America, Illustrated: An Exhibition of Saturday Evening Post Cover Illustrations

December 17th, 2015 | posted by Bill Rau
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The Babysitter by Norman Rockwell, November 8, 1947 Saturday Evening Post cover

Future President by George Hughes, September 25, 1948 Saturday Evening Post cover

Future President by George Hughes, September 25, 1948 Saturday Evening Post cover

The great illustrators of the 20th century captured American history unlike any artist before, and the famed Saturday Evening Post carried their images to millions of Americans, into their hearts and homes. At M.S. Rau Antiques, we are exploring the nation’s rich story as told by six decades of original Post illustrations in our current exhibition, America, Illustrated. Featuring original Post covers by Norman Rockwell and his contemporaries, including J.C. Leyendecker, Stevan Dohanos, Maxfield Parrish, John Philip Falter, and more, the exhibition offers a nostalgic look into a bygone age.

Beginning in the 1900s, the comprehensive exhibition spans nearly the entire lifespan of the Saturday Evening Post, which published weekly from 1897 until 1963. This iconic American magazine was the first to reach a mass audience – over six million subscribers at its peak, not to mention rack sales – and stands as one of the most widespread and influential middle-class magazines in American history.

The iconic Post cover illustrations present compelling scenes of everyday life the come together to forge a portrait of a country and its people, shaped by period of peace and war, moments of immense happiness and despair, and of great societal change.

The exhibition opens at the dawn of a new century. The 1900s would truly be remembered as the decade that invented the future. An exciting time in technology, culture, and the arts, American culture found itself at a crossroads – awakening to change with echoes of the past still visible. J.C. Leyendecker’s Easter from 1906, presenting a high-hatted gentleman and his impeccably dressed female companion, is emblematic of the Victorian ideals still held by the most affluent in society at the turn of the century – ideals which would soon become obsolete.

Begging for the Turkey by J.C. Leyendecker, 1933 Thanksgiving cover of The Saturday Evening Post

Begging for the Turkey by J.C. Leyendecker, 1933 Thanksgiving cover of The Saturday Evening Post

Much of the exhibition is colored by the two World Wars, which came to dominate cultural narrative of their respective eras. During the country’s darkest times, the Saturday Evening Post’s poignant wartime covers gave cause to keep faith in humankind and support the American troops. Norman Rockwell’s Willie Gillis is one of the most iconic characters from the Post’s wartime illustrations.  Rockwell uses his well-honed talent for storytelling to give the war a human face through his character, Willie, who, even in wartime, lends humor to the most difficult of subjects. Through his wartime works, Rockwell successfully communicated a strong moral compass for the nation.

Along the way, these original illustrations give face to some of the most significant advancements of American history, from women’s rights to the automobile and the radio. They also give a glimpse into our most heartwarming times, including moments of childhood wonder and holiday fun. Coming to a close in the 1950s with idealized images of suburbia and the American Dream, this exhibition offers a truly nostalgic and heartwarming vision of one generation’s lived experience.

The exhibition runs through January 5 at M.S. Rau Antiques’ French Quarter Gallery. Click here for more information about the works in this family-friendly, nostalgic exhibition that is perfect for the holiday season.

The Splendor of Art Deco: Table Clocks for Him

December 16th, 2015 | posted by Ludovic Rousset
Retailed by J.E. Caldwell & Co., this rare timepiece boasts fine guilloche enamelling

Retailed by J.E. Caldwell & Co., this rare timepiece boasts fine guilloche enamelling

A table clock can be a fascinating conversation piece, or the perfect accent to any handsomely furnished room. It can attract admiration and appreciation from both the connoisseur and the layman as a work of both mechanical complexity and decorative appeal. Thus, a well-designed table clock can serve as the perfect holiday gift for anyone on your list. This holiday season, surprise your loved one with an object of timeless style – a table clock.

