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.

culture · international · life curation

My Cultures and Identities Course is Completed!

I finished my Cultures and Identities in Europe course a few days ago, and I’m excited to share what I learned with you all. I’ll discuss what I enjoyed about the platform, FutureLearn, then I’ll dive into the course specific details and my take on what was offered in this class.

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For starters, I’d never completed a course through FutureLearn before. I was familiar with the website but never did any of the classes, so this was a first for me. I was really impressed with the structure and content of the course that I completed. This was well-suited to online learners: an appropriate mix of video and written content that thoroughly cover the subject matter while keeping the students engaged. I also loved how easy it was to access the course and complete the modules according to my schedule.

The course, as outlined, takes about 3 weeks to complete. However, additional time is allowed, so if you miss a few days of study, you can easily go back and make up those sessions. The program has transcripts and closed captioning for impaired students. I was impressed with the amount of care that went into producing this free resource. However, if students are interested in access this course indefinitely, or obtaining a certificate of achievement, FutureLearn charges a fee (currently $59) for lifetime access.

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Now that the general information is out of the way, let’s talk about the class. The class is broken down into 3 general sections: European Identities, European Memory and Heritage, and European Creativity. Each section delves into the history of the topic, the current state of the topic, as well as the politics that have influenced each of these areas.

The course defines Europe, European identity as well as European culture, then it explores all of the factors that have previously and currently have defined these concepts. I really loved learning about how Europe has created policy to embrace diversity as well as how Europe intends to approach cultural and creative programs outside of the economic perspective.

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I really enjoyed this course and, while I don’t plan to purchase lifetime access, I can easily see myself signing up for this again in the future, just as a refresher. There was a lot of good information in this course – I’m glad I signed up and completed it!

 

festivals

Vive La Festival!

This is my favorite time of year, because when it’s hot, people want to get outside and do fun things. That being said, I’m eager to check out the festivals occurring in Virginia and Washington, DC over the next several weeks.

I’m narrowing down my list of festival possibilities based on when I’ll be out of town and when I’ll have enough time and energy to attend. Surprisingly, the festival that is currently ranking highest on my “must do” list is the Virginia State Peach Festival. I’m usually not a huge fan of produce festivals (heat + sweet fruits = lots of insects) but I adore peaches and the opportunity to try freshly grown, local peaches is too tempting to pass up.

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Mmm, peaches

The only downside is that the event occurs on Friday, August 17, in southwest Virginia, which means I’d have to take time off from work in order to attend (it’s a substantial drive from my home to Stuart, VA). But who knows – maybe things will come together in my favor. I’m open to all of the possibilities!

I’m also thinking about the Seawall Art Show in Portsmouth, VA. The drive is a lot shorter, and the event occurs on the weekend (August 25 and 26). I haven’t been to an art show in years, so I’m sure I’d enjoy it. It’s very likely I’ll attend this event, and if I go, you all know that I will share info about it here on this blog.

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I’m excited to check out the art in Portsmouth

There are two festivals in Richmond that I may check out – but they occur on the same weekend. The Filipino Festival (August 10 and 11) and the Richmond Jazz Festival (August 9 – 12) are two very different events but will give a fresh injection of culture into Richmond for the weekend. Who knows – maybe I’ll be able to check out both events!

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Richmond Jazz Fest is coming up soon!

Any upcoming cool festivals where you are? Let me know in the comments below!

life curation

July & August Activity Planning – DONE!

Hi friends! I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday, and staying COOL! Personally, I’m enjoying the fact that I don’t have to go outside into the Virginia heat! I love summers in the South but I also love being able to retreat from the heat when I want to.

I just finished writing out my plans for July and August. It’s important that I am crystal clear about what I want to do and when I want to do it: if I’m not focused, I lose track of my time and find that nothing (or almost nothing) gets accomplished.

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Here’s the short list of my July and August plans. These plans are in support of my goals (short term and long term)  as well as give me interesting things to talk about on this blog.

July:

August

  • Celebrate my birthday in grand style
  • Attend an embassy event
  • Visit a museum I’ve never gone to before
  • Select courses to take in the fall
  • Have some amazing giveaways on this blog (in honor of the blog’s 1 year anniversary)

I’m looking forward to having a lot of fun this summer, and I’m especially looking forward to sharing those experiences with you all! Well, it’s time for me to go ahead and finish my meal prepping for the week, so I’ll talk to you all soon!

art

Review: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Part 2

Happy Friday, friends! There’s not a whole lot to say, especially if you’ve seen Part 1 of this review (you can view Part 1 here). I’ll stick to sharing photos that you all haven’t already seen and providing a little commentary.

I saw a few Pablo Picasso works that I’d never seen before. I’m so accustomed to seeing his Cubist works that I forget that he didn’t always work with abstract figures. Earlier in his career, he worked with Impressionist techniques, as you can see in the paintings below.

Head of a Woman, Pablo Picassso (1901)

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Old Woman (Woman with Gloves), Pablo Picasso (1901)

This is the style we know and love from Picasso:

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Three Musicians, Pablo Picasso (1921)

I always have loved Pierre-Auguste Renoir, another Impressionist. His photos are both timeless and beautiful. This is a tender portrait of his beloved wife and favorite model, Aline Charigot Renoir.

Portrait of Madame Renoir, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1885)

This sweet-faced little girl was the daughter of an art dealer friend of Renoir’s.

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Portrait of Mademoiselle Legrand, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1875)

Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers are a great example of post-Impressionist work: it features thick paint, more vivid color selection and slightly distorted forms. The work is paradoxical: it’s a still life but the technique used by Van Gogh gives it a feeling of movement and dynamism. This work inspired Faith Ringgold’s The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles, which is also at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (I missed it on this trip, but I’ll be sure to catch it next time!) Ringgold even inserts Van Gogh into her work! You can view Ringgold’s work here.

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Sunflowers, Vincent Van Gogh (1888 or 1889)

Lastly, I was drawn in by the beautifully serene expression on the subject’s face. She looks like she was briefly interrupted while concentrating on her embroidery. She’s still thinking about her design and this is just moments before her attention is completed diverted away from her handicraft. I love how Mary Cassatt has caught this fleeting moment.

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Mary Ellison Embroidering, Mary Cassatt (1877)

I can’t wait to return to the museum to see some more artwork and to take lots of photos for you all! Talk to you all tomorrow.