OF ONLY FOUR BOMBAY SAPPHIRE BOTTLES HAND-DECORATED WITH THOUSANDS OF SWAROVSKI CRYSTALS. PRICED AT $3,960, EACH BOTTLE IS ENCRUSTED WITH OVER 10,000 CRYSTALS IN FOUR DIFFERENT SIZES AND COLOURS: AQUAMARINE, JET, CRISTAL AND LIGHT COLORADO TOPAZ. EACH OF THE CRYSTALLIZED BOTTLES OF BOMBAY SAPPHIRE COMES WITH ITS OWN WHITE LEATHER CASE AND WILL BE ON SALE IN TERMINAL 1 OF SYDNEY AIRPORT UNTIL 6.JANUARY.2011.

21.12.10

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON, RETURNS EMBROIDERED PANEL


THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON, HAS ANNOUNCED THAT IT HAS RETURNED TO THE MUSEO DIOCESANO TRIDENTINO (DIOCESAN MUSEUM OF TRENT, ITALY) AN EMBROIDERED PANEL, THE ENTOMBMENT OF SAINT VIGILIUS, FROM AROUND 1390-91. COMMISSIONED BY GEORGE OF LIECHTENSTEIN ON THE OCCASION OF HIS APPOINTMENT AS BISHOP PRINCE OF TRENT IN 1390, THE EMBROIDERY DEPICTS THE ENTOMBMENT OF SAINT VIGILIUS, THE THIRD BISHOP AND PATRON SAINT OF TRENT, AND THE DELIVERY OF THE NEWS OF HIS MARTYRDOM TO THE POPE AND EMPEROR THEODOSIUS. THE PROCESS OF RETURNING THE PANEL TO TEH MUSEO DIOCESANO BEGAN WHEN THE MFA LEARNED THAT THE WORK WAS PART OF THE SAINT VIGILIUS SERIES OF EMBROIDERED PANELS OWNED BY THE MUSEO. IN CELEBRATION OF ITS RETURN, THE MUSEO WILL UNVEIL THE EMBROIDERY AT A SPECIAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATION IN TRENT, WHEN THE WORK WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE EXHIBITION 'GUIDED BY A STAR: THE LONG JOURNEY OF THE MAGI'. THE MFA PURCHASED THE EMBROIDERY IN 1946 FROM AN ITALIAN ART DEALER IN NEW YORK WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF ITS SUBJECT MATTER OR PROVENANCE. PRIOR TO THE ACQUISITION, CURATORIAL STAFF INQUIRED ABOUT ITS HISTORY AND WERE ONLY TOLD THAT A PREVIOUS OWNER HAD INHERITED IT ALONG WITH A LARGE COLLECTION OF OTHER ANTIQUE OBJECTS. THE MUSEUM HAD NO ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT ITS PROVENANCE UNTIL 2008, WHEN DR EVELIN WETTER OF THE ABEGG-STIFTUNG CONTACTED THE MFA, INDICATING THAT THE PANEL WAS ONCE PART OF THE SAINT VIGILIUS SERIES. CURATORIAL RESEARCH BY THE MFA CONFIRMED THAT THE PANEL DID BELONG TO THAT SERIES. IN JUNE 2008, THE MFA CONTACTED THE MUSEO DIOCESANO TO INITIATE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT ITS RETURN, WHICH CONCLUDED IN APRIL 2010 WITH THE SIGNING OF AN AGREEMENT BY THE MFA, THE ARCHDIOCESE OF TRENT AND THE MUSEO DIOCESANO. THE TRANSFER FROM BOSTON TO TRENT IN NOVEMBER 2010 HAS ALLOWED FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NARRATIVE CYCLE OF THE LIFE OF SAINT VIGILIUS. THE SET OF EMBROIDERIES IS PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT TO THE TRENT REGION FOR ITS HISTORIC SUBJECT MATTER AND ITS ARTISTIC RARITY.

