Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Food Day

I heartily join my fellow bloggers in urging my readers to join us in this worthwhile campaign. These are hard times for so many and providing a decent meal to a family trying to make ends meet is something we fellow Americans can certainly accomplish. We feed the world when crisis erupts and now is the time to give to our neighbors and friends.

We are asking the readers of all these great blogs to take a moment and click here to the donation link at Feeding America. Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks operate 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms.

According to Feeding America every $1.00 donation turns into 10 pounds of food so this year lets forget April Fool's and silly pranks and make this year April Food Day!!! Cheer's Homer.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Cat Lovers Auction

New York Times:Inside Art
Attention, Millionaires: Rare Cat Needs Home

Just how much of an appetite there is to buy art these days is anyone’s guess. But with the important New York sales less than two months away, experts at Sotheby’s and Christie’s are scrambling to get the kind of property that they perceive the market wants.

It comes as little surprise, then, that after the high prices achieved for sculpture recently — at auctions in London in February and in New York in November — one of the prized works being sold at Sotheby’s in New York this spring is a sculpture of a cat that Alberto Giacometti made in 1951 and cast in an edition of eight.

A rare object for an artist best known for his depictions of the human figure, the bronze cat has a long neck and tail and is posed as if stalking prey.

A Giacometti cat sculpture hasn’t been on the block in more than 30 years. The last one sold for $130,000 at Sotheby’s in New York in 1975. But, curiously, a second cat from the same edition is also rumored to be for sale privately in New York.

Sotheby’s estimates that its cat will fetch $16 million to $22 million at the May 5 sale.

“It’s from a European collector who bought it in the ’60s,” said Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern art department in New York. “There is something magical about how Giacometti reduces the form down to its essential catness.”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Blue And White Auction

While still a bit chilly here in our nation's capital, the Spring trees are beginning their glorious blooming. There is no place prettier then Spring in DC. With that in mind we need to look too bright blues and whites for an auction theme.

Starting tomorrow Alex Cooper Auction's in Baltimore begin their exhibition hours for their Spring auction starting on Sunday, March 29th. The catalogue for the auction is viewable online and goes on for 91 pages. For our purposes I'm limiting myself to pieces in the blue and white vein.

Blue and White is both classic and yet always fresh. It just always looks good, especially when thrown all together in a mishmash of expertly placed vignettes. From the Chinese to the English to the Lowlanders, the prices are right and the look timeless.

Let's see what is on sale and remember you can buy online live. Don't forget the buyers premium. I've had trouble finding the amount of the premium on their website. Not a good thing, plus there is Maryland's 6% sales tax. They should post this openly. Last time I covered an auction of their's I could also not find results. All this leaves me with doubt, but I decided to give them one more try. I will forward this post to their blog.

Okay lets look.


Two Staffordshire Historic Blue transferware plates with Boston State House images, first quarter-19th century; one impressed "Rogers," 9 3/4 in. Diam.

staining on verso, scratches, age appropriate wear, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 400

High Estimate: 600


Japanese Imari porcelain charger, mid 19th century; blue and white vignettes on cracked ice background, 18 in. Diam.

submit inquiry

Low Estimate: 200

High Estimate: 300


English blue transferware ironstone wash basin; together with an English brown transferware ironstone butter pat, fourth quarter-19th century; wash basin: 4 1/2 in. H., 13 in. Diam.; butter pat: 3 1/2 in. Diam.

wash basin - base damage and restoration, stains, scratches; butter pat - stains, wear, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 100

High Estimate: 150


Chinese Export blue and white porcelain covered baluster vase and similar ginger jar, fourth quarter-19th century; 1) covered jar: 17 1/2 in. H., 8 in. Diam.; 2) ginger jar: 8 1/2 in. H., 6 in. Diam.

covered jar: lid and rim chips, staining, cracquelure; ginger jar: married lid, fire flaws, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 150

High Estimate: 250


English historic blue Staffordshire transferware platter: "Teresa Pansa and the Messenger," possibly Clews or Enoch Woods, first quarter-19th century; 14 1/2 x 12 in.

hole filled and repaired, scratches, heavy staining underneath, wear, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 100

High Estimate: 200


English blue transferware ironstone reticulated underplate in the "Oriental" pattern, marked "S.A. & Co.," circa 1850; 11 x 10 1/2 in.

scratches, edge restoration, age appropriate wear, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 100

High Estimate: 200


Chinese Export blue and white porcelain bowl for the Persian market, circa 1840; 4 in. H., 10 in. Diam.