Some of the finest crafted table clocks hail from the J.E. Caldwell & Co. clockmakers and jewelers in Philadelphia, PA. Since its beginning in 1839 by James Emmott Caldwell, J.E. Caldwell has succeeded in designing pieces that exude quality and elegance. Jewelry, silver, and objets d’art were crafted by the expert designers for their wealthy and aristocratic clientele, and soon the Caldwell name became well-known and respected throughout the country. This venerable jeweler’s talent also found its way into clock making, and they soon excelled in designing sophisticated and luxurious clocks in the sleek Art Deco.

 

 

Signed "J.E.Caldwell/France" on the dial, and signed in the case

Signed “J.E.Caldwell/France” on the dial, and signed in the case

This remarkable table clock represents the grandeur and sophistication of not only J.E. Caldwell’s talents, but also of the Art Deco movement itself. Small in scale, yet powerful in impact, this table clock is a sumptuous reminder of a bygone era. Guilloche enameling is responsible for the rich azure color that envelops the surface of the clock, radiating from a single point on each side of the clock face. Lavish diamond studded silver filigree hands keep time on the face of the clock that displays elegant Roman numerals. Sleek, white enamel frames enclose each panel of the clock, completing the piece. The clock rests in its original, gold-embossed leather fitted case and is signed “J.E.Caldwell/France” on the face.

Crafted of luxurious tortoiseshell, this sleek desk clock by J.E. Caldwell & Co. exudes Art Deco elegance.

Crafted of luxurious tortoiseshell, this sleek desk clock by J.E. Caldwell & Co. exudes Art Deco elegance.

 

Similarly, this tortoiseshell J.E. Caldwell table clock evokes both wealth and sophistication. The clock rests back on a stand, much like a framed photo. High-quality tortoiseshell swathes the clock in a warmth of golden browns and rich oranges, perfectly complemented by the bronze ormolu that frames the clock. The Art Deco style displays itself through the bold numbers and stylized ornamentation on the face, as well as the sleek, yet commanding design of the clock frame design. Signed “J.E.Caldwell & Co/Philadelphia/France” on the dial.

The dial is framed by a luxurious plaque of amber-hued onyx

The dial is framed by a luxurious plaque of amber-hued onyx

 

 

 

This impressive table clock speaks to the most important aesthetics of the Art Deco movement. A plaque of amber-hued onyx makes up the body of the clock, encapsulating the entire piece. The center dial is gilded and is delicately enameled in deep blue and rich greens, creating the perfect color contrasts to the amber hues of the onyx surrounding. This type of eye-catching, sleek and simple aesthetic created by the color contrasts perfectly exemplifies the main qualities of the Art Deco style. The clock is signed “J.E. Caldwell/Philadelphia” on the dial.

 

 

 

Any of these remarkable table clocks are sure to provide the perfect present for any friend or family member. As impressive works on their won, each of these clocks at M.S. Rau Antiques would be an elegant addition to any room.

 

Time For Luxury: Table Clocks for Her

December 14th, 2015 | posted by Phillip Youngberg
This incredible Meissen clock is crafted entirely of porcelain

This incredible Meissen clock is crafted entirely of porcelain

As beautiful as it is functional, a luxuriously designed table clock can provide the perfect focal point for any well-appointed room. Always desirable, the table clock can also be the perfect gift for any holiday occasion. Make this Christmas a special moment to remember with one of these extraordinary table clocks that exude rarity, taste, and timeless luxury.

The babes are nestled within elaborate Rococo decoration bearing items representative of each season

The babes are nestled within elaborate Rococo decoration bearing items representative of each season

 

This ornate Meissen mantel pendulum clock showcases the legendary porcelain manufacturer’s mastery over their craft. The company’s penchant for allegorical themes is on full display in the timepiece’s elaborate depiction of the Four Seasons. Four delicate cherub signifying the Seasons rest around the face of the clock: Winter enveloped in a warm cloak, Spring bearing a floral wreath, Summer holding a goblet of red wine, and Fall holding a sheath of wheat. The colors typical to all Meissen porcelain appear here as a symphony of pastels of blush-pinks, pale blues, soft greens, and tinges of shy yellow. The overall design reflects the Rococo opulence of the day with its flourishing foliates and gilt accents. The piece is marked and dated with the Meissen crossed swords and stands at 22” tall.

