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The Norton Museum of Art announces the opening of the exhibition, "Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast." Essentially a hip, visual history of the evolution of fashion photography, the exhibition runs through Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. The Norton is the first (and at this time) only venue in the U.S. where the public can see what Norton curator of photography Tim B. Wride describes as, “this visually stunning and historically important show.”

Originating in Europe, culled from the Condé Nast archives, and organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis/Paris/Lausanne, "Coming into Fashion" includes 150 stellar images created by 80 of the world’s most renowned fashion photographers during a period of nearly 100 years. Most of these images appeared in the popular magazines, "Vogue," "Glamour," "Vanity Fair," and "W."

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that it will rename its famed Costume Institute for Anna Wintour, the Editor in Chief of ‘Vogue’ and Conde Nast’s Artistic Director. Wintour has been a trustee of the museum since 1999 and has raised approximately $125 million for the Costume Institute alone. In addition, she helped collect enough funds to facilitate the Institute’s two-year renovation, which cost approximately $40 million.

The Anna Wintour Costume Center will open on May 8 and will include a renovated 4,200-square-foot main gallery, an updated costume conservation lab, and expanded study and storage facilities. 

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The Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. announced that they have acquired 100 photographs from The Irving Penn Foundation. Irving Penn, one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, revolutionized fashion photography and was also well known for his still lifes and portraits that frequently appeared in Vogue.

The recently acquired photographs include rare, mostly unpublished works from the late 1930s and 1940s, images of post-war Europe and iconic portraits of celebrated figures such as Agnes de Mille, Langston Hughes and Truman Capote. The collection also includes commercial photography, self-portraits and some of Penn’s most recognizable fashion images. Penn had donated 61 photographs, spanning from 1944 to 1986, to the Smithsonian during his lifetime. He also gifted 60 works to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in 1990.

To celebrate the acquisition and the expansion of the Smithsonian’s Penn holdings, the museum will organize a touring exhibition of approximately 160 works that will open at the Smithsonian in the fall of 2015.

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Saturday, 25 June 2011 00:45

Suddenly, Lalique Is Back in Vogue

The French luxury-glass maker Lalique has gone through three different owners in the past two decades, and its collection of design drawings and products, some dating back more than a century, ended up somewhat neglected in the shuffle. They have rarely been kept on regular view at the factory or the corporate offices.

Lalique’s current owner, Art & Fragrance, a Swiss company headed by the perfume magnate Silvio Denz, has helped create an all-Lalique museum that opens on July 2. French government agencies worked with Art & Fragrance to set up the Musée Lalique, with a dozen galleries built atop a ruined 18th-century glassworks in Wingen-sur-Moder, France, a village in Alsace near Lalique’s manufacturing plant.

About 650 artifacts are arranged by form and function, including vases, enameled floral jewelry and church windows molded with translucent saints.

Mr. Denz has lent about 230 of his own perfume bottles, including an 1890s teardrop-shaped vessel that the company’s founder, René Lalique, molded at the kitchen stove of his Paris apartment. His experiments caused a fire that devastated his home, but he was able to salvage the bottle.

The museum has recreated a 1930s glass fountain with leaping fish, and the roof beams have been reinforced to support a spiky chandelier from the 1950s that weighs about two tons.

Some of the material on display came from a 2005 Paris auction of the estate of Marie-Claude Lalique, René’s granddaughter, who died in 2003. (She had sold her share of the company to a French corporation about a decade earlier.)

Other recent sales of Lalique material have been held at Christie’s in London, which has organized all-Lalique auctions twice a year for two decades, and at Heritage Auctions in New York, which started annual art glass sales in 2009.

Prices reach six figures for the more imposing pieces. Last week at Sotheby’s in New York, a five-foot-long 1920s ceiling fixture molded with pineapples and pomegranates brought $254,500. (The estimate was $150,000 to $250,000.) A milky rectangle, the piece hangs from cylinders shaped like bamboo stalks; René Lalique created the design for the dining room of a prince’s palace in Tokyo.

The ranks of Lalique buyers have been growing lately, particularly in China and Korea, said Nicholas Dawes, Heritage’s vice president for special collections. “There are very few French collectors, oddly enough,” he added.

Many American collectors have donated their Lalique to museums in recent years and have financed acquisitions, and a handful of institutions keep their holdings on long-term view. At the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va., a few dozen vessels are on the gallery shelves, including vases with fish, feather and mermaid patterns. In October a new wing at the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will display about 30 Lalique objects. The Chazen goblets, vases and perfume bottles are molded with pine needles, grapes, butterflies, scarabs, parakeets and grasshoppers.


In the 18th century European diplomats gave one another porcelain snuffboxes with jeweled gold rims as rewards for loyalty in political alliances. The givers knew that the boxes were more likely to be put on display than filled with snuff, and that the jewels might well be removed and sold in hard economic times.

“This was a ceremonial gesture more than something for use,” said Nette Megens, a European ceramics specialist at Bonhams in London.

On July 5 the auction house will offer about 75 snuffboxes made in the 18th and 19th centuries, some with plain metal frames added later to replace originals encrusted with garnets and rubies.

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