Important Watches

April 22nd, 2014 | posted by Danielle Halikias

 

Over the years, we’ve had many people come in and ask “When are you going to start collecting watches?” We have some wonderful news! Peter Hernandez has joined us as our new Jewelry Manager and he brings with him some excellent, and well needed, watch expertise. He has acquired for us some of the finest watches in the world and we are excited about growing this line in the months and years to come.

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Watch - Item Number: 30-1298

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Watch
Item Number: 30-1298

The first brand is of the highest importance. They have been around since 1839 and are the oldest independent family-owned watch manufacturer in Geneva. Patek Philippe has maintained their tradition of innovation with over 80 patents.

The most extraordinary Patek Philippe watch is this Perpetual Calendar Watch. This watch achieves one of the most complicated tasks of all watch complications. It recognizes how many days are in each month and also recognizes leap years without having to be told by the owner. This stylish watch also shows the phases of the moon. It has everything in one place in one handsome package.

 

Vacheron Constantin Spur Men's Watch –Item number 30-1585

Vacheron Constantin Spur Men’s Watch
Item number 30-1585

This next watch company is one of the oldest watch manufactures in the world and it began in 1755. Jean-Marc Vacheron was born the son of a weaver and by the age of 20 he was a multi-talented watchmaker. In 1819 François Constantin sent a letter to Jacques-Barthélémy Vacheron, the grandson of the founder Jean-Marc Vacheron, which contained what was to become the brand’s motto: “Do better if possible, which is always possible”. People who have owned a Vacheron Constantin watch include Napoleon Bonaparte, Pope Pius XI, the Duke of Windsor and Harry Truman.

This rare Vacheron Constantin watch is housed in a desirable 18K yellow gold Spur-model case. The mechanism features a 17j manual wind movement which, like the dial and case, bears full Vacheron Constantin marks. A fine crocodile strap adds a stylish touch to this elegant timepiece.

To see our full collection of watches, click here. Check back often for new acquisitions in our growing line of watches.

Melodious Mechanical Marvels: Antique Music Boxes

April 11th, 2014 | posted by Bill Rau

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato

Arburo Orchestrion Organ by Bursens and Roels

This Arburo Orchestrion revolutionized the automated music industry by utilizing stand-alone instruments in its ingenious mechanism. Each was special ordered and made entirely by hand.

Music has the ability to uplift, convey strong emotions and bring people from all walks of life closer together. The desire for reproducing and sharing this powerful art form is as old as music itself. Long before MP3s and CDs made their impact on the world, craftsmen sought to make music not only portable, but also accessible to a broader audience. It wasn’t until the invention of the music box did that idea become a reality.

29-2795MusicBox

A case and original matching table crafted of stunning
burl walnut distinguishes this rare Swiss Sublime Harmonie music box.

The first historical record of a mechanical music device dates to 9th century Iraq with the creation of a water-powered organ that played cylinders outfitted with tiny pins that corresponded to particular notes on the organ. It is this very cylinder design that was used in music boxes through the 19th century. The next innovations were pioneered by clock and watchmakers in the 18th century, who designed stunning snuff boxes, known as carillons à musique, with diminutive cylinder mechanisms that plucked the teeth of a metal comb to play a delightful tune while holding one’s favorite tobacco blend. This beautiful Swiss Musical Snuff Box is a fine example, demonstrating outstanding mechanical ingenuity with superior craftsmanship.

Cabinet-makers began making their contributions in the 19th century with the creation of elaborate table-top versions of the music box. Some, like this Swiss Ouverture Cylinder Music Box by B.A. Bremond featured superior-quality mechanisms encased in handsome wood boxes adorned with intricate inlays. More elaborate examples, such as the Sublime Harmonie Music Box not only came with their own beautifully crafted tables, but more complex mechanisms that incorporated bells, drums and castanets to create depth and richness in their sound.

28-8853MusicBox

This brilliant Ouverture cylinder music box by B. A. Bremond of Geneva, Switzerland is capable of playing an entire overture, which is twice as long as other music boxes of its time.

