international · music

New Alice Francis Music!

You all recall that last year, I mentioned my love for singer Alice Francis. This vintage-inspired songbird is still a fave, though I hadn’t been checking her YouTube page regularly. I just hadn’t had her on my mind recently.

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Still from Francis’s “Gangsterlove” video

However, I checked out her Youtube a few weeks ago and found she had released several songs in the past few months. My current fave is “Coco Baca Bum Bum”. The Cuban backdrop and vintage fashions are everything! And the song is super-cute, too.

Why don’t you take a listen and let me know what you think? I’ll be back tomorrow!

art · international

Review: The Horse in Ancient Greek Art Exhibit at Virginia Museum of Fine Art

This summer, I spent several days at different museums taking in the exhibits. While I wrote about most of the exhibits that I enjoyed, I had a couple of exhibits that I haven’t yet discussed here. I opted to wait on this one because I thought I’d have a chance to check it out again before I left. Alas, time got away from me and I didn’t return before the last day of the exhibit. However, I have a sufficient amount of photos, and I’m familiar enough with the subject matter to do a decent post. So, let’s discuss horses in Ancient Greece, shall we?

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Way back when I first started studying art, I took an art history course and I fell in love with Greek art. Something about the draped garments of the kore and caryatids seemed ethereal to me. I was officially in love when I first saw the Nike of Samothrace – Winged Victory – statue. Headless and armless, she still seemed so dynamic and magical and that was the kind of thing I regularly saw when I looked at Greek art. Power, motion, and magic, all bundled into singular pieces of art.

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Winged Victory (Nike) of Samothrace, The Louvre Paris

This exhibit, The Horse in Ancient Greek Art, was shown at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA. The exhibit highlighted the horse’s significance in the social hierarchy and cultural landscape of Ancient Greece. Horses were valued possessions, and were a luxury not afforded to the average man. The cost of horse maintenance meant that only the wealthiest and most powerful people in Ancient Greece could afford to own and care for these beauties.

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The exhibit featured a lot of vases and urns, which were decorated with paintings of horses. Horses were featured prominently on coins and monumental plaques, as well. It was interesting to see how the depictions of horses changed over different historical and artistic periods.

Being a wine lover, I can appreciate any of the vessels used to hold the nectar of the gods. Naturally, I was entranced by the choes and oinochoes. The Greeks loved combining beautiful presentation with practicality just as much as we do today.

So I learned more about Greek art, the significance of horses, and the many kinds of vases in Ancient Greece. It was a great experience, and my only regret is that I didn’t visit it at least twice before it left. I seem to do this with almost every visiting exhibit – will I ever learn? Anyways, that’s all for today. I hope you all enjoy your Saturday. Talk to you tomorrow!

 

art · international

Art at the Embassy of Haiti

Hey friends! I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but I had some distractions on my end that prevented me from focusing for a bit. However, I’m back, I have a bit more time, and I can finally share some of the artwork that I loved at the Haitian Embassy.

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Murat Saint Vil, Islande of La Tortue

As you recall, I went to the Haitian Embassy last month, and I enjoyed a fun evening of music, food and fun personalities. While I don’t consider myself particularly social, I loved having the opportunity to get out for a bit and do something different from my ordinary routine.

Manes Descollines, Odette; Raymond Olivier, Green Light

I’ve mentioned several times before that the Haitian Embassy has an impressive art collection featuring works created by Haitian artists exclusively. The embassy is a mashup of a museum, an office, a library, and an elegant mansion. This is the kind of over-the-top grandeur that I LIVE for!

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Wilson Bigaud, The Healers (1973)

So the embassy is 3 stories high, and on the walls lining the stairwell, as well as all of the corridors, there are endless photos and paintings capturing the vibrant and beautiful energy of Haiti. I’ve visited Haiti and fell in love with the beautiful landscape and people. Visiting the embassy is the closest I can get to the island for now, and I’m thankful for it.

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Yves Michaud, And God created Women

There were so many great paintings to see, and I wish I could have had the whole day to look at them all and ask questions. Sadly, I was only there for a little while: the event was in the evening and there was so much other fun things to check out at the embassy that learning more about the artwork simply wasn’t possible.

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Saint Louis Blaise, Interpellation (1980)

The crown jewel of the embassy was the only known painting of the royal issue of the first king and queen of Haiti. Three of the children of King Henri I and Queen Marie-Louise are depicted in the painting. This precious and significant artwork has been in private in hands for many years and has finally made it back to the people of Haiti. It was my privilege and joy to see it in person. If you would like to know more about the painting, click here. Please disregard the mislabeling presented in the article: this is the crown prince and his sisters, not the king, queen, and one of the princesses.

