art · life curation

A Love Affair with Jean-Leon Gerome, Part 2

In my previous post about Jean-Leon Gerome, I talked about how I first became acquainted with his work, and the impression that painting left on me. To date, I don’t think there is any other painting that moved me to the point of researching the painter so that I could know more about the genius that created it.

As I go forward in pursuing my art interests, I’m fascinated by the prospect of one day owning a Gerome painting for my own collection. Or, perhaps I’ll help popularize an artist that has a similar gift, deftly portraying people of color while effectively communicating the subjects’ humanity.

I am excited to announce that a painting attributed to Jean-Leon Gerome will be auctioned by Sotheby’s on February 1, 2018. While I won’t be bidding on it, I’m excited to see what comes of it. Will the buyer put it into his or her private collection, or will it become part of a museum exhibit in the style of the Salvator Mundi that sent the art world into a tizzy?

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, here’s the painting offered by Sotheby’s. The Portrait Study of Giacomo Orlandi di Subiaco (c 1843) has many Gerome-esque attributes.

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For starters, this portrait features the dark background and “candlelit” lighting that Gerome favored. The subject himself, with his tanned skin, dark, curly hair, and expressive eyes, is captured in similar fashion as other Gerome subjects. The painting didn’t attempt to “perfect” the subject by putting him in fine regalia or making his nose more aquiline: Gerome’s affinity for realism is present in this photo. The painting looks like someone that you may run into on the streets of Rome, in the midst of running his daily errands.

I am eager to see what happens with this painting. I only have to wait a few more days until the auction: I can’t wait!


Wine Collectors Rejoice!

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Sotheby’s London is starting 2018 off with a bang! Their first wine sale of the year will feature nearly 400 bottles of rare and fine wines. The auction house has titled this sale, “A Great Collection From a Secret Grotto from a Northern European Connoisseur“. With a title like that, who wouldn’t want to participate?

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Serena Sutcliffe, MW, describes this enchanting collection as follows (you can read more of her thoughts in the catalogue for this incredible sale):

“In the dark days of winter, it takes a treasure trove of truly joyous wines
to bring a smile to the face – and this is just looking at them rather than
drinking them. Contemplation of mouth-wateringly beautiful bottles brings
immediate memories, as well as hopes of meeting these wines again, which
is more than possible for you, the wine-loving client. You literally can smell
them and taste them when you see them in the cellar, or on the written page
– they come to life in all their dimension and diversity. This is a collection
that displays some of the greatest wine-making talent of our days which,
on reflection, might well be on unrivalled top form in the last few decades.
These years have shown a glittering balance of technical know-how with
enormous human skill, driven to its peak by pride in the profession and
critical competition. It is the consumer who has benefited.

Above all, this collection puts the greatest vinous gems of France under
the spotlight. It is clear that the wines were chosen by someone with
remarkable gastronomic and wine knowledge.”

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The wines range from the luxurious but affordable to the truly exquisite.  On the lower end of the estimate spectrum, a Chateau Lafite 1994 is expected to fetch anywhere between $400 and $500 USD; for the most serious collectors, a Petrus 1995 is expected to soar anywhere between $21,000 and $30,000 USD.

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This sale is going to be spectacular! Too bad I won’t be anywhere near London at the end of the month: otherwise, I’d definitely attend. The sale occurs on January 24, 2018, at 10:30 GMT in London. If you can attend, I highly encourage you to do so!


(all photos courtesy of Sotheby’s)

art · luxury

Classical Art Sale at Sotheby’s London

Sotheby’s is having an Old Masters Sale on December 7th, and I must admit, I would love to own one of these incredible works. After attending the Drawing Salon at the National Gallery of Art, I discovered a new level of appreciation for classical works. As a result, I am always interested in the Old Masters and all manner of classical art.

I love all art with Black faces, especially classic art. So I was delighted to see this one, even if the Black woman depicted is a servant. I’m amused that the Princess of Zanzibar (an archipelago of Tanzania, an African country) is a European woman. I would think that the princess of any African country or region would be a woman of color, but I digress.

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(Portrait of The Princess of Zanzibar with an African Attendant by Walter Frier)
During the drawing salon that I attended, we studied the significance of the Madonna paintings. So I’m partial to any rendition of the Virgin and Child.
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(Virgin and Child with a Pear by the Workshop of Joos van Cleve)
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(The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist by Antonio del Ceraiuolo)
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(Madonna and Child by School of Bruges, second half of the 16th Century)
These paintings are expected to fetch between 10,000 and 90,000 GBP (approximately $13,000 and $121,000 USD). It’ll be interesting to see how well these sell in a couple of days!
The sale will be held at Sotheby’s London. Oh how I’d love to be there when this sale occurs!

Speaking of Gemstones . . .

A few days ago, I posted a link to a course that teaches the basics of gemology. Well, it wasn’t long before I came across a gem that would put all of that recently acquired knowledge to use … Feast your eyes on this beauty:



(photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)

Sotheby’s will be auctioning this breathtaking pink diamond in Geneva, Switzerland on November 15, 2017. The stone, named The Raj Pink, is expected to fetch over $30 million.

For those that don’t know, fancy colored diamonds of any hue are rare. Fancy colored pink diamonds are even rarer, and to have a fancy pink diamond with this size and clarity makes it among the rarest in the world. I hope whoever decides to purchase it will allow the Smithsonian Institute – or some other prominent museum – to display it for a period of time. I’m sure that the public would love to see this beauty up close.

In case that first photo wasn’t enough for you, here are two more:


(Photo courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar)


(Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s)

I simply can’t get enough of this stunning stone! I can’t wait to see how high the bidding will go, and who will be the lucky purchaser of The Raj Pink diamond.

international · luxury

Fine and Rare Wine Auction at Sotheby’s

As a wannabe sommelier, I love to learn all that I can about wine. So, on a hunch, I decided to look up wine auctions. Lo and behold, Sotheby’s London will be auctioning fine and rare wines on September 20, 2017.

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(This 62+ year old The Dalmore, The 12 Pointer, is expected to command more than $66,000 USD at auction. Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.)

I’d never heard of many of the brands, but I was in awe of the prices that some of these wines were expected to fetch. Some lots were expected to go for upwards of $66,000 USD. I’ll never cease to marvel at the concept of wine as a collectible asset!

Even more interesting was the wine catalogue: it’s more than 100 pages long and very informative. I enjoyed reading about the flavors of the wines; the descriptions are superb. If you can’t use these terms to describe some of the wines you’re drinking, then it may be time to try some different wines!

This event sounds like the perfect place for wine connoisseurs and anyone that loves luxury. Again, it will be held on September 20, 2017, at 10:30 BST, at Sotheby’s London (34-35 New Bond Street, London W1S 2RT UK). However, you don’t have to attend to bid. You may complete the absentee bid form, or register online to bid electronically.

Do you collect wine? Have you ever attended a wine auction? Please comment and let me know!