The invention of the phonograph by Thomas Eddison and World War I had a dramatic impact on the music box industry, with many companies either going out of business, or converting their businesses to making watches and other mechanical devices. Other companies, like Arburo of Belgium, made innovations well into the mid-20th century. This remarkable Arburo Orchestrion Organ by Bursens and Roels uses a paper roll and a bellows to play stand-alone instruments, including drums, triangle and an accordion, which are integrated in the mechanism. Such incredible mechanical instruments had the ability to produce music once only possible by a full band, and were a common feature in dancehalls and cafés throughout Belgium and the Netherlands.

From grand mechanisms that replaced an entire orchestra to miniature instruments that fit in your pocket, the world of music boxes is as varied as the collectors who treasure them.

To learn more about music boxes and to see M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection of these mechanical wonders, click here.

A Commanding Presence: The Art of William Bouguereau

April 7th, 2014 | posted by Bill Rau
30-0186Bouguereau

This portrait beautifully demonstrates the master’s ability to capture nuances of personality and mood.

“For me a work of art must be an elevated interpretation of nature. The search for the ideal has been the purpose of my life. In landscape or seascape, I love above all the poetic motif.”  –William Bouguereau

The name William Bouguereau is synonymous with some of the greatest paintings in turn-of-the-century fine art. Known for his technical prowess and loyalty to the academic style of painting, it is hard to imagine that such an artistic giant was relegated to obscurity for over 70 years.

With a character of sincerity and modesty, Bouguereau became one of the most decorated artists of the 19th century. A student of the great Neoclassical artist Ingres, his painting technique boasts an unsurpassed degree of finish and luminous coloration, hallmarks of the French Academy. His handling of women and children is perhaps his greatest achievement. In this work, entitled Jeannie, Bouguereau imparts an expression of untampered purity upon his subject’s face, effectively reminding the viewer of the fleeting innocence of childhood.

Bouguereau enjoyed tremendous success during his lifetime. He received medals from the Salons and Universal Expositions, successive ranks, including Grand Master, of the prestigious Legion of Honor, and was the leading member of the Institute of France and President of the Society of Painters, Sculptors and Engrav

ers. His art never deviated from the basic principles of Academic training, and he so dominated the Salons of the Third Republic that the official Salon became known unofficially as Le Salon Bouguereau.

30-1104Bouguereau

This portrait of a beautiful young lady selling gilliflowers is a rare work painted during the few weeks the artist spent in Menton near the Italian border.

Bouguereau’s works were eagerly bought by fine art connoisseurs world-wide who considered him the most important French artist of the 19th century. By 1920, Bouguereau fell into obloquy, with his staunch rivals being the Modernist avant-garde, including the Impressionists. To this modern regime, the artist was a competent technician

needlessly holding on to tradition. Artists such as Monet and Degas coined the pejorative “Bougeuereaute,” a term used to describe any artistic style bound by idealism and academic restriction.

As a result, Bouguereau fell out of appreciation for a majority of the 20th century, and became a name only the most studied 19th-century art scholars might recognize. However, beginning in the early 1980s, museums began to “re-discover” this long underappreciated and forgotten artist. Today, Bouguereau’s paintings have once again come into their own, and his works are held by over an estimated 100 museums throughout the world, including the Louvre, and the Museé d’Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Rising triumphantly to reclaim his rightful place in the pages of art history, Bouguereau’s paintings are some of the most coveted in the world. And, on the rare occasion they come onto the market, the opportunity to acquire one of his breathtaking canvases isspectacular indeed.

View more masterpieces and learn more about William Bouguereau.

What Antique Beer Tankards Tell Us About Ancient Monarchs

March 5th, 2014 | posted by Ryan Clark

 
The worldwide fascination with antiques lies not just in their impressive age, but in the way that centuries ago, people used these prized objects much in the same way that we might today – say, for example, with an exquisite antique beer tankard. From the extravagant palaces of colonial-era Europe to the majestic estates of imperial China, wealthy individuals commissioned the creation of truly luxurious tankards so that they could – to put it succinctly – drink in style. While the function of these antiques is something that most people could relate to, the expert artistry and skill used in their design and construction is probably not. Let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful antique beer tankards we’ve ever stocked and, along the way, gain an increased appreciation for the artistic, aesthetic, and historical lessons they can teach us:

Large Chinese Export Silver Tankard

This mid-19th century silver tankard made by Lee Ching of Canton, Shanghai and Hong Kong was made specifically for export, with a wealthy Western buyer in mind. The high-quality repoussé work reveals an exciting battle scene, while the handle’s vibrant dragon sculpture evokes Chinese symbolism of good luck and strength. Price: $9,850

