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Claremont Rug Company Reports Significant Increases In Sales of "High-End" Antique Oriental Rugs

An extremely rare 175-year-old Mohtahsam Kashan rug that was among the 50 best-of-the-best pieces sold by Claremont Rug Company in 2019.

OAKLAND, CA.- Claremont Rug Company founder/president Jan David Winitz, in his annual letter to clients, today reported sales increases ranging from 68 percent to over 250 percent of high-end antique Oriental rugs from the “Second Golden Age of Persian Weaving,” ca. 1800 to ca. 1910. Defining “high-end” carpets as High-Collectible and Connoisseur-Caliber pieces on the Gallery’s proprietary “Oriental Rug Market Pyramid” ™, Winitz said, “What transpired exceeded our most optimistic expectations! Sales of High Collectible rugs, which are the finest available, increased by a whopping 68%. During 2019, 65 percent of our clients included at least one Level 2 or Level 3 rug among their purchases.” At Claremont, Level 2 pieces are designated “High-Collectible” and Level 3 are “Connoisseur-Caliber.” Level 1 rugs, woven during the First ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

VMFA receives more than 8,000 photographs from the Aaron Siskind Foundation   Spanish banker gets jail term for trying to smuggle out Picasso work   In Afghanistan, being an artist is a dangerous job

Aaron Siskind (American, 1903-1991), Gloucester, 1944, Gelatin silver print, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of the Aaron Siskind Foundation, 2019 © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA.

RICHMOND, VA.- The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has been given an extraordinary gift of more than 8,000 photographs by Aaron Siskind (1903–1991) from the Aaron Siskind Foundation in New York. Established by the artist in 1984, the foundation’s mission has been to preserve and protect Siskind’s artistic legacy, as well as to foster knowledge and appreciation for photography through research, publications, exhibitions and an annual fellowship prize for individual artists. The foundation recently decided to dissolve its operations and transfer the collection to an American art museum that would be willing to administer the annual fellowship prize and care for, interpret, and display the foundation’s core collection of Siskind’s photographs. VMFA was awarded this major gift thanks to the museum’s demonstrated commitment to photography and its outstanding fellowship program. The transfer of the collection to ... More

The yacht Adix, owned by Spanish Santander banking group and flying a British flag, sails off Testa beach on August 4, 2015, in Pianottoli Caldarello, Corsica, four days after French customs seized a Picasso on board considered a national treasure by Spain.

MADRID (AFP).- A Spanish court has sentenced a former top banker to 18 months in jail for trying to smuggle a Picasso painting deemed a national treasure out of the country on a sailing yacht. The court also fined ex-Bankinter head Jaime Botin 52.4 million euros ($58.4 million), according to the Madrid court ruling issued on January 14 which was made public on Thursday. It awarded ownership of the work, "Head of a Young Girl", to the Spanish state. Botin, 83, is unlikely to go to prison as in Spain first offenders for non-violent crimes are usually spared jail time for sentences of less than two years. French customs seized the work, which is estimated to be worth 26 million euros, in July 2015 on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, halting what they said was an attempt by Botin to export it to Switzerland to sell it. His lawyers argued at the time that he was sending it for ... More

The artist Kubra Khademi in a street performance in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2015. A crowd of men appeared “insulting me and making fun of me,” Ms. Khademi said. Photo: Naim Karimi.

by Farah Nayeri

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE ).- On the afternoon of Feb. 26, 2015, artist Kubra Khademi strapped a suit of metal armor over her clothes and headed outside. The armor, which she had cobbled together in the workshop of a local blacksmith, had bulbous breasts and an ample bottom. It was the centerpiece of a carefully planned street performance. Only this wasn’t just any street: It was a busy thoroughfare in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Sheathed in her bulging suit, Khademi walked along the road in a silent eight-minute performance. By the time she left, traffic had stopped, and a mob of menacing men had formed. “They were insulting me and making fun of me, saying, ‘She’s crazy; she’s a foreigner; she’s lost her mind; she’s a prostitute,’ ” the artist recalled in a telephone interview from Paris, where she ... More

Christie's announces highlights included in its Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale   Vancouver Art Gallery announces major gifts of art for its permanent collection   Louis Vuitton gets huge lump of coal for Christmas, upending tradition

Pablo Picasso, Intérieur au pot de fleurs (1953, estimate: £7,000,000-10,000,000) © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

