Thursday, 1 March 2012
Manner of Man Magazine
Quarterly Issue No. 1: March 2012
Table of Contents
Hugo Collection at Christie's Victor, Charles, George, Jean: The Story of One Family 4th April 2012 Paris.
"In science there is only physics; all the rest is stamp collecting." - Lord Kelvin
Image cover provided by Rizzoli USA © English Country House Interiors, by Jeremy Musson, Rizzoli New York, 2011 and may not be reproduced in any way, published, or transmitted digitally, without written permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.
By Jeremy Musson
Foreword by Sir Roy Strong
Principal photography by Paul Barker
With photographs from the archives of Country Life magazine
“This elegant and thoughtful book brings the eye of a new generation to the interiors of these important houses, and will engage the interest of a wide new audience to their significance.”
–Sir Roy Strong from the Foreword
In this splendid book, ENGLISH COUNTRY HOUSE INTERIORS, renowned British architectural historian Jeremy Musson explores the interiors of some of England’s finest country houses. Musson, along with photographer Paul Barker, were granted unparalleled access to fourteen houses known worldwide for their exquisite architecture and decoration, including Wilton, Chatsworth, and Castle Howard. Covering the key periods of English country house decoration—the Jacobean manor house, the Georgian mansion, and the Gothic Revival castle—this book offers new insights into life in the English country house.
Stunning new color photographs by Barker, combined with Musson’s lively and engaging text, offers readers an intimate look at the exquisite details—luxurious fabrics, antique furnishings, intricate plasterwork ceilings, priceless artwork, elaborately carved woodwork, and lavish table settings—found in every home. In addition, there are unique black-and-white images from the archive of the esteemed Country Life magazine featured throughout the introduction of the book.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Jeremy Musson is a leading commentator on the English country house and the author of several books. He co-wrote and presented The “Curious House Guest”, a BBC2 TV series on important country houses. Art historian Sir Roy Strong is the former director of London’s National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Paul Barker is one of the U.K.’s leading architectural photographers.
This exclusive interview with Dr. Nikos Salingaros, Professor of Mathematics, Urbanist & Architectural Theorist, was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in San Antonio, Texas during November 2011 and is only available in print edition.
30. Attributed to Duncan Phyfe
Card Table, ca. 1820
Rosewood and satinwood veneers, mahogany, gilded gesso and vert antique, gilded brass; secondary woods: yellow poplar, white pine
29 x 36 x 17–3/8 in.
The Brant Foundation, Inc., Greenwich, Connecticut.
Provided to Manner of Man Magazine. All rights reserved.
37. Attributed to Duncan Phyfe
Secrétaire à abattant, 1820–25
Rosewood and kingwood veneers, ebonized mahogany, gilded gesso, and vert antique, gilded brass, looking-glass plate, marble; secondary woods: mahogany, white pine, yellow poplar
60 x 40 x 19 in.
Provided to Manner of Man Magazine. All rights reserved.
American Cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe Celebrated in Metropolitan Museum Retrospective exhibitionDecember 20, 2011–May 6, 2012
Renowned in his lifetime for his elegant designs and superior craftsmanship, Duncan Phyfe (1770–1854) remains to this day America’s most famous cabinetmaker. Opening December 20 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York—the first retrospective on Phyfe in 90 years—will serve to re-introduce this artistic and influential master craftsman to a contemporary audience. On view will be furniture produced in Phyfe’s Fulton Street workshops that once stood on the site of the former World Trade Center. The full chronological sweep of his long and distinguished career will be featured, including examples of his best-known furniture from the period 1805-20, which was influenced heavily by early English Regency design; his more opulent, monumental, and archaeologically correct Grecian style of the late 1810s and 1820s, sometimes referred to as American Empire; and his sleek, minimalist late work of the 1830s and 1840s known as the Grecian Plain style, based largely on French Restauration furniture design.
The exhibition is made possible by Karen H. Bechtel.
Additional support is provided by The Henry Luce Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. Paul Cushman, the Americana Foundation, Mr. Robert L. Froelich, and Mr. Philip Holzer.
It was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
The exhibition brings together nearly 100 works from private and public collections throughout the United States. Highlights of the exhibition include some never-before-seen documented masterpieces and furniture that has descended directly in the Phyfe family, as well as the master cabinetmaker’s own chest of woodworking tools.
Exhibition Overview Organized chronologically, the exhibition will present the life and work of the noted early 19th-century New York City cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe through furniture, drawings, documents, personal possessions, and furniture. Portraits of his clients and contemporary depictions of New York City street scenes and domestic interiors will provide a glimpse into Phyfe’s milieu.
A poor immigrant when he arrived in America in the early 1780s from his native Scotland, Phyfe acquired wealth and fame through hard work and exceptional talent both as a craftsman and a businessman. Throughout the first half of the 19th century he made neoclassical furniture for the social and mercantile elite of New York, Philadelphia, and the American South. His personal style, characterized by superior proportions, balance, symmetry, and restraint, became the local style for at least two generations in New York. Many apprentices and journeymen exposed to this distinctive style by serving a stint in the Phyfe shop or by copying the master cabinetmaker’s designs helped to create and sustain this local school of cabinetmaking. Demand for Phyfe’s work reached its peak around 1815–1820, when he was in such demand that he was referred the “United States rage.” He remained the dominant figure in his trade into the 1840s and his eventual retirement in 1847 at the age of 77. The fires of Phyfe’s fame were briefly extinguished after his passing in 1854, but rekindled in the early 1900s by a passionate amateur historian, who was himself once a New York cabinetmaker, and a coterie of scholars, collectors, and connoisseurs who lionized Phyfe once again. This renewed fame culminated in the first-ever monographic exhibition held in an art museum on the work of a single cabinetmaker, Furniture from the Workshop of Duncan Phyfe, which opened at the Metropolitan in November of 1922.
