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Man's Best Friend

 

A dog is a man's best friend? Well, if the animal's popularity is anything to go by, perhaps that's true; according to the American Kennel Club, there are more pet dogs in the USA than there are people in Britain.

The statement that Dog is man's best friend was first recorded as being made by Frederick, King of Prussia in 1789. Frederick referred to one of his Italian greyhounds as his best friend. The earliest citation in the U.S. is traced to a poem printed in the The New York Literary Journal, Volume 4, 1821:

The faithful dog - why should I strive
To speak his merits, while they live
In every breast, and man's best friend
Does often at his heels attend.

The 2016 San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show is a great place to make few new such friends.

From Antonio's Bella Casa
Left: Pair of rare circa 1840 Roman Carrara marble hounds. 
Right: Pair of  19th century hand-thrown English terracotta poodles on raised bases, from the East Hampton estate of Lee Radziwill

 

 

From Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge
Left: English  Berlin wool needlework picture of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, circa 1840-60
Right: Bradley and Hubbard Company, Meriden CT cast iron Boston Terrier  doorstop, circa 1920

 

 

From Lang Antiques and Estate Jewelry:
14K golden-coated Irish Setter pin

 

 

From Peter Fetterman Gallery:
Elliott Erwitt (United States, b. 1928)
New York, [Great Dane, Chihuahau & Boots], 1954
©Elliott Erwitt/Courtesy Peter Fetterman Gallery

 

Georg Jensen silver at Gallery 925

 

San Francisco's Gallery 925 offers a finely curated collection of pieces by Georg Jensen, fine antique and 20th century silver.

Owner Rachel Prater was introduced to Georg Jensen silver at the age of 11 when her mother took her to the Georg Jensen store on Madison Avenue in New York: 
“My vivid recollection was of being awestruck over the fantastic unique jewelry, modern sleek lines in silver with bold stones as well as the naturalistic designs of the Arts and Crafts era. Seeing the holloware with its "moonlight" glow just made my eyes glisten with joy. As we were leaving, my mother said, "This is not just silver to wear, use and enjoy: it is an art form, like fine sculpture." How right she was!”

Here are a few pieces currently on offer at Gallery 925:

Left: Georg Jensen sterling silver centerpiece bowl by Allan Scharff
Right: Georg Jensen modernist sterling silver candelabra by Soren Georg Jensen 1960

 

 

Left: Georg Jensen 830 silver large keepsake box from 1918
Middle: Georg Jensen sterling silver rose bonbonnière from 1919
Right: Georg Jensen 830 silver keepsake box with amber finial from 1918

 

Fabulous Felines

 

Felines in all shapes and sizes have been a popular object of adoration and fascination long before the internet came along. In ancient Egypt, cats were celebrated in hieroglyphic paintings, ceremonial objects, and famous monuments such as the Great Sphinx of Giza. They were even worshipped as deities with figurine images. In Greek and Roman art, cats were symbols of freedom and independence. They were commonly represented in mosaics, statues, paintings and tombstones.
Things took a turn for the worse in the Middle Ages, when cats (especially black ones) were often seen as symbols of evil or witchcraft in Europe and Colonial America. Their bad reputation did not travel to the East however: cats in China and Japan were happily portrayed in scenes of nature and daily life as woodblock prints. The Renaissance and Enlightenment brought hope for these elegant creatures, as well as eternal life - renowned masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Albrecht Durer, and Rembrandt included cats in their work.
In the 21st Century, it is clear that our fascination with the feline family endures. From the humble house cat to the roaring lion, from the fierce panther to the imposing tiger, cats large and small have been interpreted in just about every style and medium. Here are a few examples from the upcoming show:

From Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge:
A charming Dutch tin-glazed earthenware tile Picture of a cat, Makkum, 20th century. The six tile picture depicts a cat seated on its hind-quarters with its tail curled through its looking forward. 

 

 

From Antonio's Bella Casa:
A superb early 1600's Florentine Carrara marble lion fountain head, mounted on a custom iron stand.