LONDON.- Christie’s Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale will be followed by The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale, together launching ‘20th Century at Christie’s’ on 5 February 2020. Tamara de Lempicka’s Portrait de Marjorie Ferry (1932, estimate: £8,000,000-12,000,000) and Alberto Giacometti’s Trois hommes qui marchent (Grand plateau) (1948, estimate: £8,000,000-12,000,000) will both lead the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale. Further highlights include George Grosz’s politically charged Gefährliche Straße (1918, estimate: £4,500,000-6,500,000), which has remained in a private collection for 50 years and will appear at auction for the first time. A group of three still lifes by Pablo Picasso demonstrate his career-long dedication to evolving the genre with exceptional examples from the 1940s, 50s and 60s: La cafetière (1943, estimate; £1,000,000- ... More

Zhijie Qiu, Tattoo II, 1994, chromogenic print, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Promised Gift of the Adelaar Family.

VANCOUVER.- In December, the Vancouver Art Gallery received significant donations of artwork to its permanent collection that build on its strengths in photo-based, Indigenous, Asian and Conceptual works of art. Internationally-recognized photography collectors Claudia Beck and Andrew Gruft donated 36 artworks by 26 artists from their private collection. Beck and Gruft have developed a remarkable collection of photography over the course of several decades, considered one of the most important photography collections in Canada. The expansive holdings of these Vancouver-based collectors span a period of time from the invention of the medium in the nineteenth century to the present, and include works by national and international artists. Cumulatively, the couple has donated 552 artworks to the Gallery to date, including their recent gift of 36 artworks. Their gift enhances the Gallery’s photography collection in a ... More

In an undated image provided by the fashion house, the 1,758-carat Sewelo diamond, which has been purchased by Louis Vuitton. Grégoire Vieille/Louis Vuitton via The New York Times.

by Vanessa Friedman

(NYT NEWS SERVICE ).- The largest rough diamond discovered since 1905, the 1,758-carat Sewelo, was revealed with great fanfare last April, named in July and then largely disappeared from view. Now it has resurfaced with a new owner — and it’s not a name you might expect. It is not, for example, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world on the hunt for a trophy asset. It is not a royal family, searching for a centerpiece for a new tiara. It is not the De Beers Group, arguably the creator of the diamond market, which owns the Millennium Star diamond, a 770-carat pear-shaped stone. It is not even diamond specialist Graff, owner of the Graff Lesedi La Rona, a 302.37-carat diamond that is the world’s largest emerald-cut sparkler. It is Louis Vuitton, the luxury brand better known for its logo-bedecked ... More

Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien and keeper of his legacy, dies at 95   Edith Wharton's 'The Age of Innocence' comes home   The Andy Warhol Foundation announces fall 2019 grantees

J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion” was edited by his son, Christopher, and published posthumously in 1977.

by Alan Yuhas and Emily S. Rueb

NEW YORK (AFP).- Christopher Tolkien, the son of the writer J.R.R. Tolkien who guarded his legacy and edited posthumous works like “The Silmarillion,” died Wednesday in France at age 95. His death was confirmed by Daniel Klass, Tolkien’s brother-in-law. Long after his father died in 1973, Tolkien worked to keep the stories that he created in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” — the spiders of Mirkwood, the Eye of Mordor, the elves of Rivendell and thousands of pages of others — alive for readers. As literary executor for the Tolkien estate, he compiled and edited much of his father’s work, including “The Silmarillion” and the collection “The History of Middle-earth.” He is also credited with creating the 1954 map of Middle-earth, the land in which the sprawling stories were set, that is now held by the British Library. Like his father, ... More

Edith Wharton's signature on the flyleaf page by Dennis Kahn.

