Image and information source
30 June, 2012
In the past, I have expressed how much I love still life paintings, especially when they depict some sort of floral arrangement. While browsing through upcoming Christies auction catalogues today I came across this beautiful 17th century example by Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Born in Utrecht in 1606, De Heem was a prolific artist who worked almost exclusively in still life painting. He came from a family of painters who all had a style quite similar to his. This oil on canvas is untitled but described as “flowers in a glass vase on a draped table, with a silver tazza, fruit, insects and birds” and will be presented for auction this Tuesday, July 3rd by Christies in London. De Heem creates a natural looking scene with luscious fruit that dangles from the edge of the table while bright and colorful flowers attract birds, insects and butterflies. The light peering in through the window on the left side of the painting gives such great depth to the space. I love the vast variety of flowers he used, as well as that wonderful tablecloth.
17 June, 2012
When one hears the word Fabergé it is always associated with luxury and opulence. Around the turn of the nineteenth century, Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé was creating the most beautiful and elaborate decorative eggs for the Russian Imperial family. In Russia, Easter tradition is to present your loved one with an egg appropriate to your means. If you were in a lower class family, a hens egg laid that morning would suffice. However, if you were a part of the Royal Family, it was expected to gift an egg made from the most precious metals and jewels available. The Royals commissioned Fabergé each year from 1885 until the revolution in 1917. After a few years of making specific requests, the Russian Tsar gave full and complete creative control to Fabergé under the condition that each egg included some sort of surprise. Some eggs held miniature portraits of the royal family while others bore train sets made of rock crystal or ship replicas encrusted with diamonds. My personal favorite imperial egg is the Lily of the Valley egg. Presented in 1898, the egg is covered in pink enamel with pearls and supported by green enameled legs encrusted with rose diamonds. The surprise in this egg was unlike most others; instead of the egg opening up, a gold and pearl knob on the top is twisted to release three portraits that rose from within. Something about the whimsical mechanics of this piece is so intriguing. To this day, 42 of the 50 Imperial eggs made are still in existence. Over the past century, they have exchanged many hands and are now housed mostly in museums and private collections.
12 June, 2012
I always have found looking at floor plans to be quite compelling, and weather one is looking to buy or just looking for fun, New York City has some of the most interesting in my opinion. There are hundreds if not thousands of apartments available for sale in the city, with each commanding a price per square foot higher than anywhere else in America. Personally, I much prefer the traditional pre-war type of apartment as opposed to the open floor plan contemporary loft style that has become so popular today. Referred to by New Yorkers as a 9-room co-op, this layout really stood out to me as something special. Built in 1927, the apartment is located on New York’s prestigious Park Avenue in the Upper East Side. The main floor features a large-scale living room with adjoining library, dining room and eat in kitchen. The circular layout of the main floor makes each room easily accessible to others. The second floor is dedicated solely to bedrooms, five to be exact. The master suite has a wood burning fireplace and a large master bath. The library, with paneled walls and fireplace features 19 foot ceilings and original mouldings. If I were in the market, I would definitely take a look at this one. If you have a budged of 23 million and are willing to pay just under $10,000 a month in maintenance, this remarkable property could be yours.
Photos and information found here
06 June, 2012
Over the past few centuries the English have undeniably mastered the art of porcelain. Royal Worchester is one of the most well known firms from England and is still in production today. This ewer, created in 1891, uses pâte-sur-pâte, which is a method in which layers of slip are applied under the glaze creating a beautiful and translucent effect. Pâte-sur-pâte is different from other methods of under glaze as a template is never used, allowing the artist to achieve a more natural and one of a kind effect. This method first began to be seen during the 19th century by the French artist Marc-Louis Solon who moved to England in the 1870’s. I much prefer this method to other traditional methods such as jasperware as the build up of many thin layers of slip creates such an ethereal feeling in the design. The ewer, glazed in a vibrant royal blue and fitted with gilded foot and handle is decorated in a delicate blossoming dogwood branch motif.
03 June, 2012
One of my favorite movies of all time is Rosemary’s Baby. The story, the actors, everything about the movie is so compelling to me, especially the apartment building in which they live. In the film, the building is referred to as the “Bramford,” however in real life we know it as the Dakota. Built between 1880 and 1884, the Dakota was one of New York Cities first apartments buildings designed in the French Style. The building itself takes up an entire city block with a central courtyard in the middle. Each apartment home in the building has windows facing both the street and the central garden, something unique to the Dakota at the time of its erection. Access to the central courtyard and building entrances is through a large Porte-cochère on both Central Park West and West 72nd Street. At the time it was built, New York Cites upper west side was sparsely developed and the building was far from the cities epicenter. Originally, there were sixty-five apartment homes in the building with no two alike. The size of each apartment ranged from four to twenty rooms. Over the past century, the Dakota has become a part of New York City history housing many celebrities and being featured in many films. Beatles member John Lennon was a notable tenant to the Dakota and was shot to death outside the buildings entrance in 1980. If one is interested in history what so ever, I would suggest a visit to the Dakota on your next trip to NYC.
The Dakota Today
The Dakota c. 1890
Original Dakota Floorplan
Original Dakota Facade