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For The Squire

SIR JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS P.R.A. (BRITISH 1829-1896) FOR THE SQUIRE Signed with a monogram and dated 1882, oil on canvas 85cm x 63cm (33.5in x 24.75in) Provenance: H. F. Makins, 1882. By descent the Rt. Hon. Lord Sherfield, G.C.B., July 10, 1970. Christie's, London, July 10, 1970, no. 161, reproduced. Exhibited: The Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1883, no. 117. The Works of Sir John E. Millais, Bart., PRA, Grosvenor Gallery, London, 1888, no. 75. Work by the Late Sir John Everett Millais BART., PRA, Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy, 1898, no. 240. On loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 1973-July 1974, loan no. L.1973.1.2. The Art and Mind of Victorian England: Paintings from the Forbes Magazine Collection, University Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1974, no. 35. The Royal Academy (1837-1901) Revisited, March 11-April 27, 1975, Metropolitan Museum of Art; May 10-September 15, 1975, The Art Museum, Princeton University; September 27-October 26, 1975, The High Museum of Art Atlanta; December 6-February 1, 1976, Cincinnati Art Museum; February 14-28, 1976, The Allen House, Louisville, Kentucky; no. 46. The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Times, January 24-February 24, 1985, Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo; March 5-March 24, 1985, Hamamatsu City Museum; March 26-April 21, 1985, The Aichi Prefectural Art Gallery; May 1-20, 1985, Daimaru Museum of Art, Daimaru, Japan; May 25-June 23, 1985. The Defining Moment: Victorian Narrative Paintings from the Forbes Magazine Collection, Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, January 15-April 2, 2000; Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee, May 12-August 6, 2000; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware, September 7, 2000-January 7, 2001; Tampa Art Museum, Tampa, Florida, January 27-April 22, 2001; The Forbes Magazine Galleries, New York, New York, May 2-July 7, 2001; Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, England, July 28-November 10, 2001, no. 33, reproduced in colour. John Everett Millais, Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Kitakyushu, Japan, June 7-August 17, 2008; The Bunkamura Museum of Art, Bunkamura, Japan, August 30-October 26, 2008; no. 52, reproduced in colour. Literature: Magazine of Art, 1883, p. 352. Marion H. Spielmann, Millais and his Works, London, 1898, pp. 122, 179. John Guille Millais, The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais, London, 1899, Vol. II, pp. x1, 481, 495, detail reproduced p. 435. "Mr. Forbes Adds A Tearjerker," Evening News, London, July 10, 1970. Terence Mullaly, "Ladbrooke Landscape Fetches 3,600 Gns." The Daily Telegraph, London, July 11, 1970. Christopher Wood, "The Great Victorian Revival," Auction, November 1970, p. 39. Christie's Review of the Year, 1970, reproduced p. 67. "The Sale Room," Apollo, November 1970, p. 405, reproduced. Michael Findlay, "Forbes Saves the Queen," Arts Magazine, February 1973, p.30, reproduced p.27. "It's From Forbes!" Forbes, November 1, 1973, p. 69, November 15, 1973, p. 121, December 1, 1973, p. 67, reproduced. The Art and Mind of Victorian England, Minneapolis, 1974, p. 56, reproduced in colour p. 7. "University of Minnesota Looks at Victorian Era of England," Free Press, Mankato, Minnesota, August 26, 1974, reproduced. "University to Have Victorian Festival," Gazette, Stillwater, Minnesota, August 27, 1974, reproduced. Carole Nelson, "Exhibit Wins Respect for Long-Neglected Victorian Paintings," St. Paul's Sunday Pioneer Press, Family Life Section, September 29, 1974, reproduced p. 1. "A Glimpse of Victoria's World," Minneapolis Tribune, September 22, 1974, reproduced. Joseph T. Butler, "America: The Art and Mind of Victorian England," Connoisseur, February 1975, p. 145, reproduced. Christopher Forbes, The Royal Academy (1837-1901) Revisited, New York, 1975, p. 108, reproduced p. 109. Celina Fox, "The Royal Academy Revisited," Burlington Magazine, May 1975, p. 325, reproduced. Peyton Skipwith, "A Tale of Two Cities," THE CONNOISSEUR, December 1981, reproduced. John Christian, The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Times, Tokyo, 1985, p. 39, reproduced in colour. S.Casteras, 'Victorian Childhood', Antiquities, Winter, 1985, p. 57, illus. S. Moore, 'The Awakening Consciousness: The Forbes Collection of Victorian Painting', Country Life, 5 June 1986, p. 1574, pl. 3. M. Bennet, Artists of the Pre-Raphaelites Circle: The First Generation. Catalogue of Works in the Walker Art Gallery, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley Art Gallery, London, 1988, p. 163. G. Eliot, Silas Marner, Bantam Books, 1992. The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, New Series III:2 Fall 1994, p.57. C. Nelson and L. Vallone (eds); The Girl's Own: Cultural Histories of the Anglo-American Girl, 1830-1915,London, 1994, pl. 1. Louise Jury, Forbes Family London Home, EVENING STANDARD, June 9, 2009, p.18.

