Archive for March, 2012

The Bureau Mazarin

March 26th, 2012 | posted by Ludovic Rousset

Today, I have the pleasure to introduce you a very early example of a French desk, the “bureau Mazarin.”

This desk was named after the Cardinal Mazarin, regent of France from 1642 to 1661. It was, in fact, originally created 10 years later. Mazarin did hire Pierre Gole to create two grand cabinets to donate to Louis XIV’s palace, however, what later became known as the “Bureau Mazarin” was an earlier request from King Henri IV for a piece of furniture that would provide ample locked storage space.

Given the importance of letter-writing in the 17th century, Gole decided to create a three drawer cabinet, an early rendition of what would later become the common pedestal desk. Essentially an elevated chest, Gole had created something entirely new. The piece had the functionality of a writing surface, equipped with drawers and locked storage space. The particular desk was raised by eight legs joined by two “x” shaped stretchers, giving the piece an elegant architectural feel.

A Vase of Flowers by Margareta Haverman, 1716

Pierre Gole, originally from Amsterdam, was known for his ambitious and intricate marquetry, inspired by the floral still life tradition in Dutch paintings of the 17th century. In order to achieve this affect, he used countless types of woods for the inlay, including ebony, boxwood, barberry, various shades of walnut, amaranth, and pear, among many others. Today cabinet makers typically utilize only a handful of woods, instead staining them to achieve a variety of shades. Upon close inspection of this desk, it is intriguing to observe the grains and textures that each type of wood contributes to the overall design.

The top of the desk is a great example of his talent and reveals some of the legendary Jasmine design of inlaid ivory flowers, which is the mark of the highest quality works. It is particularly difficult to incorporate ivory into marquetry because it shrinks at a different rate than wood, so it must be executed absolutely perfectly in order to stand the test of time! We are proud to offer this museum piece for sale and would love to share its history and grace with you.

Purple Sapphires, a Rare and Regal Delight!

March 20th, 2012 | posted by James Gillis

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Sapphires can be called the gemstones of the sky . . .they lie well hidden in just a few places and have to be brought to light through extremely hard work. Sapphires are found in India, Burma, Ceylon, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Tanzania and Kenya. From the gemstone mines, these raw crystals are first taken to the cutting-centers where they are turned into sparkling gemstones by skilled hands. When cutting a sapphire, the cutter has to muster all his skill, for these gemstones are not only hard; depending on the angle from which you look at them, they also have different intensities and shades of color. So it is the job of the cutter to orientate the raw crystals in such a way that the color is brought out to its best advantage. Just as they have done with our Purple Sapphire.

Purple sapphires are, in fact, quite extraordinary and far rarer than more traditional blue sapphires. Unlike most blue and pink sapphires which need to be heat treated in order to obtain their best color display, purple sapphires very rarely require any heat treatment. Furthermore they tend to change color in different lighting!

This purple sapphire not only radiates beauty, magnificent color, and transparency, but also constancy and durability associated with these stunning gemstones. The sapphire belongs to the corundum group, the members of which are characterized by their excellent hardness (9 on the Mohs scale). Indeed their hardness is exceeded only by that of the diamond, the diamond being the hardest mineral on Earth! Thanks to their durability, sapphires are exremely easy to look after, requiring no more than an occasional cleaning on behalf of the wearer.

To take a look at our other sapphires in stock, click here.

Why ART? Why NOW? and Why from M.S. Rau?

March 13th, 2012 | posted by Lyndon Lasiter

Lyndon Lasiter

Well-established artists, like the so-called ‘Old Masters’ or the Impressionists, have a stable market value. By comparison, the more contemporary the artist, the more uncertain is his or her market value. (from “Investors find a safe haven in art,” DW, 10/16/11, by Chi Viet Giang)

…Given the history of art funds in the recent times, it would be perhaps more advisable at this juncture to buy art from galleries… (from “Invest in art to balance portfolio,” The Economic Times, 9/25/11, by Nalini S. Malavyia)

Steven Murphy, chief executive of the privately held Christie’s, said collectors and investors alike see art as a potentially safe haven for their cash at a time when the broader financial outlook remains volatile… (from “Auction Houses Clean Up as Investors Vie for Art,” Wall Street Journal, 2/1/12, by Kelly Crow)

After reading the above mentioned quotations and articles, you very well may be convinced that buying art now is the thing to do. That said, you may still question why to buy from M.S. Rau Antiques. That answer lies in the advantage of private galleries over auction houses. When buying from our 100 year old, internationally respected gallery, there are no premiums to pay. Furthermore, if there is a work of art by a particular artist and/or in a certain style, we are more than happy to find exactly what you are looking for!

So if you are still asking the question, Why Art? Why Now? or Why from M. S. Rau?,  here are just a few more great reasons…

Vincent Van Gogh

Pierre Auguste-Renoir

Paul Gauguin

Albert Sisley

and our favorite American son, Norman Rockwell

From myself, Lyndon Lasiter, and all of us at M.S. Rau Antiques, thank you for helping make our first 100 years successful and why not, BUY ART AND BUY NOW, as we begin our second 100 years of offering the rarest, finest and most desirable fine art available!