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 · culture

When Maturity Was Valued

A couple of weeks ago, I gave an abbreviated review of Nasher Museum in Durham, NC. I mentioned in that post that I was considering doing a separate post about a particular exhibit that caught my eye. Well, I had a moment to really process what I saw, and I want to share my thoughts with you here.

I want you all to take a good look at the marble bust below.

This is a bust of a Roman matron, sculpted sometime between 40 and 30 BCE. She’s poised, stately and undeniably mature. The sculptor didn’t attempt to depict this woman as a youthful maiden or an adorable waif. This likeness captured is that of an adult woman, self-possessed and satisfied with her position in life.

What really struck me is the caption next to the bust. The museum described this period of art as being one where “portraits tended toward a realism that valued maturity and experience over idealized youthfulness”.  I looked in awe at this woman that was able to enjoy her maturity being captured in marble and I thought to myself, “When did things change?”

I know that every adult was once young, and there are many beautiful things about youth. But I wonder why we spend so much time idealizing youth, both in art and culture. Is it because the fleeting nature of it is akin to the scarcity factor that fuels the supply/demand concept that we learned so well in those college economics courses? Is it because life’s disappointments make us long for the days before we knew the troubles that laid ahead for us? Is it because we wish for some of the fearlessness that we once knew but had to trade in for the “seriousness” of adulthood?

I’m not exactly sure when youth became the ideal, but I long for a time when we return to reverence for maturity. After all, the average person spends way more years as a mature adult than as an inexperienced youth, and if you have experience, you can make wiser choices that lead to a happier life. Even though I’ve had my share of disappointments and frustration, I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed my 30s far more than my 20s, and once I get to my 40s, I’m sure my life will be even better.

I can’t change an entire culture that worships youth, but I can share this lovely bust with you, and encourage you to see the beauty in being aged, experienced and (hopefully) wise.

That’s it for today. Have a great afternoon, and take care!

culture · Uncategorized

I’m Coming to YouTube!

One of my big “surprises” for the blog is that I will starting makng YouTube videos in the next couple of weeks! I’ve thought about it long and hard, and some messages are best communicated verbally as opposed to the written word. I won’t be posting videos every day, but for some topics, I think a video supplement is the best way to get the point across.

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I have some short videos up right now, and I’ll be re-filming a video that I posted to my Instagram account last week. Here’s a video from my time at the Embassy of Ireland several months ago:

 

There will be lots of travel, cooking, art and cultural videos on my channel. In other words, it will be an extension of this website. I’m so excited for this new chapter, and I hope you all will enjoy the content I create!

art · life curation

Why Technology Will Be a Game Changer for the Art World

Hey everyone! As you all know, I try to keep my “finger” on the “pulse” of the art world, because it’s an arena that I find tremendously fascinating. You all also know (after reading my most recent goals post) that I intend to eventually transition into an art career. However, one main reason why I’m hesitant to fully leap into the art world is because I want to make sure that I have a lucrative position within the art world, not just a creative one. I figured that the intersection between art and technology would be a good place for me to start.

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It’s funny – I started the draft for this post several weeks ago, but, as with most of my writing, I find that there are other people who are on the same wavelength. As it turns out, Sotheby’s Institute of Art will be incorporate lectures around art and technology into its Masters Degree program.

In my opinion, we’re going to see a surge of technological advances used in unexpected ways. These advances will be critical to preserving cultural institutions and traditions, the liberal arts, and, of course, fine art. At the most obvious level, creativity will be needed to create technology that is both effective and desired. On a deeper level, the technology will be used in unprecedented ways, to preserve cultural heritage and create a new heritage of its own.

I’m revising my goals list to incorporate what I suspect will be the leading edge of the art world. I’ll continue to clarify my vision for my future art career, and I’ll share that vision in my next goals update post.

Thanks for reading my musings, friends! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

culture · style

Learn About Royal Fashions

Happy Monday, darlings! I hope you all had a satisfying weekend. I spent some time perusing one of Daily Mails’s many articles about the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. The public is fascinated with the California-born beauty, and the Daily Mail recently ran an article on her clothing budget and latest fashions. The truth is, the public LOVES watching what the wealthy wear, especially if the wealthy ones they are observing happen to be members of a royal family.

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In line with this fascination, I just came across another FutureLearn course that I thought you all might want to check out. A History of Royal Fashion is a course available through this online provider until September 1st. The course explores the fashion and symbols enjoyed by 5 different dynastic families. Yes, this course also includes the current royal family, the Windsors.

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A royal guard – yet another fashionable dressed extension of the British monarchy

I’m far too busy to take this course myself, but I figured that I’d pass along the information for anyone interested. The course sounds really fascinating, so if it is offered again, I hope I’ll have enough time to check it out. But for you all that have the time and the interest, lucky, lucky! You can enjoy this course for free, just by signing up on FutureLearn. And, if you pay a fee, you can access the course indefinitely, so you really have nothing to lose by checking it out.

This is shaping up to be a busy week, but I’ll still be on my daily post scheduled. In any case, wish me lots of sleep and plenty of productivity when I’m awake. Thanks in advance! Talk to you all tomorrow.