Category Archives: Art

The Vivien Leigh Collection — Movie Auction of the Year

Vivien Leigh won Academy Awards for playing Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois, two of the all-time great women’s movie roles.

Now, 50 years after her death, what remains of her estate is being offered at auction by Sotheby’s London. The full auction catalogue has not yet been posted, but you can see a small sample at the auction site.

From the press release: “Passed down through Vivien’s family, the collection comprises paintings, jewellery, couture, books, furniture, porcelain, objets d’art and further items celebrating all aspects of her life, from the pre-war years in London, to Hollywood and beyond, up to her death in 1967. Myriad pieces drawn from the city and country homes Vivien shared with her husband Laurence Oliver [sic] will give a new perspective on Vivien, from her appreciation of art and patronage of Modern British artists, to her passion for books and fondness for entertaining and interior design.”

Included in the sale will be Vivien Leigh’s personal copy of Gone with the Wind, given to her by the author Margaret Mitchell.


As Blanche DuBois, Leigh puts her faith in the kindness of strangers in A Streetcar Named Desire.

As Scarlett O’Hara, Leigh rises from despair in Gone with the Wind.


The auction for “Vivien: The Vivien Leigh Collection” will take place on 26 Sep 2017 at Sotheby’s London.

Alma-Tadema at Leighton House Museum — A Brief Follow-Up

The Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity exhibition opened in London today, and the Leighton House Museum has just released this teaser.

I posted an item with some background information about Alma-Tadema, Lord Leighton, and this exhibition a few days ago, but, as my grandmother used to say, one video is worth a thousand words. Especially when the video is this well done.

The show will run from 7 July 2017 through 29 October 2017.

Alma-Tadema Returns to Leighton House Museum

There are two places I always visit when I’m in London: The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Leighton House Museum in Holland Park. The V&A describes itself, accurately, as “the world’s leading museum of art and design.” It’s easily my favourite museum in this world, or any other. The Leighton House Museum is the former home and studio of Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton, whose painting “Flaming June,” is one of the crowning achievements of 19th Century British art.

“Flaming June,” just because I can never pass up an opportunity to post it.

“Flaming June,” just because I can never pass up an opportunity to post it.

It’s an old, sad story. After the turn of the 20th century, Victorian artists like Leighton fell out of favour with both the critics and the public. And few of them fell so fast and so far as Leighton’s friend, Lawrence Alma-Tadema. By the 1960s, Alma-Tadema’s “The Finding of Moses,” the picture at the top of this note, was cut out of its frame by a gallery, because a buyer was only interested in the elaborate frame itself.

In a way, Alma-Tadema got a belated revenge: Fifty years later, the painting sold for $35,900,000.

If I can work out the last few bugs on the time machine that I’ve been tinkering with, my first stop will be the 1950s, to stock up on Pre-Raphaelite paintings and Tiffany lamps.


Beginning this weekend, the Leighton House Museum is hosting an exhibition called Alma-Tadema: At Home in Antiquity, which includes more than 130 works. Here’s a sample:


"The Roses of Heliogabalus,” posted for the same reason I posted “Flaming June.”

“The Roses of Heliogabalus,” posted for the same reason I posted “Flaming June.”


The show will run from 7 July 2017 through 29 October 2017. As if anyone needed another reason to go to London.

More Images from the Bosch, Brueghel, and Arcimboldo Experience

I’ve found more images from this year’s Carrières de Lumières program, which features the works of Bosch, Brueghel, and Arcimboldo.

Even these still photographs are awesome. Seeing them in motion, with a soundtrack that ranges from Carl Orff to Vivaldi to Led Zeppelin, must be amazing. There’s a brief video at the above link that will give you a hint of what visitors to the site will experience.

(All photos found on the Net.)

“The Fantastic and Wonderful World of Bosch, Brueghel, and Arcimboldo” is open now, and will run through 7 January 2018.

