Boldini painting of grande horizontale subsequently sold at auction for £1.78 million
The Daily Mail describes a Belle Époque Parisian apartment, locked up at the time of the WWII German advance on the French capital which has remained unopened for over 70 years.
Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII.
Caked in dust and full of turn-of-the century treasures, this Paris apartment is like going back in time.
Having lain untouched for seven decades the abandoned home was discovered three years ago after its owner died aged 91.
The woman who owned the flat, a Mrs De Florian, had fled for the south of France before the outbreak of the Second World War.
She never returned and in the 70 years since, it looks like no-one had set foot inside.
The property was found near a church in the French capital’s 9th arrondissement, between Pigalle red light district and Opera.
Experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions which included a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini.
One expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900. ‘There was a smell of old dust,’ said Olivier Choppin-Janvry, who made the discovery.
But he said his heart missed a beat when he caught sight of a stunning tableau of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress.
The painting was by Boldini and the subject a beautiful Frenchwoman who turned out to be the artist’s former muse and Mrs de Florian’s grandmother, Marthe de Florian, a beautiful French actress and socialite of the Belle Époque.
Seeing the above extraordinary image on Ka-Ching!, I was puzzled. Was this a strikingly interesting patch on a pair of blue jeans? some new kind of Amish quilt-making? Maybe I was looking at it wrong. Perhaps it was really some culture on a microscope slide. Or maybe it was some kind of geologic feature seen from Outer Space. No, it really did look like embroidery… What in hell was going on here?
So I looked and looked, and I found that this is a photograph of a piece of fibre art by the Japanese artist Junko Oki. She calls her work Woky Shoten, which name apparently refers to the “free movement of the line to make a simple repetition of work”, and relates to her grandfather’s memories.
She published a book in 2011 in which she describes her artistic vocation (quoted by Julie B. Boot):
(translation by Toshiaki Komuro)
I have always dreamed of becoming a poet.
It is still my dearest wish.
Upon seeing one of my works one woman had tears in her eyes.
I had never come upon such a scene before.
What had made her cry?
“That is the power of poetry,” said a wise friend.
“You have become a poet”
When I have needles, threads, and other special materials in front of me, something stirs deep inside my unconscious mind in spite of myself,
and I am filled with strong emotion.
That is when I regain my true self.
When I was afraid to move forward,
I came upon a book of paintings by Antoni Tapies.
When I chant his name, I feel fully armored, even with a dagger in my belt.
In an instance I know clearly which way to go and I will my legs to move forward.
The joy of meeting and the sorrow of separation
have given me strength and courage.
Another day, another walk, I will resume my steps.
I will always be myself as a willow tree is true to its nature.
I will make today another good day.
———————————————————————— Poesy can apparently be ordered from the author via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernardino di Betto, called Pintoricchio or Pinturicchio, Detail from The Resurrection, 1494, Musei Vaticani
Restoration of a painting of the Resurrection of Christ by Pinturicchio, commissioned by Pope Alexander VI to ornament his Papal apartments found that the painting’s background features “nude men, who are decorated with feathers and seem to be dancing.”
Antonio Paolucci, the director of the Vatican Museums, announced that these figures have been recognized as representations of Native Americans which were painted on the basis of their description by Christopher Columbus in 1494, in the direct aftermath of his first voyage of discovery to the New World.
The painting had been long neglected because of the unsavory character of Rodrigo Borgia (Alexander VI). Subsequent popes closed and abandoned his apartments, which were only re-opened for the first time after his death in 1503 in 1889 by Pope Leo XIII.
This photo turned up yesterday on the feed of one of my European correspondents on Facebook. I was curious, and when I looked into into its background, I found the picture first appeared a year ago, also on Facebook, from which it was promptly removed on grounds of allegedly violating FB’s “community standards.”
The original poster (possibly the photographer?), one Jim Harris, responded indignantly to FB’s censorship on HuffPo.
Gabriel de Cool had a heck of a name, and he seems to have been principally a painter of nudes. This muse is certainly not the Muse of History, Dance, or of Epic Poetry. This muse looks more like the muse of absinthe, hashish, Symbolist Poetry, and kinky sex. The image is obviously kitsch, but it is the very successful, totally corrupting, kind of kitsch that makes you want to look again, and enjoy doing it.