 

This stunning mantel clock by J. E. Caldwell & Co. of Philadelphia exudes tasteful elegance

This stunning mantel clock by J. E. Caldwell & Co. of Philadelphia exudes tasteful elegance

This marble and doré bronze mantle clock by J.E. Caldwell & Co. gains its inspiration from the French neoclassical era during the reign of Louis XVI, a period that harkened back to the classical orders of ancient Rome and Greece. With this nod to both fashionable French taste and classical sensibilities, the mantle clock displays a stunning culmination of style and refinement. The body of the clock is crafted of luxurious white marble that is adorned by bronze cast doré ornaments of caryatids, scrolling garlands, and flower-bearing urns. The dial, which features an enameled dial embellished with pierced gilt bronze clock hands, is signed JE Caldwell & Co., Philadelphia. The stunning timepiece measures 17 1/2” high.

Scottish jewelry firm Muirhead & Son crafted this fine ormolu and porcelain mantel clock

Scottish jewelry firm Muirhead & Son crafted this fine ormolu and porcelain mantel clock

 

This extraordinary perpetual calendar clock was created by the renowned Scottish jewelry firm of James Muirhead & Son. Though first jewelers, the Scottish earned a name as clockmakers for designing magnificently ornate table clocks that rival his best jewelry designs in beauty and luxury. As mechanically complex as it is beautiful, this calendar clock boasts two faces that display the time, day, month, and even moon phases. Hand-painted porcelain makes up the body of the clock, while fine ormolu gracefully envelops the surface in naturalistic, swooping foliate designs. The bell-striking movement is signed “James Muirhead and Son Glasgow” and the timepiece measures 17 1/2” high.

 

Crafted in styles that would suit nearly any taste, the table clock makes a welcome and luxurious addition to any room. This holiday, give the gift of an elegant and rare table clock from M.S. Rau Antiques.

 

Gifts for the Jewelry Enthusiast: The Tourmaline

December 5th, 2015 | posted by Danielle Halikias
A radiant and rare Cuprian tourmaline shines in this enchanting ring

A radiant and rare Cuprian tourmaline shines in this enchanting ring

Enchanting, colorful, luminous. Tourmalines have long enjoyed a history of high regard and importance. Initially confused with other gems, the Tourmaline was not recognized as a distinct mineral until the 1880s. Today, this exceptional gem is prized for its unique beauty and brilliant array of colors, making the tourmaline a jewel of high distinction and timeless elegance.

Pink tourmalines of this color and size are incredibly rare and highly prized

Pink tourmalines of this color and size are incredibly rare and highly prized

The name “tourmaline” comes from the word “tormalli,” meaning “mixed gems.” It’s a term Dutch merchants applied to the vibrant, multicolored stones that miners found in the gem gravels of Ceylon, present day Sri Lanka. Variety of color, by far, is one of tourmaline’s most fascinating characteristics. This resplendent jewel is found in nearly every color of the rainbow­–from the warm red of elegant Rubellite tourmalines all the way to the neon blues exhibited by rare Paraiba tourmalines. It is nearly impossible to see a tourmaline and not be astonished by its animated, vivacious hues.

An incredible 22.64-carat green tourmaline makes a statement in this cocktail ring

An incredible 22.64-carat green tourmaline makes a statement in this cocktail ring

Of all the colors that the tourmaline comes in, pink is the most sought after. This pink, rosy-hued Cuprian tourmaline ring exhibits all the qualities that make up an outstanding stone. Distinctive in style and impressive size, this 9.99-carat jewel is encircled by 0.89 carats of white sparkling diamonds. To add to its importance and rarity, the tourmaline is certified as having received no traces of heat treatment, making the appearance of the stone completely natural. Cuprian tourmalines are known for their incredible brilliance and eye catching qualities. This Cuprian ring exhibits exactly that, rivaling the vibrancy of all other gemstones. Set in a classic platinum and 18K gold setting, this exceptional cushion-cut tourmaline is one of the most sought after gemstones.

