10 Antique Textiles and Tapestries From Around the World

antique-russian-ikat-jacket

1. A fine Antique Russian ikat jacket in natural silk, geometric motif with beaded trim. Silk and cotton lining, Uzbekistan, Russia, 1890. [Alexander's Antiques: Gallery 43/212.935.9386]

It’s Textile Tuesday in the online art world. We’re celebrating with 10 exemplary antique textiles and tapestries recently added to our website. Textiles, which are defined as “yarns woven or knitted to make fabric,” likely dates as far back as 100,000 years ago to the felt textiles created by Stone Age peoples. The cotton, silk, and linen textiles we know today first began to appear in India, Egypt, and China around 5000 B.C. Since then, diverse peoples in every corner of the world have employed various styles of textiles to adorn themselves and their homes. The basic techniques of weaving, however, have remained relatively the same over time, so when you look upon an antique ikat jacket or an Aubusson tapestry, you’re looking at a tradition that has been passed down through centuries, a crucial way for people to express their cultures and relationship to the world.

Verdure Tapestry Pillow. 18th century Aubusson tapestry fragment/pillow. Wool and silk, France, 1750.

2. Verdure Tapestry Pillow. 18th century Aubusson tapestry fragment/pillow. Wool and silk, France, 1750. [Les Looms: Gallery 59/212.752.0995]

Antique Chinese Silk and Cotton Wall Hanging. With floral motif. Silk, China, 1880.3. Antique Chinese Silk and Cotton Wall Hanging. With floral motif. Silk, China, 1880. [Alexander's Antiques: Gallery 43/212.935.9386]

Large Antique Paisley Hand Woven Shawl. A fine antique rectangluar had woven pasiley shawl with small black medalion in the center. Kashmere wool, 1850, India.4. Antique Kashmere Paisley Hand Woven Shawl. A fine antique rectangular hand-woven paisley shawl with small black medallion in the center. Kashmir wool, 1850, India. [Alexander's Antiques: Gallery 43/212.935.9386]

Verdure Tapestry Pillow. 18th century Aubusson tapestry fragment / pillow. Wool and silk, France, 1750.5. Aubusson Tapestry Pillow. 18th century Aubusson tapestry fragment / pillow. Wool and silk, France, 1750. [Les Looms: Gallery 59/212.752.0995]

Antique Russian Silk Ikat Wall Hanging. Silk with cotton lining, Uzbekistan, Russia, 1880.6. Antique Russian Silk Ikat Wall Hanging. Silk with cotton lining, Uzbekistan, Russia, 1880. [Alexander's Antiques: Gallery 43/212.935.9386]

Framed 18th Century Tapestry Picture. Original 18th century French tapestry depicting a hunter in the wilderness. Wool and silk, Frnace, 1860.7. Framed 18th Century Tapestry Picture. Original 18th century French tapestry depicting a hunter in the wilderness. Wool and silk, France, 1860. [Les Looms: Gallery 59/212.752.0995]

Antique Russian Silk Ikat. Long, narrow antique Russian silk ikat. Silk, Russia, 1880's.8. Long, Narrow Antique Russian Silk Ikat. Silk, Russia, 1880′s. [Alexander's Antiques: Gallery 43/212.935.9386]

An Unusual Antique Silk and Cotton Russian Ikat Jacket. Very rare colors, cotton lining and beaded trim. Silk and cotton, Uzbekistan, Russia, 1860.9. An Unusual Antique Silk and Cotton Russian Ikat Jacket. Very rare colors, cotton lining and beaded trim. Silk and cotton, Uzbekistan, Russia, 1860. [Alexander's Antiques: Gallery 43/212.935.9386]

French Brocade. 18th century brocade, silk, France, 1780.10. 18th century French Brocade. 18th century brocade, silk, France, 1780. [Les Looms: Gallery 59/212.752.0995]

Posted in Alexander Antiques, Les Looms, NEW Vintage & Antique Finds, Tapestries, The Manhattan Art and Antiques Center | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire” at the Met

Death Becomes Her, Anna Wintour Costume Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Death Becomes Her, currently on view at the Anna Wintour Costume Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

As the year wanes in fits of rain, fog, and dramatic gray skies, an apropos exhibition to catch is the The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire” (October 21, 2014 – February 1, 2015). A slight but atmospheric show, this is the first fall exhibition in seven years at the Met Costume Institute, which recently reopened in May as the Anna Wintour Costume Center. Taking its cues from this fashion legend, “Death Becomes Her” is a meticulously staged, dramatically lit show that pays particular attention to details. Mourning dress in the 19th and early 20th century, as it turns out, was all about the details. The exhibition, which tracks the aesthetic and cultural evolution of mourning attire over the century, highlights the ways in which mourning clothes bore social and political cues in Chantilly lace and satin folds.