OFFICIAL ROYAL WEDDING RANGE FOR PRINCE WILLIAM AND CATHERINE MIDDLETON


HRH PRINCE WILLIAM OF WALES AND MISS CATHERINE MIDDLETON HAVE APPROVED THE ROYAL COLLECTION'S RANGE OF CHINA COMMISSIONED TO COMMEMORATE THEIR ROYAL FORTHCOMING MARRIAGE ON 29.APRIL.2011. THE OFFICIAL ROYAL WEDDING RANGE INCLUDES A TANKARD (£35), EIGHT-INCH PLATE (£40) AND PILL BOX (£25) IN ENGLISH FINE BONE CHINA. EACH PIECE BEARS THE COUPLE'S ENTWINED INITIALS IN GOLD AND SILVER SURMOUNTED BY THE CORONET OF PRINCE WILLIAM AND THE WEDDING DATE. THE RANGE IS DECORATED WITH A PATTERN OF DOVES, WHITE RIBBONS AND HEARTS IN SILVER, GOLD AND GREY, SET AGAINST A PALE-GRAY STRIPED BACKGROUND. INSIDE THE TANKARD ARE ROWS OF TINY HEARTS AND TWO SILVER DOVES HOLDING A GOLD WEDDING RING. THE ROYAL WEDDING CHINA IS HANDMADE EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE ROYAL COLLECTION IN STOKE-ON-TRENT USING METHODS THAT HAVE REMAINED UNCHANGED FOR OVER 250 YEARS. EACH ITEM IS INDIVIDUALLY DECORATED AND THEN EMBELLISHED WITH SEVERAL LAYERS OF BURNISHED GOLD AND PLATINUM BEFORE A FINAL LAYER OF GILDING IN 22 CARAT GOLD IS APPLIED BY HAND. ALL PIECES COME IN A PRESENTATION BOX AND ARE WRAPPED IN WHITE TISSUE-PAPER PRINTED WITH DESIGNS INSPIRED BY THE WALL HANGINGS IN CLARENCE HOUSE. THE OFFICIAL ROYAL WEDDING COMMEMORATIVE RANGE CAN BE PURCHASED ONLINE, AND IS ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE ROYAL COLLECTION SHOPS AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE, WINDSOR CASTLE AND THE PALACE OF HOLLYROODHOUSE, AND WILL ALSO BE SOLD AT BALMORAL, HIGHGROVE AND SANDRINGHAM. ALL PROFITS FROM THE SALE OF THE ROYAL WEDDING RANGE ARE DEDICATED TO THE ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST, A REGISTERED CHARITY. THE AIMS OF THE TRUST ARE THE CARE AND CONSERVATION OF THE ROYAL COLLECTION AND THE PROMOTION OF PUBLIC ACCESS AND ENJOYMENT THROUGH EXHIBITION, PUBLICATION, LOANS AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES.

STOLEN ARTWORKS TO BE RETURNED


SIXTEEN PAINTINGS THAT HAD BEEN STOLEN AT VARIOUS TIMES FROM PRIVATE HOMES AND CHURCHES WILL BE BACK BY CHRISTMAS, TO THEIR RIGHTFUL OWNERS. THE WORKS OF ART SEIZED BY POLICE IN SEPTEMBER FOR THE PROTECTION OF CULTURAL HERITAGE HAVE BEEN RECOVERED FROM THE HOUSE OF A ROMAN DESIGNER AND 'AT LARGE WERE REPORTED STOLEN TO THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR OF ROME. IN HIS HOUSE WERE FOUND AND PHOTOGRAPHED 180 PAINTINGS FROM VARIOUS PERIODS, PURCHASED IN MARKETS AND FAIRS ACROSS ITALY, DURING A PERIOD OF OVER 30 YEARS. THE INVESTIGATION, SAID LT COL RAFFAELE MANCINO, STARTED BY THE REQUEST OF A COLLECTOR FROM ROME, WHO WANTED TO BUY A PAINTING BY THE SIENESE SCHOOL OF THE 15th CENTURY, AND IT WAS 'DIRECTED TO THE DEPARTMENT TO VERIFY THE LEGAL ORIGIN'. HAVING ESTABLISHED THAT THE PAINTING OF THE 'SUICIDE OF CLEOPATRA' WAS INCLUDED IN THE DATABASE WITH THE COMMAND OF UNLAWFULLY REMOVED CULTURAL PROPERTY, STARTED OFF THE INVESTIGATION. AFTER A THOROUGH INVESTIGATION IT WAS DETERMINED THAT THE PAINTING WAS STOLEN ON 28.MAY.1972 FROM THE COLLECTION OF THE PALAZZO PICCOLOMINI IN PIENZA, IN THE PROVINCE OF SIENA. THE FINDING ALLOWED THE RECOVERY OF ANOTHER 15 PAINTINGS, PARTIAL PROCEEDS OF TEN ROBBERIES COMMITTED IN PRIVATE HOMES OF ROME, CHURCHES AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS IN CENTRAL ITALY, FOR THE VALUE OF APPROXIMATELY ONE MILLION EUROS.