Thomas Couture, The Thorny Path, 1873, Philadelphia Museum of Art
“The Thorny Path is Couture’s satire of decadent French society. A courtesan drives a carriage pulled not by animals but by four male captives who represent different ages and states of society. The naked old man leading the procession is flabby from indulgence; the troubadour following him, a symbol of young love, parodies the medieval ballads popular in nineteenth century France. The old soldier bends his head in self-reproach, and the young student writes as he walks, symbolizing the educated nobility’s ignorance of the realities of daily life. The thistles and thorny plants along the road suggest the painfulness of their journey. The decrepit figure seated at the rear of the carriage with a bottle of wine in her basket foreshadows the courtesan’s future. Finally, Couture signed his initials on the stone figure at center, which seems to be laughing at the entourage.”
Louis Béroud, Les Joies De L’Inondation (Dans La Galerie Médicis) [The Delights of Flooding (in the Medici Gallery)], 1910
From Sotheby’s catalogue of Sale 8783, 19th Century European Art, November 4, 2011, Lot 31:
After visiting the Louvre in the 1870s, an American traveller noted that “along the galleries are numerous temporary
stands, easels, etc., at which artists are constantly at work copying such paintings as they may have orders for, or
hope to find purchasers for”... Stumbling across a working artist and his accoutrements was not a rare
occurrence for the museum goer in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Viewing and copying the museum’s
masterpieces was a traditional part of an artist’s education, and a practice Béroud both enjoyed and used as the
subject of at least twenty-six of his compositions. Indeed, the artist was such a frequent visitor to the Louvre that he is
credited with sounding the alarm upon discovering the Mona Lisa’s theft in 1911.
The Louvre held the entirety of art history, and its crowded walls offered a bounty of choices for diverse study. In the
present work, Béroud places the dapper, mustachioed copyist among the paintings of the Marie de’ Medici cycle, an
aggrandized biography of the ruler, visualized in twenty four works executed by Peter Paul Rubens in the 1620s for
the Luxembourg Palace, later reinstalled into a devoted gallery at the Louvre. The copyist sits before The
Disembarkation of Marie de’ Medici at Marseilles, one of the most popular in the cycle. The painting depicts
Marie upon her marriage to Henry IV, as she walks down a gangplank into the open arms of an allegorical figure of
France, while a trumpeting angel of Fame flies above and Neptune and his naiads rise from the sea. The muscular,
fish tailed naiads proved particularly tempting subjects to copy. Eugène Delacroix had copied one of the sensual
mythological figures. ...
Béroud’s copyist makes a similar choice, his canvas focusing on the figure on the right in broad, expressive strokes
and dissonant colors of a fauvist style. ... His careful study is interrupted as the trio of naiads literally flows from the canvas on swirling waves which threaten to soak the gallery and wash him away. The copyist tosses his brush aside as his body is thrown back in shock at the surreal experience. The humor of the composition is further suggested by its title Les joies de l’inondation (The Joys of the Flood) as the rushing waters promise to bring the robust beauties into the artist’s lap. Such levity may also serve to counter a serious situation the artist and his fellow Parisians experienced: in January 1910, the year of the present work’s execution, when the Seine overflowed its banks, bringing quick and catastrophic flooding to Paris. ... Water inundated several of the Louvre’s basements, threatening the stored artworks. It was only through the rapidly organized and heroic efforts of Parisians working to build sandbag barricades that further destruction to the museum was prevented — allowing Béroud, his fellow artists, and generations of visitors since to continue to enjoy its many treasures.
Alas, though estimated to bring $300,000-500,000, this amusingly surreal painting failed to make its reserve. The Recession, of course.
I came across a spectacular Daily Mail feature on the interior photography of Massimo Listri.
I had not previously heard of the remarkable work of Listri, but I was thoroughly impressed at both the technical quality and the aesthetic sensibility of this extraordinary artist’s work.
Listri’s photography of historic and aristocratic interiors has attracted extravagant, and entirely justified, praise.
“Loosing oneself in Massimo Listri’s images, strong oneiric webs entwine themselves in one’s thoughts. Mainly they are dreams, dreams which in any case, contrary to what happens normally when we realise to be dreaming, are inexpungeable from our minds forevermore…”—Cesare Cunaccia
The central and frontal perspective of his photos involves the spectator in the silence of the rooms, in the magnificence of the constructions bringing to memory known spaces but ever visited in reality. Listri’s photographs, examples of technical perfection and formal rigor, testify his own personal aspiration to capture and to exalt the beauty, even where it doesn’t apparently seem to be present, and the desire to understand and to disclose the secrets of each human creation.