Because Phyfe’s furniture was seldom signed, yet was widely imitated, it is sometimes difficult to determine with accuracy which works he actually made. The exhibition breaks new ground by matching rare bills of sale and similar documents with furniture whose history of ownership is known, thereby codifying his style over time.
A video featuring some of the techniques used in the Phyfe workshop to create his furniture masterpieces, including relief carving and turning will be shown within the exhibition.
Publication and Related Programs An illustrated catalogue by Peter M. Kenney, Michael K. Brown, Frances F. Bretter, and Matthew A. Thurlow will accompany the exhibition. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, the book will be sold in the Museum’s book shops.
The exhibition catalogue is made possible by The William Cullen Bryant Fellows of the American Wing.
A variety of education programs will be offered, including a Sunday at the Met on January 22 that examines Phyfe in the context of contemporary furniture artists and craftsmen; exhibition tours; a special Friday afternoon gallery workshop focused on craftsmanship, featuring short discussions with three Metropolitan Museum furniture conservators; and an interactive teacher workshop on March 10. Unless otherwise noted, programs are free with Museum admission.
A special feature about the exhibition will appear on the website of the Metropolitan Museum (www.metmuseum.org).
The exhibition is organized by Peter M. Kenny, Ruth Bigelow Wriston Curator of American Decorative Arts and Administrator of the American Wing, and Michael Brown, Curator of American Decorative Arts at Bayou Bend, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Exhibition design at the Metropolitan is by Michael Langley, Exhibition Design Manager; lighting is by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Design Managers; and graphics are by Sue Koch, Graphic Design Manager, all of the Museum’s Design Department.
Following its presentation at the Metropolitan Museum, the exhibition will be shown at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Images provided to Manner of Man Magazine and Welldressed by Luciano Barbera and may not be reproducted without written authorisation. All rights reserved.
Boy Leading a Horse, 1905-6
Oil on canvas
86 7/8 x 51 5/8 in. (220.6 x 131.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The William S. Paley Collection, 1964
© 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Boy Leading a Horse, 1905-6
Oil on canvas
86 7/8 x 51 5/8 in. (220.6 x 131.2 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The William S. Paley Collection, 1964
© 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde
February 28 – June 3, 2012
The Stein siblings—Gertrude, Leo, Michael, and his wife Sarah—were important patrons of modern art in Paris during the first decades of the 20th century. The Steins’ Saturday-evening salons introduced a generation of visitors to recent developments in art, particularly the work of their close friends Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, long before it was on view in museums. The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde—at The Metropolitan Museum of Art from February 28 through June 3, 2012—will unite some 200 works of art to demonstrate the significant impact the Steins’ patronage had on the artists of their day and the way in which the family disseminated a new standard of taste for modern art.
Beginning with the art that Leo Stein collected when he moved to Paris in early 1903—including paintings and prints by Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Édouard Manet, and Auguste Renoir—the exhibition will trace the evolution of the Steins’ taste and examine the close relationships that formed between individual members of the family and their artist friends. While focusing on works by Matisse and Picasso, the exhibition will also include paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Manguin, André Masson, Elie Nadelman, Francis Picabia, and others.
The exhibition is made possible by The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation andthe Janice H. Levin Fund. Additional support provided by The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation. The exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais, Paris. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Highlights from the exhibition include Matisse’s Woman with a Hat (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art), purchased by Leo Stein from the famous “fauve” Salon d’Automne of 1905, and Picasso’s painting of Gertrude Stein (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), which will be presented alongside additional portraits of the Stein family by Matisse, Picasso, and Vallotton.
Life-size photographic enlargements of the Steins’ Parisian apartments will be displayed throughout the exhibition to show how the art was installed in the Steins’ residences. Additional themes covered in the exhibition include Sarah Stein’s role in the formation of the Académie Matisse, the influential art school that operated from 1908 to 1911; Sarah and Michael’s commission of a villa from Le Corbusier; and Gertrude’s later collaborations with Juan Gris, Élie Lascaux, Francis Rose, and Virgil Thomson.
The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde is organized by Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA; Cécile Debray, curator of historical collections at the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Rebecca Rabinow, Curator, and Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Chairman, both of the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated, 464-page catalogue edited by Janet Bishop, Cécile Debray, and Rebecca Rabinow. The publication features new research, previously unpublished archival information, and original essays by a range of French and American experts in the field: Isabel Alfandary, Janet Bishop, Emily Braun, Edward Burns, Cécile Debray, Claudine Grammont, Hélène Klein, Martha Lucy, Carrie Pilto, Rebecca Rabinow, and Gary Tinterow. The catalogue is published by SFMOMA in association with Yale University Press, and will be for sale in the Museum’s book shops.
The Museum will offer an array of education programs for this exhibition including films, a Sunday at the Met on April 29, a series of exhibition tours and thematic gallery talks, a teacher program, and a participatory teen program exploring connections between writing and art.
Education programs are made possible by The Georges Lurcy Charitable and Educational Trust.
An audio tour, part of the Museum’s Audio Guide Program, will be available for rental ($7, $6 for Members, $5 for children under 12).
The Audio Guide is sponsored by Bloomberg.
Prior to its presentation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Steins Collect has traveled to SFMOMA and to the Grand Palais, Paris, where it will be on view through January 16, 2012.
The Steins Collect also will be featured on the Museum’s website at www.metmuseum.org.