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Unknown, Prince Victor-Henri, Princess Amethyste and Princess Athenaire

This is just a soupcon of the breathtaking art I saw while at the embassy. I can’t wait to return and see what new art they will have on display! I hope you all enjoy – talk to you all tomorrow!

 

art · international

My Top Picks from Christie’s Asian Art Week Auctions, Part II

Happy Wednesday, friends! This is my final Asian Art auction post, and yes, I’m discussing the second half of the auction events happening at Christie’s. These auctions are happening on September 13 and 14, which will conclude the week of Asian art-themed auctions held by Christie’s Auctions.

September 13 begins with Masterpieces of Cizhou Ware: The Linyushanren Collection Part IV at 10 AM. This auction is small – it’s only featuring 41 lots –  but the pieces being sold are part of an exclusive private collection featuring pieces created with a Cizhou kiln. These ceramic items were once common in the 11th to 14th centuries but are treasured now for their fine detail and enduring beauty. My favorite piece of Cizhou ware is this polychrome censer (incense burner). The polychrome factor makes it unique from most of the Cizhou ceramics, which were mostly done in black-and-white. I love the rarity and the colorfulness of this adorable piece. I don’t burn incense very often, but if I had this censer, I’m sure I would be compelled to do so more often! This little rare beauty could go for $3,500 or more to one lucky bidder.

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A Very Rare Cizhou Polychrome-Glazed and Sgraffiato Censer

The Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art is a massive auction to be held over two days – both September 13 and 14 – and will feature nearly 300 lots. Since this auction has so many pieces, you can bet that the auction will be dizzying. From this auction, my pick is the rare pale greyish-green jade “peach” box and cover. This charming little box is an unusual shade and the finely detailed carving on the box make it a true treasure. At a little less than 6 iinches across, it’s also large enough to hold some treasures, too. The estimated selling price is between $12,000 and $18,000: this will make someone very happy should they win the auction.

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Rare Pale Greyish-Green Jade “Peach” Box and Cover

The showstopping auction is the Qianlong’s Precious Vessel: The Zuo Bao Yi Gui auction on September 13. This auction has one lot but it’s quite a beauty and it is estimated between $4,000,000 and $6,000,000. This vessel is over 3,000 years old and the bronze is well preserved. If there is any auction that you should attend, this is the one. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an item this significant be sold to the public.

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The Zuo Bao Yi Gui (Early Western Dynasty, 11th – 10th BC)

 The last auction to discuss is the Fine Chinese Jade Carvings from Private Collections on September 13. As it just so happens, I love jade and selecting just one item from the 107 lots available was a tough task. My choice was made a bit easier when I laid my eyes on the White Jade Butterfly Plaque. The impeccably preserved plaque has lots of fine carving and the milky colored-jade catches the light beautifully. The lovely butterfly has an estimate of $4,000 – $6,000. 

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White Jade Butterfly Plaque (18th – 19th Century)

Well, that concludes Asian Art Auction week’s top picks. I hope you get a chance to view some of the auctions scheduled and see what items you are drawn to. You can learn a lot about yourself – and art in general – just by listening to your personal tastes and exploring those notions, hunches and inklings further.

Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

art · international

My Top Picks from Christie’s Asian Art Auction, Part 1

Happy Monday, friends! Of all of the Asian Art Week auctions being held during the first half of September, no single auction house has as many events as Christie’s. Christie’s is having eight events – far more than I could comfortably put in one post. I will be breaking my top picks into two different posts, as there is no way that I can adequately discuss all of the events without separating them a bit.

Christie’s kicks of Asian Art Week with one auction on September 11 and three on September 12th. The first auction is Fine Chinese paintings, with pieces created during multiple dynasties and previously held in prestigious private collections. This one has 132 lots: a substantial amount for an auction that leads a week of activity. My favorite piece from this collection is Traveling in Autumn by Li Xiongcai (1910 – 2001). Whenever I think of autumn, I think of vividly colored trees and a tinge of warmth in the landscape. However, Xiongcai’s work evokes the feeling of late fall: cooler temperatures, barer tree, and only glimmers of the copper-hued leaves that were in place just weeks prior. This more somber depiction of autumn is unique and refreshing, and, since it could easily sell for over $15,000, it’ll probably be a popular painting among the bidders.

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Li Xiongcai (1910-2001), Traveling in Autumn

After a full night’s rest, bidders can get ready for some whirlwind activity on September 12, when Christies will be hosting three Asian art auctions. The first auction – South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art – starts at 10 AM, and it sure to bring out some unique buyers. With a little less than 100 items up for auction, this sale may be brief but it will no doubt also be impactful, as the items being auctioned reflect a typically underrepresented group of artists and artisans. My favorite piece from this collection is Untitled (Street Scene) by Syed Haider Raza (1922-2016). While Raza was born in India, he spent most of his adulthood in Paris. I saw shades of Post-Impressionism when I looked at the setting and brushstrokes features in this painting. This painting could easily sell for $35,000 or more.