Enamel wear, fire flaws, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 250

High Estimate: 400


Hubaudiere Quimper figural decorated faience bulb pot; strap handles, vignettes of musical instruments and peasants, 3 3/4 in. H., 8 3/4 in. W.

rim damaged and restored, glaze loss, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 100

High Estimate: 150


Five Chinese Export blue and white porcelain plates and bowls in the "Washington Urn" pattern, for the American Market, circa 1800; comprising pair of soup bowls, pair of dessert bowls and a saucer, gilt acanthus and geometric border, 9 3/4 in. Diam. of largest

one soup bowl with rim repair, one dessert bowl with rim chip, other with rim repair, saucer broken and repaired, all with enamel wear, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 400

High Estimate: 600


English flow blue transfer decorated china covered sauce tureen with ladle in the "Abbot" pattern, John Maddock & Sons, fourth quarter-19th century; 5 3/4 in. H., 8 1/2 in. L.

staining, age appropriate wear, submit inquiry for further details

Low Estimate: 70

High Estimate: 125

One Old Fingerbowl

From Art Daily:"LONDON.- On April 1st 2009 Sotheby’s London is to sell one of the most remarkable Mamluk enamelled glass buckets left in private hands, in its biannual Arts of the Islamic World sale. The Rothschild Bucket is exceptionally rare and was made at the high point of Mamluk glass production. The auction also features a range of paintings, manuscripts, textiles, pottery, weapons and scientific instruments that span one thousand years of Islamic history and originate from cultures as diverse as those from India, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Islamic-Spain. Many of the works in the sale are of museum quality and have rarely been seen at auction. The Rothschild Bucket, estimate £600,000 – 800,000

The Rothschild Bucket
The highlight of the sale is A Highly Important Mamluk Gilded and Enamelled Glass Bucket or Finger-Bowl, one of the last Mamluk Glass Buckets remaining in private hands (Lot 96, Est. £600,000 – 800,000). This superb piece of glassware dates from the mid-14th century and was made in either Syria or Egypt. The bucket is immediately striking for the vivid colouring that covers the surface which is enamelled with blue lettering, a winding white scroll, red leaves and various animal heads depicted in green, yellow and black on the top half, while the lower section features bright blue lions and double headed eagles outlined in red. The bucket was in the Rothschild Collection for over 100 years having been purchased by Baron Alphonse de Rothschild at a Paris auction in 1893. It is evocative of princely culture at a time when Muslim armies were evicting crusaders from across the Middle East.

The Mamluk period dates marked the high point in glass production with the main centres of glass manufacture – Damascus and Aleppo – being sacked by Tamerlane shortly after the current piece was made. The bucket would have been passed around at the beginning or end of a meal for guests to rinse their fingers - the inscription appearing around the vessel reads “I am a toy for the fingers shaped as (in the form of) a vessel. I contain cool water.” Four other buckets of this type are known to exist and three of them are in major museum collections in Cairo, Lisbon and Kassel in Germany. The whereabouts of the final bucket is unknown."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Clown Car Toy Sells for Record $103,500 in $4 Million Auction

From Bloomberg News:
By Matt Townsend

March 23 (Bloomberg) -- KB Toys Inc. co-founder Donald Kaufman’s decision to go ahead with auctioning off his antique toys in a recession turned out to be a good one.

The first 1,500 lots of his 7,000-piece collection sold for a little more than the $4 million high estimate in a three-day sale March 19-21 at Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, New Jersey.

“Everyone kept saying, ‘Boy, the recession isn’t going on in this room,’” said auction-house owner Jeanne Bertoia, 54, in a telephone interview. The auction set a record for the 20-year- old company on a single sale.

Kaufman, 78, sold his stake in KB Toys in 1981. He decided to part with his antiques two years ago, before the recession started. He said selling the toys he collected over the past 50 years -- mostly cast-iron vehicles dating back to the 19th century -- is part of a plan to divest his assets and invest the proceeds.

A clown car made in Germany in 1909 with an estimated value of $40,000 fetched $103,500, a record for that kind of toy, Bertoia said. Kaufman bought the toy from Bertoia in 1998 for $30,000.

“The best still holds its value and continues to rise and that was the case throughout the entire auction,” said Bertoia, who specializes in antique-toy auctions. She declined to name any of the winning bidders.

A circus toy featuring a wagon pulling a monkey cage from the 1920s sold for $97,750. Dozens of toys sold for more than $10,000 to in-person bidders from France, Germany, Belgium and across the U.S. The next group of lots will be sold in September

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NY POST: The Art Of The Deal

After amassing the world's most expensive private art collection, hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen now has his sights on the world's biggest art auction house Sotheby's.