Image of Carter Ratcliff taken at the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables by Phyllis Derfner is provided to Manner of Man Magazine for exclusive use and cannot be reproduced without written authorisation. All rights reserved.
This exclusive interview with Carter Ratcliff was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Coral Gables, Florida during February 2012
Interview with Carter Ratcliff
How did you get into writing, poetry and journalism?
I drifted around for a while, after college, writing poetry and coming to realize that all the poets of interest to me were in New York. So I showed up there in the late ’60s, got to know the poets, and started publishing my work in various magazines. Poets and painters inhabited the same scene, in those days, and nearly all the poets took a fling at writing gallery reviews for Artnews. I did, too, and soon after began writing the “New York Letter,” for Art International, which was published in Lugano. After a few seasons, I realized that I had become a poet/art critic.
Where do you find inspiration for your poetry?
Everything is inspiration—daily life, art, movies, other poets’ poetry, the works of Dashiell Hammett, and what not. These are all sources of the language or fragments of language that are usually the starting point for a poem. I hear or read or sometimes even say something that seems to need to be elaborated poetically.
You are well-known for your monographs on Andy Warhol and John Singer Sargent. What do you find most appealing about biographical work regarding artists?
From the start of my career as an art critic I rejected the formalist idea that art is autonomous, which turned, by hook and by crook, into the current idea that art deals with detachable “issues.” Both approaches set art apart from life, reducing it to an object of specialized institutional interest. If we are to get at the meaning of art, we have to see it as it is in the world—the life’s work of a certain individual, developing out of that life and addressed to a certain audience. Of course, Warhol and Sargent were individuals of particular interest, who found audiences who were almost as interesting as they were.
What was it like to be in New York in the art world during the 1970s?
When I started out, I focused mostly painting. Many of the liveliest artists of the 1970s were determined to leave painting behind and come up with new modes and mediums of art—process art, performance art, earthworks, conceptual art, and more. So the ’70s were a bit trying for me. I found conceptual art particularly annoying, amateur philosophy that many in the New York art world labored to take seriously. Still, as I got to know the non-painters I had to admit that some of them were terrific artists—Vito Acconci, for example, who had begun as a poet. And Robert Smithson, who was, I think, the most important artist of that era.
What are you working on currently?
I am putting together a selection of essays and a book of poems, while trying to decide which of several art projects to take on.
If you could have your portrait done by any artist, living or deceased, whom would it be? And why?
It would be Thomas Lawrence, the Regency portraitist who was so important for Sargent as he left France and Impressionism for England and a high style. Everyone mentions Joshua Reynolds’s influence on Sargent, which was considerable, but I think Lawrence was even more important for him. In some of Lawrence’s portraits, the sheer elegance of the image is so intense you can hardly see the sitter. And of course the backdrop to Lawrence’s art, the Regency period, was wonderful—Beau Brummell and Bulwer-Lytton, with his “society novels,” in one corner and, in another, Shelley and Keats, with Byron as a sort of link between factions that didn’t acknowledge one another’s existence. There was the architecture of John Nash, Brighton Pavilion and all the rest of it, and Turner sailing toward his late style, and, of course, Jane Austen. The Regency was so lively that the English had to come up with Victorianism to give themselves a breather.
If you weren’t a writer what would you be doing today?
I’d probably be a lawyer, like so many of my uncles and cousins and friends at school, because lawyers, like poets, focus sharply on language—not the language I care about the most but, now that I think of it, the lingo of the law and constitutional theorizing has gotten into some of my poems.
The above interview with Carter Ratcliff 2012 © Manner of Man Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.
by Derek Turner
It is a small town in
and it is at least 32 degrees C. The camera weighs heavy in my hands, and I can
feel speckles of sweat accumulating beneath my black rucksack, as it soaks up
the sun like a square and sinister sponge. All around us are people similarly suffering,
but good-tempered withal – a Sol-worshiping Mare Germanicum of blonds
and blondes as far as we can see in all directions. They, too, have cameras
(and speckles of sweat), and they, too, are looking along the road in the same
direction. As the vehicle comes around the corner beside the
Elefanten-Apotheke, dozens of fingers depress camera buttons, and an admiring
“Ooh!” can be heard from the finger-chewing children. Bavaria
There is a large horse pulling the heavy covered cart, a hairy-hoofed behemoth like an English shire horse, or the steed of the famous Bamberger Reiter. It is not this magnificent beast that has elicited the response, however, but its yokemate, a massive ox, its cable-like muscles surging beneath its supple and shiny skin, as he and his equine assistant take the strain of all that wood, together with the weight of the four men who sit inside, clad in the most festive fashions of the first half of the 17th century. “It is the Prince of Denmark!” a black-clad woman announces excitedly through a microphone, to the enthusiastic applause and excited chatter of engrossed Bayerische families.
And then the characteristic noise of the parade bursts out again, as yet more pike-hefting mercenaries pass along the road, to the hackle-raising, foot-tapping accompaniment of massed fifes and drums (and occasional bagpipes). We have been hearing this noise all weekend, interspersed with musket- and cannonfire, as some 5,000 reenactors crowd into Memmingen for the quadrennial evocation of the summer of 1630, when all of
was drowning in denominational ichor, and the great Habsburg general Albrecht
Wenzel Eusebius von Wallenstein was uneasily encamped outside the town.
Here comes the man himself – in plain, black armour, his visor down, riding with his sable escort, their lances fluttering with pennons. It must be uncomfortable in that armour today, as it must have been uncomfortable to have been in the real Wallenstein’s skin during those dreadful Thirty Years in which around one third of all Germans (estimates vary wildly) were slaughtered and Wallenstein’s fortunes ebbed and flowed according to the vagaries of Emperor Ferdinand’s Holy Roman temperament.