BONHAMS TO SELL 1955 ASTON MARTIN ONCE OWNED BY KING BAUDOUIN OF BELGIUM


A 1955 ASTON MARTIN DB2/4 SPORTS SALOON, WHICH WAS OWNED BY KING BAUDOUIN OF BELGIUM, WHO REIGNED FROM 1951 UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1993, IS TO BE SOLD AT BONHAMS' PARIS SALE OF MOTOR CARS AT THE GRAND PALAIS ON 5.FEBRUARY.2011. THE CAR WHICH IS WAS SUPPLIED TO THE KING IN FEBRUARY 1955, HAS ATTRACTED A PRE-SALE ESTIMATE OF $250,000. KING BAUDOUIN WAS RENOWNED FOR HIS LOVE OF FAST CARS, AS WELL AS HAVING THE ASTON MARTIN, DESCRIBED IN AUTOCAR (1953) AS 'AN EXPENSIVE CAR DESIGNED TO CATER FOR THE CONNOISSEUR OF SPORTS CARS WHO IS NOT LIMITED BY FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS', HE ALSO OWNED A PORSCHE SPYDER AND WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT MASERATIS. ACCOMPANIED BY PHOTOGRAPHS OF KING BAUDOUIN WITH HIS BROTHER, THE PRESENT KING ALBERT II, THE CAR IS IN CONCOURS CONDITION FOLLOWING ITS COMPLETE RESTORATION TO ORIGINAL SPECIFICATIONS BETWEEN 2001 AND 2008. A 1956 BENTLEY S1 CONTINENTAL SPORTS SALOON OWNED BY ANOTHER WELL-KNOWN BELGIAN FIGURE, THE FINANCIER, BARON EMPAIN, IS ALSO TO BE OFFERED IN THE SALE. ESTIMATED AT $300,000, THE CAR WAS DELIVERED NEW TO THE BARON IN 1956 AND KEPT UNTIL 1960 WHEN HE SOLD IT TO A FAMILY MEMBER, COUNT D'ARSCHOT.

20.12.10

VERSAILLES TO OPEN HOTEL ON PALACE GROUNDS



ADMINISTRATORS OF FRANCE'S VERSAILLES PALACE SAID FRIDAY THAT THEY HAVE AGREED TO LEASE AN ADJACENT BUILDING KING LOUIS XIV's 17th CENTURY CHATEAU FOR USE AS A HOTEL. THE HOTEL DU GRAND CONTROLE, WHICH WAS HOME FOR FINANCIAL ADVISERS TO FRENCH KINGS FOR DECADES, WILL BE GETTING A $7.3 MILLION YEAR LONG FACE-LIFT BY BELGIAN COMPANY IVY INTERNATIONAL AS PART OF A DEAL CONCLUDED IN RECENT WEEKS. THE 23 ROOM HOTEL, WITH VIEWS OF THE PALACE'S ORANGERIE GARDEN, WILL OPEN IN LATE 2011. THE BUILDING PREVIOUSLY BELONGED TO THE DEFENSE MINISTRY, WHICH USED IT AS AN OFFICER'S MESS HALL, AND IT LATER FELL INTO DISREPAIR. VERSAILLES MANGERS ARE GRANTING A 30 YEAR OPERATING LEASE TO IVY. THE DEFICIT-PLAGUED FRENCH GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR WAYS TO MAKE MONEY OUT OF STATE-OWNED BUILDINGS. VERSAILLES OFFICIALS SAID THE PALACE ITSELF DOES NOT HAVE ENOUGH AVAILABLE CASH TO PAY TO REFURBISH THE OUTBUILDING ITSELF. 'WE PICKED AN OUTSIDE, PRIVATE PARTNER THAT IS DOING IT FOR US', SAID MIKAEL HAUTCHAMP, AN ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF THE PALACE THAT GETS THOUSANDS OF VISITORS TO ITS LUSH GARDENS AND ORNATE ROOMS EACH DAY. 'THIS DEAL IS SAVING A BUILDING.' IN OCTOBER, A REPORT COMMISSIONED BY PRESIDENT SARKOZY RECOMMENDED MONEY-RAISING IDEAS INCLUDING OPENING LUXURY HOTELS IN ROYAL CHATEAUX ON THE STATE'S VAST REAL ESTATE PORTFOLIO, MUCH OF IT UNUSED. AND IN JUNE, THE GOVERNMENT STARTED A BIG SALE OF 1,700 STATE PROPERTIES TO SHED DILAPIDATED, EXPENSIVE TO MAINTAIN BUILDINGS. THE HOTEL DU GRANDE CONTROLE, WHICH WAS BUILT IN THE 1680s, ISN'T ON THE ACTUAL GROUNDS OF THE PALACE, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS OF 17th CENTURY FRENCH ART. IT'S AS CLOSE TO ANY HOTEL PATRON CAN GET TO STAYING IN THE PALACE. 'THE VISITOR WILL HAVE THE IMPRESSION OF BEING IN THE VERSAILLES DOMAIN, NOT THE PALACE ITSELF', HAUTCHAMP SAID, ADDING THAT NO OTHER HOTEL HAS SIMILAR VIEWS. 'IT'S ABOUT 100 METERS FROM THE HEART OF THE PALACE.' ROOM RATES MIGHT SUIT NOBILITY: A VERSAILLES SPOKESMAN SAID THEY ARE EXPECTED TO RUN $650-780 PER NIGHT.