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2011-11-01
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The casablanca piano from la belle aurore

CasablancaWarner Bros., 1942Upright studio piano with 58 keys. Serial number 253333, inscribed with maker’s mark: Richardson’s Inc., Los Angeles, with FNP11990 in marker; c. 1942. Finished in viridian green with ivory trompe l’oeil craquelure interior panels.  Detailed condition report available upon request. The iconic piano from the Paris flashback scene. One of the most important props from the most romantic movie ever made and one of the most famous musical instrument in movie history. Can I tell you a story, Rick? The Making of Casablanca In many ways, the making of Casablanca is a story as intricate and intriguing as the movie itself, a story made up of small miracles and inevitable accidents but a story very much characteristic of the movie behemoth Warner Bros. and its competitors during the Golden Age of studio production.  The legend that Casablanca was a resounding success despite itself is now woven into the fabric of Hollywood.  The writers were still changing the script weeks after filming began.  None of the actors knew if Ingrid Bergman was supposed to love Humphrey Bogart or Paul Henreid.  The entire production was lucky and haphazard and cut-rate, one of the least expensive films produced at Warner Bros. that summer.  Bogart ad-libbed “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid” and the producer conceived of the final line, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," a week after filming ended.  Lee Katz, the assistant director, expressed what much of the cast and crew felt, “I think everybody thought it was a good picture.  Nobody thought it was a memorable picture.”  Yet, since its premier on Thanksgiving Day in 1942, Casablanca has been called the most important romantic movie ever made and is invariably named as one of the best movies of all time. The driving force behind Casablanca was Hal B. Wallis, the executive studio manager and Jack Warner’s right hand man from early 1933 to January 1942.  He then signed a contract with Warner Bros. agreeing that he would produce four movies a year for the studio, but otherwise act as an independent producer.  On December 11, 1941—prior to this agreement and just days after the US entered World War II—Wallis was handed the script for Everybody Comes to Rick’s, an unproduced play written by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison.  The play was imperfect, but it provided Warner Bros. with the raw material to mold a romance against the backdrop of WWII when censorship and treatment of the war in the movie industry was highly sensitive.  In the summer of 1938, Burnett and his wife, Frances, traveled to Belgium and then to Vienna to help friends smuggle money out of the occupied city.  From there, they vacationed in the south of France, where Burnett was astounded to see a lightheartedness and an almost insistent denial of the coming war.  They spent time at a seaside café, where a black man played American songs on a piano, and where Burnett leaned over and whispered to his wife, “What a setting for play!”  The play inspired by the French café was purchased by Warner Bros., at Wallis’s insistence and approval, for $20,000—the highest price yet paid for an unproduced play and significantly more than the $8,000 paid to Dashiell Hammett for The Maltese Falcon. In an appropriate parallel, the movie inspired by Everybody Comes to Rick’s also began at a small French café, La Belle Aurore.  On May 25, 1942, director Michael Curtiz began shooting Casablanca and in fact the first scene filmed was the flashback to Sam playing “As Time Goes By” on the piano in Paris.  The name of the set listed on the daily production sheet was “MONTMARTE CAFÉ – 04 / Stage 12-A / Standard Recording ‘As Time Goes By.’”  The cast comprised Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Dooley Wilson, all set to arrive at 9 am.  It turned out to be a difficult day.  At this point, Bogart and Bergman barely knew each other.  Bogart, experienced in gangster roles but not as the romantic lead, was thrust into one of Rick’s most starry-eyed scenes.  Bergman, though experienced as a leading lady, had the harder task of “foreshadowing without giving too much away,” as Aljean Harmetz observes in her book, Round up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca.  Meanwhile, Wallis was convinced that Wilson was “not ideal for the part” of Sam, the faithful friend. Filming began slowly, with Dooley Wilson—a singer and drummer, but not a pianist— singing “As Time Goes By” and pretending to play the piano while Elliot Carpenter played another piano just out of sight.  The music was not pre-recorded, and Wilson was imitating Carpenter’s hand movements while he sang. By the following morning, Hal Wallis had written at least two interoffice memos complaining about the previous day’s filming.  After the first take of the four-page love scene between Ilsa and Rick, the sound mixer, Francis Scheid, had cut the action because the low-beamed ceiling was interfering with the sound recording.  Wallis was not pleased with Scheid, although it’s his memo to cinematographer Arthur Edeson that nicely captures the intimacy of the scene, the larger context of the production, and the ability of Wallis to navigate the rough waters between the financial and creative minds at Warner Bros.: “I understand that the setup took an extraordinary length of time yesterday and that the little Montmarte Café scene which Mike lined up yesterday afternoon, but did not shoot, took about an hour and a half to light.  