Wallenstein (with his great fellow general, Tilly) had proved his worth to the Catholic cause time and again as Bavarians, Prussians, Mecklenburgers, Holsteiners, Austrians, Moravians, Danes, Swedes, Spaniards, French, and Poles – and their proxies – all surged repetitiously and confusingly north and south through Europe, at such battles as Lübeck (1629), after which the Danes had sued for peace.
But in the summer of 1630, Wallenstein was about to be dismissed under suspicion of disloyalty, and the Swedish Protestant vanguard was ranging southward as the Catholic forces fell back in disarray deep into Habsburg territory. The people of Memmingen – which had been a Protestant town since 1522 – must have wondered what Wallenstein was planning and worried what his army might do to an heretical town in the centre of a continent in chaos.
In the event, Wallenstein simply went away again, following his martial star back northward. He was recalled to the Catholic colors in 1631 after the death of Tilly, but the following year was defeated by the Swedes at Lützen (although their king, Gustavus Adolphus, died in the battle). As if this were not bad enough, he was now under suspicion again of plotting with the Protestants and seeking to usurp the Habsburg throne. His enemies highlighted the fact that Wallenstein had been born Protestant (although he had converted in his 20s), his wealth and influence (even Ferdinand owed him money), his modest Bohemian lower-nobility roots, and his possession of a large private army as reasons why the emperor should not trust him. Their slanders (or wellfounded insinuations) operated all too successfully on Ferdinand, and in 1634 Wallenstein was charged with high treason. He lost the support of his soldiers and fled to find sanctuary with the Swedes. At
Eger (now Cheb, in what is now the ), dragoons under the
command of Scottish and Irish officers killed Wallenstein’s few remaining
followers while they were dining. A few hours later, an English captain named
broke into Wallenstein’s bedroom in the middle of the night and ran his sword
through the unarmed, entreating general. It was a sad and shabby reward for
sterling service, even seen against the backdrop of those decades. Czech
But the history that must have been so vile at first hand has transmuted into a joyous pageant, when seen at a distance of almost 380 years in time and from aeons away in degrees of religious commitment. The memory of the Thirty Years War is now an excuse for respectable Germans to doff their Hugo Boss suits and don handmade 17th century-style garments in a bewildering range of styles and tastefully muted colours.
So back in 1630, here they come again, role-playing reactionaries all, along toward the 15th century Rathaus, fifes and drums going again – the tramping and profane ghosts of 400 years ago realized in the persons of sweating Swabian accountants, wilting Westphalian bank managers, and melting Memminger mechanics.
Here, mingling with the flamboyant princelings and somber tacticians, are modern men and women with mortgages and cradle-to-grave healthcare, in the guise of lancers, uhlans, halberdiers, bombardiers, fusiliers, musketeers, arquebusiers, crossbowmen, pikemen, farriers, gunsmiths, cooks, sutlers, tinkers, falconers, acrobats, dancers, contortionists, jugglers, tumblers, troubadours, clergymen, dwarfs, wives and children –followed by the wounded, by lepers, beggars, deserters, drunks, thieves and “field mattresses.”
Some 60 Englishmen from the Civil War-reenacting Sealed Knot Society are also in Memmingen today. (Later that day, I would overhear one luxuriantly whiskered man who looked eminently Germanic saying to someone in a homely Cockney accent, “Sorry, I don’t spreche the German”. Such exchanges must also have taken place in 1630, when High Germany was the stomping ground for all of
ardent spirits and many of her reprobates.) There are even – an exotic but
probably authentic touch – a few “Hungarian” hussars, as if just arrived from
the Great Plain, wearing fur hats or exotic, almost Oriental-looking armour,
riding small but tough horses, blowing horns as they come, wielding falcons on
The troopers bear a forest of vanished vaunting vexillography, the shadowy chivalry of eclipsed or extinct families – crosses and chalices, crowns, stars, trees, swords, shields, fantastic animals, and of course the Wittelsbach blue-and-white. This is much more than a fancy-dress party; those in the procession all look wonderfully at home, congruous and dignified, as if merely putting on the clothes and coming together has turned them into different people. They walk as if they know they belong somewhere in space and time –participants in a völkisch festival so uncommercialized that you cannot even buy postcards of the parades. Their comfortableness is a reminder of how close they are, not to that period, but to the people of that period. The expressive faces in the long files, whether burly cannon loaders or pretty dancers, could have been copied from medieval German paintings by such Bavarian masters as Dürer or Altdorfer. There is a fitness and familiarity about their physiognomies that blurs the barriers between then and now. Men who look like that 20-stone gunner in his black buckled hat and striped hose are probably now serving with NATO in Afghanistan, maybe hefting shells to bombard the mujahideen just as an Hungarian army including a young captain called Wallenstein once saluted oncoming Ottomans with cannonades.
Before and after the parades, there are craft demonstrations—hatters, printers, paper makers, coppersmiths, silversmiths, gunmakers, tanners, cobblers, candle makers – and, below the surviving medieval fortifications, sprawling tented encampments which only appropriately attired people are allowed to enter, on pain of being ducked in a waiting water butt. These encampments are lit only by firelight and lanterns and heated only by fires, and laughing children are being tossed in blankets or climbing trees in bare feet, while their parents laugh and carouse around the hearth and play guitars and flutes, singing such 17th-century standards as “Wenn die Landsknechts trinken” (“When the Mercenaries Drink”) or “Das Leben ist ein Würfelspiel” (“Life Is a Game of Dice”), or watch puppet-theatre performances of folk tales that long predate even the lost summer of 1630.