 

 

From Antonio's Bella Casa:
A circa 1815 Roman wood sculpture of a lion on a faux-stone plinth, with a beautifully carved face and mane with vibrant 22k gold gilding. 

 

 

From Arader Galleries:
From left to right:
Felis Jaguarondi (The Yaguarundi), 1883
Felis Javanesis (the little red-spotted cat), 1883
Felis Viverrina (the fishing cat),1883
These magnificent cats are from one of the finest color plate works on mammals, one that describes and illustrates all the species of Cats known at the time of publication - Daniel Elliot’s work entitled A Monograph of the Felidae or Family of Cats.

 

 

From Los Angeles Fine Art Gallery:
Leopard Cubs by Cuthbert Edmund Swan, English School 1870-1931, oil on canvas, signed.

 

 

 

The Los Angeles Fine Art Gallery highlights early 20th century Belgian Art

 

Established in Los Angeles in 1979, the Los Angeles Fine Art Gallery has grown into one of the West Coast's premier art galleries. Its curators are specialists in Lowlands paintings with a specific interest in Belgian Art 1880-1930. Here are a few choice examples:

Jean Van Den Eeckhoudt (1875-1946) was a Belgian Realist, Post-Impressionist and Fauvist painter of portraits, figures, landscapes and still lifes. Van Den Eeckhoudt traveled numerous times to the South of France in 1905 and met with the French Fauvist painter Henri Matisse. This meeting meant the beginning of an evolution to Impressionism and later onto Fauvism with vibrant colors. 

Arbre devant la mer à Rocquebrune
Oil on canvas, signed. 24” x 29.5”, 35” x 40” framed.

 

 

Frans Gailliard (1861-1932) can be placed among the masters of Luminism alongside Emile Claus and Théo Van Rysselberghe. Early on in his career, Gailliard’s works were exhibited internationally, including in Paris, Venice, London and Barcelona. It was thanks to these experiences that he developed an intense friendship with Renoir. Fascinated by Renoir’s work, Gailliard departed from the Brussels academic style and adopted Impressionism.

Sur le lac
Gouache, signed. 42” x 45”, 48” x 51” framed.

 

 

Frans van Holder (1881-1919) was born  in Brussels, Belgium. A Post-impressionist painter, he is known for portraits, genre and landscapes. He studied with his father, A. Cluysenaar, and at the Academy de Saint-Gilles. Van Holder traveled to Italy (1905), Spain (1906) and Switzerland. His work is in the musea of Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges, and others.

A quiet corner of the garden
Oil on canvas, signed and dated 1918. 20” x 27.5”, 27” x 35” framed.

 

 

Maurice Wagemans (1877-1927) was a realist painter and draughtsman of landscapes, seascapes, still lifes and beach scenes. He received his artistic education at the Academy of Brussels from 1890 until 1895 under the tutorship of Jean Portaels and Jean Stallaert. He completed his studies in Paris together with Alfred Bastien and Frans Smeers, where he was influenced by the works of Henri Fantin-Latour and Edouard Manet. Wagemans debuted at the Salon of "Le Sillon" in 1900 and received his great breakthrough in 1902 at the "Salon of Ghent" for his work "La Dame en gris". He participated in the famous exhibition of Galerie Georges Giroux in Brussels in 1912. His painting evolved under the influence of Marcel Jefferys and Rik Wouters toward a more luminist Impressionism. 

Still-life with poppies
Oil on canvas, signed. 28” x 24”, 39” x 35” framed.

 

Joel Cooner presents The Inspiration

 

Painting in the style of the Old Renaissance Masters, Nova Scotia-based artist Lindee Climo's inspiration springs from the farm animals that she has always surrounded herself with and raised. The subjects are surrogates of well known religious or historic scenes in which animals take the place of the existing figures and the result becomes an often irresistible, sometimes humorous event.

