Flag raising, Fort Sumter National Park, Charleston, South Carolina.
Flag raising, Fort Sumter National Park, Charleston, South Carolina.
The auction from the last post was not a great auction, there were no wonderous pieces of furniture. Many nice ones but nothing that jumped out and screamed “Take me to the Met.”
In the absence of greatness, I look for interesting details. Things done differently or things not typically done. I always wonder if these different approaches are naive or brilliant. Did they not know how things were done or not care how others did it. No clue or different inspiration
There were a few items that had a unique approach to curves. First up is this:
Description: 19th century, oak, shaped dish top, single serpentine drawer, cabriole legs with ball and claw feet.
Size: 29 x 30 x 18 in.
Condition: Restoration including the drawer being reworked, later glue blocks, break and repair to back right leg; insect damage; surface stains.
To start things off, the ball and claw feet are a bit different:
The drawer has been reworked?
The serpentine drawer front caught my eye:
A sawn serpentine drawer front is not unique. What is unique is how thin the drawer front gets:
I do like the bail pulls:
Next specimen is quite a bit taller:
Description:` 19th century, two-part form, mahogany, mahogany veneer, oak and pine secondary, applied cove molded cornice, two hinged glazed doors with original wavy glass open to two louvered shelves, over an ogee drawer, two paneled doors with flush base.
Size 94 x 43 x 18 in
Condition: No key; surface wear; top surface to base with looseness.
The only curved thing on it is the, as they call it, ogee drawer. Looking at is in profile you see:
It looks like it started life as a squared drawer to which bits have been added and removed:
Staring at it for a while, I think I might have figured out how they did it. It started out as a drawer with a square profile. The baseline looks like it was made by a marking gauge which would require a flat front. Moldings and fillets were attached and the drawer front was then given the ogee profile. The through dovetails were hidden behind a thick veneer on the concave surface.
The third curve is the first kidney-shaped server I’ve ever seen.
Description: 19th century, mahogany, oak secondary, top with applied gallery, two drawers over two tambour doors, shelved interior, on flush base.
Size: 39 x 50 x 22 in.
Condition: Right tambour door with loose panels; surface scratches; shrinkage crack to top; other wear.
The tambour doors were a bit stiff. Now knowing how the non-existent Pottery Barn Rule (You break it, you bought it) applies at an auction, I wimped out and chose to use their picture to show it closed:
The joinery might be a bit coarse but it has lasted for 200 years:
Interesting way that the lower shelf boards installed on a bias:
It is impossible to spend any significant time in Barcelona without feeling the influence of Antoni Gaudí. Being easily influence, I couldn’t get enough of his work and am truly fascinated by him and his works.
For those not so influenced (or aware), I offer the following paragraph copied and pasted from a Wikipedia article:
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet; (25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926) was a Spanish Catalan architect from Reus and the best known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. Gaudí’s works reflect an individualized and distinctive style. Most are located in Barcelona, including his magnum opus, the Sagrada Família.
Between 1984 and 2005, seven of his works were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
As an introduction to Mr. Gaudí, we will explore some of his furniture then. In time, several of his buildingswill be explored.
Much of this furniture was designed for specific buildings. It is firmly in the Art Nouveau style with its organic fluid lines with direct references to nature.
Reproductions of these and other Gaudi pieces are still available.
I am not sure if the following furniture is designed by Gaudi but it does exist within Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera. This was the last civil work designed by Antoni Gaudí and was built from 1906 to 1912.
The furniture may not be Gaudi but it is era and style appropriate and in Barcelona.
Shortly, we will examine some of Gaudi’s s iconic buildings.
Olot is the capital city of the comarca of Garrotxa, in the Province of Girona, Catalonia, Spain on the European continent of the third planet of a star located at Sector 001. Approximately.
This blog is about the beds of Olot or more accurately, the headboards of the beds of Olot created in the late 18th century. Reading badly translated articles, by 1787, there were six workshops specializing in making headboards, making 300 to 500 per year. There was no master bedmaker but rather a collaboration between carpenters, carvers and painter/gilders. The articles also claim that some of these headboards were even shipped to the Americas in spite of their bulk and delicate nature.
From the wall in the exhibit:
The beds/headboards speak for themselves so I offer them without comment.
I said I’d be back and I was.
I am referring to the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY. In a 2013 blog, Back to the fancy stuff for now, I posted the pictures I had taken at the Speed before it closed for a major renovation and expansion in 2012. In the post, I pledged to be at the Speed when it reopened. Saturday was the grand opening and I was there.