All around the edge of the encampments are heaving beer tents and wurst stalls, selling Fleisch of questionable but tantalizing taxonomy. Every evening, there are events – the Lagerspiele, or camp entertainments, a mélange of dulcimers and dancing, hurdy-gurdys and human pyramids and fixedly smiling gymnasts whose spinal columns can describe S-shapes. Arguably even better are the Reiterspiele, or riding demonstrations – with quintain tilting, jousting, picking things up from the ground in mid-gallop, wooden pig-sticking and bareback riding at top speed, while fighting off ‘opponents’ or leaping across a trench of fire.
The town is suffused with the seductive smells of cooking meat and woodsmoke, and the sweet tang of horse dung, while pipers and drummers march and countermarch constantly through town, the drumming shaking the windows, the fifes shrilling thrillingly. Singing and shouting goes on till the small hours, when the last few cheery drunks subside, only to start early again the next day, while last night’s heroes snore heavily on open air palliasses as horses walk gingerly around their heads. But no one minds the noise or the hangovers, because it is safe and never rowdy, because it is only for a week every four years, and, besides, everyone here is part of an inchoate conspiracy of consanguinity and culture.
When the Wallensteinfest ends, Memmingen is suddenly sad and dull. Through some black antimagic, the oxcarts have turned into Skodas, the pikemen have reverted to being builders or traffic wardens, and the tented encampment where we drank beer while we drank in the atmosphere is revealed as wholly false, with the modern lights stripped of their kindly Hessian disguises, and just pale circles to show where tents of roisterers once stood, and charred circles to show the sites of their hearths. It is once again just a quadrangle of municipal park, with flower beds of annuals running rapidly to seed.
The townspeople seem half relieved and half sorry to be given back the town they loaned, heaving a sigh as they roll up the shutters of their shops, while all the shimmering roads toward the prosaic north are chock-a-block with trailer-hauling BMWs driven by Franzs or Lieselottes, and populated by children once again more concerned with Playstations than with pikes. It’s back to the offices, the schools, the credit-card bills, and the mass-produced furniture, the PVC-framed windows and the television – but also to baths and beds, pensions and good food, in immaculate suburbs where it doesn’t matter too much if your neighbour is a Catholic or a Lutheran.
It has been a very enjoyable game, but much more than a game: it has been an affirmation of Bavaria’s zealously preserved personality, and a salute to fine people of different denominations who stood and died 400 years ago for reasons we can scarcely now recall.
Derek Turner is the editor of the Quarterly Review (www.quarterly-review.org). His novel Sea Changes will be published shortly by Radix. This article was first published in Chronicles - A Magazine of American Culture
M/M Colonial Williamsburg: New Exhibition Features Tall Case Clocks Explore the Intricacies of Clock Dials and Movements, Changes in Case and Dial Styles
Left to right: Tall Case Clock with movement by George Graham, London, England, ca. 1720. Detail of upper section and clock face. Eight-day clock movement signed by James Craig of England and Williamsburg, ca. 1770. Tall Case Clock with movement by John Bailey, Hanover, Mass., 1800-1815 and case attributed to Theodore Cushing, Hingham, Mass., 1800-1815. Images provided by Colonial Williamsburg. All rights reserved.
Tall case clocks use weight-driven movements regulated by pendulums housed in wooden cases. Clockmakers put together the mechanical movement while specialists were often engaged to cast the brass gears for the movement and engrave decoration or the maker’s name on the clock dial. Cabinetmakers or joiners made the wooden cases while still more specialists might produce inlaid wooden elements or painted motifs and patterns to ornament the clock cases. The style and design of clock movements — especially their dials — and clock cases changed over time with new advances, evolving fashions and regional preferences.
“Until mass production of clocks began in the early 19th century, only the wealthy could afford the expensive mechanisms,” said Tara Chicirda, Colonial Williamsburg’s curator of furniture. “But most people could proceed through the day with little access to a clock. During the 18th century, many used the sun’s location in the sky, sundials or public clock chimes to regulate their days.”
As society became increasingly more dependent on time regulation, clocks became more necessary and the introduction of mass production in the 19th century made them more attainable.
The exhibition highlights the design of the movements and clock dials, and looks at the changes in case and dial styles over time in both England and America while showcasing Colonial Williamsburg’s collection of Southern tall case clocks.
“Keeping Time: The Tall Case Clock” is made possible by Martha Rittenhouse in memory of her parents, David and Evelyn Rittenhouse, and her brother, Ward Rittenhouse, and will be on view through Feb.3, 2013. A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or Museum ticket is required. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum is located at 326 W. Francis St. and is open daily throughout the year.
The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The
is home to the nation’s premier collection
of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the
18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The Abby
exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830. DeWitt
The Art Museums of Colonial
are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg,
Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, except 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday — Thursday through March 11. For museum program information,
telephone (757) 220-7724.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at www.history.org.
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M/M HUGO COLLECTION AT CHRISTIE’S VICTOR, CHARLES, GEORGES, JEAN: THE STORY OF ONE FAMILY 4th APRIL 2012 IN PARIS
Image of Hugo family tree provided by Christie's Paris and may not be reproduced without authorisation. All rights reserved.
– On the 210th anniversary of Victor Hugo’s birth, Christie’s is proud to announce the sale of The Hugo Collection on April 4th. An important group of nearly 500 books, paintings, drawings, engravings, photographs, furniture and other personal objects, the collection constitutes a remarkable testimony of the lives of Victor Hugo and his descendant, Charles, Georges and Jean. Estimated in the region of €1 million, the sale will give the public an insight into 4 generations of this renowned family.