Death Becomes Her, The Met

The shifting from deep black to glossy black to browns and grays indicated that the woman was coming out of mourning, and in an age when marriage was inextricably tied to money, eligible again. In the 19th century, a woman in mourning was a dangerous woman–in other words, a desirable woman. A widow, who has sexual experience, no marital restraints, and potentially an independent fortune, was indeed becoming at a time when the questions of death, money, and sex echoed even louder than they do now.

Death Becomes Her, The Met

Death Becomes Her, The Met Death Becomes Her, The Met Death Becomes Her, The MetDeath Becomes Her, The MetDeath Becomes Her, The Met

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NEW Vintage & Antique Finds: Meissen Porcelain Figurine of an Original Sketch Comic

18th Century Meissen Commedia Dell'arte Porcelain Figurine by J. J. Kandler, Germany, 18th century

18th Century Meissen Commedia Dell'arte Porcelain Figurine by J. J. Kandler, Germany, 18th century. Alexander's Antiques (Gallery 43/212.935.9386)

Oh, to be in love, and with yourself, no less. This exquisite 18th century porcelain figurine by the preeminent Meissen porcelain modelleur, Johann Joachim Kändler (1707-1775) depicts a member of a commedia dell’arte comedy troupe in the guise of an innamorata, a character in love with another character, as well as himself. Begun in 16th century Italy, commedia dell’arte was responsible for the advent of improvised performances based on sketches; in short, sketch comedy. According to Italian historians, this “comedy of craft” rose as a response to the political and economic crisis of the time in Italy, and as a consequence, became the first professional form of theater. The performers played outside on temporary stages, playing a variety of social “types.” The three main stock roles were “the servants (zanni), the masters or elders (almost always old men hence their Italian name, the vecchi) and the lovers (innamorati),” the latter of which is depicted here.

This exquisitely-painted jovial lover is marked by a wide, preening smile and numerous beauty marks spreading across a face framed by a flamboyant hat. Also take note of his extravagant pants featuring finely detailed playing cards, perhaps referring to his profession as a “player” upon the stage. Johann Joachim (J.J.) Kändler, whose work can be seen in museums around the world, was best known for such figures of Italian Comedy, which gave “a more evocative sense of this form of theatre than most illustrations.” The classic commedia plot is that of innamorati who wish to marry against the wishes of vecchi, and eventually with the help of zanni, end up doing so, but the conventional plot was simply background for the performers, who the audiences really came to see. Through arch and expressive performances, as indicated in this figurine’s stance, this craft was elevated to art. To learn more about this piece, contact Alexander’s Antiques.

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The Art World’s Black Friday: Art Basel Miami Beach

Jean-Michel Basquiat at Tina Kim

Jean-Michel Basquiat at Tina Kim. Source: news.artnet.com

The biggest party in the art world, Art Basel Miami is this weekend, December 4-7, on the glittering shores of Miami Beach. Featuring over 250 leading galleries across the globe, Basel draws over 70,000 visitors a year intent on soaking in the whirlwind experience of  pop culture, soirees, and art. ArtNet has put together a helpful list of 10 Booths To See At Art Basel this year for those having trouble wading through the variety.

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NEW Vintage & Antique Finds: “Fauconnier Arabe À Cheval” by Premiere Animaliere, Pierre Jules Mène

"Fauconnier Arabe À Cheval" Bronze Sculpture by Pierre Jules Mène, numbered 704, silvered bronze, France, 1810-1879.

"Fauconnier Arabe À Cheval" Bronze Sculpture by Pierre Jules Mène, numbered 704, silvered bronze, France, 1810-1879. Alexander's Antiques (Gallery 43/212.935.9386)

Every time you come across a sublime 19th century animal sculpture, you’re looking at a work that owes a debt to French sculptor Pierre Jules Mène (1810-1879). Considered the “pioneer of animal sculpture” in his time, Mène belonged to the elite school of French animalières that included Pierre Louis Rouillard, Antoine-Louis Barye, and his son-in-law Auguste Caïn. The son of a metal turner, Mène learned to cast and chase bronze from his father, focusing on small bronze figures, “which explains why none of his works exist as public statuary” compared to some of his contemporaries. In 1838, he opened his own foundry with his son-in-law Auguste-Nicolas Cain, in order to cast his own work.

