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Degas and his dancers: New show at Musee d'Orsay demolishes myth

Victoire Anquetil, a dancer of the Paris Opera Ballet performs during the dancing show "Degas Danse" on the sidelines of the exhibition "Degas at the Opera" at the Orsay museum in Paris on October 9, 2019. Martin BUREAU / AFP.

by Rana Moussaoui / Fiachra Gibbons

PARIS (AFP).- It has always been assumed that Edgar Degas worked in the wings and rehearsal rooms of the Paris Opera to produce his staggering pictures of its dancers. But, like the ballets themselves, it turns out that his behind-the-scenes masterpieces were a brilliant illusion. "All his scenes of the Opera are phantasmagoric," said Henri Loyrette, former head of the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay in Paris. A huge new show at the Orsay put together by the French art historian reveals that Degas hardly ever sketched in the theatre, never mind backstage. While "the painter of dancers" haunted the opera and its ballet for nearly 40 years, drinking in all the glamour and the grime, the socially awkward introvert remained mostly in the shadows. It was from there that he observed dancers and their predatory "patrons" as well as the mothers who often pimped their daughter ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

Artcurial to offer a Tahitian masterpiece by Paul Gauguin   David Zwirner expands his reach to Paris   Oxford professor is accused of selling ancient texts to Hobby Lobby

Paul Gauguin, Te Bourao II (detail). Oil on canvas. Signed, dated and titled on the lower right "97 TE BOURAO P.Gauguin", 73 X 92 cm. Estimate: 5-7 M €.

PARIS.- From 3 to 31 October 2019, Artcurial is offering a preview of a Tahitian masterpiece by Paul Gauguin: Te Bourao II. Set to be auctioned by Artcurial for the very first time on 3 December 2019, during its Impressionist & Modern Art sales, it is estimated at €5-7M. Painted in Tahiti in 1897, this oil on canvas is a legacy piece that encapsulates the artist’s Tahitian themes and obsessions from a period when he was plagued by multiple torments. Te Bourao II comes from a major cycle of nine paintings that Paul Gauguin produced in Tahiti and sent back to Paris in 1898, for a solo exhibition at the Ambroise Vollard gallery. Amongst these masterpieces was his iconic piece Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?. Te Bourao II is the only work in this set that is still privately owned; the eight others hang in the world’s most prestigious institutions: the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Hermitage Museum i ... More

David Zwirner at his gallery on West 19th Street in New York, in front of works by Raymond Pettibon, Sept. 26, 2019. Now representing more than 60 artists and estates, David Zwirner Gallery has grown significantly since its 1993 debut in New York City, where Zwirner, who attended NYU, has been based ever since. James Estrin/The New York Times.

PARIS (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- A good art dealer finds a way to combine earnestness with polished savvy, and the success of German-born gallerist David Zwirner demonstrates the potency of such a mixture. Now representing more than 60 artists and estates, David Zwirner Gallery has grown significantly since its 1993 debut in New York City, where Zwirner, who attended NYU, has been based ever since. This month, timed to the yearly FIAC art fair, he opens his first Paris gallery, in a historic Marais district space. Zwirner has three galleries in New York — a fourth, in Chelsea and designed by architect Renzo Piano, is slated to open in two years — and one each in London and Hong Kong. But Zwirner, 54, is ambivalent about ... More

A Hobby Lobby store in Laurel, Md., March 22, 2014. An investigation found that Bible fragments in a museum started by the owners of the arts-and-crafts chain had been illegally taken from Oxford University. Drew Angerer/The New York Times.

LONDON (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- A trans-Atlantic investigation conducted by a Washington museum and a London-based archaeological group has accused a prominent Oxford University professor of stealing and selling fragments of ancient texts to Hobby Lobby, the arts-and-crafts chain. The fragments come from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, a prized collection of more than half a million pieces of papyrus and parchment dating from the third century B.C. to the seventh century A.D. discovered in Egypt by two archaeologists in the late 19th century. The collection is held at Oxford University and overseen by the Egypt Exploration Society of London. Thirteen fragments from the collection were found in the Museum of the Bible, a Washington institution founded by Hobby Lobby’s evangelical Christian owners, the Green family. ... More

Harold Bloom, critic who championed western canon, dies at 89   A fair with a French accent, inside and out   Swiss exhibit catalogues draw of war, desire for peace

Harold Bloom in New York on March 12, 2011. Bloom, the prodigious literary critic who championed and defended the Western canon in an outpouring of influential books, died on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, at a hospital in New Haven, Conn. He was 89. Mark Mahaney/The New York Times.