Image of Victor Hugo provided by Christie's Paris and may not be reproduced without authorisation. Etienne Carjat (1828-1906) entitled Forward-facing Bust Portrait of Victor Hugo produced in 1872 (estimate: €7,000-€9,000 illustrated above.) All rights reserved.
VICTOR HUGO (1802-1885)
Numerous drawings, books, furniture and other personal objects relating to the life of the great French novelist and poet will be offered at auction. The Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts section includes works concerning Victor Hugo’s intellectual and political life, as well as his private life. Of particular interest are several letters sent to close friends, including a letter signed “Victor” to Adèle Foucher, written during the 1820s. The "letter to the fiancée" reveals his affection for his future wife "Dear, very dear friend, I will tell you again for the thousandth time that I love you, that I adore you, and if you also love me a little, you will always find new pleasure in hearing it, as I am always delighted to repeat it” (estimate: €3,000-€5,000). Other important items include a letter from Victor Hugo to his future father-in-law, Pierre Foucher, after his engagement with Adèle Foucher (estimate: €2,000-€3,000) and another written to his son François-Victor, concerning his daughter Adèle (estimate: €1,500-€2,000).
In the section Old Masters and 19th-century Drawings, 50 or so very rare and much in demand drawings by Victor Hugo, will be presented at auction for the first time. Two of particular importance, in ink on wood, entitled Live and Die are presented as a pair of China ink drawings on three attached wood boards and estimated between €100,000 and €150,000.
After being supportive of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte’s candidacy to the Republican presidency in 1848, Victor Hugo violently condemned the coup d’Etat of December 2nd 1851 and voluntarily exiled himself to Brussels. Following his strong rejection of the Empire, he wrote several important works including Napoleon the Little and History of a Crime, written in 1852 and The Punishments, published the following year. In memory of this short exile in Brussels, he produced Souvenir of Belgium, estimated at between €50,000 and €80,000. This wash drawing, which perhaps evokes the memory of a Flemish landscape, is presented in a poker-work frame by the artist.
Victor Hugo then moved to exile in Jersey for three years from 1853 to 1855. On this island, he settled with his family in “Marine Terrace” and wrote of it: "Marine Terrace left on those who inhabited it at that time only dear and affectionate memories. The southern side of the house gave onto the garden, the north side onto a deserted road. *…] The noise of the sea could always be heard. (Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare – Part I – Book I – Shakespeare, His Life.) It is this family softness that is depicted in Victor Hugo Bedroom at Marine Terrace. This watercolour sketched by Jules Laurens (1825-1901) and realised in 1855 is estimated at between €1,500 and €2,000.
Having been ejected from Jersey in 1855 for criticising Queen Victoria’s visit to France, he moved to Guernsey and purchased Hauteville House, which contained remarkable objects such as the extraordinary Manuscript Cabinet dating from the 19th century, used by Victor Hugo to store his manuscripts and conserved by the family (estimate: €5,000-€7,000); since nearly all Victor Hugo’s writings were bequeathed to the French state on his death, they are now housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Another souvenir from the house is a painting entitled The Temptation of St. Antoine, 16th- century Dutch school, in the style of Hieronymus Bosh. This painting was hung on the ground floor of the property, in the dark room used as a photography laboratory at the time, close to the “Tapestries” drawing room. A 19th-century screen in embroidered gold silk on a blue trefoil background is also from Hauteville House. Decorated with vases and flowering branches and featuring famous characters from works written by Victor Hugo such as Hernani, Doña Sol, Esmeralda and Phoebus, it is estimated at €3,000 to €5,000.
CHARLES HUGO (1826-1871)
During his exile in Jersey, Victor Hugo developed a passion for photography. In 1852, he meets the precursor of the snapshot, Edmond Bacot (1814-1875). He shared the same Republican sympathies as the poet and the two become regular correspondents, also exchanging photographs. In one of his letters, Victor Hugo writes of his son’s interest in the medium: “You send me marvels, sir. We admire them although we cannot yet imitate them. My son, who would like to follow you, if only from afar, asks if you could provide a very detailed written lesson.” Two signed books Photography on Paper, Procedure Using Plate Glass…, Jersey May 1853, are the result of this initiation (estimate: €8,000-€12,000). Motivated by his father, Charles learned quickly how to use this new medium.
The discovery of photography was a revelation for Victor Hugo, who showed great interest in this medium and understood that he had the perfect tool to promote his exile and political convictions. The “Jersey Studio” produced many important photographs. Indeed, assisted by the poet and French journalist Auguste Vacquerie (1819-1895), Charles realised numerous snapshots immortalizing the Hugo’s family life.
Among these, the auction will offer four portraits on paper of Victor Hugo, produced between 1853 and 1855 (in one lot: estimate €4,000-€6,000) and a portrait of Adèle Hugo, Charles’s sister, estimated at €10,000 to €15,000. Finally, a series of 24 prints (estimate: €600-€800), including numerous landscapes, provide additional testimony to the writer’s life in Guernsey.
Charles was very interested in politics. In 1848, three years before the exile, he found with his father and his brother François-Victor the political magazine L’Evènement. On 16th May 1851, he published an article against the death penalty which earned him six months’ incarceration in La Conciergerie. When he left prison, he joined his father in Belgium, Jersey and then Guernsey.
In 1868, at the end of these years of exile, Charles wrote Victor Hugo in Zealand, which covers his father’s exile in Belgium and makes political allusions to the power of Napoleon III. This original edition, accompanied by a letter from Victor to Charles and a photo bearing the dedication “To my charming little Gavroche” is estimated at €1,500-€2,000.