Initially, Mène focused on the domestic animal figures (cows, sheep, etc.), that were in vogue at the time. Due to the high quality of his work, his sculptures were very popular among the bourgeois and he made several editions of each sculpture, often to decorate the growing number of private homes. This spirited sculpture of an Arab falconer astride a magnificent rearing horse represents the shift in the mid-nineteenth century that many animalières made towards Orientalism, even as they continued to work with animal subjects. The energy and feeling in the visages of the falconer and horse are among the qualities that set Mène apart from his peers, save Barye. Mène was also known as the premiere lost-wax casting expert of his time, later surpassed only by Auguste Rodin. To learn more this bronze sculpture, contact Alexander’s Antiques

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Visit Our Dealers At The Pier Antique Show This Weekend!

pier-antique-showIndustry mainstay, the Pier Antique Show is going digital this year. Show producer, U.S. Antique Shows, the world’s largest producer of indoor antique shows, has partnered with The High Boy, a new, curated online marketplace for antiques, fine art and 20th century design, for the fall 2014 Pier Show, November 22-23 at Pier 94. You can enter a giveaway contest for a $1000 certificate towards future purchases by visiting the High Boy booth. The Pier Antique Show features more than 400 exhibitors of quality antique furniture, jewelry, decorative and fine arts, including six of our dealers.

1) Gallery 47

Ear clips, custom made by Sorab & Roshi, featuring diamonds and 5 types of coral set in18K gold, American, circa 1980s.  Diameter: 1-1/4"

Ear clips, custom made by Sorab & Roshi, featuring diamonds and 5 types of coral set in18K gold, American, circa 1980s. Diameter: 1-1/4″

Now a half-century in business, Gallery 47 features fine 20th century jewelry from Cartier, Tiffany and Van Cleef & Arpels, in addition to commercial Lalique and Baccarat perfume bottles. Gallery 47/212.888.0165/ken@gallery47.com

2) Melody Rodgers

Eisenberg original fur clip, handset marquis crystal stones in sterling silver.  A rare item in excellent condition.  Featured in the "Jewels of Fantasy" book, Chicago, USA, c. 1940.
Eisenberg original fur clip, handset marquis crystal stones in sterling silver. A rare item in excellent condition. Featured in the “Jewels of Fantasy” book, Chicago, USA, c. 1940.
A second generation owner, Melody Rodgers offers a constantly changing collection of visually enticing and highly individual pieces. Featuring fine, faux and fashion jewelry from the 17th century to this moment. Gallery #10A/212.758.3164/info@melodyrodgers.com

3) Treasures & Pleasures

Judith Leiber Magenta and Gold Leather Handbag with Cord Strap, USA, 1980"s.  7" x 5-1/2"

Judith Leiber Magenta and Gold Leather Handbag with Cord Strap, USA, 1980″s. 7″ x 5-1/2″.

Treasures & Pleasures offers fine jewelry, Victorian era to Modern, antique bronze and sterling silver picture frames, and a gorgeous collection of fine vintage beaded evening bags, including vintage Judith Leiber bags and rare skin bags. Gallery #35/212.750.1929/carole.tpleasures@gmail.com

4) Hoffman-Gampetro

18K Gold and Carved Agate Cameo Box, 20th century box set with a 19th century deeply carved cameo and lined with cabochon emeralds. 18K gold, carved agate and emeralds, box:  first quarter of the 20th century, agate carving:  19th century.

18K Gold and Carved Agate Cameo Box, 20th century box set with a 19th century deeply carved cameo and lined with cabochon emeralds. 18K gold, carved agate and emeralds, box:  first quarter of the 20th century, agate carving:  19th century.

Since 1978 at the MAAC, Hoffman-Gampetro has been an emporium of collectibles, objets de vertu, period jewelry and decorations. Gallery #37/212.758.1252/shop91@verizon.net

5) Robin’s Antiques

19th Century Viennese Bronze with Enamel and Lapis, signed “S. Weizss,” bronze, Austria, 19th century.

For over 100 years, this family-owned company has been known nationally and internationally.  Robin’s Antiques specializes in 18th, 19th and 20th century European Decorative Arts as well as Fine Arts. Gallery #62/#212.310.01/robinsantiques@gmail.com

6) Rosalie Clauson Antiques

Silver gilt and enamel circular box and cover with a painted floral scene, France, c. 1890.

