Archive for the 'From Our Sales Team' Category

On The World Stage: Sèvres World’s Fair Vases

June 10th, 2014 | posted by Bill Rau

 

SevresVases

The quality and scale of these stunning Sèves porcelain vases denotes their creation for the 1900 World’s Fair. A motif of sensuous swans executed in a style illustrating the influences of the Art Nouveau and Japonisme surrounds each magnificent vase. Each bears the signature of Sèvres artist Horace Bieuville, and dated 1900 and 1899, respectively.

 

Beginning in the mid-19th century, the universal showcase for the world’s greatest artisans and craftsmen to unveil trend-setting techniques, styles and ideas were the International Exhibitions. The legendary Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory saw the perfect opportunity to illustrate their mastery of the Art Nouveau aesthetic through these Monumental Swan Vases at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair.

Designed by Sèvres artist Horace Bieuville, these exquisite vases were created to draw attention to the shift in European decorative art ideals at the turn of the 20th century, which focused upon Art Nouveau and Japonisme influences. Measuring nearly four-feet in height, each grand vessel is enveloped with a stylized organic motif of graceful swans gliding through a lotus pond. The muted tree line in the background draws the viewer into the scene, giving the water fowl both focus and depth.

Known today as “World’s Fairs”, the International Exhibitions provided artists like Bieuville the opportunity to create the most beautiful and innovative pieces to display to an international audience, which often included royalty and celebrities from around the world. For well-established firms such as Sèvres, the events served to solidify their status as trend-setters by proving they were on the cutting-edge of technique and design.

Based on their sheer size and masterful craftsmanship, it is certain that these vases were created specifically for the Exhibition. Since the Exhibition that year was held in the firm’s own country, it served as the perfect opportunity to present the epitome of French porcelain to the world.

To view M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection of rare antique porcelain, click here.

 

The Name Says it All: The Augustus III Clock by Jean-Pierre Latz

May 1st, 2014 | posted by Bill Rau
LatzClock

The Augustus III Clock by Jean-Pierre Latz, circa 1745, stands nearly nine-feet high. The original mercury-gilded bronze envelopes the entire clock and is rendered in a stunning hunting motif.

 

Few things in the fine art and antiques world get the heart racing quite like provenance. Imagine touching an object that once belonged to a king, or even a celebrity. Now imagine the thrill of actually owning that precious object! Important maker, rarity and quality are immensely important, but when you have a fantastic provenance, you have something truly special–a tangible piece of history.

Created for King Augustus III of Saxony and Poland by the great French ébéniste Jean-Pierre Latz, this astonishing clock is arguably one of the greatest and most important French timepieces to ever come on the market.

Considered among the premier ébénistes of the 18th century, Latz counted numerous members of royalty throughout Europe as patrons. His incredible creations can be found in world’s most prestigious museums and collections, including the J. Paul Getty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Royal Collection Trust and the Staaliche Kunstammlungen Museums in Germany.

According to articles and documentation authored by former Cleveland Museum of Art Curator Henry H. Hawley, the renowned authority on Latz’s work, this clock bears all of the hallmark traits of the famed ébéniste’s workmanship and was almost certainly created for Augustus III. The tremendous quality of this timepiece and its slightly later base are identical to the Latz clock held in the former King’s residence, Schloss Moritzburg. This indicates that our Latz clock was made for the King and is the pair to the Mortizburg timepiece. The King was an important art collector and a great patron of the arts. According to Hawley, the ébéniste often referenced in official documents Augustus III’s personal agent in Paris, Monsieur Leleu.

The clock and its matching pedestal are masterfully crafted of ebony and enveloped in the most spectacular polychrome Boulle marquetry comprising mother-of-pearl and dyed horn inlaid into golden brass of the absolute highest order. Stunning, original mercury-gilded bronze mounts of exceptional quality adorn the pedestal and the clock. The design of both the bronze and marquetry highlights the theme of hunting. The goddess Diana, with bow and arrow drawn, tops this majestic timepiece, while stags support the clock atop the pedestal, and images of boar heads flank either side.

Owned by one of the most powerful men in the world, and handcrafted by one of the greatest ébénistes of the 18th century, this clock is a profound work of art of incredible historical importance.

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.

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