The Joel Cooner Gallery is proud to bring to this year's show her work The Inspiration (After Nicolas Poussin, Inspiration of the Poet, 1630).
Year: 1995
Medium: oil on canvas
Size: 41 x 36 inches
In Joel's words: 
This is a terrific painting, heraldic and romantic, well exhibited in two museum shows and published in an exhibition catalogue by Salomon Grimberg (Current expert of Frida Kahlo and Leonora Carrington).

 

 

As the artist herself explains: “To my mind, there is not a lot of difference between growing a living thing and painting it, in terms of overall conscious plan, time, and the time after. Both undertakings always override the plan because creativity, nature, and accident exist, and they both demand time without limits if the project is from the heart. After a living thing is grown and after a living thing is painted, there is always the need to do it again just a little differently, or a lot differently, but always to do it again. For me, seeing growth makes life meaningful.”

Are Unicorns Real?

 

The unicorn is a legendary creature that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a large, pointed, spiraling horn projecting from its forehead. Unicorns are not found in Greek mythology, but rather in the accounts of natural history, for Greek writers of natural history were convinced of the reality of unicorns, which they located in India, a distant and fabulous realm for them.

In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horse-like or goat-like animal with a long horn and cloven hooves (sometimes a goat's beard). In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature, a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin. In the encyclopedias its horn was said to have the power to render poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. In fact, in medieval and Renaissance times, the tusk of the narwhal was sometimes sold as unicorn horn.

These lovely creatures – real or not – are beautifully represented on the center panel of this Pennsylvania German dower chest, dated 1778. 
Dealer Roberto Freitas describes:
This chest was made for Johannes, or "Hannes", Derr, one of Berks County's earliest pewterers, and was passed to his son Peter Derr, who worked in iron, brass and copper. James F. Spears first recorded this chest and the other furnishings of the Derr family house in Berks County in his book “The House of Derr”. In that volume, Spears interpreted the numerous religious and mythological symbols of the chest. He suggested that the five panels represent the fifth Sunday following Epiphany; Matthew, 17th chapter states "Let us make here three tabernacles, one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias." The center panel depicts unicorns rearing up for battle in front of an "olaf baum" or olive tree, the symbol of peace. Most other chests of this period substitute a tulip tree for the olive tree. Spears notes that the painting of the outer front panels depicts tulip trees supporting the orange-crimson flowery crowns of royalty, and that in this detail the chest is "peculiarly singular, for unlike any other known chests, it very definitely links Germanic Pennsylvania with the House of Orange and Brunswick" (p. 84). The date of 1778 is also pertinent to the painted decoration, as this was the year the coat-of-arms of the State of Pennsylvania, designed by Caleb Lownes, was adopted. The motifs are very similar, and the state seal depicts two horses rearing up against a shield with an olive branch and corn stalk.
Close parallels to the symbols and painted motifs are found in other area decorative arts, including stove plates, textiles, and other dower chests. This chest relates closely to several other chests found in the vicinity of the Derr house and of Belleman's Church in Tulpehocken Township. 

 

 

From Lang Antique and Estate Jewelry, we see fine jewelry depictions of this legendary animal.
On the left: a magical mythical unicorn brooch crafted in rich 18 karat yellow gold. The unicorn is serenely seated with a luxurious textured coat. A small diamond adds a little sparkle as well as tiny ruby eyes.
One the right: a richly detailed and beautifully crafted whimsical unicorn pin sparkling with 2.00 carats of round brilliant-cut diamonds and an emerald eye. 

 

 

A recent study, published in the American Journal of Applied Sciences proves that unicorns did actually exist — though, not as pretty horses with pearly white manes, wings, and horns. Thanks to a newly discovered skull fossil found in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan, we now know that the unicorn - or "Elasmotherium sibiricum" - roamed the planet roughly 29,000 years ago and looked more like a rhinoceros than a horse. Bottom line? Unicorns are real!

 

Birds of a Feather...