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Harold Bloom, the prodigious literary critic who championed and defended the Western canon in an outpouring of influential books that appeared not only on college syllabuses but also — unusual for an academic — on bestseller lists, died Monday at a hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. He was 89. His death was confirmed by his wife, Jeanne Bloom, who said he taught his last class at Yale University on Thursday. Bloom was frequently called the most notorious literary critic in America. From a vaunted perch at Yale, he flew in the face of almost every trend in the literary criticism of his day. Chiefly he argued for the literary superiority of the Western giants like Shakespeare, Chaucer and Kafka — all of them white and male, his own critics pointed out — over writers favored by what he called “the School of Resentment,” by which he meant multiculturalists, feminists, Marxists, ... More

In an image provided by Marc Domage, the 45th edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair, or FIAC, in Paris in October 2018. At FIAC, galleries set up shop in the Grand Palais, and Paris reasserts its importance as an art capital. Marc Domage via The New York Times.

PARIS (AFP).- The physical environments of art fairs tend to be utilitarian convention halls, although there are some — like the Frieze fairs in London, New York and Los Angeles, with their light-filled, architect-designed tents — that try to boost the appeal of the surroundings. The Grand Palais in Paris, however, is a building of a different order. Built for the Exposition Universelle in 1900, the structure has a glass roof and the largest nave in Europe, which have helped to make it an architectural and civic icon. It epitomizes beaux-arts style. It’s one of the premier selling points — other than Paris itself in the fall, that is — for the International Contemporary Art Fair, or FIAC, taking place there Thursday through Sunday for its 46th edition. “We’re the largest user of the Grand Palais,” said Jennifer Flay, the fair’s director. “We’ve annexed every nook and cranny we could. “I’d love to have more galleries, and that will be t ... More

An autographed original edition of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" book is displayed at Martin Bodmer Foundation during the "War and Peace" exhibition on October 11, 2019 in Cologny near Geneva. Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and a 5,000-year-old peace treaty -- the world's oldest -- represent opposite poles in the eternal human struggle between the propulsion to war and the desire for peace. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP.

COLOGNY (AFP).- Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and a 4,500-year-old peace treaty -- the world's oldest -- represent opposite poles in the eternal human struggle between the propulsion to war and the desire for peace. They are among 135 priceless manuscripts, books, documents and other items on display at a new exhibit near Geneva, housed in the sprawling basement of the Martin Bodmer Foundation. The dimly lit show features several pages of Leo Tolstoy's original manuscript for "War and Peace", permitted to leave Russia for the first time since he wrote the book in the 1860s. Each of the yellowed pages, filled with Tolstoy's tight, elegant Cyrillic cursive, with crossed-out words and margin notes, has been insured for $800,000 (725,000 euros). Curator Pierre Hazan told AFP he was thrilled that "this treasure, which belongs to Russia ... More

Giuseppe Penone exhibits his monumental work Matrice di Linfa in Paris   African American art quilts find a museum home in California   Christie's to offer five nudes by Sanyu, leading the masterpiece market this season

Giuseppe Penone, Matrice di linfa, Palais d’Iéna, Octobre 2019. Rebecca Fanuele © Palais d’Iéna, architecte Auguste Perret, UFSE, SAIF /Courtesy Archivio Penone et Marian Goodman Gallery, New York, Paris, London.

PARIS.- During FIAC this year, the Palais d’Iéna – the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council has invited Giuseppe Penone to exhibit his work in its great hypostyle hall. For his first exhibition in Paris since 2013, organized in collaboration with Marian Goodman Gallery, the artist is presenting his monumental work Matrice di Linfa accompanied by two new sculptures created especially for the exhibition. In the making of Matrice di Linfa Penone intervened in the history of a fir tree by removing eighty rings of its growth. This work is emblematic of the CESE’s commitment to the environment and celebrates the 80th anniversary of Auguste Perret's architectural masterpiece. Giuseppe Penone considers Matrice di Linfa as a shape with an animal force, it also evokes an open book, a “long sacrificial altar” or “a long and thin boat sailing back and forth in the space, pushed ... More

Lee Wanda Jones: Road to Nowhere, 1988; quilted by Willia Ette Graham and Johnnie Wade, 1988. Robe velour; 63 in. x 81 in. Photo: Sharon Risedorph.