JIMMY CARTER PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY PRESENTS 'THE WORKING WHITE HOUSE: TWO CENTURIES OF TRADITIONS AND MEMORIES'


TAKE A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT THE WORKINGS OF THE MOST FAMOUS HOUSE IN THE UNITED STATES AT THE JIMMY CARTER PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY, ATLANTA, GEORGIA. 'THE WORKING WHITE HOUSE: TWO CENTURIES OF TRADITIONS AND MEMORIES' TELLS THE STORIES OF THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WORK IN THE WHITE HOUSE THROUGH HISTORICAL IMAGES, DOCUMENTS, ORAL HISTORIES AND ARTIFACTS. PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATORS COME AND GO, BUT THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SERVED PRESIDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES FROM WILLIAM TAFT TO GEORGE W BUSH. IN WORK THAT REQUIRES A HIGH LEVEL OF DEDICATION, THESE MEN AND WOMEN BALANCE THE SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC IMPORTANCE OF A NATIONAL SYMBOL WITH THE CAREFUL REQUIREMENTS OF A FAMILY HOME. THE WORKING WHITE HOUSE GIVES GLIMPSES INTO THE DAILY WORK AND ENDURING RELATIONSHIPS THAT MANY WHITE HOUSE STAFF HAVE DEVELOPED WITH SEVERAL FIRST FAMILIES. THE EXHIBIT WILL BE ON DISPLAY AT THE JIMMY CARTER LIBRARY 7 MUSEUM THROUGH 27.FEBRUARY.2011.

18.12.10

FRANCOIS PAYARD BAKERY BLACK TRUFFLE CHOCOLATE TART


WORLD RENOWNED FRENCH PASTRY CHEF FRANCOIS PAYARD IS CREATING A TRULY DECADENT DESSERT FOR ALL CHOCOLATE LOVERS WANTING TO CELEBRATE NEW YEARS' EVE IN STYLE. FOR NEW YEARS EVE PAYARD IS OFFERING FOR THE FIRST TIME A BLACK TRUFFLE CHOCOLATE TART. INGREDIENTS INCLUDE REAL BLACK TRUFFLES, A SABLE BRETON SHELL THAT IS SPRINKLED WITH DRY GIROLLE MUSHROOM POWDER. THE TART I STOPPED OFF WITH A LAYER OF 70% GUANAJA DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE THAT IS MIXED WITH FRESH BLACK TRUFFLE SHAVINGS DRIZZLED WITH A BIT OF BLACK TRUFFLE OIL, PIECES OF HAZELNUT NOUGATINE AND A HINT OF FLEUR DE SEL. WHILE IS MAY SOUND UNUSUAL, WORD HAS IT THAT THE TART IS ABSOLUTELY 'INCREDIBLE' ACCORDING TO THE SELECT FEW WHO HAVE BEEN TREATED TO AN ADVANCE TASTING. PAYARD DESCRIBES THE TART AS 'VERY RICH, WITH A STRONG TRUFFLE FLAVOR AND AROMA, BUT ALSO WITH A DEEP, INTENSE CHOCOLATE FLAVOR SO THAT THE EARTHINESS OF THE TRUFFLES COMPLEMENT THE SLIGHT NATIVE ACIDITY OF THE CHOCOLATE WITHOUT OVERPOWERING THE FINISHED RESULT.' THE BLACK TRUFFLE CHOCOLATE TART SERVES EIGHT PEOPLE AND IS A SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION OF ONLY 25, AND IS AVAILABLE FOR $85 AT THE NEW FRANCOIS PAYARD BAKERY AT 116 WEST HOUSTON STREET, NEW YORK.

