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Archive for December, 2011

Tiffany for Everyone!

December 26th, 2011 | posted by Susan Lapene

There are but a few names synonymous with exceptional quality; Tiffany & Company being one of them. Since opening its doors in 1837, Tiffany and Co. has been a uniquely American brand representing glamour, sophistication and creative design. The company has successfully held its designs to the standard of the finest art – and to own a piece of antique Tiffany jewelry is akin to owning the best work by the greatest painter.  The four pieces I have the privilege of offering to you this holiday season are classic Tiffany.  They make a statement; they are playful; they are utterly chic.

The first piece, a stunning 18K gold bangle bracelet by Tiffany designer Jean Schlumberger, is a study in pure design. Teal green enamel is the back drop for a series of applied gold bands and cross hatches.

The second piece is also by Jean Schlumberger and is of the same nature but features royal blue enamel with 1.50 carats of diamonds around it. There are 19 larger diamonds and 38 smaller ones making it utterly eye-catching from every angle.

Jean Schlumberger is one of the most respected jewelry designers in history. Born in France, he created costume jewelry for Elsa Schiaparelli before moving to New York after World War II. Hired by Tiffany in the 1950s, Schlumberger’s work quickly became the talk of the town, attracting collectors such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Duchess of Windsor.

The other two pieces I am presenting to you are bold brooches that will instantly transform any outfit – from a gorgeous gown to a wool blazer – you will be noticed. The stunning reclining cat pin features emerald eyes and numerous diamonds covering the platinum base. It’s truly a charming piece that any cat-lover would be enthralled by. The emerald eyes are the perfect complement to the shining diamonds.

The second piece, the catfish brooch with sapphires, emeralds, and enamel is one of the most unique pieces of jeweled ornament I have ever seen. It’s excellently crafted and pictures truly do not do its charm justice.

Any one of these pieces would make a lovely addition to your collection. Please let me know which of these entice you most!

Pick a Painting, any Painting!

December 20th, 2011 | posted by Phillip Youngberg

A Woman on a Path by a Cottage by John Atkinson Grimshaw

Of all the items in my home, paintings truly give me the most pleasure. I am amazed by the fact that you can look at paintings thousands of times without noticing every detail. There is always something fresh to be found in a great painting. I have sold several paintings by John Atkinson Grimshaw over the years, whose paintings always intrigue me. As one of the prominent Victorian painters, he produced spectacular moonlit scenes. Well, I found a Grimshaw-inspired painting of ships at night with a full moon shining on the waves to hang in my home, and it brings me great joy.

It is fun to build collections of paintings for clients, and since I see so many works from various artists, I can really separate the great ones from the good ones. Because artists painted to make a living, there are, in the trade, paintings considered “commercial grade” that they cranked out. Then there are the really spectacular ones that jump out at you that you fall immediately in love with. Take for instance, A Woman on a Path by a Cottage by Grimshaw, a glowing nocturne, or Village sous la neige by Maurice de Vlaminck, a wonderfully expressive Fauvist landscape. Let’s not forget A Young Girl Crocheting by Alexi Harlamoff, a charming portrait of a young peasant girl fully concentrated on her crocheting project. The list goes on and on, and I’m certain that we have paintings to fit every taste.

I would love to share my passion for great art with you and help you find pieces that you will enjoy and love forever.  Please send me an email or call me to let me know what subject matter, artists or period of paintings that you would like to collect.

Village sous la neige by Maurice de Vlaminck

A Young Girl Crocheting by Alexei Alexeievich Harlamoff

The Reminiscant Renoir

December 19th, 2011 | posted by James Gillis

This just may demonstrate the truest definition of Impressionism. In L’eglise de Varengeville et les falaises, land meets sea and sky in a bold, mesmerizing display of color and texture on a clear afternoon. Renoir painted this fascinating scene in 1880, at the ripe age of 39. This is generally considered the peak of Renoir’s career, whose most revered paintings were produced in the late 1870’s and early 1880’s. Renoir’s mastery of outdoor light is eloquently rendered here, as is his genius for conveying mood through varying brushstrokes. The land is portrayed with short, impulsive strokes, giving it certain wildness, while the sky and ocean are rendered calm and peaceful with long, gentle washes of color. This ability to capture the explosive sensation is essential to Impressionism and a hallmark of Renoir’s work.

