Month: April 2014

I want one: Sundial Ring


A rare 16th century gold sundial and compass ring, possibly German, circa 1570. The hinged oval bezel designed as a seal and engraved with a coat of arms, opening to reveal a sundial and compass, on a plain gold hoop. . . .

via “Musetouch Visual Arts Magazine

“New York’s Four Seasons Restaurant Sued over Plan to move Picasso Painting”

This actually could be quite the issue. On the one hand, the  question arises as to the circumstances surrounding the Four Season’s acquiring the painting.   What was the contractual agreement–that they would maintain the painting, that it would stay in the same spot indefinitely,  that it had to always be available to the public.  Did they not make any provisions for this type of situation?  I’m guessing that the case is going to hinge upon how significant the damage to the wall is, how much more damage would postponing the repair cause, and can they move the painting safely out and back.  Maybe they could just cut the wall out with the painting, rebuild behind it, shore it up, then just replacing it in some artsy way?  Or carefully slide boards behind it and lay it down to remove it?  Either way, it’s important to give the owner his rights, but landowner rights are vital too. Plus, if the wall damage causes harm to someone later, who is liable for the injury? ** DB

“New York’s Four Seasons Restaurant Sued over Plan to move Picasso Painting”

Via FoxNews

New York’s storied Four Seasons restaurant has for decades harbored one of the city’s more unusual artworks: the largest Pablo Picasso painting in the United States. But a plan to move it has touched off a spat as sharply drawn as the bullfight crowd the canvas depicts.

Pitting a prominent preservation group against an art-loving real estate magnate, the dispute has unleashed an outcry from culture commentators and a lawsuit featuring dueling squads of art experts.

The building’s owner says Picasso’s “Le Tricorne,” a 19-by-20-foot painted stage curtain, has to be moved from the restaurant to make way for repairs to the wall behind it.

But the Landmarks Conservancy, a nonprofit that owns the curtain, is suing to stop the move. The group says the wall damage isn’t dire and taking down the brittle curtain could destroy it — and, with it, an integral aspect of the Four Seasons’ landmarked interior.

“We’re just trying to do our duty and trying to keep a lovely interior landmark intact,” says Peg Breen, president of the conservancy.

The landlord, RFR Holding Corp., a company co-founded by state Council on the Arts Chairman Aby Rosen, says a structural necessity is being spun into an art crusade.

“This case is not about Picasso,” RFR lawyer Andrew Kratenstein said in court papers. Rather, he wrote, it is about whether an art owner can insist that a private landlord hang a work indefinitely, the building’s needs be damned. “The answer to that question is plainly no.” . . . .”


Archaeologists Unearth New Areas Of Ancient Roman City

“Archaeologists Unearth New Areas Of Ancient Roman City”

by Emily Thomas via “Huffington Post

ostia antica

“Archaeologists in Rome have unearthed a massive section of the ancient port city of Ostia, shedding new light on the city’s historical significance.

Researchers for the Portus Project — an archaeology initiative led by Britain’s Southampton University and Cambridge University — working in collaboration with the British School at Rome and top Roman archaeologists discovered a new boundary wall that greatly extends the Ostia city limits. In the new geophysical survey, archaeologists also found massive warehouses the size of footballs fields which most likely held imported goods before they were sent on to Rome.

”Our results are of major importance for our understanding of Roman Ostia and the discoveries will lead to a major rethink of the topography of one of the iconic Roman cities in the Mediterranean,” Professor Simon Keay, director of the Portus Project, told The Telegraph.

The new findings counter a previously held belief that the Tiber River, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea, was Ostia’s northern border. The recent excavation, however, shows that Ostia’s land continued on the other side of the river. This new area was referred to in antiquity as Isola Sacra, or Sacred Island. . . . . ”



“Cornelius Gurlitt and the complexities of rehoming Nazi-looted art”

“Cornelius Gurlitt and the complexities of rehoming Nazi-looted art”

by Rita Lobo via “European CEO

A priceless haul of invaluable art thought to have been destroyed by the Nazi’s has recently been uncovered in Germany, raising questions about if and how artefacts are returned to their rightful owners or their heirs

“A priceless haul of invaluable art thought to have been destroyed by the Nazi’s has recently been uncovered in Germany, raising questions about if and how artefacts are returned to their rightful owners or their heirs

When the Bavarian customs officer searched Cornelius Gurlitt aboard a train crossing the Lindau Border in 2010, he had no way of knowing that he was about to reignite one of the fiercest cultural debates in European history. Gurlitt, the son of an important German art curator during World War II, turned out to be sitting on a veritable trove of priceless works of art thought to have been lost during or shortly after the war – a fact only discovered because police raided his home on suspicions of tax evasion.

An elderly recluse living in an affluent neighbourhood of Munich, Gurlitt had inherited from his father, Hildebrand, over 1,200 pieces the curator had acquired during the war. The story of how Hildebrand Gurlitt came to be in possession of such an array of what the Nazi’s had labelled ‘degenerate art’ – during a time when collectors were fleeing Europe in droves – is murky at best. But because Germany does not have a law preventing anyone or any institutions from owning looted art, it is unlikely that the provenance of Gurlitt’s collection matters very much, should he wish to retain it.

There is no evidence that Hildebrand, who was part Jewish, stole any . . . .”


New Deal Treasure: Government Searches For Long-Lost Art

“New Deal Treasure: Government Searches For Long-Lost Art”

by Brian Naylor via “NPR

John Sloan's Fourteenth Street at Sixth Avenue hung in the office of Sen. Royal Copeland until his death in 1938. After that, the painting was lost until 2003.

“At the height of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt enacted a raft of New Deal programs aimed at giving jobs to millions of unemployed Americans; programs for construction workers and farmers — and programs for writers and artists.

“Paintings and sculpture were produced, murals were produced and literally thousands of prints,” says Virginia Mecklenburg, chief curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The GSA recovered Anne Fletcher’s Iris Garden after its then-owner watched an episode of PBS’s Antiques Roadshow and realized the painting was actually a WPA piece.

Courtesy of the U.S. GSA Fine Arts Program

In all, hundreds of thousands of works were produced by as many as 10,000 artists. But in the decades since, many of those works have gone missing — lost or stolen, they’re now scattered across the country.

A Transformative Time For American Artists

The biggest New Deal art program was the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. Artists could earn up to $42 a week, as long as they produced something.

Mecklenburg says it was a transformative time for the artists: “The idea for an artist to be able to work through a problem, to work through ideas, you know, that’s golden. So it was a very special moment, and one that really has not ever been repeated.”

To qualify for the work, however, you had to prove yourself as an artist and you had to show you were poor. Mecklenburg spoke to two brothers-in-law who were in the program.

She says, “One of them was saying, you know, you had to prove you were penniless — he said it hurt your dignity. And the other one was so cavalier and devil-may-care about it. He said: Oh, you know, if you thought the relief worker was coming to check out if you had an iron, or anything else that looked like it was of value, you just ran it over to the neighbor’s apartment so it looked like you didn’t have any possessions at all. It’s about as human a story as we’ve ever come up with in the art world.”

Every Recovered Painting Has A Story

Some of the art became famous — such as the murals  . . . . .”