17.12.10

BLAKE EDWARDS, DIES AGED 88


BLAKE EDWARDS, THE DIRECTOR AND WRITER KNOWN FOR CLEVER DIALOGUE, POIGNANCY AND OCCASIONAL BELLY-LAUGH SIGHT GAGS IN 'BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S', '10' AND 'THE PINK PANTHER' SERIES, IS DEAD AT 88. EDWARDS DIED FROM COMPLICATION OF PNEUMONIA AT ABOUT 10.30 PM WEDNESDAY AT ST JOHN'S HEALTH CENTER IN SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA, SAID PUBLICIST GENE SCHWAM. BLAKE'S WIFE, JULIE ANDREWS, AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS WERE AT HIS SIDE. HE HAD BEEN HOSPITALIZED FOR ABOUT TWO WEEKS. EDWARDS HAD KNEE PROBLEMS, HAD UNDERGONE UNSUCCESSFUL PROCEDURES AND WAS 'PRETTY MUCH CONFINED TO A WHEELCHAIR FOR THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF OR TWO', SCHWAM SAID. THAT MAY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO HIS CONDITION, HE SAID. AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, EDWARDS WAS WORKING ON TWO BROADWAY MUSICALS, ONE BASED ON THE 'PINK PANTHER' MOVIES. THE OTHER, 'BIG ROSEMARY', WAS TO BE AN ORIGINAL COMEDY SET DURING PROHIBITION, SCHWAM SAID. 'HIS HEART WAS AS BIG AS HIS TALENT. HE WAS AN ACADEMY AWARD WINNER IN ALL RESPECTS', SAID SCHWAM, WHO KNEW HIM FOR 40 YEARS. A THIRD GENERATION FILMMAKER, EDWARDS WAS PRAISED FOR EVOKING CLASSIC PERFORMANCES FROM JACK LEMMON, AUDREY HEPBURN, PETER SELLERS, DUDLEY MOORE, LEE REMICK AND ANDREWS, HIS WIFE OF NEARLY HALF A CENTURY. HE DIRECTED AND OFTEN WROTE A WIDE VARIETY OF MOVIES INCLUDING 'DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES', A HARROWING STORY OF ALCOHOLISM; 'THE GREAT RACE', A COMEDY/ADVENTURE THAT STARRED LEMMON, TONY CURTIS AND NATALIE WOOD; AND 'VICTOR/VICTORIA', HIS GENDER-BENDER MUSICAL COMEDY WITH ANDREWS. HE WAS ALSO KNOWN FOR AN INDEPENDENT SPIRIT THAT BROUGHT CLASHES WITH STUDIO BOSSES. HE VENTED HIS DISDAIN FOR THE HOLLYWOOD SYSTEM IN HIS 1981 BLACK COMEDY, 'S.O.B.'

16.12.10

RARE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN DRAGON VASE SELLS FOR RECORD $7,658,000


A BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN DRAGON JAR SOLD FOR $7,658,000 IN THE FINE ASIAN WORKS OF ART SALE ON MONDAY AT BONHAMS & BUTTERFIELDS IN SAN FRANCISCO. THE 360 LOT SALE BROUGHT MORE THAN $19 MILLION WITH THE CAST MAJORITY OF LOTS FETCHING MULTIPLES OF THEIR ESTIMATES. THE EXCITEMENT IN THE STANDING ROOM ONLY SALESROOM WAS PALPABLE, AS DETERMINED BIDDERS ON THE TELEPHONE AND IN THE AUDIENCE FOUGHT TO WIN THE MUCH COVETED JAR. BROOKE SIVO, THE SALE'S PRINCIPAL AUCTIONEER AND A 22 YEAR VETERAN OF THE ART WORLD, EXPERTLY GUIDED THE BIDDING ALONG UNTIL IT CULMINATED IN THE RECORD PRICE. THERE WAS MUCH ANTICIPATION AND DELIBERATION OVER THE DRAGON JAR. FOLLOWING CAREFUL PRE-SALE RESEARCH AND CONSULTATION, THE FIRM DESCRIBED THE JAR CONSERVATIVELY AS QIANLONG MARK, LATE QING/REPUBLIC PERIOD AND GAVE IT A PRE-SALE ESTIMATE OF $10,000-15,000. ULTIMATELY, TWO KEY BIDDERS BACKED THEIR OWN JUDGMENT AND THE DRAGON JAR SOLD FOR A REMARKABLE $7,658,000. THE BLUE AND WHITE PORCELAIN JAR MEASURES AN IMPRESSIVE 14 INCHES HIGH AND IS DECORATED WITH BANDS OF PLANTAIN LEAVES, WAVES, AND A CLOUD-COLLAR AT THE WAISTED NECK AND BROAD SHOULDERS. THE SIDES ARE DENSELY PAINTED WITH SIX METICULOUSLY RENDERED FIVE-CLAWED DRAGONS PORTRAYED EMERGING FROM THE CRASHING WAVES AND FLYING AMID STYLIZED CLOUDS AND FLAMES.

SOTHEBY'S SELLS CARTIER DESK CLOCK FOR £79,250


THE SALE OF FINE WATCHES AT SOTHEBY'S LONDON SAW A RARE GOLD AND ENAMEL BALL-SHAPED DESK CLOCK BY CARTIER SELL FOR £79,250, SOME TEN TIMES ITS PRE-SALE ESTIMATE. CONTINUING A PATTERN THAT HAS BEEN A FEATURE OF MANY RECENT SALES AT SOTHEBY'S, STRONG PRICES FOR POCKET WATCHES WERE AGAIN A FEATURE OF THE SALE. JOANNE LEWIS, HEAD OF WATCHES AT SOTHEBY'S LONDON, SAID: 'WE SAW SOME EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG PRICES TODAY FOR EXACTLY THE TYPES OF WATCHES WE HAVE SEEN CONSISTENTLY PERFORMING WELL IN OUR AUCTIONS OVER THE PAST 24 MONTHS. THE FANTASTIC PRICE FOR THE CARTIER DESK CLOCK, WHICH MADE SOME TEN TIMES ITS PRE-SALE ESTIMATE, IS FURTHER EVIDENCE OF THE STRONG DEMAND WE'RE SEEING NOW FOR DESK CLOCKS, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY.' THE SALE MADE A TOTAL OF £1,313,650 AGAINST AN ESTIMATE OF £1,243,300.

15.12.10

Cartier Winter Tale (long version)

"THE IRISH COUNTRY HOME"


THE COUNTRY HOUSES OF IRELAND ARE NOT AS WELL KNOWN AND CELEBRATED AS THOSE OF ENGLAND, YET NO SERIOUS STUDENT OF THE FORM CAN AFFORD TO MISS WHAT ARE UNDOUBTEDLY SOME OF THE MOST STUNNING EXAMPLES ON THE EMERALD ISLE. TEN EXQUISITE IRISH COUNTRY ESTATES ARE GIVEN LAVISH TREATMENT IN THE IRISH COUNTRY HOUSE, A BEAUTIFUL NEW BOOK BY IRISH ARISTOCRAT THE KNIGHT OF GILN, WHOSE OWN CASTLE IS AMONG THE FINEST, AND JAMES PEILL FROM THE VENDOME PRESS. ALL OF THE HISTORICAL HOUSES AND CASTLES FEATURED IN THE BOOK ARE STILL OWNED AND LIVED IN BY THE ORIGINAL FAMILIES, AN INCREASING RARITY, AND MANY HAVE NEVER BEEN PUBLISHED BEFORE. SPECIALLY COMMISSIONED PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAMES FENNELL SHOW GRAND BUT INVITING LIVING ROOMS, HALLWAYS LINED WITH HUNTING PRINTS, WELL-TRAMPLED MUDROOMS AND RICHLY-FURNISHED LIBRARIES. THE DECOR OF THE HOUSES HAS 'EVOLVED OVER GENERATIONS, FURNISHED WITH HEIRLOOMS AND CHERISHED HAND-ME-DOWNS, EXUDING THE MOSSY SCENT OF PEAT FIRES', FULL OF TELLING DETAILS CAPTURING THE DISTINCTIVE PERSONALITIES OF THE COLOURFUL INHABITANTS WHOSE STORIES ARE RECOUNTED IN THE TEXT.