BERKELEY, CA (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Almost 3,000 quilts by African American artists — including more than 500 by Rosie Lee Tompkins, a quilt maker whose formally inventive work has helped elevate the standing of the discipline in the art world — are heading to the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive as a bequest by Eli Leon. Leon, who died last year, was a voracious collector and champion of African American quilting. “It’s hard to overestimate the importance and power of this gift,” Lawrence Rinder, the museum’s director and chief curator, said. “The scale of it and the depth of it is mind-blowing.” The bequest, which includes the pieces by Tompkins and works by more than 400 artists from across the country, will account for about 15% of the art collection at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, which is affiliated with the University of California. Leon’s collection will help introduce the public to African American quilt makers ... More

Sanyu, Five Nudes (detail), signed ‘Sanyu’ and signed in Chinese, oil on masonite, 120 x 172 cm. Painted in 1950s. © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.

HONG KONG.- Joining the strong line-up of masterpieces this season by Zao Wou-Ki, Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita and Kim Whanki, Christie’s will present for auction one of the most important works of 20th century art by Chinese-French artist Sanyu. The offering of this groundbreaking masterwork, Five Nudes, will mark a defining moment for the auction market, and will be presented as the leading highlight of the 20th Century and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. Five Nudes is the largest painting featuring female nudes that Sanyu ever created, and features the greatest number of figures within a single composition; no other piece by Sanyu depicts as many human subjects. The depiction of standing figures within Sanyu’s oeuvre is also exceedingly rare. According to the artist’s catalogue raisonne, there are 56 known oil paintings by Sanyu that feature the female nude, and of these, only seven depict standing figures; aside from Five Nude ... More

Freeman's to offer rare historical portrait of southern general at auction   Threewalls receives $1.2 million, three year award from Surdna Foundation to expand program supporting ALAANA artists   Nicolas de Stael painting sold for record 20 million euros

An important Portrait of Major General Thomas Pinckney (1750-1828) of Charleston, South Carolina, circa 1820, by the artist/ inventor Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1828) (Lot 99; $60,000-100,000).

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freeman’s November 12 auction of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts will feature, by direct descent in the Pinckney family, an important Portrait of Major General Thomas Pinckney (1750-1828) of Charleston, South Carolina, circa 1820, by the artist/ inventor Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1828) (Lot 99; $60,000-100,000). A lawyer, planter, military leader and politician, Pinckney served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. He was a Governor of South Carolina, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and served as Minister to Britain, and special envoy to Spain-negotiating the important Treaty of San Lorenzo. Pinckney is shown in uniform wearing the insignia of the Society of the Cincinnati of which he was a founding member and 4th President General. Also coming to auction by direct ... More

Jeffreen Hayes. Image by Milo Bosh.

CHICAGO, IL.- Threewalls announced that the organization has received a $1.2 million award from Surdna Foundation, enabling the non-profit organization to dedicate $300,000 per year for three years to further develop its already expansive programs helping to fund and develop projects from ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, Native American) identifying artists based in Chicago. Threewalls’ social justice fellowship, RaD Lab+Outside the Walls, will expand to support 12 artists per year with grants of $25,000, focusing on community-oriented research and public projects that reimagine racial justice and equity. The program was founded in 2017 to address the disproportionally inadequate funding and artistic support ALAANA artists typically receive. The multi-year nature of the grant opens up an expansive realm of possibilities for Threewalls to invest in artists and creatives who use radical imagination to practice a racially just society. Th ... More

Nicolas de Staël, Parc des Princes (Les grands footballeurs) detail. Oil on canvas, 200 x 350 cm. Painted in Paris in 1952. Estimate: €18-25 millions © Christie’s Images Ltd, 2019.

PARIS (AFP).- A monumental painting by Nicolas de Stael was sold for 20 million euros at Christie's auction on Thursday, in what could be the most paid for a painting of a football match. It was certainly the highest price obtained for a painting by the French artist of Russian origin who died in 1955 at the age of 41. "Parc des Princes", painted in 1952, was estimated to be worth between 18 and 25 million euros ($20 and $27 million) and was on the market for the first time. The piece was owned by the artist's family and was exhibited only a handful of times. Between 1953 to 2003 it was displayed in New York, various galleries in Paris, such as the Pompidou Centre, as well as in London and Madrid. The painting, which features a rich array of colours from teal to bright white, depicts an international friendly match between Sweden and ... More

More News
Exhibition questions whether we should be designing for Mars at all
LONDON.- The Design Museum invites visitors to discover the role that design will play in humanity’s journey to the Red Planet in the exhibition ‘Moving to Mars’, which opens this October. Every detail of this extraordinary venture must be designed – from the journey (around seven months), to considering what we will wear, eat and shelter in when we get there and beyond. Conditions on Mars are deeply hostile to humans, and yet we appear to be determined to go. From the first photographic fly-by of Mars by Mariner 4 in 1965 to today’s enterprises, such as NASA and ESA’s Orion project and the private SpaceX venture, getting humans to Mars has become one of the greatest challenges of our time, especially in terms of design. Mars is the most striking planet in the night sky and it has captivated our attention since antiquity. The exhibition begins with ‘Imagining ... More

Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize 2019 winner announced
SYDNEY.- The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, presented by Woollahra Council, announced Sydney based artist Merran Esson and her work Autumn On The Monaro as the winner of the 19th annual acquisitive $20,000 Prize. Sydney artist Benjamin Jay Shand was awarded the Special Commendation award valued at $2,000 and artists Kieta Jackson, from Norwich, England, and Jessica Leitmanis, from Torquay, received a special mention. The 2019 Mayor’s Award valued at $1,000 has been awarded to Adelaide artist Jane Price. The winners were chosen from a finalist group of 43 emerging and established artists by three guest judges: Dean of the Faculty of Art & Design and UNSW Chair of Arts and Culture, Professor Ross Harley; Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Opera House, Louise Herron AM, and Design and Architecture advocate, broadcaster, author ... More

Freeman's Fine Jewelry Auction to include the collection of Stephanie 'Sandy' Eglin
PHILADELPHIA, PA.- Freeman’s November 5 auction of Fine Jewelry will showcase a beautiful variety of brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings and more, many by renowned designers including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Tiffany & Co., among many others. As part of this auction, Freeman’s presents the collection of Stephanie “Sandy” Eglin, a Philadelphia business woman and philanthropist whose passion for fashion and jewelry helped her to amass a widely varied and beautiful assortment of pieces. Mrs. Eglin’s taste was refined and discerning, and her jewelry is both relevant to the time in which it was purchased, and simultaneously timeless. Noteworthy pieces from the collection are several bracelets, including an 18k gold, emerald, ruby, and diamond semi-flexible bangle bracelet, with a total diamond weight of 7.00 carats (Lot 164; $4,000-6,000) ... More

World Museum displays the first ever exhibition of Taki Katei's work outside Japan
LIVERPOOL.- Once a celebrated artist in Tokyo, Taki Katei (1830–1901) had the honour of his paintings being displayed in the imperial court, and his impressive works travelled to international expositions. After his death, one of his pupils, Ishibashi Kazunori (1876–1928), took charge of a large group of sketches and brought them to Britain when he came here to study in 1907. Drawing on Nature shows a selection from Katei’s collection of drawings that he used for teaching, for preparing some of his major commissions, and as aides-mémoire. Born in Edo (today’s Tokyo) in 1830, Katei was one of the most successful artists of his generation and a master of the genre of bird-and-flower painting. In 1893, in recognition of his service to the imperial court, Katei was awarded the title “Imperial Household Artist.” He produced a large body of work ... More

Planning permission achieved for major transformation of the V&A Museum of Childhood
LONDON.- Planning permission and Listed Building Consent has been achieved for the base-build scheme of a major redevelopment of the much-loved V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. This is a significant milestone in its plans to become the world’s most joyful museum of design and creativity for children, families and young people. Work will begin in late 2020. First unveiled in October 2018, the proposals from award-winning architecture practice De Matos Ryan have been refined and further developed through over 30 co-design sessions with local schoolchildren, teachers, community groups and families. Now commencing RIBA Stage 4, the base-build designs include: • A reimagination of the museum’s outdoor landscape, to create a more welcoming arrival for visitors and a space for relaxation and play within the beautiful surroundings ... More

Paintings by Jason Brooks on display for the first time at the Van Gogh Museum
AMSTERDAM.- Since 2014, the Van Gogh Museum has invited modern and contemporary artists to present work at the museum as part of the Van Gogh Inspires series. The latest exhibitor is the English artist Jason Brooks (1968), who shot to international fame in the 1990s as a member of the Young British Artists (YBAs) group. Brooks produced two new paintings especially for the occasion: I am and The Poet’s Death, which he created after studying Van Gogh’s work. Van Gogh was also a source of inspiration for the third work on display, To John Clare, particularly his way of looking and painting. Adriaan Dönszelmann, Managing Director and acting Director of the Van Gogh Museum: ‘It is wonderful to see how Vincent van Gogh is still so inspirational. And to have the opportunity to exhibit two new artworks by a prominent artist such as ... More

