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

Jean-Michel Basquiat at Tina Kim

Jean-Michel Basquiat at Tina Kim. Source:

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

Posted in Alexander Antiques, Antique History, Antiques, Bronze, NEW Vintage & Antique Finds, Sculpture | Tagged , , | Comments Off

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/

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/

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/

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/

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/

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/

Posted in Antique News, Antique Shows, Gallery 47, Hoffman-Gampetro, Melody Rodgers, New York City, Robin's Antiques, Rosalie Clauson Antiques, Treasures & Pleasures | Tagged , , | Comments Off

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. 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


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:

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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NEW Vintage & Antique Finds: A Haunting Hawk Okimono

okimono of a hawk

Silvered Okimono of a Hawk. Silver-plated bronze, Japan, Meiji period 19th c. Signature plaque of Seiya on tail feathers. H: 23-3/4". Flying Cranes Gallery; Gallery 55 & 212.223.4600

As it’s the haunting season, in this week’s NEW Vintage & Antique Finds, we feature a beautifully sinister hawk okimono that could give Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre raven a run for its money. This richly sculptured Meiji period okimono (which translates to “objet d’art”) features a predatory hawk chiseled in a naturalistic style with its intense gaze fixed on its unfortunate prey. Part of the realism in the sculpture’s eye can be attributed to use of shakudo, a gold and copper alloy treated to form a “black patina resembling lacquer.” Notice also the gripping, weighted quality of the hawk’s talons–the talons are shibuichi, “an alloy which can be patinated into a range of subtle muted shades of blue or green.” Taken together, the sculptor’s subtle, blended artistry begets a creature that recalls for us the very last lines of Poe’s famed “The Raven” –

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!

okimono of a hawk

Posted in Japanese Art, NEW Vintage & Antique Finds, Objects of Art, Silver, The Manhattan Art and Antiques Center | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Friday Nights at The Frick Collection: College Night

CollegeNight2014 Frick Collection

We were happy to see a few newer art and antique fairs geared towards young collectors (Brooklyn Antiques & Book Fair, Affordable Art Fair, et al.) really take off at the start of the 2014 fall season. One of our favorite New York City museums, The Frick Collection,  continues the encouragement of young art enthusiasts this Friday, October 10, 6-9PM, with Nights at the Frick: College Night. Nights at the Frick offer free after-hours access to the Frick’s magnificent collection, and a range of programs, including lectures and gallery talks, open sketching in the Garden Court, and dance and music performances.

Tomorrow night’s College Night offers students a chance to discover great works of art and meet like-minded friends as well as sample college-level programs offered throughout the year. This event is free and open to undergraduate and graduate students with a valid college ID. Online reservations are required and be accessed via the Google link here.

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Carrying the Fruit of the Majestic Tree: An Antique Etrog Box For Sukkot

Silver plate over bronze etrog box, European, circa 1880.  Height: 3"  Length: 6"

Silver plate over bronze etrog box, European, circa 1880. Height: 3" Length: 6" Lev Tov Antiques; Gallery 93/212.308.3516

Today marks the first full day of the seven-day Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which began at sundown yesterday. For those unfamiliar with the holiday, Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, is an agricultural holiday that commemorates the Book of Exodus story in which the Israelites leave Egypt and travel in the desert for 40 years before finally entering the holy land. Sukkot, which literally translates to “booths,” refers to the temporary shelters the Israelites built in their long, hard sojourn. Today, the Jewish people remember their ancestors and by extension, the fragility of human life, by building temporary huts (sukkahs), and by waving four plants from the Torah known as the Four Species. Key among these symbolic plants is the yellow citron known as the etrog.

Of the Four Species (each of which represents a different “conduit of divine flow”), the etrog symbolizes the feminine element; “the heart, the place of understanding and wisdom.” In fact, after the holiday of Sukkot, eating etrog or etrog jam is thought to aid in easy childbirth for women. During the holiday, the etrog is carefully protected in a special box made for it, such as the magnificent antique specimen in this post, which is embossed with the symbolic fruit and its Hebew moniker “Pri Etz Hadar“–the fruit of the majestic tree. For more information about this box, reach out to Lev Tov Antiques.

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