German Ivory Miniature Tankard

While the first German ivory sculptures date back to well over a thousand years ago, the ivory trade to Germany was cut off during Ottoman rule in Northern Africa and the art form subsequently went into decline there. In the late 15th century, when the Portguese re-established reliable trade routes to sub-Saharan Africa, ivory began flowing back into central Europe and the famous wood carving artisans of Odenwald subsequently adapted their meticulous skills to ivory. This specialized artistic tradition grew throughout Germany for centuries, yielding such marvellous works as this 4.75-inch-high miniature tankard with a silver plate vessel. Price: $8,850 (SOLD)

Chinese Garden Export Silver Tankard

This double-skinned silver presentation tankard was built for export by Cutching of Canton in the mid-19th century. Its exterior repoussé shows a peaceful garden scene complete with animals, old men, trees, and a sky filled with wispy clouds. Just like the aforementioned Lee Ching tankard, this piece features a powerful looking dragon handle. Price: $14,850

Hester Bateman George III Silver Tankard

Made by Hester Bateman, who is widely regarded as the 18th century’s top female silversmith, this sterling silver tankard harkens back to the golden age – or should we say silver age – of European royal families. The engraved crest on the exterior of this tankard is both immaculate in its detail as well as regal in its design. The hallmark is dated 1787, placing it just before the French Revolution. Price: $14,850

Ivory Artemis and Actaeon Tankard

Carved entirely out of ivory, this 6 3/4″ x 12 1/8″ tankard from the mid-19th century boasts a degree of detail and craftsmanship that is truly wondrous to behold. It tells the ancient Greek myth of Artemis and Actaeon, with the goddess Artemis represented in the nude on the lid, and Actaeon shown in fine detail on the frieze itself. The myth involves the hunter Actaeon stumbling across the goddess Artemis bathing in the forest, whereupon Artemis – outraged that a mortal man had see her nude body – turns him into a stag, at which point he is eaten by his own dogs. Price:$34,500 (SOLD)

German Ivory Tankard, Kings of Poland

Crafted circa 1850, this German ivory tankard pays homage to the 16th and 17th century Polish monarchs Sigismund I, Sigismund II Augustus, Stefan Báthory, and Sigismund III. A national symbol, in the form of the Polish white eagle, stands guard atop the  silver plate vessel and is itself immaculately carved out of ivory. At 12.5″ in height, this antique beer tankard is a large, well-preserved testament to the refined tastes and sensibilities of the 19th century European nobility. Price: $38,500 (SOLD)

Eugene Boudin

February 28th, 2014 | posted by Phillip Youngberg

G. jean Aubry commented that “Boudin is one of the most interesting examples of instinctive creativity, a painter who demonstrates the uselessness of schools and rules, and the supreme virtue of personal effort, long patience, and a steadfast gift.”

Le Rivage de Villerville, Maree Basse, by Eugene Boudin

Le Rivage de Villerville, Maree Basse, by Eugene Boudin

With serene landscapes and dreamlike scenes, this steadfast gift is one that leaves the viewer craving more.  What fueled this personal effort that led Boudin to the heights of artistic success?

Like some of the most impressive figures of our time, Eugene Boudin had humble beginnings.  His father, Leonard-Sebastien Boudin, was born into a family of sailors and would continue to uphold this seafaring legacy.  The younger Boudin, however, would break from this tradition, but his family’s ties to the seas would always touch his canvases in some way.

Landscape with Cows by Eugene Boudin

Landscape with Cows by Eugene Boudin

Boudin received no artistic encouragement from his family, it would be the people he surrounded himself with that would nurture his creative passions.  In fact, it was an early employer who gave Boudin his first set of paints.   At eighteen, he would start his own stationary shop with a colleague.  Situated on a bustling street in Le Havre, he began to meet a cadre of artists vying to have their items displayed in his store’s window.  These artists that undoubtedly helped inspire his artistic vision and they included Eugene Isabey, Constant Troyon, Thomas Couture, and Jean-Francois Millet.

Innate talent, drive, and an aesthetic inspired by and focused on the open ocean make Boudin’s nuanced scenes coveted by art lovers the world over.  We are fortunate to not only enjoy these images in the gallery every day, but also share them with you.

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