art history

Exotic Taste

It is almost impossible to have an interest in interiors and the decorative arts and not be fascinated by Chinoiserie and the exoticism of the “mysterious East.” From Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt to the British occupation in India, this region has for centuries held an unrivaled appeal for creative types.…
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Arcimboldo Redux – Klaus Enrique Gerdes Photography

Four years ago when photographer Klaus Enrique Gerdes was working on a series depicting different parts of human anatomy, he was shooting an eye surrounded by thousands of dried leaves. As he observed the scene, he noticed one of the leaves looked like it could be a nose belonging to the eye.…
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Mechanical Wonders – the History

Several weeks ago I attended a marvelous event that represented the epitome of creative collaboration. Beginning with a shared passion of two collectors, a connection was made spanning decades and generations. Add to the mix a rare master craftsman and an extraordinary exhibit of breathtaking beauty and mind-boggling technical skill became possible.…
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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Couple

Photo: Lee Clower for The New York Times I had an entirely different post planned for today, but after reading this article in the New York Times yesterday, I knew I had to chime in. If  you didn’t see the piece, it is about artists Rachel Feinstein and John Currin, “the most potent marital pairing since Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner.” The article struck a chord with me because I have long also had mixed feelings about the couple myself.…
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Singerie Chic

There is something about monkeys that people find irresistible. Have you ever noticed how often they appear in art, both fine and decorative? Did you know that there is a term for specifically for it? If you have studied art history you probably know that it is singerie, from the French word “singe” meaning monkey.…
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Rembrandt Remembered

There are many museum exhibits in New York that I’m dying to see. One that just opened last week is “Rembrandt and His School,” at the very lovely Frick Collection. This is one of my favorite museums, housed in the beautiful Carrere & Hastings neoclassical building from 1914 that was once Henry Frick’s home.…
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Books for Lovers

What a fun evening I had yesterday at Assouline’s social media event at their charming shop at the Plaza. I had planned a different post for today, but after attending, I knew I had to do a quick change. As you can imagine, I was like a kid in a candy store – one beautiful book after another.…
Posted in art history, books, gifts, holiday, learning, wine, wish list | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments  

Art & Commerce

photo by Bruno Gaget We’re starting to see a lot more of Marissa Webb, Head of Women’s Design at J. Crew. She’s featured in the latest J. Crew video – a fun behind-the-scenes look at manufacturing their shoes in Italy (if you follow quintessence on facebook, you’ve probably already seen this).…
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Thinking Outside the Box

I love how the Met is using items from their collection to create smaller accessible shows that, like their new digital initiative, Connections, creates cohesive themes from different time periods and objects. Last week when I went to the Met with my sister, we saw Thinking Outside the Box, one of these exhibits.…
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Doyle Delights

When my sister phoned yesterday to ask if I had seen the upcoming auctions at Doyle, I suspected they must be particularly interesting. But after quickly perusing the offerings online, my heart leapt. This Wednesday, under the umbrella of the Important English & Continental Furniture & Decorations/Old Master Paintings category, are two remarkable auctions.…
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