Cohen caused a stir in the art world last week with two surprising firsts.

For art aficionados, he's unveiling a tantalizing piece of his $1 billion-plus collection for the first time, which he's going to exhibit free to the public over the Easter weekend using Sotheby's as a public art museum for the first time.

Full story here. And I'm sure more to come.

Love the Antiques But Believe In The New

A great video from the TED Conference. At the MIT Media Lab's new Fluid Interfaces Group, Pattie Maes researches the tools we use to work with information and connect with one another. She explains new technology to create a sixth sense for all of us. The smart crowd in attendance stood to applaud these ideas and I do too. Here is the video.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Freer and Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Launch New website

WASHINGTON, DC.- "The Smithsonian's Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery have launched a Web site that allows public access to research being conducted as part of the galleries' World War II Era Provenance Research Project. The site is part of a long-term provenance effort at the Freer and Sackler galleries, which together hold one of the nation's largest and most important collections of Asian art. The goal of the project is to identify and clarify the ownership history for works of art in the collections that might have been unlawfully taken by the Nazis during the World War II era and to make this information available to the public."

Full story here via Art Daily:

Versace Auction Beats Estimates

The contents of the late Gianni Versace's home on Lake Cuomo realized $10.5 million dollars. Certainly not in the realm of the recent Saint Laurent auction but still a heartening event for the auction houses. While the taste of the late designer may not have been my cup of tea, the location of his home is a dream spot of mine should the lottery ever come my way. An interesting read on the event from WWD here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Promoting DC

From the Bargainist. Posted 3 hours ago. Come spend money and come to the Kellogg Collection. I'll show you some deals too.. Best Homer

Hotels.com - Save up to 30% off Washington D.C. hotel stays
Posted 3 hours, 9 minutes ago

If you've never been to Washington D.C. in the springtime, now's your chance to view all monuments and the famous cherry blossoms, all the while saving big on your hotel! Through 04/13/2009, Hotels.com is running a sale on Washington D.C. hotels for up to 30% off regular prices. What a great educational Spring Break trip for the family this would be!

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Has Gone You Tube

The Metropolitan Museum Of Art Director, Thomas P. Campbell has posted a youtube video on exhibitions at the Museum for March, 2009. Good on ya. Its the way to go and I for one will post it forward. It has always been one of my favorite places. Here is the video, enjoy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Saint Patricks Day

Homer's author is 100% Irish American and as such wishes all his fellow sons and daughters of the olde sod a very Happy Saint Patrick's Day. The wonderful site CHOW has a very nice menu for the day should you be looking for a tasty bite appropriate for the occasion.

And me fine Brother James sent me this video of a great Irish blessing worth a look.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Return To The Tried And True At Maastricht.

I have waited for these days to return as I have always thought they would. The pendulam has swung back to that which is art and away from frivolity. There were headlines like "Diamond Fetches $5 Million as Dutch Fair Draws ‘Serious Money’" or "Rare Beauty In Maastricht." The world understands that what is great is great and that what is a large puppy made of flowers by Jeff Koons, whom I admire, might not hold up in the larger sense.

The auction of Julian Hirst's work was the last gasp of a world gone by and the buyer's of of the golden calf in formaldehyde left with their hooves of gold. The days of the Piss Christ are over and I'm glad. I want true art to return. Here is the New York Times take on the affair.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Christies Photograph Auction Set for March 31

From Art Daily: NEW YORK, NY.- On March 31, Christie’s New York will showcase a broad range of photographs from the early 20th century through to the present day. As the market for the medium flourishes, Christie’s is committed to offering a carefully choreographed group of desirable images. Highlights include important photographs, all from private collections worldwide, by artists such as Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Baron Adolph de Meyer, Ansel Adams, Bernd and Hilla Becher, William Eggleston and Shirin Neshat. Overall, the sale comprises 116 lots with a projected sale total of $3 million. The press release on the event is here.

March 11th Doyle's Results

My friends there were some great buys today in New York. It is a bit scary that these pieces went for so little and yet it shows again that if you can afford it, now is the time to buy. The prices below do not reflect the buyers premium, which at Doyles is 25% plus tax.