 

Birds of a feather flock together – at least at The San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show they do, as there will be bird depictions in just about every art, medium and style. From the wise owl, sacred to the Greek goddess of learning Athena and a symbol of status, intelligence and wealth, to the statuesque eagle, representing freedom, victory and spiritual quest, there's something here for just about every budding ornithologist. Here's just a few examples:

From epoca:
A well-executed circa 1980 American bronze head of an eagle, signed Charles Beecham (1922- 2012), with listed works in the Smithsonian Art Museums. The turned head and regal gaze with forceful curved bill above a well delineated plumed body along with the warm patination to the surface make for an excellent and iconic piece.

 

From Lebreton Gallery:
A selection of pieces by renowned French artists François-Xavier Lalanne (1927–2008).
On the left: Oiseau d'Argent, a lighted brushed aluminum table with folding wings. circa 1990. Signed. Edited by Artcurial, Paris. 
In the middle: Pigeons, a pair of brushed aluminum candle holder birds, circa 1990. Signed, Edited by Artcurial - Paris.
On the right:
Grande Cocotte and Petite Cocotte, black stoneware cache-pots, circa 1990.

 

From American Garage:
A late 19th century exceptional one-of-a-kind folky full-bodied hand-formed tin cockerel rooster weathervane with a cookie cutter crown, exaggerated beak and flamboyant tail, all in original red, white and blue surface. 

 

From Antonio's Bella Casa:
A signed 1964 Modernist bronze sculpture of a crow by German-born American artist Bruno Groth (1905-1992). Exceptional patina and tremendously expressive. 

 

 

From Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelry: 
On the left is a delightful owl brooch, a gorgeous example of French fin-de-siècle jewelry. Its nuanced design deftly balances naturalism and sleek stylistic interpretation. Finely fashioned, each of the huge eyes is a brilliant white 1.0 carat diamond.
On the right is a one-of-a-kind 1950's Cazzaniga brooch featuring a whimsical bird sitting on a flowering branch set with a 12.5 carat cabochon sapphire as its body and a 2.0 carat cabochon ruby as its head. Superb hand-work combining four different colors of gold in varied textures and finishes demonstrate the sophistication of Cazzaniga’s metal work. Four pear-shaped rubies accented by fine white diamonds make up the floral elements on the branch, and additional brilliant diamonds adorn the plumage. 

Native American Horse Fetish from Jeff Bridgman

 

Fetishes are Native American representations of animal symbols, typically carved of wood, stone, antler, shell, or bone. The particular animal chosen represents the spirit of the animal or forces of nature. Usually made for good luck and possibly carried for personal protection, they may also have been made to bring good harvest or success on the hunt, or to diagnose or cure illness, and may have been used in ceremonial initiations.

Made circa 1880-90, this particular fetish is pieced and sewn from hide and cloth in the form of a horse, decorated with beadwork in patriotic colors that includes American flag imagery. Patriotic symbols are quite unusual on a fetish. Perhaps this one was made by an Indian for a white soldier. Generally it was mounted cavalry that served in the west and there was much alignment between certain native Americans and the white man. In the Indian language of symbolism with regard to fetishes, the horse was a healer, so the selection of this figure may have served dual purpose.

Calling all Lepidopterists

 

A person who collects and studies butterflies is a lepidopterist. Lepidopterology - also lepidoptery - is the branch of zoology dealing with both butterflies and moths. Lepidopterists capture butterflies, which are then euthanized in jars with chloroform and pinned to a display board that is typically made of foam or cork. The wings of the insects are extended for best viewing of shapes and colors and carefully fastened to the board with long, thin pins, much like needles. The butterflies are then labeled, often with both their scientific names and common names, and the board is placed in a display cabinet to preserve the insects.
While this branch of entomology is entirely legit, there are more cruelty-free ways of appreciating the beauty of these fascinating creatures, made even more poignant by their often too-short lifespan. Case in point: these amazing butterfly pins, which will be on display this coming October.