Since 1980, Rosalie Clauson has specialized in a wide array of silver items ranging from the 17th to the 20th century and vintage picture frames. Gallery 17/212.888.9078/ezu12@yahoo.com

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Kaminski Auctions Presents Annual Thanksgiving Sale

Lot#8102-Exceptional 14K Gold, Sapphire and Diamond Bracelet

Lot#8102-Exceptional 14K Gold, Sapphire and Diamond Bracelet; Kaminski Thanksgiving Auction

On November 30th, the flagship Massachusetts branch of Kaminski Auctions will be presenting their annual Thanksgiving Auction, featuring a collection of outstanding Silver, Fine Art, and Decorative Arts. See below for more information. The New York branch of Kaminski Auctions is located on the main floor of The Manhattan Art & Antique Center, Gallery #28, 917.701.8162. Kaminski offers free expert appraisal service at the Center every Tuesday from 10:30 am – 5:00 pm.

Lot#8100-Monumental Russian Silver Samovar

Lot#8100-Monumental Russian Silver Samovar; Kaminski Thanksgiving Auction

The upcoming annual Thanksgiving Auction at Kaminski is one of the auction house’s most important sales of the year and will present a diverse array of high end estate antiques and fine art. Headlining the 500 plus lot auction is an impressive monumental Russian silver samovar, produced by the Ivan Morozov firm. Renowned Russian goldsmith Ivan Morozov founded the workshop in 1859, and the company became the official court supplier in 1884. The samovar to be offered at Kaminski was crafted in 1896, and thus carries the Imperial warrant double-headed eagle, denoting Morozov’s official status. Shallow geometric engravings cover the surface of the samovar and demonstrate the sophisticated restraint in design for which the company was known. Experts at Kaminski have placed a $17,000 to $25,000 estimate on this important item.

Lot# 8092-19th C. Tiffany Makers Chrysanthemum Center Bowl, Sterling Silver

Lot# 8092-19th C. Tiffany Makers Chrysanthemum Center Bowl, Sterling Silver; Kaminski Thanksgiving Auction

There is also an impressive collection of Tiffany and Company Makers sterling silver from a New York estate. Perhaps the most impressive piece from the collection is the “Chrysanthemum” pattern center bowl. Carefully articulated flowers grace the lip of the bowl, interspersed with foliage. The underside of the bowl is marked “Tiffany and Company Makers” along with “13713 13 sterling silver 925/1000 c 8 pints.” This elegant piece is estimated at $4,000 to $6,000. The full collection includes cups, bowl, a partial tea set, and a rare inlaid mahogany and silver butler’s tray.  In addition there are several important pieces of silver from a Massachusetts collection including a sterling silver tea pot with leaf and foliate decoration handmade by Carl Poul Petersen of Montreal, Canada.

Lot#8104-Redmond, California Landscape, O/B

Lot#8104-Redmond, California Landscape, O/B; Kaminski Thanksgiving Auction

European artistic offerings include a “Portrait of Charles Pinfold” by English artist Sir Nathaniel Holland. The bust length portrait features the refined sitter in a brown jacket and white cravat, and carries an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000. An intriguing 17th century painting attributed to Erasmus Quellinus is also among the paintings to be presented in the auction. The mid-size oil on panel composition depicts the triumph of David, with the young man holding the head of Goliath surrounded by a crowd of townspeople. Quellinus was a member of the Flemish school of painting, and was a known associate of Rubens. This attributed work has an estimate of $5,000 to $7,000.

Lot#-8105-Attr. Quellinius, "The Triumph of David," O/P

Lot#-8105-Attr. Quellinius, "The Triumph of David," O/P; Kaminski Thanksgiving Auction

Decorators perusing the sale will find a beautiful selection of antique mirrors from an important Massachusetts estate. The collection includes many pieces, ranging from large Italian eglomise examples to 19th century giltwood and a small American Federal convex mirror. Another estate included in the auction will present some noteworthy pieces of American furniture, including a Queen Anne secretary and a Boston Federal game table.

A catalog for the upcoming auction will be available online Friday, November 14th at www. kaminskiauctions.com. Preview for the sale will be held Wednesday, November 26th; Friday, November 28th and Saturday, November 29th, from 10:00am to 5:00pm daily, and beginning at 8:00am the day of sale, Sunday, November 30th. For more information 978-927-2223 and sign up to bid a KaminskiLIVE on the Kaminski Auctions website.

