French Marble Weight Driven Table Regulator
People have been preoccupied with measuring and recording time since ancient civilizations first relied upon the sun, moon and stars to gauge the passing of days. As each age advances in technology, so does the humble clock, born of the rudimentary sundial and elevated to mechanical and design triumph, as seen in this majestic French regulator clock. Crafted of opulent Carrera marble, and powered by an intricate weight-driven mechanism, this rare regulator clock is noteworthy in its accuracy, which is, amazingly, maintained today. Brosse of Bordeaux designed this complex and beautiful regulator clock around 1820, and its success helped fuel the rise of French clockmakers after years of Dutch domination in the clock industry.
While the exterior is elegant and intriguing, the interior mechanism of this clock is even more interesting. A steel frame supports the ormolu-spired marble canopy from which the clock descends. These rods also anchor the lines from which two silvered, pear-shaped weights are suspended. These weights, the clock’s motive force, propel the mercury jar pendulum that swings above the clock on a spring suspension, triggering the detent escapement with a ruby impulse pallet. Blued steel hands mark the time on the silvered dial with champleve Roman numerals, with a seconds ring at the apex.
Revolutionary for its time, the clock is effortless and complex, straightforward yet fascinating. This piece is as intriguing today as it was when it was first produced. To see more of our clock collection, click here, or better yet, come to our gallery on Royal street to see them in person! We can promise you will be right on time.
December 21st, 2012 | posted by Bill Rau
South Sea Pearl Earrings
Baroque South Sea pearls are the perfect blend of classical elegance and modern flair. These dynamic jewels command considerable attention on the market..
Deep in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, between the northern coast of Australia and the southern coast of China in an area commonly referred to as the “South Seas,” one of nature’s most outstanding treasures is being created.
It takes a minimum of two years for the large Pinctada maxima oyster to create a single South Sea pearl. Each begins its life as a tiny bead of mother-of-pearl carefully implanted into the mollusk. It is these implants that serve as the pearl’s nucleus, accepting layer upon layer of the oyster’s unmistakably vibrant nacre (the shimmering mother-of-pearl substance of which pearls are made), ultimately giving birth to the most desirable pearls in the world. These dazzling gems of the ocean are renowned not only for their tremendous size, but their breathtaking luster; characteristics that set the South Sea pearl above all others.
Measuring between 9mm and 18mm, South Sea pearls owe their great size and brilliance to several factors. The favorably temperate waters of the South Seas speed the mollusk’s metabolism and increase the amount of nacre it is able to produce. The thick layering of this particular nacre is famed for its peerless glow, which appears to radiate from within the jewel, adding to the pearls rarity and desirability. The grand size of the Pinctada maxima itself, measuring upwards of a foot in diameter, allows the gem to develop unhindered in a spacious environment. Also, the waters of the South Seas are incredibly clean and rich in plankton, the oyster’s primary food. Truly, the more content the oyster, the more impeccable the pearls!
South Sea pearls come in a rainbow of colors. This opulent necklace showcases pearls of the highly sought-after gold hue.
This Golden South Sea Pearl Necklace boasts 31 magnificent jewels of the highly coveted gold hue. Ranging in size from 12mm-15mm, each of these brilliant pearls is exceptional in it’s own right, but combine them in one necklace, and you have reached a level of brilliance that took many years to achieve. When you consider that a single pearl of this size can take nearly a decade to form, combined with the fact that one must search thousands upon thousands of mollusks to maybe find a beautifully round, symmetrical gem, the true rarity of these precious treasures of the sea takes your breath away.
Click here to view and learn more about M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection of South Sea pearls
Secrets de l’Amour by William Adolphe Bouguereau
The holidays are in full swing here in the French Quarter, and that means decorations, parades and parties! It is also a special time here at the gallery as we recently opened our very first exhibition Impressionism: Influences & Impact. Showcased are impressionist masters like Claude Monet, Alfred Sissley and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, along with artists like Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, who influenced them, and Vincent van Gogh, who was inspired by the revolutionary movement.
