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Displaying items by tag: artifacts

Qiang Wang aka Jeffrey Wang pleaded guilty to smuggling artifacts made from rhinoceros horns from the United States to China. Wang, a 34-year-old antiques dealer based in New York City, was arrested in February 2013 as part of Operation Crash, a nationwide, multiagency crackdown on the illegal rhinoceros trade.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says Wang pleaded guilty to wildlife smuggling conspiracy on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 in New York. Bharara added that Wang used fake U.S. Customs documents to smuggle packages containing libation cups carved from rhinoceros horns into Hong Kong and China. Wang will be sentenced on October 25, 2013 and could spend up to five years in prison.

Over 90% of the wild rhinoceros population has been slaughtered illegally since the 1970s, mainly because of the price their horns can bring. U.S. and international laws currently protect endangered rhinos.

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The Croydon Council, a local authority in south London, will sell 24 antique Chinese ceramic vases, bowls and bottles to benefit the redevelopment of Fairfield Halls, a 50-year-old arts center in the area. Local businessman Raymond Riesco gifted the valuable objects to the Council in 1959 as part of a 230-piece collection of artifacts that included Ming dynasty bowls. The 206 objects retained by the Council will remain on view for the public.

The decision to break up the collection has drawn criticism from the museum sector. David Anderson, president of the Museum Association, told the BBC, “Croydon’s decision to sell valuable Chinese ceramics threatens not just its own reputation, but that of the museum sector as a whole. It would undermine the widespread public trust in museums and I strongly urge them to reconsider.”

Arts Council England has also voiced opposition to the sale and penned a letter to the Croydon Council earlier this month warning them that their decision was not in line with English museum standards.

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Thursday, 25 July 2013 18:28

The Newport Antiques Show Opens to the Public

The Newport Antiques Show, which is organized by the Newport Historical Society, will kick off July 25, 2013 with a gala preview. The show will open to the public on Friday, July 26 and run through Sunday, July 28. Established in 2007, the highly anticipated show presents an impressive selection of Americana, paintings, furniture, folk art, jewelry, and decorative arts.

Exhibitors at this year’s show include William Vareika Fine Arts Ltd., Oriental Rugs Ltd., Roberto Freitas American Antiques & Decorative Arts, The Cooley Gallery, Diana H. Bittel Antiques and Arader Galleries. The 2013 loan exhibit, Windows on the Past: Four Centuries of Historic New England, highlights the artifacts and 36 historic sites that make up the largest, oldest and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the country.

The Newport Antiques Show, which is held at St. George’s School in Middletown, RI, benefits the Newport Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Club of Newport County.

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French lawyer Pierre Servan-Schreiber may have been unable to stop the sale of artifacts belonging to Arizona’s Hopi tribe, but he did gift one object back to the indigenous group. Servan-Schreiber worked pro bono to halt an auction of 70 Hopi masks at Paris’ Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou auction house but was ultimately unsuccessful. The auction garnered $1.2 million despite the legal feud and opposition from people such as Robert Redford.

Amidst allegations of misconduct, the French auction house maintained that the artifacts had been acquired legally from a French collector. However, the Hopis asserted that the masks were ritual and spiritual objects, not meant for selling as art objects.

Servan-Schreiber bought an object known as a “Katsinam” for $9,000. He told the New York Times that, “It is my way of telling the Hopi that we only lost a battle and not the war.” Relatives of the French singer Jules Dassin also acquired a Katsinam at the auction and plan to return it to the Hopis later this year.

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The Fenimore Museum of Art in Cooperstown, NY is currently hosting the exhibition Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision. The show presents a number of important works by key figures in the movement including Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902), Thomas Cole (1801-1848), Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), Jasper F. Cropsey (1823-1900) and Asher Durand (1796-1886). Nature and the American Vision was organized by the New-York Historical Society and made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts.

The exhibition aims to communicate the Hudson River School artists’ fascination with the American landscape. The mid-19th century movement was influenced by romanticism and is defined by its paintings that celebrate nature’s sublimity and exude an almost ethereal quality. Many Hudson River School painters regarded nature as an indefinable manifestation of God, which strongly influenced the movement’s aesthetic qualities.

Hudson River School: Nature and the American Vision will be on view at the Fenimore Museum of Art through September 29, 2013. The Fenimore, which is operated by the New York State Historical Association, specializes in American Folk Art, Indian art and artifacts, 19th century genre painting and American photography.

