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Exploring the Traditions of Antique Oriental Rugs (Part 2)

The most expensive antique Oriental rug, this Isfahan Safavid Town carpet, sold for $33.7 million at an auction in London in 2013.

By Jan David Winitz, President and founder of Claremont Rug Company

OAKLAND, CA.- In the first installment of this series on the traditions that produced antique Oriental rugs, I focused on Tribal and Village rugs and the art of their weavers to capture intimate experiences of nature and the cosmos through ancient geometric symbols. This second article provides an overview of 19th century Town and City rugs and how they incorporated “The Art of Absolute Perfection” of the Safavid Dynasty carpets that predated them with improvisational elements found in Village and Tribal pieces. What distinguishes Persian Town rugs? Remarkably, in a single carpet, they achieved a never before seen aesthetic, a highly versatile combination of formality and playfulness, curvilinear and rectilinear. They offer a distinctive ambiance created by their fanciful drawing, refined weave, and resonant color palette. Town rugs could be seen as the natural offspring of their dual inspirations: the perfect curvilinear drawing and dense weave of the earlier Safavid carpets married with ... More

The Best Photos of the Day

2,000-year-old cat etching found at Nazca Lines site in Peru   Two masterworks by Giorgio de Chirico and Man Ray to highlight Sotheby's sale   Parenting while Black: Titus Kaphar's starkly powerful works

A photo provided by Peru's Ministry of Culture-Nasca-Palpa, shows the figure of a feline on a hillside in Nazca, Peru, Oct. 9, 2020. Jhony Islas/Peru's Ministry of Culture-Nasca-Palpa via The New York Times.

by Tiffany May

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The image, stretching for 40 yards on a hillside in Peru, shows a creature with pointy ears, orb-like eyes and a long striped tail. It appears to be a cat lounging, as cats often do. Archaeologists stumbled across the faded etching while remodeling a section of a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Nazca Lines, Peru’s Ministry of Culture announced last week. The catlike geoglyph — which experts say dates to 200 B.C. to 100 B.C. — is the latest discovery among the carvings of larger-than-life animals and plants previously found between the towns of Nazca and Palpa, in a desert plain about 250 miles southeast of the capital, Lima. “The discovery shows, once again, the rich and varied cultural legacy of this site,” the ministry ... More

Giorgio de Chirico, Il Pomeriggio di Arianna (Ariadne's Afternoon), 1913. Estimate: $10/15 million. Courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s will present two exceptionally rare and ear­­ly masterpieces by Giorgio de Chirico and Man Ray as highlights of the Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on 28 October in New York. Dating from the pivotal year of 1913, Il Pomeriggio di Arianna (Ariadne's Afternoon) (estimate $10/15 million) is one of only eight canvases that compose Giorgio de Chirico’s earliest painted series, as well as the genesis of his celebrated metaphysical style – both a marked departure from the dominant school of Cubism subscribed to by his contemporaries and a revolution in the history of art which would fundamentally alter the Modernist identity. Of these eight canvases, which date between 1912 and 1913, five reside in museum collections, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with only three, including the present work, remaining private collections. Il Pomeriggio di Arianna (Ari ... More

Titus Kaphar, The distance between what we have and what we want, 2019. Oil on canvas, 108 x 84 1/4 in. 274.3 x 214 cm © Titus Kaphar. Photo: Alexander Harding. Courtesy the artist.

by Roberta Smith

NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Titus Kaphar’s paintings have always been blunt in confronting both the paucity of Black figures in traditional Western art and the tragic inequities of Black life in the United States. Kaphar accomplishes this by being a skilled realist painter adept at violating his medium in startling ways to make his points, whether by tearing or cutting his canvases, or covering parts of his images with tar or whitewash. His paintings are conceptual objects freighted with historical or present-day references that require little explanation. They verge on didactic except for the visual richness and emotional directness with which they examine their entwined subjects. With his show of 11 new paintings, Kaphar becomes the latest successful Black artist to have ... More

Rare glazed tiles to be returned to Uzbekistan following work by the British Museum and Border Force   Eddie Van Halen's two iconic guitars headline Julien's Auctions Icons & Idols: Rock 'N' Roll sale   Exhibition offers visitors the first-ever chance to get to know the Aztecs in their cultural context

The tiles came from Transoxiana, a region centred in present-day Uzbekistan.