This was a very small set involving only two people and, if it is true that it took an hour and a half to get the lighting set, I must say that it is unreasonable. “I, too, want a beautiful photographic job on this picture, which offers a great deal of background and color for a cameraman, but you were present at all the meetings we had about all the war emergencies and the necessity of conserving money and material, and I must ask you to sacrifice a little on quality, if necessary, in order not to take these long periods of time for setups.” At the end of May, much of the script was still evolving at the hands of the screenwriters.  Seven are known to have worked on Casablanca, but the credit went to Julius and Philip Epstein, the witty twins responsible for the movie’s clever cynicism and banter, and Howard Koch, the politically-minded liberal who undoubtedly colored Rick’s background with an anti-fascist track record in Ethiopia and Spain.  Not quite a romantic, Koch thought that the Paris flashback cut into the dramatic momentum of the movie and should be removed.  It is now seen as being pivotal to the drama—both romantic and political—and places the storyline in the realm of myth, pre-expulsion seen in contrast to Vichy France.  It is just one example of the writers disagreeing and editing each other’s work, a process that kept the strongest and most consequential sequences in the film.  Casey Robinson, the highest paid writer at Warner Bros. at the time, was also brought in for three weeks prior to filming.  His specialty was heightening the romance and his influence is apparent throughout the dreamy Paris scene. We’ll Always Have Paris The Flashback Ugarte has just been arrested.  Ilsa has come back into Rick’s life.  And Rick sits, slouched over a bottle of gin with a pained grimace etched in every line of his face, listening to Sam play “As Time Goes By” in the dark.  The music and the cigarette smoke transport him back to a free France, idyllic and simple, and the romance is developed within a straightforward narrative that builds toward the more significant culminating scenes at La Belle Aurore and the train station.  Paris is denoted by stock footage of the Arch de Triumph, the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower, but until the news footage of retreating French troops appears onscreen, Ilsa and Rick could be in love anywhere, at any time. And then there are the tanks, the planes, the infantry, the loudspeaker announcements, the newspaper dated June 11, 1940 reporting the inevitable arrival of the German army.  The frantic scene on the French Street is followed by the quiet interior scene in the café.  It begins with the hauntingly distant sound of Sam singing “As Time Goes By” in La Belle Aurore and immediately the love affair has taken on a new significance—a desperation and a sense of all good things coming to an end.  The three—Rick, Ilsa and Sam—drink champagne over the piano and Rick makes light of the situation, joking that the café’s proprietor would water his garden with champagne rather than let the Germans have it.  But then the talk turns to escape and even a hurried marriage, and Rick and Ilsa make plans to leave Paris together that evening, just before the arrival of the enemy. In the two and a half pages shot by Curtiz on that first day, Ilsa had to show the audience what she could not show Rick: that she loved him, but could not be with him.  Her hesitation so contrasts with Rick’s unambiguous infatuation (the stage directions specify “wry but not the bitter wryness we have seen”) that the audience feels the weight of the decision and the vulnerability of the pair.  The scene explains Bogart’s cynicism in Casablanca, and makes his actions all the more heroic in the end.  It also touches on Rick’s past, with Sam and Ilsa reminding him that the Germans have a price on his head—another consciously patriotic, anti-fascist adjustment to Everybody Comes to Rick’s. By June 11, 1940, the Germans were indeed marching towards Paris, with The Times reporting on 12 June, “Thousands upon thousands of Parisians leaving the capital by every possible means, preferring to abandon home and property rather than risk even temporary Nazi domination.”  There had been a general understanding that the Allies would win the war, that no evacuation would be necessary.  This message was essential propaganda promulgated to keep up morale and confidence, but unfortunately it left Paris and much of France without an informed evacuation plan.  On June 10, with the Nazis less than 30 km away, government officials left the capital and ordered all of the gasoline reserves to be burned, casting a desperate black cloud over the rapidly emptying city.  Men between the ages of 18 and 50 were ordered to leave, and much of the civilian population followed suit—in cars, on trains, on bikes, and on foot. Casablanca is by no means a mirror for the situation in Europe.  Indeed, Julius Epstein has said, “I can’t explain why Casablanca succeeded.  First, there wasn’t a word of truth in the picture.  There were no Germans in Casablanca, certainly not in uniform, no letters of transit, there was nothing.  And it was slapped together.”  