10:00 AM was the grand opening of the Lost Art Press retail store in Covington, KY. I was there to experience the excitement and grandeur. I stayed long enough to make sure that other people were coming and Chris wouldn’t alone on his big day.
I then drove 90 miles to the Speed in Louisville. At noon, the Chief Curator, Scott Erbes, was giving talk in the Kentucky Gallery discussing some highlights of the Kentucky decorative arts collection. I was a few minutes late but I made it. The talk was informative and Kentucky Gallery was amazing.
The opening day crowd was less than I had feared (I have a very pessimistic imagination) and manageable. But I had places to be. There were a few interesting retail establishments in the area with inconvenient closing times. I wasn’t sure when I would be back in Louisville. I had to make the most of my time there.
I then headed back north to check out an antiques mall in Florence before being back at the LAP store by 7:00 PM for the Anarchist’s Design Book launch. I was there, noshed and kibitzed until it got too crowded. I don’t do crowds well and I had to get back to the Speed.
I drove back to Louisville, checked into the hotel and transferred all the pictures from my Nikon and iPhone to the MacBook Pro, tweaked ’em and send the first 118 pictures to Flickr. I was back to Speed by 11:00 PM.
Scott Erbes was giving a talk in and about the English Renaissance Room at midnight.
The opening of the museum was 30 continuous hours of planned activities, talks and movies. I took some time after the midnight talk to explore the parts of the Speed that did not contain furniture.
Then there was the obligatory gallery of Dutch and Flemish art.
The North Building houses the modern and contemporary art and the special exhibit space north.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am very pleased I was able to be there. Tired, having been up for 20 hours and driven close to 300 miles, I accomplished everything on my list and lived to blog about it. Perhaps my list was not rational but that never stopped me before. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
I took pictures, too. Click HERE to see the amazing Kentucky Collection of furniture from 1800 to 1945.
Until becoming a permanent museum 1951, Winterthur was just the family home. A 175 room house filled with some of the finest American decorative arts (1640 to 1860), but just the du Ponts home. Weddings, parties, holidays, all held here. Mind you, they did have a full-time curatorial staff the to undo some of the living but the du Ponts did use the whole building.
They only way to see the house is on one of the scheduled or specialty tours. This time of year they hold the Yuletide tour. Two floors of the house are filled with historic Christmas decorations. The themes and decorations change annually so that one year’s tour is different from the last’s.
We toured this year as we have so many times in the past.We lived in the area for eight years and had a chance to take many of the non-Yuletide tours as well. It was good to see the house again, familiar but always changing.
Like most houses, the du Ponts had a dining room, just bigger with better stuff:
I have always lived this staircase:
Here is some nearby furniture and an interesting picture:
This cabinet is filled with nearly 130 turned vessels all made from a different wood:
They have trees. Did I mention they have trees?
There are 60 more pictures from the tour and to see them, all you have to do is click HERE.
If you have been reading this blog for a while you might have noticed that I have a fondness for Winterthur. Formally known as Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library, it houses the approximately 85,00 pieces of Henry Francis du Pont’s collection of American decorative arts. The collection covers roughly 1640 to 1860. (It is also known as the Bayou Bend of the North but only by me.)
My wife and I made our annual pilgrimage north for the Yuletide Tour for what must be the 20th time in the past 25 years. We usually go over the Thanksgiving weekend. A visit to our adopted/chosen family, other friends and Longwood Gardens for their Christmas display completes the weekend. Keeps us out of the malls.
We arrived at Winterthur and found that the exhibition in one of their galleries was Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light running through January 3rd, 2016. Their site phrases if so eloquently when they state:
Organized by The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass in New York City, Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light is comprised of five windows, twenty lamps, and seventy-five pieces of opalescent flat glass, in addition to educational models illustrating how leaded-glass shades are selected and fabricated, along with three examples of Tiffany lamp forgeries to explore issues of authenticity and connoisseurship.
Lot of pretty stuff like this one:
And pendant/hanging lights:
I love this window. This is where blogging can get to be a pain and a time sink. When I read this window was based on a painting, I thought it appropriate to show the painting that inspired it. A Google search quickly found me this:
It was odd that such a beautifully colored window came from a monochrome painting. It does give the glass artist a great deal of latitude in color selection with nothing to compare it to. It could be quite liberating yet I couldn’t accept it, yet. I don’t know much about late 19th century French (or any other) oil painting.
I kept looking but found no color. Or commentary. Not much written about this painting that I could find. It must not be one of Jules-Joseph Lefebvre’s more important paintings.