LONDON.- The British Museum is committed to contributing to the preservation of cultural heritage in the UK and globally, partnering with law enforcement agencies to identify illicitly trafficked antiquities. Objects seized in this way are brought to the British Museum for identification and cataloguing. The Museum then liaises with colleagues in the national museums of the countries concerned to arrange the return of these objects. A recent case concerns a consignment of glazed tiles detained at Heathrow airport. On 24 January 2020 a passenger arriving on a flight from Dubai was detained on entry at the airport and found to be in possession of six large epigraphic glazed tiles. They were declared on accompanying paperwork to be replicas ‘made to look old’, intended for sale and accompanied by a receipt describing them as ‘six decrition [decoration] tiles’ purchased in Sharjah the previous day for 315 DH (the equival ... More

Eddie Van Halen designed and stage-played electric guitar.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA.- Julien’s Auctions announced today that two of Eddie Van Halen’s most iconic guitars will take the stage of Icons & Idols Trilogy: Rock ‘n’ Roll, the world-record breaking auction house to the stars’ annual music extravaganza on Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5, 2020 live at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills and online at One of rock music’s most influential guitar legends of all time headlines an all-star lineup featuring hundreds of artifacts and memorabilia owned and used by some of the world’s greatest music artists of all-time including Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Aerosmith and more. Eddie Van Halen thrilled audiences with his virtuosic and electrifying guitar playing on his stripe designed electric guitars in his high energy performances while flying through the air. At center stage of this aucti ... More

On show are over 200 artefacts and loans from Mexican and European museums. Photo: INAH-CNMyE.

VIENNA.- The Weltmuseum Wien is hosting an exhibition that showcases the legendary art and culture of the Aztecs. This comprehensive show offers visitors the first-ever chance to get to know the Aztecs in their cultural context. In the early sixteenth century, at the time of the Spanish conquest, the Aztecs who called themselves Mexica ruled large parts of Mesoamerica. A nomadic people now named after Aztlán, their mythical place of origin, they eventually settled on a number of small islands in Lake Texcoco, where around 1325 they founded the city of Tenochtilan, today’s Mexico City. In the fifteenth century the Aztecs ruled over a large and powerful empire, and in the sixteenth century they are among the best documented Mesoamerican civilizations. The exhibition begins with the periphery of the Aztec Empire (c.1430–1521) and Mexico’s natural and cultural riches, from where ... More

Hindman's Fine Books and Manuscripts single owner auction reaches an impressive $1.2 million   Christie's to hold live auction of American art   Magnum Square Print Sale brings together a selection of over 100 images by photographic artists

Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882). On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. London: W. Clowes and Sons for John Murray, 1859. Estimate: $60,000 - $80,000. Price Realized: $112,500.

CHICAGO, IL.- Hindman’s auction of The Library of Gerald and Barbara Weiner realized more than $1.2M, achieving a strong sell-through rate of 87%. Following the success of a record-setting 2019 for the Books and Manuscripts department, this auction once again exceeded expectations. “We are proud to have had the opportunity to handle this fine collection. A diverse group of books and manuscripts found very strong results in last week’s sale, a sign of the strength of the auction market in the category” said Gretchen Hause, Hindman’s Director and Senior Specialist in Fine Books and Manuscripts. The auction was led by a first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (lot 40), which sold for $112,500 against a presale estimate of $60,000-80,000. The copy contained an autographed note, ... More

Edmund C. Tarbell (1862-1938), My Wife Emeline in a Garden. Estimate: $500,000-700,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

NEW YORK, NY.- On October 28, Christie’s will present its live auction of American Art, which will include highlights across the genres of the category, from Modernist works by Milton Avery and Charles Demuth to nineteenth-century paintings by Albert Bierstadt and James Buttersworth. Among the auction highlights is a strong selection of American Impressionism by artists including Edmund Tarbell and Guy Rose, as well as 20th Century Realism by Andrew Wyeth and sculptures by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Elie Nadelman. The sale offering complements the landmark collection of Western American art in The Legend of the West: Iconic Works from the T. Boone Pickens Collection, which will also be sold at Christie’s on October 28 at noon, prior to the American Art sale at 2pm. A preview exhibition will be held at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries, and will be open by appointment only from ... More

Bob Dylan, sitting on his equipment truck. Woodstock, New York, USA. 1968 ©Elliott Landy / Magnum Photos.