But there was truth behind many of the sentiments, and the desperation of the refugees, while at times comedic in the movie, is tangible and real. While Bergman and Bogart had no real experience in fleeing a fallen city, many of the actors on the set of Casablanca, and indeed in Hollywood at the time, were European refugees.  Only three of the fourteen named actors were born in America—Bogart, Wilson and Joy Page—and almost all of the bit parts were played by immigrants.  Germans Paul Henreid (Victor Laszlo) and Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser) had both fled the Nazi regime.  S.Z. Sakall’s (Carl, the waiter) three sisters died in a concentration camp; fellow actor Helmet Dantine (the Bulgarian husband) was a leader of the anti-Nazi youth movement in Vienna and spent three months in a concentration camp.  Aljean Harmetz writes poignantly that “Dan Seymour [doorman at Rick’s Café] remembers looking up during the singing of the Marseillaise and discovering that half of his fellow actors were crying. ‘I suddenly realized that they were all real refugees,’ says Seymour.”  It is in this scene that the Marseillaise becomes not only an international battle cry in an American movie, but a love song. Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By." The Song and the Singer Like the themes of valor and romance, “The Marseillaise” and “As Time Goes By” circle each other continuously throughout Casablanca, giving the audience a sense of hope combined with an inspiring, exhilarating sadness.  On May 25, 1942 Max Steiner was still composing the score to Now, Voyager, a score that would win him an Oscar later that year.  An Austrian who studied under Mahler, he had been one of Warner Bros. most prolific composers since the beginning of the 1930’s and wrote the scores for Gone with the Wind (1939) and King Kong (1933). When Steiner first saw Casablanca, after the movie was fully edited as was his preference, his reaction was that “As Time Goes By” should be removed and replaced with an original song.  Legend has it that he even wrote a replacement, but the expense of re-shooting the scenes, especially under wartime restrictions, and the fact that Ingrid Bergman had already cut her hair to play Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls, made this impossible.  So Steiner embraced the song completely, reworking it in countless strains to convey varying emotional shifts.  As Harmetz describes it: “He proceeded to make "As Time Goes By” the centerpiece of his score.  The song was not only Rick and Ilsa’s love theme, but Steiner’s main connecting device.  The song linked Rick and Ilsa, present and past, the source music to the underscoring, and the audience to the characters in the movie.”  Deeply and inextricably entrenched in the movie, the song has become synonymous with Casablanca and it was Casablanca that made the 1931 song “As Time Goes By” a classic. “As Times Goes By” was written by Herman Hupfeld for a short-lived play entitled Everybody’s Welcome.  While at Cornell, Murray Burnett heard and loved the version recorded by actress Frances Williams, although it was the recording by Rudy Vallee that gained a moderate, but unexceptional amount of traction at the time.  Burnett wrote “As Time Goes By” into Everybody Comes to Rick’s, and the Warner Bros. screenwriters felt no need to change it for the movie. In the early stages of pre-production, Wallis did toy with the idea of turning Rick’s friend and piano player into a woman, thinking particularly of Lena Horne, but he settled on “Sam the Rabbit” and tested six actors, including Elliot Carpenter, who played the piano on the side of the set, and Dooley Wilson to play the part.  Dooley Wilson was a stage actor and singer from 1908 until 1940, when his role as Little Joe in the play Cabin the Sky took him to Hollywood.  Although he was not chosen to play Little Joe in the film version, Wilson subsequently signed with Paramount and began to be given small movie roles.  Although he was chosen for Casablanca, Wallis was not enamored of Wilson by any means and during production, even considered dubbing his songs. Luckily, he did not follow through with it.  When Casablanca came out, the Hollywood Reporter called Wilson’s portrayal “something joyous.” The New York Times wrote “Mr. Wilson’s performance as Rick’s devoted friend, though rather brief, is filled with a sweetness and compassion which lend a helpful mood to the whole film” and called “any moment in which Dooley Wilson is remembering past popular songs in a hushed room” particularly “affecting.”  As a result of the movie, Rudy Vallee’s recording of “As Time Goes By” reached number 1 on the hit list and stayed there for four weeks in 1943—re-released rather than re-recorded by Wilson because of a musicians’ strike. Now, seventy years later, the song has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Natalie Cole, Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Liberace, the Carpenters and many others.  But no matter how familiar it becomes, “As Time Goes By” will always bring its listeners back to a small café in Montmartre, where two people in love listen to Sam play a green studio piano while outside, a frenzied Paris prepares for the arrival of the Nazis. You must remember this… The Piano In 1982, collector Dr. Gary Milan purchased the Casablanca Paris piano from a Los Angeles prop house. It had collected several layers of paint over the years and was simply a random studio piano that Dr. Milan intended to buy for its spare parts. But the peculiar size and the resemblance to Sam’s piano encouraged him to investigate further, and he discovered that the piano bore a Warner Bros. Studio prop number (FNP11990) and determined that it was in fact the piano used in the flashback scene at La Belle Aurore. By removing the later paint layers, Milan further confirmed his conclusion and the piano was, in a way, reborn. Of course, the creamy green and intentionally cracked beige decoration is subtler in the movie, presented in black-and-white rather than Technicolor.  