Displaying the deep blue-green hue for which Tourmalines are so loved, this stone is a rare find

Displaying the deep blue-green hue for which Tourmalines are so loved, this stone is a rare find

The range of colors of tourmalines can also be exhibited by deep greens. This 22.64 carat green cushion-cut Tourmaline cocktail ring not only displays impressive size, but incredible color and boldness. The extremely desirable deep green hue dazzles impresses. Rivaling even the very best of emeralds, this stone boasts monumental importance. Set in an elegant platinum setting, this stone is surrounded by 1.10 carats of white diamonds and is characterized as a true treasure.

Truly a jewel of tremendous variety, exceptional gemstone-quality tourmalines command great attention on the market. Those displaying the sumptuous color, clarity and size as those found in M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection of rare jewels are some of the finest tourmalines to be found anywhere and will make for the perfect Holiday gift.

 

Time to Feast: Setting the Holiday Table

November 23rd, 2015 | posted by Lyndon Lasiter
An elegant 196-piece St. Dunstan silver flatware service by Tiffany & Co.

An elegant 196-piece St. Dunstan silver flatware service by Tiffany & Co.

A time for feasting, friends, family, and autumn weather. To many, Thanksgiving is one of the most wonderful times of the year. Marking the beginning of the holiday season, Thanksgiving is a time to gather and give thanks, the commencement of a time of togetherness and cheer. This merry sentiment practically necessitates delicious food and wine with one’s company, particularly one a day that evokes images of warm pumpkin pie and roasted turkey stuffed with dressing. And any perfectly dressed bird requires an equally well dressed table – perfectly cater to your company’s needs on this grand feast day with classic and elegant tableware.

Each piece is marked “TIFFANY & CO. STERLING PAT. 1909” with the “m” date letter

Each piece is marked “TIFFANY & CO. STERLING PAT. 1909” with the “m” date letter

From one of the premiere silver manufacturers in America, Tiffany & Co. flatware services are sure to be the perfect addition to any Thanksgiving spread. Gaining immediate attention after introducing their first sterling silver flatware pattern in 1847, Tiffany & Co. has prevailed in dining sophistication. This 196-piece set for 12 epitomizes what Tiffany flatware is best known for: elegance, durability, and prestige. Hand-crafted in the St. Dunstan pattern, this set features delicate oak leaves in a subtle, yet delicate, Art Deco design. In this set, there is a piece for every dish imaginable. As made evident by this extraordinary service, Tiffany & Co. sets the standard for American elegance in dining.

Crafted by Alexander Johnston, these candlesticks deeply chased decoration in a well-balanced design

Crafted by Alexander Johnston, these candlesticks deeply chased decoration in a well-balanced design

No table setting is complete without stunning, supple lighting. This outstanding pair of 18th century Rococo style silver candlesticks would be the perfect finishing touch to any table. Crafted and marked by the English silversmith Alexander Johnson, these candlesticks reflect the renowned grandeur of the Rococo style. They feature ornate, deeply chased decoration of natural forms such as rosettes, acanthus, shells, and palms – opulent motifs typical of the Rococo style. Tasteful with a touch of exuberance, this pair of candlesticks encapsulates the sensational style of 18th century Rococo.

The stunning sterling Martelé coffee service embodies the very best of Gorham silver

The stunning sterling Martelé coffee service embodies the very best of Gorham silver

No fine feast is complete without after dinner coffee. This Martele four-piece coffee service by Gorham was deeply inspired by the Art Nouveau movement, a style that was characterized by swirling organic forms. These aspects are evident by the curvilinear handles of the sugar bowl and creamer, the delicate swirl of the coffee pot spout, and the embossment on the whole set of foliate and floral designs. As some of the most highly collected silver in the world, the Martele line of the popular Gorham Silver Company exemplifies tasteful style, and would be an elegant addition to any Thanksgiving gathering.

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