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Auguste Rodin’s Head of Bibi and the Birth of Modern Sculpture

rodin-bronze-sculpture-head-of-bibi-3891-IMG_8079

Original casting of Rodin’s “Head of Bibi” – signed Rodin, France, early 20th century c. 1903-04. Alskom Art Gallery (Gallery 30/646.319.6889)

On this day, November 12, in 1840, the father of modern sculpture, Auguste Rodin (d. 1917) was born. Classically trained, Rodin didn’t set out to buck sculpture tradition but so he did through realist portrayals of individuals marked by unique physiognomy and character, as opposed to the uniformly lovely allegorical and mythological figures dominant at the time. The original casting above of Rodin’s famed bronze Mask of the Man with the Broken Nose is a prime example of his revolutionary style, for which he received much criticism at the time. According to the Rodin Museum, Rodin chose to model this sculpture on a local workman, Bibi, due to “his clear-cut facial features and broken nose.” In Rodin’s (and posterity’s) estimation, the roughness of the model’s face is what gives the sculpture its beauty, imbuing it with “a dignity reminiscent of classical sculpture.” Rodin considered this head his first good piece of modeling, which “determined all [his] future work.” To learn more about this piece, contact Alskom Art Gallery.

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“Egon Schiele: Portraits” at Neue Galerie

Egon Schiele, ’Portrait of Ida Roessler,’ 1912 Wien Museum, Vienna/Art Resource, NY/Erich Lessing (photo)

Egon Schiele, ’Portrait of Ida Roessler,’ 1912 Wien Museum, Vienna/Art Resource, NY/Erich Lessing (photo). Source: online.wsj.com

Currently on view at Neue Galerie, “Egon Schiele: Portraits” (October 19, 2014 – January 15, 2015) sheds a new light on this mysterious leading figure of early Expressionism. This is the first exhibition at an American museum to focus exclusively on the portraiture of Schiele (1890-1918), who died at the age of 28, leaving behind a provocative and prodigious body of work, as well as a lasting aura of mystique. In an insightful review in the New York Times, art critic Ken Johnson posits that there is a room in this exhibition in which “you see Schiele become Schiele.” For those of us who’ve been long captivated by Schiele’s penetrating energy and bravura lines, this is a sight not to be missed.

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Between Life and Death: The Significance of Egyptian Mummy Masks

Egyptian mummy mask, painted wood, Egypt, circa 700 BC.   Height: 10"

Egyptian mummy mask, painted wood, Egypt, circa 700 BC. Height: 10" Palmyra Heritage; Gallery 16/:212.319.1077

Tonight is Halloween, an evening seemingly reserved for drunken debauchery. Yet, like many light-hearted cultural rituals, Hallowe’en, or All Hallows’ Eve, has somber roots. Actually a contraction of the term “hallowed evening,” Halloween likely originated in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (“summer’s end”), held around October 31 at the end of the harvest season and before the start of the “darker half” of the year. This was considered a time when the proverbial “veil between worlds” was thin, and spirits as well as the souls of the dead, could pass between the plane of the living and that of the gods. Similarly in ancient Egypt, burial masks, such as those featured here, played an important role in the journey between life and death. Really, for Egyptians, as for the Celts and other ancient peoples, death was only one step in an eternal life. Mummification was a means to “transform the bodies of the dead into dwellings for the ba (spirit) in the afterlife.”

Ptolemaic Kingdom Carthanage mummy mask. Egypt, 3rd century BC. Height: 12.75"  Width: 8"

Ptolemaic Kingdom Carthanage mummy mask. Egypt, 3rd century BC. Height: 12.75" Width: 8" Palmyra Heritage; Gallery 16/:212.319.1077

The 70-day mummification process purged the corpse’s fluids and “endowed it with the attributes of gods,” who had the power to grant eternal life. Besides protecting the deceased’s face, the mummy’s mask was used to present an idealized image of the dead for their existence in the afterlife. You may note the painted face above bears no resemblance to a real person’s visage–it wasn’t meant to. The gilded/yellow color of the mask was meant to connect the deceased with the gods, who were said to have flesh of pure gold, and the eyes are painted wide open to indicate a youthful vitality as the deceased moved toward their new divine life. Often, the masks explicitly invoked the gods with the “Spell for the Head-of-Mystery:” The crown of your head is Anubis, the back of your head is Horus, your fingers are Thoth, your lock of hair is Ptah-Sokar. In times when death was an even greater mystery than it is now, rituals like mummification and the celebration of Hallowe’en were crucial ways to make sense of a fragile life.

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