The layer seen in the movie, and today, is the first layer of paint on the piano and we can deduce that on May 25, 1942 the piano was nearly fresh from Richardson’s, the Los Angeles maker, by way of the prop house.  At the time, the movie industry placed no emphasis on the historical significance of props and the piano was used again in later movies.  Deborah Landis, a costume designer and historian, described old costumes in a way that could just as aptly describe props: “That was the old way.  We used everything until it fell off the hanger.  That was the tradition in Hollywood.” That all changed in 1970 with the landmark auction of 350,000 costumes and props from MGM’s sound stages.  MGM was transitioning from movie mogul to Vegas hotelier, but it still had arguably the most illustrious history in Hollywood.  It was at this sale that Debbie Reynolds began her famous passion for collecting Hollywood costumes and props, purchasing thousands of memorable pieces and helping to create a brand new market and a reverence for the movies.  In 2011, Profiles in History held an auction of her collection which showed just how far the market has come.  In the 1970 MGM sale, a pair of the Ruby Red Slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz sold for $15,000.  In the Debbie Reynolds auction, the Arabian test pair of slippers—a pair used in test shots but not in the actual film and one of five authentic pairs known—was sold for $627,300.  The sale also boosts the current record for movie memorabilia: the “Subway Dress” worn by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch achieved a price of $5,520,000. The other Casablanca piano, the piano from Rick’s Café Americain, has a history similar to that of the Paris piano—it is a rental prop with subsequent paint layers which was purchased by Gary Milan in 1983. Having recently rediscovered the Belle Aurore piano, Dr. Milan purchased this matching piano, and, by recognizing that it also had a Warner Bros. prop number, as well as an unusual hinged back (in which Rick hid the letters of transit), he was able to establish that it was the other piano from Casablanca. It has since been restored. For more than a decade, the Rick's Cafe piano has been on loan to the Warner Bros. Museum where it is displayed in Burbank at the same studio site used to film the movie. In 1988, five years after its discovery, Sotheby’s sold the Paris piano for $154,000 to a Japanese buyer.  At the time, it was one of the highest prices ever paid for a piece of movie memorabilia. Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid Conclusion Perhaps what we feel towards Casablanca was well expressed by one of its writers, Howard Koch in 1989, after it became an indelible part of cultural memory: “I’ve got almost a mystical feeling about Casablanca.  That it made itself somehow….It’s just a movie, but it’s more than that.  It’s become something that people can’t find in values today.  And they go back to Casablanca as they go back to church…”  There is something spiritual about a movie like Casablanca and the music in it, something communal and uplifting.  But undoubtedly Koch felt like the rest of the team at first—it was just another movie on the assembly line. Casablanca was released in New York on November 25, 1942—about two weeks after the Allied landing in Morocco—and elsewhere on January 23, 1943.  The early release was meant to take advantage of Casablanca in the headlines, and it did.  As Variety pointed out in its positive, but somewhat cynical review: “Film should be a solid moneymaker everywhere.… WB, instead of being dismayed at [Casablanca’s] changed status, is wisely cashing in on America’s newborn familiarity with the title.”  The New York Times, on the other hand, was cautiously sentimental in its praise: “…they have so combined sentiment, humor and pathos with taut melodrama and bristling intrigue that the result is a highly entertaining and even inspiring film.” The New York Times had the greater foresight: Casablanca is inspiring.  Since its release, the movie has gained in popularity, both as a scholarly study and as a simple pleasure.  It has been interpreted in every imaginable way: the most popular being Rick as a symbol for isolationist America finally pledging itself to the cause; the lesser so being Umberto Eco’s semiotic explanation of the film as a “hodgepodge of sensational scenes” with “glorious incoherence” and deep layers of mythic archetypes. But as Billy Wilder puts it, “No matter how sophisticated you are and it’s on television and you’ve seen it 500 times, you turn it on.” Bibliography Crowther, Bosley, "'Casablanca' With Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, at Hollywood" in The New York Times (New York,  November 27, 1942) Diamond, Hanna, Fleeing Hitler: France 1940 (New York, 2007) Harmetz, Aljean, The Making of Casablanca: Bogart, Bergman, and WWII, 60th Anniversary Edition (New York, 1992, 2002) Postrel, Virginia, "Hollywood Auction Ends Myth of Zaftig Marilyn" in Bloomberg News (New York: June 24, 2011) Variety Staff, "Film Reviews: Casablanca" in Variety (December 1, 1942)