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE ).- Edith Wharton kept restlessly editing her bestsellers even through numerous print runs. In 1921, she finished fine-tuning “The Age of Innocence” upon its sixth printing and tucked one edition onto the shelves at her chateau in Southeastern France. That copy, with her signature and bookplate, has resurfaced in time for the centennial of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. It has been donated to the library at another of her palatial homes, the Mount, a museum in Lenox, Massachusetts. This is the only known English-language version of “The Age of Innocence” that belonged to Wharton, said Susan Wissler, executive director of the museum. (Examples of the writer’s copies of many of her works are already at the Mount; gaps include her collected teenage poems.) Wissler added that the museum’s book collection, as it grows, powerfully evokes Wharton’s interests and presence: “The library very ... More

Steve Parker, Sirens, 2018. Brass, steel, conduit, plastic, recorded voices, 7’ x 3’ x 3’ – 84 x 36 x 36 inches. Photo: Sarah Frankie Linder.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts announced the recipients of its Fall 2019 grants. $3.93 million will be awarded to 46 organizations from 19 states to support their visual arts programs, exhibitions, and curatorial research. This group of grantees was selected from a competitive pool of over 250 applicants bringing the foundation’s grants total for the fiscal year to $7.94 million, with support going to a total of 92 organizations in 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. The foundation’s overall annual grants budget is approximately $14 million. “The fall 2019 grant list reflects the foundation’s unwavering commitment to supporting experimental artistic practice around the country,” states Joel Wachs, the foundation’s President, “We are proud to further the important work that each of these organizations does to give artists a platform from which to meaningfully ... More

Affordable art offered in Shannon's online sale now through January 23rd   Galeria Joan Prats exhibits recent works made between 2012 and 2018 by Chema Madoz   Museum reunites celebrated painting series by Jacob Lawrence for nationally-touring exhibition

Jenness Cortez, American (b. 1944), "Saratoga II,” signed and dated, 14 x 12 inches, Estimate: $6,000-8,000

MILFORD, CONN.- Shannon’s is kicking off the year with an exciting Online Fine Art Auction featuring over 200 paintings by an international roster of listed artists. Bidding is available by absentee and through Works in the auction are priced to sell, with many items available for under $2,500 with attractive estimates and reserves. The star of the sale is a recently rediscovered Italian modernist work by Surrealist artist, Enrico Prampolini. The painting was featured in the 1934 Vennice Biennale and is pictured in a photograph from that exhibition. It recently resurfaced in an institutional collection highlighted in the sale. The leading American painting in the sale is a Jenness Cortez horse racing scene of Saratoga. In the composition the speed, movement and excitement of the race are captured as four horses race towards the finish. Contemporary prints ... More

S/T, 2017. Fotografía b/n sobre papel baritado, virado al sulfuro. Ed. 15. 60 x 50 cm.

BARCELONA.- The seventh exhibition of Chema Madoz at the Galeria Joan Prats opened in Barcelona. The exhibition presents recent works made between 2012 and 2018. The black and white photographs by Chema Madoz are characterized by their sharpness and fineness. Simple objects of everyday life appear in his pictures. The photographer has manipulated them, often combining two objects, looking for associations or paradoxes. These sculptures created by the artist are born only to be photographed, always with natural light. The change of scale and the absence of color allow us to establish a distance and at the same time distort reality, questioning ideas such as the true and the possible. In the images of Chema Madoz, therefore, two points of view converge, the one from the photographer himself and the one from the viewer, who faces photography from the same place from where he faced the object. In the words of Chema ... More

Jacob Lawrence, ​And a Woman Mans a Cannon ​ , Panel 12, 1955, from ​Struggle: From the History of the American People ​ , 1954–56, egg tempera on hardboard. Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross. © 2019 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Bob Packert/PEM.

SALEM, MASS.- This January, the Peabody Essex Museum, debuts Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle, the first museum exhibition to feature the celebrated series of paintings, Struggle: From the History of the American People (1954–56), by Jacob Lawrence. Painted during the civil rights era by one of the best-known black American artists of the 20th century, the series of 30 intimate panels depicts pivotal moments in early American history with an emphasis on the contributions that black people, Native Americans, and women made in shaping our nation's founding and identity. The exhibition, organized by PEM and touring nationally through 2021, tackles a question central to Lawrence’s ... More

More News
Strike suspended at Mandela's prison museum in South Africa
CAPE TOWN (AFP).- Workers at South Africa's Robben Island Museum, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for nearly two decades, decided Thursday to suspend their strike over low pay, management said. The decision comes ahead of a meeting between unions and management on January 21, the museum said in a statement. Around 200 employees walked out on January 6, demanding a nine percent pay rise, while management was offering only 6.5 percent. During the 10-day stoppage, a private firm was used to take tourists to the island by boat. "Operations will resume as normal starting from January 17," said the museum's spokeswoman, Morongoa Ramaboa. South Africa's first black president spent 27 years in jail for fighting white-minority rule before he was freed in 1990. Mandela served most of his sentence on Ro ... More