What makes his work unique is how he has made interiors look so absolutely vivid, as if they had a secret life of their own that only he knows how to portray. Listri has the extraordinary ability to capture all the small details that make the difference and reveal all the stories that remain hidden behind the surface. When asked about his distinctive approach, he reveals: ‘’It is purely a question of sensibility. The secret is in the light which highlights the details. That’s why I definitely prefer to use natural light when possible’‘. Listri’s photos transmit an almost deafening silence, as if time had stopped and humans had suddenly disappeared and the only thing reminiscent of them are the interiors they’ve left behind, the remains of their lives and their passions, their art and their culture.—Apostolos Mitsios
The Daily Mail feature seems to have been drawn from a tribute to Listri published in Yatzer last May.
Apparently, it is possible to purchase copies of Listri’s photographs which are published in very small editions (of 4 or 5) by Maison d’Art/Piero Corsini Inc. in Monaco.
[A] Washington Post reporter entered the library at the Baltimore Museum of Art. In a box full of Saidie May’s letters and artwork receipts lay one major clue: records showing that she had lent the painting to the museum in 1937. The discovery startled museum officials, who had already said the flea-market Renoir never entered their institution.
But armed with the loan registration number, museum officials dug up in their collection records an even-more-astounding clue about the Renoir’s journey. An old museum loan registration document revealed that the tiny landscape, measuring 51 / 2 by 9 inches, was stolen Nov. 17, 1951, from the BMA — shortly after May’s death.
Now the painting’s highly anticipated auction by the Potomack Company has been canceled. The FBI is investigating, and museum officials are trying to learn more about the painting’s theft. They couldn’t explain why it does not appear on a worldwide registry of stolen and lost art.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paysage Bords de Seine [Landscape Banks of the Seine], c.1879
The Boston Globe story explains that the frame featured a very broad hint, and it didn’t take a lot of research to authenticate the painting.
A woman who paid $7 for a box of trinkets at a West Virginia flea market two years ago apparently acquired an original painting by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir without knowing it.
The woman considered discarding the painting to salvage its frame, but instead made an appointment to have it evaluated in July by the Potomack Co. auction house in Alexandria, Va., said its fine arts director Anne Norton Craner.
When the woman pulled the painting out of a garbage bag she carried it in, Craner was nearly certain the painting was a Renoir with its distinct colors, light and brushwork. A plaque on the front labeled it ‘‘Renoir.’’
‘‘My gut said that it was right, but you have to then check,’’ Craner said.
French handwriting on the back of the canvass included a label and number. Craner turned to the catalog by French gallery Bernheim-Jeune that’s published all of Renoir’s work.
‘‘Low and behold, it was in volume one,’’ she said.
An image of the painting was published in black and white, and the gallery’s stock number matched the flea market find. So Craner made a digital image of the flea market painting, converted it to black and white for a closer look, and the brush strokes also matched, she said.
‘‘It’s not a painting you would fake,’’ Craner said. ‘‘If you’re going to fake something, you’d fake something easier.’’
Painting No. 24349 turns out to be Renoir’s painting ‘‘Paysage Bords de Seine,’’ which translates to Banks of the River Seine, Craner determined. It dates to about 1879 and measures 6 inches by 10 inches.
The painting is set for auction Sept. 29. It could fetch $75,000 or more, Craner said.
A moving and nostalgic video which adds a musical background to 19th century hand-colored sketches of palaces and manor-houses in the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania (today’s Lithuania and Belarus) by the artist Napoleon Orda. Orda’s drawings record the romantic architecture of an aristocratic world swept out of existence by Revolutionary violence and totalitarianism.
The “Eastern Borderlands” is a translation of the Polish word kresy.
Sleeping Beauties” in heavy make-up and long white nightgowns are lying on beds at National Art Museum of Ukraine, waiting to be kissed by the general public. Each girl has signed a contract with artist Taras Polataiko, promising to marry any man who can open her eyes with just a kiss.
And any unmarried male suitor over the age of 18 who comes to view the exhibit has to sign a similar contract: if the Sleeping Beauty opens her eyes during the kiss, he’ll be her husband.
While installations involving real people are always weird, this one is something special: How does one open a sleeping person’s eyes with a kiss without actually prying her eyelids open with his mouth?
One of the beauties explains: “If it’s my true love, I will feel it on an intuitive level. Secondly, if I don’t feel it, I won’t open my eyes. Anything can happen in life. And suddenly it’s fate. What if it’s the only way I’ll meet my soul mate?” Which means the kisses will be mouth-to-mouth, and she’ll be choosing a husband based entirely on his kissing skills.