NEW YORK, NY.- Works of Imagination, the October Square Print Sale in partnership with Aperture, brings together a selection of over 100 images by international photographic artists. Toward the end of a year that has seen a series of international events unparalleled in recent memory, these images bring together a collection of works from disparate storytelling and artistic practices: works of fact and fiction with the potential to inspire our social and artistic imagination. Photographers imagine the world in pictures, and document it in ways that spur and inspire freewheeling thought. Documentary photographers — whether capturing the aftermath of conflict, famous figures, religious observances, social realities, or indeed making visible the unreal — take a fraction of time and suspend it, allowing the image to be interpreted in myriad ways by viewers. Artists inspire us to imagine the future. Their commitment to shape it in a ... More

Exhibition highlights Toledo Museum of Art's significant acquisition of Flat Torus 4   Hirschl & Adler Modern presents the latest body of work by Elizabeth Turk   Extremely rare 1923 New York Yankees original team photo with Ruth and Gehrig to be auctioned

Phillip K. Smith III, Flat Torus 4. Photograph by Lance Gerber Studio.

TOLEDO, OH.- To mark the acquisition of Flat Torus 4 by California-based artist Phillip K. Smith III, a new exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art explores the theme of light from a wide range of perspectives. Luminous Visions: Phillip K. Smith III and Light Across the Collection considers Smith’s work alongside objects from TMA’s collection that span time, culture and media. Exhibition themes include the importance of light in religious or spiritual practices; studies of optics and color theory; applications of translucent and reflective materials; luminist approaches to light in American landscape painting; the absence of light; and photographic explorations of light and shadow. Smith, who was born in 1972, creates light-based installations that explore the relationships between light, color, space and form. His work Flat Torus 4 is one of a series of nine torus-shaped works in which the artist creates a digital display of colore ... More

Installation view of Elizabeth Turk, Tipping Point —Echoes of Extinction, at Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, October 1 – November 20, 2020 / Photograph © Eric W. Baumgartner.

NEW YORK, NY.- As it celebrates 20 years representing Elizabeth Turk, Hirschl & Adler Modern is presenting an exciting new project, Tipping Point– Echoes of Extinction, the latest body of work by the internationally-recognized sculptor. While furthering her exploration into the overlap of art and nature, Turk confronts a globally important issue: Extinction. Tipping Point employs sculpture, sound, and technology to ask: what role can humans play in the preservation of a species, including our own? Are we at a tipping point? Turk highlights this relevant environmental concern with her Sound Columns – elegant visualizations of the lost voices of birds and sea mammals. These twenty-seven sculptures, fabricated in wood, aluminum, 3-D printed ABS filament, and bronze, take their form directly from the calls of various animals that are, today, ... More

The 1923 New York Yankees team featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- There are only two known orginal photos of the 1923 New York Yankees team featuring Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. One of these images will be auctioned by Huggins & Scott Auctions from October 9-October 22. Interested bidders may participate in the auction online. The 1923 season was the birth of the Bronx Bombers. The House That Ruth Built was christened that year. It was the first of 27 World Series championships in franchise history. It was the season Babe Ruth nearly batted .400. In addition, it was the major-league debut of a 19-year-old Ivy League star named Henry Louis Gehrig. On April 18, 1923, while the Bambino was inaugurating Yankee Stadium with an Opening Day homer, Gehrig took the mound for Columbia University, striking out 17 opposing batters. The Iron Horse’s moon-shot home runs caught the eye of Yankee scouts who signed him to a contract on April 30. ... More

Poor art is for poor people. Arshile Gorky

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New Book from Schiffer Publishing - Palm Springs: Modern Dogs at Home
NEW YORK, NY.- In good times and bad, our best friends are there for support, therapy, and unconditional love. Especially now -- where would we be without our dogs? Although the so-called modernists of Palm Springs embrace the serenity of life in post-WWII America, the sometimes harsh realities of contemporary life are impossible to ignore. These mid-twentieth-century reenactors are often transplants, enjoying the Palm Springs lifestyle with their dogs and friends as their chosen family. The beautiful climate, wide-open spaces, and clean décor make the perfect home for their desert pets which are as lovingly groomed and cared for as their surroundings. For the many years that Palm Springs has been Nancy Baron's second home she has been artfully documenting with her camera the endlessly intriguing lifestyle of its residents whose stunning homes ... More