This subject matter was particularly dear to Renoir, which makes the painting especially valuable. Whereas Renoir regularly took portrait commissions to stay financially afloat in Paris, he retreated to the Normandy coast in the summers of 1879 and 1880 to relax and embrace the landscapes that continually inspired him. The bold, rich hues that comprise the windswept cliff denote the passion with which Renoir approached this scenery. During these summers, Renoir was housed by his important patron, Paul-Antoine Berard at his country château in Wargemont.

Without question, Renoir had the remarkable ability to translate the ordinary into the extraordinary. Working closely with Monet, he began experimenting with the portrayal of light and its effect on his canvases. The youngest member of the Impressionist movement, the astute painter recognized that a subject was constantly changing due to the dynamic effects of light on color. As is visible when examining his work, Renoir captured a particular moment in time, or an “impression” of a scene, rather than a static and overly refined depiction that begs for explanation.

I can’t say enough how much this painting captures the essentials of Impressionism.  Please give me a call, I would love to discuss the painting with you.

A Tender Portrait of Tissot’s Love

December 6th, 2011 | posted by Susan Lapene

James Jacques Joseph Tissot's Promenade Dans La Neige

There are but a few artists that can accurately render feelings. The emotion depicted in this painting by Tissot, is that of undying love.

James Jacques Joseph Tissot’s painting entitled “A Winter’s Walk” is of his beautiful Irish muse and later lover, Kathleen Newton – known as “Kate” to her friends and family. Kate was born in 1854 to Charles Ashburnham Kelly, an Irish army officer who was employed by the East India Company in Lahore, India; her mother, Flora Boyd, was from Ireland.

Kelly arranged a match for his sixteen-year-old daughter, Kate, with Isaac Newton, a surgeon in the Indian Civil Service. On the outward voyage to be married, however, a young sailor, Captain Pallisar, became entranced by her beauty. The girl nobly refused his advances but was, nonetheless, struck by the captain. After the marriage in 1870 and before consummation, Kate, on the advice of her pastor, explained to her new husband her love for Pallisar and the brief courtship.

Refusing to believe Kate’s innocence in the matter, Newton instituted divorce proceedings and ordered her back to England. Still in love with the young beauty, Pallisar paid for her passage, but only on the condition that she finally yield to his seductions. She ultimately became pregnant but refused to marry the captain. Her daughter Muriel Violet Mary Newton, called Violet, was born in Yorkshire on 20 December 1871 on the same day that her divorce was finalized. Kate and baby Violet went to live with Kate’s sister Polly and her husband in St John’s Wood, outside of London, England. It is here that she finally meets the man who would immortalize her, James Jacques Joseph Tissot.

Newton became the subject of many of his paintings. It is obvious in this painting that he adored her totally and loved to paint not just her beautiful face, but also to dwell on her dresses, pleats, ribbons, bows and hats. He had a great artistic talent, and also an eye for style and a feeling for chic. Although the people in his pictures are so elegant and pretty that they could have been a model out of fashion magazines, they are yet very human and just ordinary people. Every picture tells a story.

Soon after Tissot painted Kate in “A Winters Walk,” they moved in together.  Although their love affair scandalized Victorian London, it was of no concern to either of them.  Each considered the other the love of their life, and nothing else mattered. Tragically, their love affair lasted only a fleeting 5 years for soon into their relationship, Kate fell prey to tuberculosis.  As she became sicker and weaker she was unable to watch his grief and took her own life in November 1882.  The despondent Tissot sat by her coffin for four days.

I can’t think of one other single painting of a common person where so much is known about the subject.  The more I found out about her the more fascinated I became with her gutsy individuality, belief in freedom and choice, and her elegant beauty – the last of which she was utterly oblivious.

Interestingly, the whereabouts of this particular painting had previously been unknown until it came onto the market recently – much to the delight of Tissot historians. The newest edition of the catalogue raisonné will now feature this work rather than a mere representational etching based upon it. I feel incredibly fortunate to bring such important work in the artist’s oeuvre to you for consideration!