Exhibition provides an overview of Noah Davis's brief but expansive career
NEW YORK, NY.- David Zwirner is presenting work by American artist Noah Davis (1983–2015), organized by Helen Molesworth. On view at the gallery’s 525 and 533 West 19th Street locations in New York, the exhibition provides an overview of Davis’s brief but expansive career. Davis’s body of work encompasses, on the one hand, his lush, sensual, figurative paintings and, on the other, an ambitious institutional project called The Underground Museum, a black-owned-and-operated art space dedicated to the exhibition of museum-quality art in a culturally underserved African American and Latinx neighborhood in Los Angeles. The works on view highlight both parts of Davis’s oeuvre, featuring more than twenty of his most enduring paintings, as well as models of previous exhibitions curated by Davis at The Underground Museum. The exhibition also includes ... More

Exhibition of new paintings by Bay Area artist Dana Hart-Stone opens at Brian Gross Fine Art
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Brian Gross Fine Art is presenting The Life and Times of Plaid, an exhibition of new paintings by Bay Area artist Dana Hart-Stone. In this group of major new works, The Life and Times of Plaid is a 13 ft. mural comprised of 616 digitally altered vintage black and white images of everyday scenes of the American West arranged like pages of a giant photo album. In another development, Hart-Stone explores circular formats, creating round paintings that pulsate with his signature patterns derived from appropriated photographs. Through the collection, manipulation, and juxtaposition of vintage imagery, Hart-Stone explores themes of collective memory and nostalgia through abstraction and complex patterns. The exhibition will be on view through March 7, 2020. Dana Hart-Stone’s works reveal the artist’s passion for collecting ... More

Modern Art exhibits works by Paul Mpagi Sepuya as part of Condo, London
LONDON.- As part of Condo, London, Modern Art is presenting a solo exhibition of work by Paul Mpagi Sepuya, in collaboration with Team Gallery, New York. This is the first solo exhibition of Sepuya’s work in the UK. In Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s photographs, the history of the medium of photography studio portraiture forms the background for his exploration of the dynamics of intimacy. The figures populating Sepuya’s photographs are people with whom he is close: friends, lovers, or members of the queer and artistic communities of Los Angeles and New York of which he is a part. Consistently, Sepuya himself is a subject of the photographs, often present only in fragments of his body – arms, legs, hands – his works make a point of showing him as their maker, with his arms positioning the camera, or his hands releasing the shutter button. Mirrors are therefore ... More

'Swissness Applied,' an exhibition by Architecture Office, opens at Yale Architecture Gallery
NEW HAVEN, CONN.- Swissness Applied ​ is a traveling exhibition by Swiss​-born architect Nicole McIntosh, co​founder of ​Architecture Office​. The third iteration of the exhibition is on view at ​Yale Architecture Gallery​ ​in New Haven, Connecticut until February 15, 2020. The design for ​Swissness Applied was recently lauded as an honoree by Interior Design Magazine in the exhibition design category for the 2019 Best of Year Awards. The exhibition was initially presented at SARUP Gallery at the University of Wisconsin, ​Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning from April 12 - May 3, 2019, and later exhibited at Kunsthaus Glarus Güterschuppen in Switzerland from September 21 - November 10, 2019. Consisting of both documentation and original architectural ... More

Looking for something 'Out of the Ordinary'
STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET.- Ever wondered where you could buy a stegosaurus tail spike, a poster for the Middle Earth hippie club or Ron Weasley’s rat Scabbers? Ponder no more. The answer is the Out of the Ordinary sale at Sworders in Stansted Mountfitchet on February 11. This annual event, now in its third year, brings together an eclectic mix of art, antiques, design and collectables with a wow factor. The sale will again be curated by Kent-based specialist Mark Wilkinson who joined Sworders after three decades working at Bonhams and Christie’s. Living approximately 170 million years, the stegosaurus is celebrated for three things in particular - its tiny brain, the triangular shaped plates that adorned its back, and its fearsome spiked tail. Although one of the best known of all dinosaurs, fossils from the stegosaurus are rare. This 39.5cm ... More