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Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum, which houses a vast collection of paintings, sculptures, art objects, and artifacts from around the world and throughout the ages, has joined forces with Stanford University Libraries to digitize its medieval manuscript collection. The Walters plans to make the works available online and has reached an agreement with Stanford Libraries to give over 100,000 high-resolution images of its manuscripts to the University’s Digital Repository.

While the original manuscripts will remain at the Walters Museum, the high-resolution images will be accessible to scholars around the world so that they can analyze the works and compare them with manuscripts in other locations.

The Walters Art Museum currently has 850 medieval illuminated manuscripts and 150 single leaves, which range in date from the 9th to the 19th century; it is one of the most significant collections of medieval manuscripts in North America.

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The exhibition Photography and the Civil War, which is now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, brings together over 200 photographs of the American Civil War. Spread across 11 galleries, the landmark exhibition also includes photographic artifacts and objects from the time period. The portraits of young soldiers, promotional images of political candidates, and landscapes of the blood-soaked battlefields come together to tell the story of a violent four-year war that transformed America forever.

From 1861 until 1865, the American Civil War claimed 750,000 lives and Photography and the Civil War aims to examine the role of photography during this devastating conflict. Organized by the Met’s senior curator, Jeff L. Rosenheim, the exhibition includes loans from renowned private and public collections.

Photography and the Civil War will be on view at the Met through September 2, 2013.

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Thursday, 04 April 2013 17:57

Shelburne Museum to Stay Open Year-Round

On August 18, 2013 the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT will open its new Center for Art and Education. Historically a seasonal museum, the Shelburne will stay open year-round after the Center’s inauguration for the first time in the institution’s 66-year history.

The Center for Art and Education, which was designed by the Boston-based architecture firm, Ann Beha Architects, boasts 18,000-square-feet and will allow the Shelburne Museum to expand their exhibition offerings as well as implement new programming. The Center is part of the $14 million capital campaign “The Campaign for Shelburne Museum.” The campaign includes an endowment to maintain the center as well as the installation of a fiber-optic communications network throughout the Shelburne’s site, which spans 45 acres.

Founded by pioneering American folk art collector Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888-1960) in 1947, the Shelburne Museum holds one of the most remarkable and diverse collections of art and Americana. The museum’s 150,000 holdings include Impressionist paintings, folk art, quilts, textiles, decorative arts, furniture, American paintings, and various artifacts dating from the 17th to 20th century, which are exhibited in 39 different buildings. Webb collected various 18th and 19th century structures including houses, barns, a lighthouse, a jail, and a steamboat to house her collection; 25 of the buildings are historic.

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As part of its Civil War in America exhibition, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. is exhibiting the John Hay copy of the Gettysburg Address through May 4, 2013. The manuscript went on view on March 22, 2013 in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. Admission is free and open to the public Mondays through Saturdays.

The Gettysburg Address is one of the best-known speeches in American history. Delivered by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, PA, the Gettysburg Address took place four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg, which saw the largest number of causalities in the Civil War, is often considered the war’s turning point. Widely recognized as a literary masterpiece, the Gettysburg Address conveys in some 270 words the principles upon which the nation was founded, honors the men who had lost their lives in battle, and asks all citizens to renew their commitment to freedom and democracy.

The John Hay copy of the Address is the second of five known manuscript drafts. Lincoln personally gave the copy to Hay, one of his two secretaries. His other secretary, John Nicolay, is believed to have the first draft, known as the Nicolay copy. Hay’s descendants donated the Hay and Nicolay copies of the Gettysburg Address to the Library of Congress in 1916.

Civil War in America, which opened on November 12 2012, commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and includes diaries, letters, maps, song sheets, newspapers, photographs, drawings, and artifacts that reveal the complexity of the Civil War through the individuals who experience it firsthand. The exhibition is on view through January 1, 2014.

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Tuesday, 05 March 2013 15:00

Stone Sculpture Found in Rubble in Brooklyn

A stone sculpture of what appears to be a goddess was uncovered in Brooklyn, NY last summer at the site of an old spice warehouse hub. Local developer, Two Trees Management Company, discovered the sculpture while building a mixed-use tower at the location.

The armless nude who measures about three feet tall and weighs approximately 400 pounds, was trapped in demolition debris from the mid-20th century. Excavating equipment damaged the sculpture, affectionately named Ginger, before anyone noticed it. Other artifacts such as 18th century foundation stones and pottery shards were also found at the site.

Experts believe that Ginger could have originally served as a garden ornament, brothel advertisement or ship ballast and that the sculptor was most likely not formally trained. Scientists will analyze Ginger this spring in hopes of learning more about the artwork’s maker and age. Until then, Ginger will remain on view at the Two Trees headquarters.

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