It is very likely that one of you know more than I do about this topic. If so, please share. I would like to know more.
Another shortcoming of mine is not taking copious notes. Three of the lamps on display were fake, false, faux, mock, forgeries. Not the real things. Close but no solid silver cigar lighter. I believe it saw the first three which are now the last three in my album on Flickr. If you know better, again, please feel free to share.
Click HERE to see the rest of the set. Remember, the last three might be or may not be the real thing. But, they are well executed.
If you are in the Philly/Wilmington area, you should stop in.
On our last visit, we saw the North American and Arts and Crafts collections of the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City, MO. This blog will preview the European, Asian and other items of interest.
Walking up to the museum you come to the Sculpture Park featuring Philips Haas’s The Four Seasons, 3-dimensional interpretations of the Italian Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s portrait series of the same name:
There is a good collection of over-the-top European furniture:
Some Asian furniture:
It is a very handsome building as well:
Here is something unique to the Nelson Atkins, shuttlecocks:
I don’t know if it’s art but they must have gotten a good price. They bought lots of them.
HERE is an article about the Shuttlecocks and their restoration.
And click HERE to see the rest of my images from the Nelson Atkins.
Things are quieting down a bit so blogs should be coming more frequently.
Two down and two to go.
Last blog covered the 1709 and 1789 houses at the Stellenbosch Village Museum. Tonight, we move forward in time and cover the 1803 and 1850 houses. I have cut and pasted the descriptions of the houses being lazy enough not to want to rewrite their more than adequate descriptions and honest enough to admit it. Not not all are.
First the Grosvenor House (1803)
Originally built by Christian Ludolph Neethling in 1782, Grosvenor House was added to by successive owners until it reached its present appearance in 1803. Grosvenor House, along with Koopmans de Wet House and the Martin Melck House in Cape Town, is one of the most outstanding examples of a two-storeyed, flat-roofed patrician town house, of which there was a considerable amount in Stellenbosch as well as in Cape Town.
A large garden and early 19th century appointments characterise this home, which represents the period from 1800 – 1830.
The furniture is also moving forward in time. This square piano looks to me to be more from the 1840’s but what do I know?
While talking about pianos, this is a rare cabinet piano:
The strings and soundboard are rotated to the vertical. This leads to a few interesting modifications to the action.
One fairly common motif is contrasting colors:
Here is an armoire that follows suit:
More of the gate leg table:
There is visible storage on the second floor:
To see all the interesting furniture in the Grovenor House (1803), click HERE.
OM BERGHHUIS (1850)
The fourth house, which was the home of O.M. Bergh, originally had a thatched roof and gables similar to those of Blettermanhuis. During the 19th century it was altered to look as it does to this day. The home of O.M. Bergh is a typical mid-nineteenth century home with wall-paper, furniture and accessories from the period of 1850 – 1870. O.M. Bergh and his family lived in this house from 1836 up to 1877.
It starts with this bookcase on secretary:
A little something for the kitchen:
A handsome press:
Another unique piece:
A room full of Thonet bentwood furniture:
This piece looks familiar:
I covered its cousin in Writing Ain’t Cheap.
To see the O.M. Berghhuis, click HERE.
A few days back I wrote of the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City and my intent to return there. I returned and it was far more impressive than I remembered. Since my last visit, they have added an enormous volume of conserved and preserved freight.
The Arabia was carrying an estimated 200 tons of general merchandise from pins to two pre-fabricated houses. All of this cargo was prepaid and largely uninsured. It had winter provisions for 16 communities us the Missouri River. The Arabia sank on September 5th, 1856. The ship sank slowly so that all 130 passengers were able to escape but all the cargo was lost. The communities upstream were all left without. One small town was forced to consolidate with another town across the river.
Since the excavation of the Arabia in 1989, the team has working to preserve the recovered freight. This has been one of the largest fresh water conservations in history. Much is done but they still 60 tons in freezers, largely lumber and the two houses. These things take time.
This is the log that sank the Arabia. It was found within the hull.
They did recover the stern. Much of the hull was damaged badly and impossible to recover within their restricted schedule.
China. There was lots of china. Some was personal property of the passengers while most was heading to retailers.
Lots of housewares.
There was the running gear for at least one wagon.
This does give us the chance to see the tapered ends of the axles.
And there are tools.
A Disston miter saw and box
And here lies some hopeful carpenter’s livelihood.
Click HERE to see all 83 pictures of the salvaged Arabia and its cargo.