BERLIN'S ALTE NATIONALGALERIE PRESENTS AN EXHIBITION OF RETURNED WORKS


A PAINTING OF THE FLORENCE SKYLINE THAT HUNG IN ADOLF HITLER'S BERLIN APARTMENT THROUGHOUT WORLD WAR II AND WAS MISSING FOR DECADES WENT ON DISPLAY RECENTLY IN AN EXHIBITION OF WORKS RETURNED TO THE COLLECTION OF A MAJOR GERMAN MUSEUM. THE EXHIBITION CENTERS ON 18 WORKS RETURNED TO THE ALTE NATIONALGALERIE OVER THE PAST DECADE, MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY SINCE THEY WERE REMOVED FROM ITS PREMISES. IT ALSO USES OFFICIAL AND LOAN LISTS, PHOTOGRAPHS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS TO SHOW HOW THE PIECES WERE TAKEN DOWN FROM THE MUSEUM WALLS TO WIND UP ON ODYSSEYS THROUGH FLAK TOWERS, SALT MINES AND WATER-SOAKED CELLARS. MANY OF THE WORKS FOUND THEIR WAY INTO PRIVATE HANDS, BUT MUSEUM OFFICIALS SAY A RECENT INTERNATIONAL PUSH FOR RESTITUTION HAS RESULTED IN AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF WORKS RETURNING TO THE MUSEUM IN THE PAST 10 YEARS. AT THE END OF THE WORLD WAR II IN 1945, SOME 800 WORKS THAT HAD BEEN IN THE COLLECTION OF THE ALTE NATIONALGALERIE WERE MISSING. ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF THEM WERE RECOVERED BY THE END OF THE 1950s. SINCE 1990, MORE THAN TWO DOZEN OTHERS HAVE BEEN RETURNED, INCLUDING THOSE IN THE EXHIBITION. POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS, INCLUDING GERMANY'S, AND BERLIN'S, REUNIFICATION AND USE OF THE INTERNET TO CIRCULATE DATABASES, HOWEVER, HAVE MADE IT EASIER TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT MISSING ARTWORKS, LEADING TO A JUMP IN THE NUMBER OF RETURNS SINCE 2000, BERLIN MUSEUM DIRECTOR MICHAEL EISSENHAUER SAID. 'A VIEW OF FLORENCE', BY 19th CENTURY PAINTER WILHELM AHLBORNS, WAS ONE OF 68 WORKS LOANED BY THE GALLERY TO THE NAZI REGIME AND HUNG IN HITLER'S PRIVATE QUARTERS AT HIS CHANCELLERY. EARLIER THIS YEAR, IT TURNED UP IN A BERLIN ART GALLERY, WHICH IN TURN ALERTED THE MUSEUM. ONCE THE GALLERY PROVES OWNERSHIP, USING PRE-WAR DOCUMENTATION OR MARKINGS ON THE PAINTINGS THEMSELVES, IT HAS BEEN ABLE TO NEGOTIATE A 'FINDER'S FEE' FOR THE CURRENT OWNERS, WORTH ROUGHLY 10% OF THE ARTWORK'S MARKET VALUE. ANOTHER WORK IN THE EXHIBIT, WHICH OPENED TO THE PUBLIC FRIDAY AND RUNS THROUGH 6.MARCH.2011, WAS REACQUIRED BY THE MUSEUM IN OCTOBER. IN 1942, 'DOG WITH GRAY HORSE' BY ENGLISH PAINTER WILLIAM COLE, HAD BEEN HUNG BY NAZI OFFICIALS IN A BERLIN VILLA THAT WAS TO HOUSE THE THEN EXILED IRAQI PRIME MINISTER. AT THE WAR'S END, HE MOVED SOUTH TO A VILLAGE OUTSIDE DRESDEN AND THE PAINTING WAS GIVEN TO THE HOUSEKEEPER AS PAYMENT. A DESCENDANT OF THE HOUSEKEEPER IDENTIFIED IT THROUGH A DATABASE OF LOST ARTWORK AND CONTACTED THE MUSEUM, REFLECTING WHAT EISSENHAUER CALLED A GENERATION CHANGE THAT IS BENEFITING THE MUSEUM. 'MANY PAINTINGS ARE CHANGING HANDS AND THE YOUNGER GENERATION IS STARTING TO ASK WHERE THEY CAME FROM', EISSENHAUR SAID. 'WE ARE HOPING THAT THE CURVE WILL CONTINUE TO GO UP.'