  • USAUSA
  • 2012-12-14
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RALPH BALSON, (1890 – 1964), CONSTRUCTIVE PAINTING, 1953 , oil on

RALPH BALSON, (1890 – 1964), CONSTRUCTIVE PAINTING, 1953 , oil on composition board SIGNED: signed and dated lower right: R Balson. 53. DIMENSONS: 84.0 x 109.0 cm PROVENANCE Gallery A, Sydney The Estate of the late James O. Fairfax AC, New South Wales, acquired from the above in 1968 EXHIBITED: Ralph Balson Second Memorial Exhibition, Gallery A, Sydney, 18 July 1968, cat. 25 Ralph Balson: A Retrospective, 15 August – 24 September 1989, Heide Park and Art Gallery, Victoria; and then touring to Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, 6 October – 19 November 1989; Wollongong City Gallery, Wollongong, 1 December 1989 – 28 January 1990; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 February – 1 April 1990 and University Art Museum, University of Queensland, Brisbane, 12 April – 24 May 1990, cat. 25 (as ‘Painting, 1953’) LITERATURE: Adams, B., Ralph Balson: A Retrospective, exhibition catalogue, Heide Park and Art Gallery, Victoria, 1989, cat. 25, pp. 24, 49 (illus.), 80 ESSAY: In July 1941 Ralph Balson held his second solo exhibition at Anthony Hordern’s Fine Art Galleries in Sydney. Comprising a suite of lively abstract geometric compositions painted in arresting combinations of colour (and unusually, including metallic paint in silver, gold and bronze), the exhibition was a landmark event within the history of Australian art, representing the first ever display of non-objective painting. As Deborah Edwards has noted, ‘in the arena of Australian war-time modernism … [these paintings] constituted the uncompromising claim that representational modes could no longer be part of a mission to poetically embody the modern condition and universal values’. 1 Focusing on the influence of Constructivism on local artists, a significant new contribution to the study of modernism in Australia similarly acknowledges Balson’s pioneering role, noting that in their ‘harmonious integration of colour with form, geometry and dynamism’ the 1941 paintings hold ‘a composure and conviction that must have seemed revelatory at their first showing’. 2 These radical works and the ideas that inspired them – from developments in contemporary science to diverse artistic influences – would form the basis of Balson’s practice for the next fifteen years. As he saw it, these ‘constructive paintings’ presented ‘a new expression of reality apposite to modern conditions through constructed relationships of colour and shape’. 3 Balson was a self-employed house-painter by trade and until his retirement at the age of 65, weekends were the only time available for making art. The practiced skills of his profession – colour mixing and the careful application of paint – must have helped the development of his art rather than hindered it and perhaps the limited time he had available encouraged Balson’s keen focus on his creative direction. Balson had come to art late, his first formal studies being part-time evening classes at Julian Ashton’s school in the early 1920s. By the mid-1930s however, he was part of a dynamic group of Sydney artists including Grace Crowley, Rah Fizelle, Frank and Margel Hinder, who had knowledge and (sometimes firsthand) experience of progressive international art. Well-read and connected to expatriate Australians working overseas who kept them up to date with new developments, this group was at the vanguard of modernism in Australia. 4 While some of Balson’s constructive paintings follow the right-angled geometry of Mondrian, who he once described as his ‘greatest single influence’, this work from 1953 breaks away from the order of verticals and horizontals, juxtaposing a series of less regular shapes that playfully jostle for prominence. There is an energetic movement across the painting’s surface in the complex layering of forms and the push-pull between positive and negative space. Striking colour relationships play a key role too, as oranges and vivid watermelon pink sit atop rich blues and purples, olive green and to the right, paler shades of mauve and grey. While at first glance, some colours appear to have been painted over others to create a darker tone, each colour has been applied individually, independent of those immediately adjacent, emphasising Balson’s understanding of colour and virtuoso skill with the chromatic possibilities of his medium. One of the larger scale works painted towards the end of his constructive series, this painting reflects Balson’s confidence and mastery of abstract form and colour. 1. Edwards, D., ‘A New Realm of Visual Experience’, Ralph Balson -/41 – Anthony Horderns’ Fine Art Galleries, exhibition catalogue, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2008, p. 36 2. Harding, L., ‘Part One: 1920-1970’, Harding, L. and Cramer, S., Call of the Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Australian Art, exhibition catalogue, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2017, p. 43. The exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art, on display from 5 July – 8 October 2017, features numerous ‘constructive’ paintings by Balson. 3. Badham, H., A Study of Australian Art, Currawong Publishing Co., Sydney, 1949, p. 146 4. James, B., Ralph Balson, A Restrospective, exhibition catalogue, Heide Park and Art Gallery, Melbourne, 1989 and Taylor, E., Grace Crowley: Being Modern, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2006 KIRSTY GRANT Former Director of Heide Museum of Modern Art Former Senior Curator, National Gallery of Victoria