In the Company of Artists: 25 Years of Artists-in-Residence opens at Gardner Museum
BOSTON, MASS.- The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opened In the Company of Artists: 25 Years of Artists-in-Residence, an exhibition celebrating the Museum’s legacy of inviting artists to live at the Museum, explore the collection, and create new works inspired by their experience. The exhibition features work from dynamic Artists-in-Residence including Sophie Calle, Bharti Kher, Luisa Lambri, Laura Owens, Rachel Perry, Dayanita Singh, and Su-Mei Tse. In selecting the seven women artists for the exhibition, the Museum recognizes and furthers the legacy of its founder—a woman with a bold creative spirit, who championed the artists of her own time. . In the Company of Artists is on view in the Museum’s Hostetter Gallery from Oct. 17, 2019 to Jan. 20, 2020. “In the Company of Artists reminds us that Isabella’s tradition of inviting artists to experience ... More

First ever exhibition of contemporary Mongol Zurag in New York on view at Sapar Contemporary
NEW YORK, NY.- Sapar Contemporary is presenting the first exhibition dedicated to Mongol Zurag art in New York City featuring two of the most prominent representatives of this style, D. Uurintuya and Ch. Baasanjav. Mongolian traditional style of painting rooted in a Buddhist pictorial tradition is known as Mongol Zurag (literally: Mongolian picture).[1]This tradition was instrumental in maintaining the cultural identity for Mongolian artists during the period of socialism in the twentieth-century. It was largely suppressed prior to 1990, when Mongolia opened its doors to the world after seven decades of socialist regime as Asia’s new democratic, multi-party country. Mongol Zurag subsequently was further developed in this century being boosted by contemporary changes of Mongolia’s economy and politics. Mongolia, a landlocked country sandwiched ... More

Massimo De Carlo opens a new exhibition by McArthur Binion
LONDON.- Massimo De Carlo presents White:Work, a new exhibition by McArthur Binion in their London gallery. Throughout his fifty-year practice of assemblage painting, Binion has continually defied classification as an artist. Terms such as abstraction and minimalism have often been applied to his paintings, however Binion’s oeuvre resists such rigid categorisations. Through the artist’s extensive career, Binion has developed a complex practice, incorporating interwoven personal memories with historical recollection bound by his experience of America in the past, by layering paint and personal memorabilia onto the surface of the work. The artist presents a new series of work, predominantly whitewashed (in the most literal sense), using gestures from the artist’s canon. White:Work is a departure in tonal quality of the solemn hues that dictated the prior DNA ... More

Israel's 'daring' theatre fest turns 40
ACRE (AFP).- Oded Kotler made his way discreetly through the crowd taking in the acrobats and clowns performing at a festival in Acre, an ancient city along the Mediterranean in northern Israel. Casually on a warm autumn evening, the 82-year-old moved anonymously through the festival-goers. But it is Kotler who, together with others, founded the artistic gathering 40 years ago. In the decades since, the Akko Festival for fringe theatre has become an institution for alternative and street performances in Israel, and this year's edition was expected to welcome some 120,000 visitors before closing on Thursday. "I was tired of institutional theatre," Kotler told AFP. "I wanted to do something more experimental to inspire the younger generation with a new creative impetus." Acre is in many ways an appropriate location. ... More

Earth and fire: India pottery village lights up for Diwali
NEW DELHI (AFP).- The narrow lanes of Kumhar Gram are buzzing with activity ahead of Diwali as generations of potters race to create clay decorations for customers across the country -- and beyond. Known as the "Potter's Village", the settlement is home to around 500 families from India's traditional pottery community, who moved to the area half a century ago. Their skills and artistry have made Kumhar Gram one of the most popular spots for earthenware in the nation but in the run up to Diwali -- October and November depending on when it falls -- the place transforms. The streets throng with shoppers buying every type of clay decor from pots and lamps to flower vases and statues of Hindu gods and goddesses. Diwali, known as the "festival of lights", is a Sanskrit word meaning rows of lighted lamps. The "diya" oil lamps have traditionally been made out of clay ... More

Henry H. Arnhold and the Miracle of Meissen Porcelain

On a day like today, Flemish painter Jacob Jordaens died
October 18, 1678. Jacob Jordaens (19 May 1593 - 18 October 1678) was one of three Flemish Baroque painters, along with Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, to bring prestige to the Antwerp school of painting. Unlike those contemporaries he never traveled abroad to study Italian painting, and his career is marked by an indifference to their intellectual and courtly aspirations. In fact, except for a few short trips to locations in the Low Countries, he remained in Antwerp his entire life. As well as being a successful painter, he was a prominent designer of tapestries. Like Rubens, Jordaens painted altarpieces, mythological, and allegorical scenes, and after 1640 -- the year Rubens died -- he was the most important painter in Antwerp for large-scale commissions and the status of his patrons increased in general.

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