Alice Black opens a group exhibition which explores the theme of Apollonian & Dionysian duality
LONDON.- Alice Black welcomes 2020 with ‘Twilight of the Idols’, a group exhibition which explores the theme of Apollonian & Dionysian duality through a contemporary art lens. The exhibition features a strong international line up of both emerging and established artists: Sol Bailey-Barker, Joy BonfieldColombara, George Condo, Mary Reid Kelley & Patrick Kelley, Sasha Okun, Sola Olulode, Irvin Pascal, Tristan Pigott, Adam Popli, Harriet Poznansky, Blue Republic, Frankie Roberts, Alexander Rosenberg & Chica Seal. Bringing together painting, sculpture, video, installation, ceramics, works on paper, metal work, photography and performance art. “It is by those two art sponsoring deities, Apollo and Dionysus, that we are made to recognize the tremendous split. Developed alongside one another, usually in fierce opposition, each by its taunts forcing the other to more ... More

Nohra Haime Gallery opens its first exhibition with Colombian artist Juan Cortés
NEW YORK, NY.- In The View from Nowhere, Colombian artist Juan Cortés explores the connection between art, science, and educational processes to visually translate our simple understanding of complex phenomena in the universe through sound, video and sculptural installations. This marks his first solo exhibition with Nohra Haime Gallery. The View from Nowhere references American philosopher Thomas Nagel’s idea that a united and global view of the world is impossible, that essentially, our view always starts from nowhere. Cortes uses his scientific upbringing and natural artistic abilities in this aptly named exhibition to illustrate humanity’s varying points of view on the mysterious forces of astronomical happenings in the universe. Comprised of 7 sculptural installations, or “translation machines”, he interprets vast concepts like dark matter ... More

For this choreographer, the traditional is contemporary
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE ).- Someone is weeping. You hear sobs, sniffles, the usual noises. Soon, though, the whimpering grows more elaborate, lengthening into song. The sound is beautiful and strange, yet perhaps the oddest thing about it is how a few notes sound familiar, as does the rhythm of a drum that softly joins in. Is this wailing person quoting Ravel’s “Boléro”? He is. Which is less surprising if you know the name of this production: “Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Boléro.” Still, this is no ordinary “Boléro.” Ravel’s relentless orchestral crescendo has been rearranged in the South African style called isicathamiya, the a cappella song-and-dance form popularized by groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The whole production is South African. It borrows the first part of its title, and the character of a professional mourner, from a South African ... More

New exhibition explores cultures and fosters global understanding
AMES, IA.- The Christian Petersen Art Museum’s spring exhibition, Creating Global Understanding: World Languages and Cultures and University Museums, showcases works of art from University Museums' permanent collection and explores the ability of art to transcend cultures. The exhibition is located on the main floor of the Christian Petersen Art Museum, Morrill Hall in the Lyle and Nancy Campbell Art Gallery. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed holidays and university breaks) and the exhibition will be open from January 13 through July 31, 2020. The exhibition was co-curated by Adrienne Gennett, Associate Curator, University Museums and Dr. Michele Schaal, Associate Professor of French and Women's and Gender Studies. “This exhibition aims to help students and visitors to start the process of becoming ... More

Simon Lee Gallery opens an exhibition of works by João Penalva
NEW YORK, NY.- Simon Lee Gallery opened a solo exhibition by the London-based Portuguese artist, João Penalva. For his first solo exhibition in New York since 2002, Penalva presents two new series of work based on photographs taken at the São Carlos National Theater, in Lisbon, Portugal, that explore the physical mechanics of theatrical fictions and illusions. Following a career in dance, João Penalva began his second career as an artist in 1976, working initially as a painter. Today, Penalva is known for making large-scale installations in various media, as well as more intimate works that combine painting, photography, video and found objects, image, text and sound; addressing narrative modes and the relationships between each medium. His storytelling is often fractured, presenting juxtaposed narrative elements, allowing the viewer a latitude ... More

The Curse of the Lady of Shalott | TateShots

On a day like today, American stained glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany died
January 17, 1933. Louis Comfort Tiffany (February 18, 1848 - January 17, 1933) was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. He is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau[1] and Aesthetic movements. He was affiliated with a prestigious collaborative of designers known as the Associated Artists, which included Lockwood de Forest, Candace Wheeler, and Samuel Colman. In this image: Louis C. Tiffany, Fenêtre du "Bella Apartment", c.1880. Verre, plomb. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Don de Robert Koch, 2002 ©Photo : The Metropolitan Museum.

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