Art & Antiques October 2020

The Art of Excellence. Art & Antiques is tailored to readers who are actively involved in the international art market. Our editorial policy places special emphasis on the interests of the serious art aficionado—a collector whose passion is acquiring and living with art, antiques and high-end collectibles.

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10 Números

en este número

2 min.
the critic and the artist

THE RELATIONSHIP between art-making and art writing has always been a fraught one, perhaps especially in the late 19th and 20th centuries. With the rise of modernism and the avant-garde, art writing vastly increased in volume, if for no other reason than that there was so much to explain. The new art was puzzling to many viewers, as well as to older critics and even artists, so both its visual language and its intentions needed instruction manuals, so to speak, not to mention vociferous defense against the legions of detractors. One of the first and most formidable of the this generation of critics was Félix Fénéon, who combined the roles of explicator and advocate with great success. Fénéon’s importance to the rise of modern art is being explicated, defended, and celebrated…

2 min.
seat of power

The magnificent Imperial carved zitan “dragon” throne seen here once belonged to Aixinjueluo Pujun, the last heir-presumptive of the Qing Dynasty. The piece, which has passed through the descendants of the Chinese imperial family, will find its way to Christie’s New York on October 14 for the auction house’s Exceptional Sale. Pujun’s great-grandfather was the Emperor Duoguang, and his grandfather was Prince Dun (also known as Yicong). His father was Prince Duan (also known as Zaiyi), an ultra-conservative politician who upheld the anti-foreigner sentiments brewing in China at the time. He opposed the Hundred Days’ Reform movement of 1889 undertaken by the Guangxu Emperor and supported the conservative Dowager Empress Cixi. When the reform was crushed and the Empress had the Guangxu Emperor imprisoned in his palace, Pujun was chosen as…

2 min.
pearl of the indies

The Indo-Portuguese mother-of-pearl casket seen here was made in Gujarat in the 16th century. The Portuguese historian Gaspar Correa was the first to mention the Indian state as a center for mother-of-pearl craftsmanship in his book Lendas da India (later published by the Hakluyt Society as Three Voyages of Vasco Da Gama, And HIs Viceroyalty in 1869). He wrote of a gift given to Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer who led the first European expedition to sail directly to India, by the King of Melinde, on the East Coast of Africa. It was “bedstead of Cambay, wrought with gold and mother of pearl, a very beautiful thing.” Under Portuguese colonization, India craftsmen made copies of European furnishings, while also creating works that acknowledged their long, exquisite decorative tradition (a practice that…

20 min.
in perspective

Group Chat In 1955, Philadelphia’s avant-garde was alive with possibilities. That year a group of 30 Philadelphia painters, architects, musicians, and dancers organized a series of exhibitions and public forums within the city’s relatively staid art world. The idea was to open a robust dialogue about the role of art and science in the postwar era and to engender understanding of modernism across the arts. Group ’55, as it came to be known, was a cadre of Philly’s most significant creators, many of whom were working in abstract styles (the Philadelphia Abstract Artists, another group, evolved from this original organization). Among them were artists Quita Brodhead, Sam Fried, Michael Ciliberti, Sanford Greenberg, and Raymond Hendler, architect Louis Kahn, and composers George Rochberg and Vincent Persichetti. Together, these voices shaped the culture…

7 min.
back to the land

THE SEARCH FOR the sublime in nature, pursued by the Romantics in Northern Europe and the Hudson River School in this country, goes on in the work of Eric Aho. Aho, a 54-year-old New Englander, isn’t a landscape painter in the literal sense of the word. He doesn’t document specific places, and he doesn’t paint en plein air. Much, though not all, of his work is abstract. But whether abstract or figurative, Aho’s painting is deeply rooted in his experience of nature and conveys nature’s power to affect human beings. And paradoxically, while embarked on the centuries-old pursuit of the sublime, he delights in the sheer physicality of paint, just as earthy as the landscape it represents. What is the sublime, according to Aho? Not quite a religious experience, as it…

6 min.
northern art in the south

UNCANNY IMAGES of the apocalypse, the gates of hell, witches and magi will surely resonate with visitors to the Gibbes Museum in Charleston, S.C., this month—possibly because Halloween is coming up, possibly because we live in chaotic times that are just about as obsessed with the end of the world as 15th-century Europe was. Troubled times produced troubling artworks, but they were also visually stunning and intellectually rich, speaking a symbolic language deeply rooted in religion and mythology. “Charleston Collects: Devotion and Fantasy, Witchcraft and the World’s End” (October 9 through June 27, 2021) presents around 27 works (about one-third paintings and two-thirds prints) by artists of the Northern Renaissance, from the Low Countries and Germany, spanning roughly 1440–1590. The exhibition, which is entirely loaned from the collection of a Charleston-based…