“The Fantastic and Wonderful World of Bosch, Brueghel, and Arcimboldo”

This year’s Carrières de Lumières program looks like a stunner. It’s called “The Fantastic and Wonderful World of Bosch, Brueghel, and Arcimboldo”, and it runs from 4 March 2017 to 7 January 2018.

Here’s a peek:

Carrières de Lumières is an immersive art and music installation which is staged in what used to be a quarry, in the French village Les Baux de Provence. The massive rock walls of the quarry form the backdrop for a son et lumière program that changes each year.

I’ve posted items about the 2014 Klimt and Vienna and the 2015 Chagall: Midsummer Night’s Dreams programs, and about how much I’d like to work for Culturespaces, the European company that designs and manages events like this for 13 monuments and museums, most of them in France. The only things that are standing in my way are my total lack of artistic talent and my residence on the wrong continent.

Complementing the son et lumière this summer are four monumental sculptures by Philip Haas, which will be on display in the Château des Baux-de-Provence from 23 May through 30 September. The sculptures of the giant heads are inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s “The Four Seasons” paintings.

“Oh, to be in Provence, Now that Summer’s there”
—Close, but not quite by Robert Browning

Offered at Auction: Warhol — The Album Covers

Oh, this looks like fun! Andy would approve.*

Between 1949 and 1987, Andy Warhol designed the sleeves for 60 LP records. And now you can own the whole set. All you have to do is place the high bid in an auction.

The estimate is €50,000 (about ~US$55,980).

The Complete Warhol LPs, the full set of Andy Warhol record sleeves, will be offered at auction by PIASA in Paris on 22 June 2017. According to the auction notes:

“This unique ensemble, assembled by a passionate music-lover, transports us through 40 years of musical creativity. It has never been offered at auction before.”

The 60 vinyl discs are included in the collection, but the notes say nothing about the vintage or condition of the records.

Warhol’s instantly recognizable jacket for the first Velvet Underground album, featuring a peelable banana, is the most famous item in the collection, and one of the best known record sleeves of all time. Warhol is credited as the “producer” of the album, which was hugely influential, and still shows up on most “Greatest Rock Album Ever” lists, 50 years after its release. The copy offered at auction was signed by Warhol.

Also included is the notorious jacket for the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, which featured a very explicit crotch shot of Joe Dallesandro—“…generally considered to be the most famous male sex symbol of American underground films of the 20th century,” according to Wikipedia—in skin-tight jeans. The Smiths later used a photograph of Dallesandro from the Warhol film Flesh as the cover of their 1984 self-titled début album The Smiths.

A related video. (As if I needed an excuse to post it….)


*On second thought, Warhol would probably be irritated that someone else figured out a way to monetize the album jackets before he did.

 

Symmetry Breakfasts — Breakfast as an Art Form

One morning back in 2013, Michael Zee made breakfast for himself and his boyfriend, Mark. When he plated the meal, he noticed it was symmetrical, and took a picture of it with his IPhone.

That was the first of several hundred symmetrical breakfasts.

Zee, who was teaching at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, started posting the pictures to his Instagram feed, where they went viral. As I write this, he’s published images of 1,297 breakfasts, and has acquired almost 700,000 followers.

He still gets up by five every morning, to prepare an often elaborate and always beautiful meal. His breakfasts are literally works of art.

(Me, I’m not a morning person—I often get less done in a whole day than some people do before breakfast. If I have any breakfast at all, it’s either a warmed croissant with lots of Irish butter, or cereal with cream (real creamnot skimmed milk, not 2% milk), and some combination of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, golden raisins, and bananas, which some judgmental people have been known to describe as my “wake-up dessert.”)*

Last year Zee published a book called SymmetryBreakfast, which contains both gorgeous pictures of meals, and 100 of the recipes that produced them. You can see the full collection of Zee’s images on his Instagram feed at  Symmetrybreakfast.

All the photos here were found on the web.


*Ummmm, butter and cream. Gotta keep those cholesterol levels in the “Who wants to live forever?” territory.