Dennis Oppenheim's public sculpture damaged by typhoon reinstalled on Dalmaji Hill
BUSAN.- The Dennis Oppenheim Estate announces the unveiling ceremony for “Chamber” (Inside a Flower) at Dalmaji Park in the District of Haeundae in Busan on October 14, 2020. Originally sited at Busan’s Haeundae Beach in 2011, “Chamber” was removed following damage by Typhoon Chaba in 2016. Amy V. Oppenheim, head of his estate, then notified district officials of their obligation to protect all artwork and later closely followed the two-year restoration to insure the work’s integrity and quality. The new location, supported by the residents of Dalmaji Hill, is a bluff cliff. The word dalmaji comes from the annual ritual dal (translated moon) maji (translated rising) which take places in Dalmaji Park. Moon-watching and other traditional activities take place in Dalmaji Park. Many local dignitaries, including the Head of the Haeundae District Office, the Chairman of the Busan Fine Arts ... More

"Michael Rakowitz: Nimrud" opens today at the Wellin Museum of Art
CLINTON, NY.- Michael Rakowitz: Nimrud is on view from October 19, 2020 through June 13, 2021, featuring all new work, including a major commission created for the exhibition. The exhibition is curated by Katherine Alcauskas, Chief Curator at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and former Collections Curator and Exhibitions Manager at the Wellin Museum. Using Arab-language newspapers and wrappers from food products imported from the Middle East, Rakowitz, an Iraqi-American visual artist (b. New York, 1973) is recreating Room H from the Northwest Palace of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud (Kalhu), constructed by Ashurnasirpal II between 883 and 859 BCE and first excavated by British archaeologist Austen Henry Layard between 1845 and 1851. Says Tracy L. Adler, Johnson-Pote ... More

A 16th century masterpiece and 20th century rarities help make Heritage Auctions' event one for the books
DALLAS, TX.- Heritage Auctions’ Rare Books event, held Oct. 15-16, was an absolute success thanks to one of the most spectacular works of the 16th century and some of the most significant authors of the 20th century. And a few mystery guests even made some noteworthy appearances during the sale. Over the course of four thrilling sessions spread over two days, almost 1,300 bidders spent $2,287,797 on highly coveted tomes, many of which came from the celebrated assemblage of mystery book publisher, dealer and collector Otto Penzler. Even more books from Penzler’s shelves will be made available during three online sessions to be held Dec. 5-7 – many, from authors seldom seen at auction. “What we saw during this sale was inspiring,” said James Gannon, Heritage Auctions' Director of Rare Books. “We weren’t necessarily ... More

Extraordinary American Gilded Age masterpieces highlight Heritage Silver & Vertu auction
DALLAS, TX.- A 127-year-old silver mermaid-form yachting trophy headlines Heritage Auctions’ Silver & Vertu Auction of American Presentation and Trophy Silver from the Collection of J.D. Parks Nov. 17. J.D. Parks was introduced to collecting by his father, and his interest grew into a passion that yielded 102 of the 337 lots in this auction. “Parks’ collection is captivating, each trophy and presentation piece telling a unique story, helping to unfold the rich history of late 19th century America,” Heritage Auctions Silver & Decorative Art Director Karen Rigdon said. “The Gilded Age provided the frame work for American silversmiths to excel. Their clientele was immensely wealthy, technological developments birthed creative expression, silver was plentiful and increasingly inexpensive, and among many other factors, nostalgia played a part ... More

Outstanding results for Bonhams Australia's first live saleroom auction
SYDNEY.- Bonhams Australia presented the first live saleroom auction for 2020 on Sunday 11 October 2020 with much excitement both in the room and continued active telephone and online bidding. Celebrating the life and work of the Late Tony White, the auction offered for sale 220 unique pieces of exquisite bespoke jewellery, furniture, and key works from his extraordinary contemporary art collection including works by Brett Whiteley, Charles Blackman, Joel Elenberg, Robert Klippel, and Alison Rehfisch. The Auction realised $1.4million with a clearance of 96% by lot and 150% by value - double the pre-sale estimate. Bonhams Australia Director, Merryn Schriever commented: ‘It felt fantastic to welcome people back into the saleroom alongside our online platforms, and with over ten active phone lines bidding was at times frenzied ... More