GEORGES HUGO (1868-1925)
Writer and painter Georges Hugo (1868-1925) was Victor Hugo’s grandson. Adored by his grandfather, several testimonies illustrate the close bond and tenderness of their relationship. Several of Georges’s dictations, corrected in his grandfather’s hand, are included in the sale. These touching manuscripts illustrate the life of the attentive and tactful patriarch. From 1869, Victor Hugo’s notes are littered with amusing anecdotes concerning Georges and Jeanne. On 31st July 1870, he wrote: "My little Georges (…) has given me the name Papapa.” Several of these notes and letters addressed to his grandchildren are assembled in a lot estimated at between €2,000 and €3,000.
Some books from Georges Hugo’s library will also be included in the sale, such as an original edition by Victor Hugo entitled “The Last Day of a Condemned Man”, given and dedicated to Georges Hugo by Victor Schoelcher (1804-1893), thinker and statesman, at the origin of the abolition of slavery in France (estimate: €1,000-€1,500). A magnificent manuscript by the frères Goncourt, written to the editor Charpentier for the 1890 edition, is also coming from this same library. This hand written copy constitutes a major discovery since the numerous notes and crossings-out present in the text show a part of the preparatory work of Edmond Goncourt for his journal’s edition (estimate: 30,000-50,000).
The auction will also present a collection of watercolours, gouaches and pastels by Georges Hugo including a series of 10 watercolours on paper representing landscapes (estimate: €1,000-€1,500) as well as a group of 40 works on paper evoking war scenes of World War I (estimate: €1,500-€2,000).
JEAN HUGO (1894-1984)
Great-grandson of Victor Hugo (1802-1885) and son of Georges Hugo (1868-1925), Jean Hugo (1894-1984) spent his youth with his maternal grandmother Aline Ménard-Dorian, vice president of the Human Rights League and a friend of Victor Hugo. She hosted the "Republican Salon" whose guests included Emile Zola, Alphonse Daudet, the Goncourt brothers, Rodin and a number of politicians, at rue de la Faisanderie in Paris. She also inspired Proust for the character of Madame Verdurin in Remembrance of Things Past along with Madame Marguerite de Saint-Marceaux and Madame Gaston Caillavet. In 1919, Jean Hugo married Valentine Gross (1887-1968). The couple were influential figures on the Parisian art scene, including the surrealist movement, and distinguished themselves by creating celebrated costumes and sets for Jean Cocteau’s plays, including “The Wedding on the Eiffel Tower” (1921). A few sketches relating to this show, such as a draft of the hunter’s costume, circa 1920 (estimate: €2.000-€3.000) are offered for sale.
Jean Hugo was friends with many leading figures such as Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), the multi-talented French poet and artist, who, along with Erik Satie, was a witness at his marriage to Valentine. In 1929, Jean Hugo decided to withdraw to a calmer life at the Mas de Fourques near Lunel. Jean Cocteau often visited, as testified by the numerous drawings and sketches on Mas de Fourques headed paper, for instance the four studies of Jean Hugo’s dog Mousco (estimate: €2,000-€3,000) and a portrait of Jean Hugo and Jean Desbordes (estimate: €800-€1,200). Another object from the Mas is an astonishing pedestal table, The Talking Pedestal Table, used for spiritualism séances between friends (in particular Valentine Hugo, Georges Auric and Raymond Radiguet) “on which Cocteau, a few years earlier, had read [his poem] The Cape of Good Hope”. This pedestal table notably predicted the sudden death of Raymond Radiguet (1903-1923), a young 20th-century French writer, who won great critical and public acclaim for his two novels: The Devil in the Flesh and Count d'Orgel's Ball. This Napoleon III pedestal table, in black lacquered and polychrome wood, with its tilting top decorated in flowers and foliage, sites on a tripod base (estimate: €1,200-€1,800).
When Jean Hugo withdrew from his hectic life in Paris, he devoted himself to painting often guided by the theme of human beings and nature in their various metamorphoses. He distinguishes himself, for instance, with a canvas entitled The Metamorphosis, 1929 (estimate: €40,000-€60,000,) a representation which takes us to the heart of pictorial experience. His retirement was interrupted by his travels and in 1931 he discovered Brittany for the first time. He was drawn by the differing light of the southern region, as can be seen in Breton Landscape, Sainte Anne, tempera on canvas painted in 1932 (estimate: €3,000-€5,000) and where he will practice his exceptional talents of colourist and show his strong interest for nature.
The auction will present a few emblematic objects from the friendships of Jean Hugo, such as a Transat Chair by Robert Mallet-Stevens (1886-1945) produced circa 1927-1928, given to Jean Hugo by the Viscount Charles de Noailles (estimate: €3,000-€5,000.) This chair comes from the Villa Noailles in Hyères, outlined by Mallet Stevens in 1923. The Noailles received numerous visitors: the Giacometti brothers, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Luis Buñuel, Man Ray and Jean Hugo himself. In another sign of their friendship, for an exhibition Jean Hugo created an object called “the magic box” for the “Bal des Matières” organised by the Noailles in Paris in 1929. This object contains 31 sheets of painted glass. These narrate the story of "Magician Faust" and form a box, designed to be lit from within (estimate: €3,000-€5,000).
