Archive for April, 2012

The Fire Within

April 26th, 2012 | posted by James Gillis

Nonius, a Roman Senator, preferred exile to parting with the Ethiopian Opal that Marc Antony demanded from him. Furthermore, the famous 1st century author Pliny wrote that Opals combine the best possible characteristics of the most beautiful of gemstones.

One look at this magnificent opal bead necklace and you instantly understand why these stones have been revered for thousands of years. The necklace juxtaposes the cool glimmer of over 4 carats of diamonds with the warmth of 33 gleaming Ethiopian opals. Each bead contains a lightning storm of fiery hues within, sure to make the wearer glow.  While the stones are, as they have been for millennia, beautiful in their own right, cut into the round bead form, they really exude radiance.

In their natural state, opals tend to exist in thin, flat layers making them rare to find of a size that allows them to be cut into large beads.  The layout of graduated beads (often pearls) in this necklace is classic, but to display opals in this way brings an unexpected twist to the elegant design. The quality, size, and shape of these opals make them highly sought after and they are without a doubt some of the finest to be offered on the market today.

To say that this necklace has an ethereal quality would be an understatement; every bead mesmerizes, seemingly containing its own cosmos. We all deserve the right to own something this beautiful, so, now is your chance!

To see all of our opal jewelry in stock, click here.

When the Light Hits the Water

April 20th, 2012 | posted by Ludovic Rousset

Water. In most of our day to day lives, we take it for granted. We might consume it daily, but most people seldom have the opportunity to gaze upon in its natural state. For the French Impressionists, water became an integral part in expressing their new artistic vision. Celebrated artist Claude Monet particularly valued the effects of light on water. Furthermore, he pursued this study of water en plein air, enabling him to capture the elements of a scene at that particular moment in time.

Monet’s experimentation with color developed over the course of his career, many of his earlier canvases having muted palates. In this particular painting, De Voorzaan, Monet depicts a harbor scene from his travels to Holland in 1871. Inspired by the light in Holland, Monet set out to capture the effect of the gray sky on the water. We see his lively and expressive brush strokes, which most represent the weather’s unrest that day in Holland. This canvas is bursting with anticipation of the heavens bursting open into a storm.

Monet’s appreciation for water remained an integral part of his artistic practice throughout his life, yet we get a sense of its origins here. By the time Monet bought his home in Giverny, he had calculated that light changes every seven minutes. He had an exceptional eye and wanted to render the slightest changes exactly. When working on a series, Monet had multiple canvases at work, sometimes ten, at times up to twenty. He gave a few brushstrokes on one, then noticed that the light was changing and accordingly changed the canvas on the easel. It was a slow process: Monet had to wait until the same light effect would come back to complete the canvas. With so many paintings evolving at once, it could take several months or even years before he considered them all to be finished.

It is such a treat to be able to observe this important artist in the formative years of his career. Even in this early work, we see experimentation with light and shadow, and with expressive brushstrokes. As the windmills and sails blow in the ominous breeze, Monet stands his ground, determinedly pursuing his image, and, eventually, a career of outstanding success.

To see all of our current Monet paintings in stock, click here.

America’s Storyteller: Norman Rockwell

April 2nd, 2012 | posted by Bill Rau

Rockwell presents a stirring social commentary in The Common Touch, which was used as the January 18, 1930 cover of the Saturday Evening Post

No other artist has been able to capture the essence of the American experience like Norman Rockwell. Even in the early stages of his career, the aspect that distinguished his work was that it was about the Everyman, providing a chronicle of the simple joys, awkward moments and trying circumstances that give our lives depth.
Rockwell found success at an early age. He completed his first commission for a series of Christmas cards before he was 16. By 17, he illustrated his first children’s book, and at 22, he had earned his first Saturday Evening Post cover, published May 20, 1916. His work with the Post had skyrocketed his reputation, and before long, the young artist (though he was more confident referring to himself an illustrator rather than an artist) attained the rank of national celebrity. Though many changes occurred over the six decades he painted, the common thread that connects each and every work is the genuine, unmistakable sentimentality that makes Rockwell’s art stand out from all others.

Rockwell found inspiration in daily life and the events that touched every individual, regardless of their place in society. In The Common Touch (Stock Exchange Quotations) each person represents the segments of society, all equally touched by the Stock Market Crash of 1929. The wealthy businessman, the elderly woman, the homemaker, the grocer’s assistant, and even the dog, all had a steak in the economic downturn that gripped our nation. Rockwell’s brilliance shines even though troubled times, as he is able to tackle such a somber reality with heartfelt, yet witty sincerity.

The Buggy Ride is a touching portrayal of young love. This early work was published for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, September 19, 1925

The Buggy Ride, on the other hand, takes a nostalgic look at a moment everyone can identify with-young love. The perspective is that of the viewer, whether a third party or the subjects as adults, looking back upon fond memories of a time long past, but not forgotten. One can even imagine Rockwell reminiscing of such a moment in his own adolescents as he painted the two shy youths enjoying an evening ride and each other’s companionship.

Original paintings, like the above, that were created early in Rockwell’s career are quite exceptional. In 1943, the artist’s studio caught fire, and numerous paintings were destroyed in the blaze. Adding to their rarity is the fact that each served as a Post cover, The Common Touch on January 18, 1930, and The Buggy Ride on September 19, 1925.

Rockwell once stated, “I don’t want to paint for the few who can see a canvas in a museum, for I believe that in a democracy art belongs to the people.” Rich or poor, young or old, male or female, anyone could personally identify with each painting he composed. Both technically superb and emotionally powerful, Rockwell’s paintings capture the resilience and beauty that is the American spirit.

To learn more about these incredible paintings, click here.