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Syed Haider Raza (1922 – 2016), Untitled (Street Scene)

If contemporary art isn’t your cup of tea, bidders can check out The Ruth and Carl Barron Collection of Fine Chinese Snuff Bottles: Part VI. I’m not a huge fans of snuff bottles but I can appreciate the artistry of them. My favorite is the Molded and Carved Biscuit Snuff Bottle featuring an elaborate dragon carving on the exterior. The dragon is depicted as it catches a flaming pearl in its mouth, and its body and tail are set against a carved background of clouds and fire. It’s quite an eyecatching piece, and is estimated to be auctioned somewhere between $8,000 and $10,000.

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Molded and Carved Biscuit Snuff Bottle (Wang Bingrong, Jingdezhen Kilns, 1820 – 1850)

Finally, the auction activities on September 12th end with the Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art sale starting at 2 PM. The lot that made me swoon was the Gilt and Polychrome Wood Book Cover. I love any and all things book related, so it should be no surprise that this book cover was my favorite item of this auction. The fact that it came from Tibet – a country that isn’t featured as much in the popular auctions – made me love it even more. This 800 year old treasure will be the crown jewel of someone’s Asian art collection – I can feel it!

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Gilt and Polychrome Wood Book Cover (Tibet, 13th Century)

That’s it for the first half of my Christie’s art auction picks. Look out for Part 2 coming soon!

art · international

My Top Picks from Bonham’s Asian Art Auction

Happy Saturday, friends! I’ve got more of my top picks for Asian Art Week. Today’s post is all about Bonhams Auctions. Bonhams refuses to be left out of the Asian Art Auction fun: the auction house will be having three auctions featuring Asian art exclusively. Just like in my last post, I’ll be focusing on just a select few items from the sales that caught my eye.

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The first auction is on September 10 at 10 AM EST. The sale – Chinese Works of Art and Paintings – features just a little less than 300 lots covering several different historical periods. I swooned when I saw these stunning silk robes. The vibrant hues and intricate detailing are the things that dreams are made of. Every now and then, I want to rock the traditional dress of a different country, so this is right up my alley. I love both the blue and red robe, and I’d gladly wear both! The robes could easily sell for more than $5000, per the auction estimates.

Two Han Lady ‘s Embroidered Silk Informal Robes

The other two auctions will occur on September 12. Earlier in the day, the Ancient Skills, New Worlds: Twenty Treasures of Japanese Metalwork auction will occur (starting at 10 AM). This carefully curated selection of 20 pieces from a private collection will sell quickly but the items are all distinct and unforgettable. The piece that I adored is this iron and gold miniature cabinet. This cabinet is a marvel: the perfect blend of strength and style, it is one of the most ornate pieces in the collection. This shiny jewel could easily sell for more than $30,000.

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Komai Otojiro, Iron and Gold Miniature Cabinet

Finally, at 1 PM on September 12, Bonhams will have its last Asian-themed auction, the Fine Japanese and Korean Art auction. Kudos to Bonhams for being one of the few auction houses to have a sale devoted exclusively to art originating from outside of China. While I love China and Chinese art, I enjoy browsing a collection that focuses on different Asian countries. This auction is predominantly Japanese art: out of 307 lots, roughly 10 of them are Korean.  From the Japanese art, I found I was smitten when I saw the small lacquer writing box. I loved its elegance and the fact that this beautiful box held writing instruments. Even though I won’t be bidding on this beauty (it could sell between $4,000 to $6,000+ at auction), I love the notion of having a luxurious container to hold your writing utensils. That’s an idea I may have to try for myself.

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Shiomi Masanari, Small Lacquer Writing Box

When it came to the Korean art in this auction, I really liked the calligraphy attributed to Kim Jeong-Hui. There’s something minimalist but still very lavish about this fine piece. The timeless nature of this piece is especially impressive when considering the fact that is is over 200 years old. Also, the simplicity of the design means that it could hang in any room of a home with ease. Prices for this one could soar over $4,000, and it’s easy to see why.

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Calligraphy Attributed to Kim Jeong-Hui

Those are my top picks from Bonhams’s Asian Art Week. This auction house has fewer pieces overall but the focused themes make Bonhams’s events stand out among the other auctions occurring during Asian Art Week. Be sure to check out their catalogs and see if anything catches your eye!