The catalogue for this weeks auction at Doyle's was pretty big but I found a few items of interest out of the "you see this everywhere scenario." It makes you wonder about the the folks that appraise at Antiques Roadshow. Can you imagine two thousand people bringing their family "heirlooms" for an appraisal. "It's carnival glass Mam not crystal," over and over again. Still, I love the show, though to be truthful I loved the British version better. We American's grasp our heart,slap our knees, exclaim, "You have to kidding me!" or tear up. I love the British way of expression, " Oh realllly," "Nooo."

Lets take a look at this weeks goodies.

Under the right windows? Could be very pretty.
Pair of Louis XVI Style Marble Top Green Painted Consoles
Height 32 1/2 inches, width 25 inches, depth 15 1/2 inches.
Estimate $2,500-3,500

Marble tops are gray; some losses of paint to bases
SOLD FOR $4,000.00. A good start and I think they were worth that.

That single chair for the room don't you think?
Regency Style Gilt-Wood Klismos Side Chair

Estate of Lodzia Scheer

Estimate $500-700
SOLD FOR $800.00

Everyone is talking sunburst mirrors lately.
Gilt-Metal Starburst Mirror
Diameter 52 inches.
Estimate $800-1,200
SOLD FOR $475.00 I didn't like it all that much either. Still, a good buy.

Faux Bachelor style.
Pair of Simulated Alligator Upholstered Painted Benches
Length 50 inches.
Estimate $1,000-1,500
SOLD FOR $550.00. A great buy! For the somewhat flashy bachelor.

Don't you need this?
Chinoiserie Decorated Black Lacquered Lap Desk
Height 8 inches, width 18 1/4 inches, depth 12 1/2 inches.
Estimate $200-300
SOLD FOR $100.00. A steal! That would have looked great in any room.

Very chic.
Eglomise Mirror Framed Mirror
Height 40 inches, width 34 inches.
Estimate $800-1,200

You could do a million things with these.
Pair of Neoclassical Style Painted Architectural Niches
Height 47 inches, width 19 1/2 inches, depth 17 inches.
Estimate $400-600
SOLD FOR $200.00. Another steal. You could so many things with those.

For the fancy guest bathroom.
Crystal and Brass Basket-Form Two-Light Chandelier
Height 24 inches, diameter 20 inches.
Estimate $400-600
SOLD FOR $300.00. A Bargain!! I hope it was in good shape.

I'd use it as a high coffee table.
George III Leather Top Mahogany Architect's Table
Height 29 inches, width 29 1/2 inches, depth 23 1/2 inches.
Estimate $1,500-2,500
SOLD FOR $1,000.00. Folks these are the days to buy....oh my!

A bit of Brideshead for your home. It's probably missing parts but still.
George III Style Painted Mirror
Height 54 inches, width 31 inches.
Estimate $800-1,200
SOLD FOR $400.00. That is scary, it must have been in bad shape...I hope..what a steal!!!

Different looking and very Tony Duquette. I really like it.
Regency Style Metal Mounted Porcelain Tray Table
Height 20 inches, width 33 inches, depth 23 inches.
Estimate $800-1,200.
SOLD FOR $700.00. My favorite piece. Happy new owner I'm sure.

Pair of Neoclassical Style Cast Iron Urn-Form Jardinieres
Height 24 inches.
Estimate $800-1,200

It needs a paint job but still a nice piece.
Louis XV Style Marble Top Low Table
Height 17 1/2 inches, width 31 inches, depth 23 1/2 inches.
Estimate $250-450

Monday, March 9, 2009

Old Cooking Tips People Like Me Need

Over at the tips and tricks blog TipNut, time-saving cooking tips continue to be culled from vintage cook books. All of them are simple to execute and require no fancy kitchen utensils—apparently nobody got the Williams-Sonoma catalog back in the 40s. Among the the tips:

* To peel an orange easily and to get the skin off in one piece, heat the orange slightly for three or four minutes before peeling.
* Before scraping new potatoes, soak them for half an hour in cold water which has been salted. Not only do the skins peel off easily, but the hands are not stained.
* Keep pared fruit looking bright by pouring a little lemon juice over it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Rabbit And The Rat Story Continues

More news out of China over those two Qing dynasty bronze fountain head pieces from Yves Saint Laurent's Auction.

I was amazed at the price they brought, (30 million plus) and in conversation with friends over the weekend about the sale, we wondered if they had been bought by a wealthy Chinese person wishing to return them to China, and perhaps gain favor with their government. As it turns out the person doing the bidding, and he was Chinese...and winning, did it all for political reasons. He announced today that he has no intention and cannot pay for the pieces. They will remain in Paris for the time being. For the full story click here.