You may instantly recognize Secrets de l’Amour (Cupid’s Secrets) as the work of one of the most decorated artists of the 19th century, William Adolphe Bouguereau. With the influence of light and color from the Impressionists, Bouguereau painted classically themed portraits of women. This masterpiece is the ultimate expression of Bouguereau’s artistic ideals and even features his favorite model, Odile Charpentier.
The artist’s passion for the classical past is felt powerfully in this exceptional composition that depicts a coy cupid draped over a young woman’s shoulder, which he appears to be advising in matters of the heart. Finessed with the utmost academic rigor to which Bouguereau was dedicated, this painting also seems to have a deeply personal significance as it was painted the same year he married his long-time love Elizabeth Gardner.
Bouguereau received tremendous acclaim during his lifetime; he so dominated the Salons of the Third Republic that the official Salon became known unofficially as “Le Salon Bouguereau”. He is still highly sought-after today and his works are held in a number of prestigious private collections, as well as museums around the world.
We are fortunate to have this stunning piece in our collection, and as one of the gems of the exhibition. If you are in the New Orleans area, I encourage you to visit the gallery and explore the fascinating history of Impressionism. Impressionism: Influences & Impact runs until Janurary 4, 2013 and more information can be found here.
Jeune Femime a Leventail
Only a few times in our 100 years in business have we had the opportunity to own paintings by the famed Belle Époque painter, James Jacques Tissot. His recognizable images of stylishly dressed women of leisure are commanding ever higher prices at auction, and we were fortunate to buy this painting, after years of pursuing it.
Jeune Femme a’ l’Eventail is a study of a young woman dressed in 18th century period costume, seated in a park, coquettishly holding a fan near her face. Typical of Tissot’s women, this painting displays profound attention to light in the lush landscape of the park and to the soft details of the woman’s clothes. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the splayed fan – one of Tissot’s favorite props – which adds to the flirtatious nature of the painting.
Tissot’s paintings so often tell a story, and this painting is rich in details with the painter’s love of theatrics. The dramatic striped dress so expertly rendered on this model is one he used in several works. Tissot bought these costumes at local second-hand markets to suit the tastes of his patrons, who preferred portraits in 18th century dress. Even the fan reveals a secret language of women, in this case, that of a coy young woman. The model may be recognizable to Tissot collectors as she was one of his favorite subjects and is featured in several of his paintings.
As our research department delved into the history of the painting, they found it published in three important Tissot books. We were delighted! We also found other paintings that included the same model and the same dress.
This is one of the most exciting paintings we have ever had, so if you are in the New Orleans area, I invite you to come see its beauty in person.
Madame Paul Valery by Renoir
M.S. Rau Antiques will mark the end of its centennial with a specially curated exhibit of more than 45 significant works of art, many from world-renowned Impressionist artists. These works, many of which belong to private collectors and have never been seen in public before and others which are in the Rau collection for public offering, illustrate how these masters paved the way to this remarkable movement in art history in the 20th century. The artists of these museum-quality paintings, whose works are the bench marks of these highly influential movements, embody the pre-Impressionist and Impressionist period peerlessly: Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Vincent van Gogh and Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, among others.
Two art history scholars will present lectures at the M.S. Rau gallery on the topic of Impressionism. Michelle Foa, Assistant Professor of Art History at Tulane University, will speak on December 1st; Lisa Rotondo-McCord, Assistant Director of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, will speak December 15th,
The paintings will be on display in M.S. Rau’s exhibition gallery from November 16th to January 4th 2013, at 630 Royal Street in the historic French Quarter. The gallery is open to the public Monday to Saturday, 9:15am to 5:00pm. Admission to the exhibition is free and information on attending the lectures can be found at: www.rauantiques.com or by calling 800.544.9440.