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The UK culture minister has delayed issuing an export license on Rembrandt’s Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet (1657), which has been in the UK for over 250 years but was recently sold to a foreign buyer for £35m. The painting is particularly popular with the public because Hooghsaet, a wealthy Amsterdam woman, is shown with her pet parrot—who was named in her will—not her estranged husband.

Earlier this year, the Rembrandt was sold by the Douglas-Pennant family, whose home is Penrhyn Castle, a National Trust mansion in north Wales. The portrait had hung there since 1860.

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Aristophil, the scandal-hit French company that amassed the world’s largest private collection of manuscripts, has been liquidated and its stock will be put up for sale. The August 5 judgment in the Commercial Court, Paris, was based on its “complete insolvency”.

The company’s accounts were frozen in November 2014 by state prosecutors, who described Aristophil as a type of Ponzi scheme (in which existing investors are paid by new investors, rather than out of profits). A mansion owned by the company in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, was sold in July for around €28m, the proceeds of which went to Aristophil’s bank, Société Générale.

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Cheekwood is taking important first steps towards the historic restoration of its Mansion, which is slated to debut in 2017. Further building on its reputation as “one of the finest examples of an American Country Place Era estates in the nation,” Cheekwood will refurnish the lower levels of the Mansion to reflect the lifestyle and setting of the 1930s era; originally used by its first residents, Mabel and Leslie Cheek, and designed by legendary landscape and structural architect Bryant Fleming. Several rooms in the 1929 Cheek family home will be restored to furnishings and décor representative of the original period, including rooms that have never before been on view to the general public.

To spearhead this initiative, Cheekwood has hired Leslie B. Jones as its new Curator of Decorative Arts & Historic Interpretation, following her time as the Curator and Director of Historical Resources and Programming for the White House Historical Association in Washington, DC.

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Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:11

Ed Ruscha Exhibition Opens in Paris

Ed Ruscha’s art exudes humor and honesty. What you see is what you get. Subsequent viewings won’t reveal hidden depths in it. And they make you feel really good.

Perhaps, that’s the reason why Parisian art dealer Thomas Bompard asked several international art dealers to lend Galerie Gradiva works by Ruscha from their private collections to be displayed ‘just like at home,’ on the walls of an 18th-century private mansion opposite the Louvre. Larry Gagosian, Dominique Lévy, Enrico Navarra, Almine Rech and Paolo Vedovi accepted to play along.

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The Historic Districts Council, which can influence the city’s decisions but has no official role, has come out in opposition to the Frick Collection’s planned expansion, the council announced on Wednesday.

The council’s public review committee — which examines proposals for work on landmark buildings that are to come before the Landmarks Preservation Commission — said in a statement that the proposed expansion “will destroy the design intent of Thomas Hastings’ residential composition and John Russell Pope’s graceful museum transformation.”

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Damien Hirst the Turner Prize winning British artist has purchased one of London’s blingiest homes for a reported £34 million ($57 million). The mansion, a five story, 14 bedroom, white stuccoed building was designed by John Nash, in the Regency style of architecture. It was Commissioned in 1811 by the Prince Regent and located in the park of the same name. The Grade I listed building is set in a half-acre garden plot.

The former YBA has added this jewel to his property portfolio to complement his North Devon, 24 acre holdings where he plans to build a new town with 750 homes. The artist also owns the 19th century Toddington Manor which sports 300 rooms. Hirst, who has a reported £215 million in personal weath is  the most successful living artist of his generation.

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Friday, 11 October 2013 17:57

Historic Newport Mansion Heads to Auction

An historic mansion on Newport, RI’s famed Bellevue Avenue is scheduled to be sold via telephonic auction by noon on Saturday, October 19, 2013. Built in 1851, Swanhurst has an asking price of $4.4 million.

The contents of the mansion will be available at an estate sale being held from October 18 through the 20th from 9AM to 3PM. Offerings will include French and English antiques, fine art, furniture, decorative objects, tableware, silver, crystal, glassware and vintage clothing.

The mansion is being sold through California-based auction company, Premiere Estates. The 7,600-square-foot home was one of the first mansions built on Bellevue.

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Historic Deerfield’s President Philip Zea will lead a trip September 6-9, 2013 to view premier collections of antiques and decorative arts in Chicago and Milwaukee.

The trip includes special tours of five outstanding private collections and three remarkable area museums. Private collections include two top American decorative arts collections, an American folk art collection, Crab Tree Farm, and the MacLean Map and Book Collection. Special museum tours include the Art Institute of Chicago, Driehaus Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum and a presentation and private viewing at the Chipstone Foundation’s Fox Point Georgian mansion of the foundation’s founders Stanley and Polly Stone. You can register by calling 413-775-7176. A few slots are available. See for details.

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A fire broke out at an historic 17th century mansion in Paris on Wednesday, July 10, 2013, destroying artworks dating back hundred of years. The mansion, known as Hotel Lambert, was acquired by the Qatari royal family in 2007 and was in the midst of controversial renovations when the blaze took place. The fire devastated murals, paintings and frescoes by French luminaries such as Charles Le Brun (1619-1690).

The architect Louis Vau designed Hotel Lambert, which overlooks the Seine, in the 1640s for the wealthy financier, Nicolas Lambert. The mansion is considered one of the finest examples of mid-17th-century French architecture, boasting frescoes by Le Brun and other masters of the day including Eustache Le Sueur (1617-1655). In addition to its impressive interior, the Hotel Lambert was home to many powerful figures over the centuries including the philosopher, Voltaire. When the Qatari royal family purchased the mansion, critics feared that one of France’s historic gems would be destroyed, especially after the family revealed plans to renovate the estate.

Dozens of firefighters battled the blaze at the UNESCO-designated mansion for nearly six hours. The cause of the fire has not been determined and is still under investigation by police.

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Wednesday, 08 May 2013 02:20

Belair Mansion and Belair Stable Museum

Belair Mansion in Bowie, Maryland, was completed in 1747 for Maryland governor Samuel Ogle and his wife, Anne Tasker Ogle. Known by their contemporaries as tastemakers and avid horse enthusiasts, Belair originally functioned as a summer home, profitable tobacco plantation, stud farm, and comfortable retreat enjoyed by the likes of Benjamin Franklin. After falling out of Ogle hands in 1871 and into disrepair, Belair Mansion was rescued from ruin, in 1898, by the Woodwards, a New York banking family. They hired the famed architectural firm Delano & Aldrich update its infrastructure and appearance by adding plumbing and opposite wings between 1904 and 1914. Following the untimely 1955 death of the last Woodward owner, “Billy” Jr., the Mansion and estate were put up for sale. William J. Levitt, of Levittown fame, purchased the farm in 1957 and initially developed the land with an eye for profit rather than preservation. Later, Levitt honored the mansion’s historic value when he sold it to the City of Bowie for $1 so long as it remained in the public trust. Serving as the City Hall from 1964 to 1978, thereafter the mansion once again fell out of use but not the public eye. By 1980 a group of Bowie citizens created the Friends of the Belair Estate to assist the City of Bowie in raising funds to restore the structure to support a local museum.

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