Seen on the sidewalk on my way to lunch:
“The Far Side” website, which will post a “Daily Dose” of Gary Larson’s classic cartoons, launched yesterday. The site includes weekly sets of themed strips and doodles from Larson’s sketchbooks.
Best of all, Larson told the New York Times that “I’m looking forward to slipping in some new things every so often.”
If you’re familiar with Larson and “The Far Side”, I don’t need to say anything more.
If you’re not, click that link right now! You won’t be disappointed.
You may be wondering why this post isn’t loaded with examples of Gary Larson’s brilliant art. It’s because I’m honouring the artist’s wishes, which he explains in A Letter From Gary Larson on the new website.
Oscar Wilde’s last words, as he lay dying in a shabby Parisian hotel, were “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.” At least that’s the official story, and who would want to question it.
Oscar Wilde has been dead since 1900, but the hotel, known simply as L’Hôtel, still exists. Wilde wouldn’t recognize it, though. It has been massively upgraded and enhanced, and now rates five stars and boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant (currently closed for renovation).
The wallpaper has been replaced, too.
If you’re in Paris in mid-April—which means you’re already living a charmed life—you can spend a night in the 35 sqm (377 sqft) Oscar Wilde Suite, for as little as €766 ($848). I can’t embed the hotel’s video tour of the suite, but you can watch it here.
All images from L’Hôtel.
For decades, this 8½ x 11painting hung over a hotplate in a kitchen in Compiègne, a small city north of Paris. It had been in the family so long that the 90-year-old woman who lived in the house said she had no idea where the painting had come from or how it had come into the family’s hands.
Last summer, the woman decided to sell the house and move, so she called in an auctioneer to assess whether anything in the house was salable. Everything else would be hauled off to the dump.
Philomène Wolf, representing the Actéon auction house, noticed the painting immediately. She thought it was a work of Italian primitivism, and urged the owner to get an expert evaluation. If she was correct, the little painting might be worth as much as €400,000.
Infrared reflectography confirmed the age of the painting and identified the painter. It was part of a work created in 1280, and it was painted by Cimabue, the 13th-century Florentine painter who is known as the forefather of the Italian Renaissance.
Last Sunday, the painting, now known as “Christ Mocked”, was sold at an auction outside Paris for more than €24,000,000—the highest price ever for a medieval painting.
According to The Guardian, “About 100 other objects from the house were sold for around €6,000 and the remaining furniture and decorations were disposed of at the local dump.”
Here’s a bit more by and about Fallen Fruit, aka David Allen Burns and Austin Young, who created the fantastic wallpaper for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s “FOOD: Bigger than the Plate” exhibition, which runs through 20 October 2019. The artists drew their inspiration from images in the V&A’s massive collection of prints.
Here’s a video from the artists:
And here’s a PDF containing 321 pages about Fallen Fruits’ larger, long-range goals, notes on the V&A show, and lots of amateur collages.
The image above is a detail from “Fruits from the Garden and Field (Rainbow)”, by David Burns and Austin Young. It was commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum to celebrate the museum’s current exhibition, “FOOD: Bigger than the Plate”. The V&A’s shop is offering gorgeous, limited edition prints of some of the work.
From the exhibition notes:
“For over 175 years preceding the museum’s inception, the grounds of the V&A were filled with fruit trees as part of a historic nursery that supplied gardens across the country. Artists David Burns and Austin Young (Fallen Fruit) have foraged depictions of British fruit from the V&A collection, bringing this rich heritage back to the site once more. The artists invite us to experience the city as a fruitful place, presenting fruit as a catalyst to re-imagine the city as generous and productive and to explore the meaning of community through creating and sharing new and abundant resources.”
Here’s a compressed version of the full print. Enbiggen it as large as you can to get a hint of the amazing detail of the original work.
As I write this, the V&A site says that only six prints from the limited edition of 100 are still available.
It’s big, and it’s not cheap. The actual print is 60 by 20 inches. The price is £350 ($427), and shipping is another £30 ($37).* It comes unframed, and given its size, getting it framed will probably cost about as much as a small car.
Stunning, isn’t it?
The V&A is also selling other prints from the same artists, in limited editions of 250. These prints are 33 by 24 inches and cost £175 ($214).
Here’s a scene from the exhibition. I don’t think the curators planned for the wallpaper to dominate the room, but with that background, who can focus on anything else?
The show runs through Sunday, 20 October 2019.
*I did a little research when I was checking the rate of exchange. The British pound trades for about $1.22 right now, and it’s been declining for the last decade.
If you’d bought the print for £350 five years ago, when the pound was at $1.68, it would have cost you $588. The rate of exchange was even worse for Americans before the 2008 economic disaster, when the pound hovered around $2.00. That £350 price would have been the equivalent of $700. Viewed that way, you could claim that you’d actually be saving $273 compared to the 2008 price, and if you repeated that statement enough times, it might actually sound believable.
Or you could wait until a few weeks after Brexit when you’ll probably be able to get the print in exchange for a couple of chocolate bars and a pair of stockings.