Tower of London ravens re-adapt to life after lockdown
LONDON (AFP).- Chris Skaife has one of the most important jobs in Britain. As Yeoman Warder Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, he is responsible for the country's most famous birds. According to legend firmly rooted in Britain's collective imagination, if all the ravens were to leave the Tower, the kingdom would collapse and the country be plunged into chaos. Coronavirus lockdown restrictions saw tourist attractions across the country close their doors, including the imposing 1,000-year-old royal fortress on the banks of the River Thames. That left Skaife with an unprecedented challenge of how to entertain the celebrated avian residents, who suddenly found themselves with no one to play with -- or rob food from. It also raised fears the birds -- known as the guardians of the Tower -- would fly away to try to find tasty morsels elsewhere, and worse ... More

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures appoints new Chief Artistic and Programming Officer
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures today announced that scholar, programmer, and educator Jacqueline Stewart has been named Chief Artistic and Programming Officer. In this new executive position, Stewart will lead strategy and planning for the Academy Museum’s curatorial, educational, and public programming initiatives, including exhibitions, screenings, symposia, publications, workshops, and K-12 programs. Stewart will join the museum in January 2021 and will report to the Director and President of the Academy Museum, Bill Kramer. Bill Kramer said, “Jacqueline Stewart is a powerful leader in the film world. Her inspiring history of scholarship, teaching, programming, building community partnerships, and archival work combined with her dedication to inclusivity and accessibility make her an ideal leader for the museum. With her remarkable ... More

How to Tread Lightly. st_age expanded, an exhibition at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
MADRID.- How to Tread Lightly. st_age expanded, an exhibition reframes the challenges raised by the Covid-19 crisis in terms of supporting artistic practice. It not only asks how commissioning can be developed in a more caring and meaningful manner, but demonstrates how it can adapt to emerging scenarios. The exhibition, curated by Soledad Gutiérrez, is a physical-world extension of the artists’ projects currently being presented during Season 1 of st_age, an online commissions initiative launched in September 2020 by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) to mitigate against cultural loss in the current climate. It is the first project of its kind that embraces the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDG program while raising awareness of the most relevant and pressing issues of our times, through the lens of art. It is an invitation to artists, ... More

Clark Middleton, busy actor and advocate, is dead at 63
NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Clark Middleton, a versatile film and television actor who delivered striking performances in supporting roles and whose struggles with rheumatoid arthritis as a child gave him a cause to champion and grist for an autobiographical one-man off-Broadway play, died Oct. 4 in Los Angeles. He was 63. His wife, Elissa Middleton, said the cause of death was West Nile virus. She said he may have been bitten by an infected mosquito in their backyard. Middleton, who was 5-4 and had little movement in his neck, seldom played leading roles, but he was a scene stealer. He was often cast as peculiar, feisty and eccentric characters. In Bong Joon Ho’s postapocalyptic thriller, “Snowpiercer” (2013), he played the painter who quietly chronicles horrors that unfold on a rushing train. In Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill: Volume ... More

Art installation travelling across Europe to debut in the UK
BELFAST.- Northern Ireland will join a number of European countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Greece to host The Disappearing Wall , an interactive art installation that celebrates Europe’s diversity of languages and ideas. Belfast is the only city within the UK to host the installation which is based on an idea proposed by Maria Jablonina in a workshop carried out by the architect and engineer Werner Sobek and initiated by the Goethe-Institut. The Disappearing Wall will be on display at the famous Titanic Slipways in front of the iconic museum, Titanic Belfast, from October 21 to November 11 and comes after an earlier postponement due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Wall consists of a plexiglas frame which will host 6,000 wooden blocks showing original and translated quotes collected by the Goethe-Institut earlier this year via ... More

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On a day like today, Dutch painter Aelbert Cuyp was born
October 20, 1620. Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp (October 20, 1620 - November 15, 1691) was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp (1594-1651/52), he is especially known for his large views of the Dutch countryside in early morning or late afternoon light. In this image: The Negro Page circa 1652, oil on canvas; Royal Collection.

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