 

Victorian Butterfly Brooch (left)
from Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry
Crafted in silver over yellow gold, this colorful Victorian butterfly brooch is adorned with beautiful gem-set wings and body. Sapphires, rubies, rose-cut diamonds, and pearls all glisten throughout the openwork piece, topped off with tiny emerald eyes. A delightful nature-inspired jewel, circa 1885, with a 1 3/8 inch wingspan.

Antique Butterfly Brooch (right)
from Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry
Spring is always here with this delightful and very colorful butterfly brooch, hand fabricated, circa 1890, in silver over gold with a glittering array of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and a golden zircon in the center. She boasts a 2 inch wing span and the pin is removable so it can be worn as a pendant necklace. Not unusual, there is one garnet and a few synthetic stones mixed in.

Georgian Agate Butterfly
from Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry
A wonderful antique butterfly pin composed of multi-colored agates in subdued earth tones enhanced with delicate granulation work around the edges. A lepidopterist's dream. 1 1/2 inches across by 1 1/4 inch tall.

Sapphire & Diamond Butterfly Brooch
from 66Mint – Fine Estate Jewelry
18Kt Blackened White Gold Butterfly Brooch with a total of 3.71cts of Earth tone Colored Sapphires and 9 Diamond Accents for a total approximate weight of 0.18cts. Brooch weighs 9.3 grams, and measures 1.5″ wide x .75″ tall.

Circa 1890s, American, Antique Diamond & Enamel Butterfly Brooch
from Lawrence Jeffrey Estate Jewelers
This extraordinary 14k antique diamond and enamel butterfly brooch is a superlative example of American Art Nouveau jewelry. Glowing enamel and bright white diamonds adorn the textured gold wings of this naturalistic pin. 

Private Collections Art Tour Gets Ready for Another Great Year

 

This March, seven of San Francisco's most notable art collectors will open their homes to the public for Private Collections, an annual spring art tour benefiting Enterprise for High School Students. Private Collections, now in its 16th year, offers a chance to experience prestigious art collections brought to life through the context of dwelling and through stories of the relationships collectors have developed with the artists, gallerists and curators.

A group on a home tour during Private Collections 2014

Lenore Pereira and Richard Niles' collection of contemporary works by women artists kicks off the event with the Masterpiece tour. Their home, designed by Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects, has won architectural design awards. Reflecting the Niles family's strong feminist culture, their collection includes work by Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Sue Williams, Roni Horn, Tracy Emin and Jenny Holzer as well as local and emerging artists. 

After the Masterpiece tour, ticket holders will gather at Stephanie Breitbard Fine Arts gallery in Jackson Square for a lovely evening of wine and hors d'oeuvres in celebration of Private Collections and Enterprise for High School Students.

On March 16th, ticket holders will take a tour of one of six of the following house collections: Clare and Dan Carlevaro; David Fraze and Gary Loeb; Kate Harbin and Adam Clammer; Ann Hatch and Paul Discoe; Jessica Silverman and Sarah Thornton; and Kirsten Wolfe and Andrew Brown. The collections offer a breadth of genres, including contemporary prints, Bay Area Figurative works, photography, 20th century Modern masters and concept-driven art by emerging artists.

Private Collections 2011, The Francis Mill Collection, sculpture by Manuel Neri

After the tours, art enthusiasts come together for a party at Ascent Private Capital Management of U.S. Bank. Their stunning space exhibits a revolving art collection curated by gallerist Elizabeth Leach. Their current exhibit celebrates the Bay Area's rich tradition of fine art printmaking by highlighting three highly regarded local presses: Magnolia Editions, Paula Bott Press, and Crown Point Press. Recent collections at Ascent include works by David Hockney, Jim Dine, Alex Katz, Peter Phillips and Andy Warhol.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.privatecollections.org

Private Collections 2015

2016 Honorary Chair, Jay Jeffers, at a Private Collections party.

Private Collections 2011

Patrons at Private Collections 2015

Private Collections 2014. The Francis Mill Collection

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