14.12.10

BOUCHERON INSPIRIA COLLECTION




LUXURY JEWELRY DESIGNER BOUCHERON HAVE RECENTLY RELEASED A UNIQUE AND IMAGINATIVE PREMIER JEWELRY COLLECTION TO MARK THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF WORLD RENOWNED CIRCE DU SOLEIL. THE BOUCHERON INSPIRIA COLLECTION FEATURES TWENTY DIFFERENT NECKLACES EACH INCLUDING A PERSONAL PATTERN AND DESIGN TO GIVE A REMARKABLE SENSE OF COLOURFUL BEAUTY. THE COLLECTION FEATURES PRECIOUS METALS AND A STUNNING SELECTION OF BRIGHTLY COLOURED PRECIOUS GEMS INCLUDING DIAMONDS, EMERALDS, SAPPHIRES AND RUBIES. THE BOUCHERON INSPIRIA COLLECTION IS AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT BOUCHERON BOUTIQUES WORLDWIDE.

13.12.10

COLOUR FOR 2011 PANTONE® 18-2120 HONEYSUCKLE


EACH DECEMBER, PANTONE, THE GLOBAL AUTHORITY ON COLOUR AND PROVIDER OF PROFESSIONAL COLOUR STANDARDS FOR THE DESIGN INDUSTRY, CHOOSES THEIR COLOUR FOR THE NEXT YEAR. THE CHOICE FOR 2009 WAS SUNNY MIMOSA YELLOW AND 2010 SAW TURQUOISE ASCEND TO THE THRONE. TURQUOISE SEEMED TO BE PARTICULARLY POPULAR SHOWING UP BOTH IN FASHION AND HOME DECOR. PANTONE ANNOUNCED PANTONE® 18-2120 HONEYSUCKLE AS THE COLOUR OF THE YEAR FOR 2011. HONEYSUCKLE IS A REDDISH PINK. LEATRICE EISEMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE PANTONE COLOUR INSTITUTE SAYS THAT 'HONEYSUCKLE DERIVES ITS POSITIVE QUALITIES FROM A POWERFUL BOND TO ITS MOTHER RED, THE MOST PHYSICAL, VISCERALLY ALIVE HUE IN THE SPECTRUM.' WHEN WORN BY MEN AND WOMEN THE COLOUR IMPARTS A HEALTHY GLOW AND IT CAN ADD A BIT OF FLAIR TO INTERIOR SPACES. HONEYSUCKLE IS ONE OF NEARLY 200 PANTONE COLOURS AVAILABLE FROM DESSY, A LEADING MANUFACTURER OF BRIDESMAID, SOCIAL-OCCASION AND FLOWER-GIRL DRESSES. IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN PAINT.

BARBOUR OPENS NEW YORK BOUTIQUE


CLASSIC BRITISH OUTERWEAR COMPANY BARBOUR HAS RECENTLY OPENED A NEW BOUTIQUE IN NEW YORK ON WOOSTER ST IN SOHO's HISTORIC CAST IRON DISTRICT. THE NEW SPACE WILL BE OPEN BRIEFLY TO FEATURE THE BARBOUR AUTUMN/WINTER 2010 HERITAGE COLLECTION THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS, AND WILL THE REOPEN PERMANENTLY IN EARLY SPRING WITH A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF SPRING/SUMMER 2011 BARBOUR APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES. 'WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO EXPAND OUR NEW YORK PRESENCE WITH A NEW STORE IN SOHO', NOTES JAMIE MILLAR, HEAD OF RETAIL FOR BARBOUR INC, NORTH AMERICA. 'THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS STEEPED IN HISTORY AND CULTURE, BUT IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AND REMAINS ONE OF THE MOST FASHIONABLE NEIGHBORHOODS IN THE COUNTRY. WITH BARBOUR'S STRONG HERITAGE AND GROWING POPULARITY AMONG THE FASHION FORWARD, SOHO WAS A NATURAL FIT FOR BARBOUR. WE ARE VERY EXCITED TO BE JOINING SUCH A PRESTIGIOUS SHOPPING DISTRICT.' OTHER BARBOUR RETAIL STORE LOCATIONS INCLUDE MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY, BOSTON, AND BARBOUR BY DAVID WOOD BOUTIQUE IN PORTLAND, MAINE.