  • USAUSA
  • 2017-08-30
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Invendu

A fruit and vegetable seller, surrounded by her wares

In this large and engaging painting, Vincenzo Campi renders one of his most recognizable and classic subjects: a young fruit and vegetable seller surrounded by her wares.  A variation on the artists celebrated Fruttivendola in the Pinacoteca di Brera (fig. 1),1 the present composition is filled with a new array of produce and is animated with differing characters, most notably the young man at left with an amusingly contorted face and a finger in his ear.  Yet, just like the version in Brera, Campi has anchored this scene with a beautiful female, setting her slightly off center within a foreground teeming with baskets of goods and placing her before a landscape within which two figures are gathering fruit from the branches of a tree that rises along edge of the painting.  Signed and dated 1583, this is a mature work by Vincenzo Campi that exemplifies the types of naturalistic, and sometimes humorous, genre scenes he turned to after the 1570s. Like the Brera example, which is part of a series relating to a group of paintingscommissioned by the Great banking house of Fugger for Schloss Kirchheim around 1580, the present composition serves to highlight the intriguing links between Campi and the treatment of similar subjects by northern artists such as Joachim Beuckelaer.2  Around the mid-sixteenth century, the Flemish Beuckelaer, along with his teacher Pieter Aertsen, established a new tradition of still-life painting with renderings of elaborate displays of food in markets and kitchens.  The impact of this new genre spread throughout Europe and found a stronghold in Lombardy with Vincenzo Campi, who may have had access to Beuckelaers works in Cremona. The theme found in the present painting was undoubtedly popular among collectors during Campis lifetime, for in addition to the present work, the version in Brera, and the series in Schloss Kirchheim, a few other iterations are known by the artist, including one formerly with Colnaghi in London.3 1.  Inv. no. 333, oil on canvas, 145 by 210 cm 2.  The other paintings from the Brera series include Pescivendoli and Pollivendoli, see F. Paliaga, 1997, in Literature, pp. 175-176, cat. nos. 25-26, reproduced plates XXII and XXIII.  For the Kirchheim series, all of which measure around 135 by 220 cm and some of which are dated to 1580 and 1581, see ibid., pp. 177-179, cat. nos. 29-33, reproduced figs. 14-18. 3.  Oil on canvas, 143 by 214 cm.  See Ibid., p. 181, cat. no. 37, reproduced plate XXIX. Signed, inscribed, and dated lower right: VINCENTIVS CAMPVUS/CREMONENSIS F. 1583

  • USAUSA
  • 2018-02-02
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Invendu

Angelica and Medoro

This dynamic yet elegant composition by Laurent de la Hyre depicts the story of Angelica and Medoro, from Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, one of the greatest epic poems of the 16th century.  Set during the war between Charlemagnes Christian Paladins and the Saracen army, the story describes the romance of the Christian knight Orlando, who was courting the Pagan princess Angelica.  His love is unrequited, however, as she instead falls for the wounded Saracen Medoro.  The scene depicted here (Canto 19:36) shows the two lovers carving their intertwined names on trees and rocks throughout the forest. Signed and dated 1641, the large-scale masterpiece shows de la Hyre at the height of his powers.  The composition is complex and bold: figures are intertwined and crowded together on one side of the painting.  Angelica and Medoro's overlapping knees allude to their passionate romance, while her left leg is stretched out not only to keep herself balanced as she sits upon her lover's lap, but also to elegantly triangulate and balance the overall composition of the painting.  The six putti in the trees above are active and eager, bringing both tenderness and lightheartedness to the scene.  De la Hyre's masterful and sophisticated landscape sets the tranquil and romantic scene. After studying at the château of Fontainebleau between 1622 and 1625, de la Hyre went to work in the celebrated studio of Georges Lallemant, where Nicolas Poussin and Michel Dorigny also studied. He received his first important commissions from the Paris house of the Capuchins in the Marais for their chapel of St. Francis. These works were well-received and brought him further employment, and this may explain why he was not tempted to go to Italy to complete his artistic education as many of his fellow painters did. By the end of the 1630s, de la Hyre was a highly recognized painter and greatly in favor with various religious orders of Paris, with Cardinal de Richelieu as his fervent protector. When the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture was founded in 1648, de la Hyre was appointed one of the twelve "Anciens," or professors, taking an active part in the current debate about perspective. During the late 1640s and 1650s, de la Hyre had many private patrons including financiers, members of the Paris Parlement and royal officials, producing some of the most important masterpieces. Charles Sterling, the eminent French art historian, wrote of de la Hyre:  "He was a subtle painter, with a light brushstroke, a sense of delicate atmospheric values, and skill in combining bright, unusual colors. La Hyre heralds the French eighteenth century, foreshadowing both Boucher's grace and the affected Neoclassical sobriety of the pupils of David."1 An earlier version of the composition, which is in a more vertical format, omitting the tree on the right, and features five putti instead of six, was described in a 1777 sale and is now lost.  A later copy of that picture is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Marseille (inv. no. 253).2   1. P. Rosenberg and J. Thuillier, under Literature, p. 110. 2. Ibid., p. 232, cat. nos. 188 and 188c.  The latter is reproduced. Signed and dated lower left, on the broken tree trunk: DE LA HIRE . IN. ET. F. 1641

  • USAUSA
  • 2018-02-02
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Important and rare low table, designed for the Contini Bonacossi residence