THE STORY OF ONE FAMILY…
The collection is also enhanced by a range of other objects illustrating family memories, such as a set of three Louis Vuitton trunks bearing the monogramme of Aline Ménard-Dorian and of Georges Hugo (estimate: €2,500-€3,500,) a bridal tiara which belonged to Léopoldine (1824-1843), Victor Hugo’s daughter. Collectors will also find a series of photographs relating to the Hugo family, along with several portraits including Victor Hugo Hands Folded Leaning on a Table, taken by Félix Nadar (1820-1910) in 1862 (estimate: €3,000-€4,000), and another one by Etienne Carjat (1828-1906) entitled Forward-facing Bust Portrait of Victor Hugo produced in 1872 (estimate: €7,000-€9,000.) Etienne Carjat and Félix Nadar were major 19th-century portrait artists and produced some of the finest portraits of the writer, whose distribution contributed to his notoriety. Madame Victor Hugo is also represented in Madame Victor Hugo in Guernsey in the Garden of Aloes, 1853-1855, photographed by Charles Hugo’s friend Auguste Vacquerie (estimate: €1,000-€1,500) as well as Juliette Drouet in Double Portrait of Juliette Drouet (Victor Hugo’s mistress for nearly 50 years) produced by the Guemar brothers in 1868 (estimate: €1,000-€1,500).
Sale: On Wednesday 4th April 2012 at 11:30am and at 2.30 pm Viewing: Saturday 31st March from 12 noon to 6pm - Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd April from 10am to 6pm. Christie’s: 9 Avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris
Images, from left to right: Rembrandt van Rijn, Sheet of Studies with Self-Portrait (detail), 1630–34. Etching, 2nd State. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Edgar Degas, Self-Portrait (detail), ca. 1855–57. Red chalk on laid paper. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Woodner Collection 1991
"What I do is the result of reflection and study of the great masters."
Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
Rembrandt and Degas: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning February 23, will feature a series of early portraits by the two artists and highlight the Dutch master’s guiding influence on the young French Impressionist. The first exhibition to examine this subject, it will unite some two dozen works by the artists, including oil portraits, drawings, and etchings from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection and other museums in the United States and abroad. The intimate scale of the exhibition and size of the works on display will illuminate the unique kinship that exists between the self-portraits created by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) and Edgar Degas (1834-1917) at the start of their illustrious careers.
The exhibition was organized by the Rijksmuseum, in association with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
The Metropolitan Museum has enjoyed recent collaborations with both institutions, respectively: Miró: The Dutch Interiors with the Rijksmuseum (2010) and Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings: The Clark Brothers Collect with the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (2007).
In the 19th century, appreciation for Rembrandt’s genius, which had wavered since his death, gained renewed popularity, particularly in France. By the 1850s, when Rembrandt enjoyed nearly cult-like status, Degas was seeking to establish his own artistic identity. Frustrated by the rigidity of the École des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, he quit school, setting off for Italy for three years of independent study to find his voice as an artist. During this pivotal period, Degas studied prints by Rembrandt in French and Italian collections, often copying them into his sketch books, and even developing one of them into an etching. These exercises gave way to a series of self-portraits in which Degas explored a range of tonal effects, from subtle shading to dramatic contrasts of light and dark, inspired by Rembrandt’s graphic invention.
This highly focused exhibition—not unlike the Metropolitan’s recent Cézanne’s Card Players in spring 2011—will afford a unique perspective on the Metropolitan Museum’s Degas Self-Portrait (ca. 1855-56) in oil and more than a dozen works on paper by the artists, including multiple states of etchings, which are rarely on view. It will also present a handful of works by contemporaries of Degas, such as Henri Fantin-Latour, to document that Degas was not alone in his admiration for Rembrandt. Anchored by works from the Metropolitan Museum’s distinguished Degas holdings (which are second only to the French National Museums) and from the Rijksmuseum, the exhibition will also feature key loans from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the Bayerische Staatgëmaldesammlungen in Munich, The Getty Museum, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Morgan Library & Museum.
The exhibition was previously on view at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Rembrandt and Degas: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is organized at the Metropolitan Museum by Susan Alyson Stein, Curator, in the Museum’s Department of European Paintings.
Giotto, Second Edition by Francesca Flores d'Arcais
Vasari famously wrote that Giotto “recovered the true method of painting, which had been lost for many years before him.” Now, in the magnificent second edition of the definitive monograph, GIOTTO (Abbeville Press), the life and work of this momentous artist—traditionally considered to be a founder of the Italian Renaissance—reawakens the visionary power of this innovative master of Tuscany.
Producing a series of commissioned works for the church and upper classes in his native Italy, Giotto revolutionized European art by renouncing the rigid, stereotyped figures of the Byzantine and medieval traditions. Instead, he gave his characters natural movement and freedom of expression, dramatically placed within convincing illusionistic scenes. His great fresco cycles, such as the lives of the Virgin and Christ in the Scrovegni (or Arena) Chapel, Padua, are populated with realistic depictions of three-dimensional figures; secondary characters, both comic and tragic, further display the range of the painter’s wit and invention.
In this authoritative survey of Giotto’s life and work, Francesca Flores d’Arcais draws on an impressive range of sources, from 14th-century documents to the most recent art-historical investigations. Her research leads her to important reattributions of Giottesque paintings and to new conclusions regarding the execution and dating of both famous and lesser-known works. D’Arcais also discusses the earthquake of September 26, 1997, which damaged the frescoes of the Upper Basilica of San Francisco in Assisi. She explains not only the extent of the damage, but also the art-historical insights that emerged from the subsequent restoration effort.
Featuring more than three hundred illustrations, most in full color and some on double gatefold pages, GIOTTO reproduces all of his most important frescoes in exquisite detail, as well as his moving crucifixes and jewel-like polyptychs. With these splendid images and d’Arcais’s insightful text, this is the definitive monograph on the greatest of the trecento masters.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Francesca Flores d'Arcais, a former director of the Institute for the History of Medieval and Modern Art at the Catholic University of Milan, is a scholar of northern Italian painting.