Gio Ponti Rosso Toscano marble, brass, walnut. Executed by master cabinetmaker Angelo Magnoni for Quarti, Milan, Italy. From the production of two. Underside with metal label facsimile signature Gio Ponti and thrice stamped MAGNONI ANGELO/EBANISTA/28 VIA MELZO 28/MILANO. Together with a certificate of expertise from the Gio Ponti Archives. The origins of the Contini Bonacossi family’s art collection began with the encounter of Alessandro Contini Bonacossi, later receiving the title of count, and Erminia Vittoria Galli Feroldi. Already a collector and dealer of stamps, Alessandro, when he married Vittoria in 1888, soon turned his focus towards Old Masters. Together, Alessandro and Vittoria travelled to America, where they cultivated important relationships with art collectors and museums, in order to further expand and enrich their collection, all of which was beautifully chronicled in Vittoria’s diaries ‘Diari Americani’. Although from humble origins, through her natural intuition Vittoria developed an incredibly sophisticated eye for identifying exceptional works of art. She soon became an irreplaceable advisor, not only to her husband Alessandro, but also to art critics such as Bernard Berenson and Roberto Longhi. Returning to Italy, they settled in Florence, where they acquired a nineteenth-century villa built by Marquess Massimiliano Strozzi, which Alessandro then renamed Villa Vittoria in honour of his beloved wife. With the priority of accommodating their magnificent art collection, the villa underwent extensive refurbishment under the supervision of Gio Ponti, Tomaso Buzzi and Giulio Rosso. The display and placement of the artworks was inspired by the principles of Wilhelm von Bode, the first curator of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, known today as the Bode Museum. Completed in 1927, the house was frequented by art critics, museum directors, painters, writers, and aristocracy.The ground floor retained its original nineteenth-century Neo-Renaissance style, housing their antiques and Old Masters collection, which included works by Giovanni Bellini, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Titian, Paolo Veronese, Paolo Uccello, Tintoretto, El Greco, Diego Velazquez, and many others. A token of her devotion, Vittoria kept a notebook with the names and dates of each of the artists in their collection, donating five liras of silver to the church to hold a mass in honour of their anniversaries. The modern art collection, which was Vittoria’s foremost passion, was located on the first floor in the Quadreria moderna (modern picture gallery), and displayed works amongst others by Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Marino Marini, and Carlo Carrà. For the space, which occupied a long hallway, Ponti designed several pieces, comprising six stools, four benches and two tables, adopting a neoclassical style inspired by ancient Rome. Each work was executed by master cabinetmaker Angelo Quarti using walnut, leather, brass and marble. The present lot was one of two low tables that were positioned in the centre of the gallery, each featuring a different coloured marble tabletop, Verde delle Alpi and Rosso Toscano respectively. The brass table legs feature a sculptural quality illustrating Ponti’s desire to create an environment honouring the exceptional quality of the surrounding art collection. Of Ponti’s works from this period, this commission stands out for its exceptional level of execution. In 1943, when Florence was freed by their American allies, General Mark W. Clark and the high command were stationed at the Villa Vittoria. Recalling his stay, General Clark stated: 'It was worth fighting the war to live in this house, to get to know you, for everything ...’Today Villa Vittoria is Florence’s Congress Palace. As outlined in Contini Bonacossi’s will, part of the collection was donated to the State and is displayed at the Uffizzi Gallery, Florence.

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2018-04-26
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A Cameo Glass Skyphos with Charioteers

A cameo glass skyphos with charioteers Italy, first half of the 1st Century A.D. Cast as a blank with a translucent dark blue body and an opaque white overlay, carved, cut, ground and polished, with a slightly outsplayed and rounded rim, the ovoid body curving downwards and inwards, two vertical ring handles attached to the rim, the handle supports with ducks' head terminals, the interior of the bowl with traces of polishing on a lathe and with a horizontal cut line below the rim, the decoration on the exterior carved through the opaque white glass and sometime also slightly into the translucent blue background to create two figured friezes with a continuous ground-line and separated by youthful masks (one with his eyes open and the other with his eyes shut) immediately below the handle; side (a): a curly-haired charioteer wearing a short sleeveless belted tunic and cloak billowing behind him shown driving a two-horse chariot or biga with a seven-spoked wheel and a low curved side decorated with parts of three vertical loops, he is depicted leaning forwards, holding the reins of the biga in his left hand and a raised whip in his right as if urging his horses on, which are shown side by side, racing at full gallop with raised and extended forelegs; side (b): a second curly-haired charioteer wearing only a belted tunic is leaning backwards in his almost identical biga (but with an eight-spoked wheel) pulling in on his reins with both hands as if to stop or slow down his horses which are also shown side by side with raised and extended forelegs, 3¼in. (8.1cm.) restored height, 25/8in. (6.8cm.) rim diam., 4¼in. (10.8cm.) wide across handles, the body repaired with a replacement resin foot, one handle (to the right of side (a)) restored in resin having been modelled from the surviving handle so that both are missing their horizontal finger rests

  • GBRGrande Bretagne
  • 2004-07-14
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Verrerie

Dans cette catégorie vous trouverez tous les objets faits en verre qui sont vendus en enchères, tel que des vases, cruches, verres de boissons, des veilles bouteilles, assiettes et des bibelots en verre provenant de nos diverses maisons de ventes.