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Tuesday, 17 February 2015 11:19

The Norton Museum Celebrates the Art of Tea

The act of drinking tea may be universal, but the art, culture and tradition surrounding it differs from one society to another. Tea pots, for instance, can be plain, or extremely ornate — and everything in between — depending on where you come from. In China, Korea, and Japan, the practice of drinking tea began in monasteries before spreading to the secular upper class. 

Introduced to British royalty in the 1660s meanwhile, tea-drinking became popular with the masses by the early 1700s, thanks largely to Thomas Twining, founder of Twinings of London. Exploring the beverage’s influence on art and culture around the globe, is an interesting exhibition opening this month at the Norton Museum of Art, with 182 objects spanning 1,200 years from the 700s to the 1900s.

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American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe will open at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on August 17, 2013. The exhibition will draw from MoMA’s extensive collection of American art made between 1915 and 1950. Using some of the finest paintings, drawings, prints, photographs and sculptures from the period, American Modern will illustrate the evolution of society and culture during the first half of the 20th century.

Subjects explored in the exhibition will include urban and rural landscapes, scenes of industry, still lifes and portraiture. Works by modern art masters such as George Bellows, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz and Andrew Wyeth will be arranged thematically.

American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe will be on view at MoMA through January 26, 2014.

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On Friday, July 19, 2013, the Museum of Modern Art in New York will present Walker Evans American Photographs. The exhibition celebrates the 75th anniversary of MoMA’s first one-person photography show, which featured Walker Evans’ work. The landmark exhibition was accompanied by an equally revered publication of images, which will be rereleased for this show.

Through his groundbreaking exhibition and publication, which he painstakingly assembled, Evans created a collective portrait of the United States from the late-1920s to the mid-1930s. Using the signs and symbols of commercial culture and vernacular, Evans captured a truly pivotal period in American history.

The exhibition is split into two sections – the first focuses on the portrayal of American society through images of individuals and social context, while the second consists of images of American cultural artifacts such as rural churches, wooden houses and the architecture of Main streets across the country.

Walker Evans American Photographs will be on view at MoMA through January 26, 2014.  

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Tuesday, 05 February 2013 00:47

The Preservation Society of Newport County

Newport, Rhode Island, retains more of the imprint of each successive era of American history, more thoroughly preserved, than anywhere else in the United States. The people who live here, and even those who just come to visit, seem to develop fervor for the place. Can one small town on a small island in the smallest state be that significant?

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Opening on Sunday, December 16 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Portrait of Spain: Masterpieces from the Prado, will present over 100 masterpieces from one of the world’s most renowned collections of European paintings. Spanning from the 16th century through the 19th century, the exhibit explores the evolution of painting in Spain through the works of artists such as Francisco de Goya (1746-1828), El Greco (1541-1614), and Diego Velázquez (1599-1660). There will also be works on view by non-Spanish artists who influenced the country’s artistic development including Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804), and Titian (circa 1488-1576).

The exhibition marks the first time that Madrid’s Museo Nacional del Prado has lent such a considerable selection from their permanent collection to a museum in the United States. The loan is part of a new initiative by the museum to broaden access to its illustrious holdings.

The works, which include both paintings and works on paper, are mainly courtly and spiritual paintings that explore the realms of society, culture, politics, and religion in Spain. The exhibit was previously on view at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, Australia, but ended its run last month. Portrait of Spain will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston through March 31.

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Before her death in 2007, Brooke Astor was a fixture in New York City’s elite inner circle. A tireless philanthropist and champion of the arts, Astor left behind a legacy marked by kindness, generosity, and good taste.

Sotheby’s has announced an auction of the contents of two of Astor’s estates – her legendary Park Avenue duplex and her country estate, Holly Hill, in Briarcliff Manor, NY. A total of 901 items including European and Asian furnishings, Old Master paintings, Qing Dynasty paintings, tea sets, silverware, jewelry, a porcelain menagerie, and over 100 dog paintings will head to the auction block September 24–25. Per Astor’s request, proceeds from the sale will go to the institutions and causes she held dear including the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bronx Zoo, Central Park, the Animal Medical Center of New York, New York City’s public school system, and a number of charities in Maine. Sotheby’s expects the sale to bring in between $6 and $9 million for the entire collection.

An icon of New York society and refinement, Astor spent her final years suffering from dementia. After her death at 105, her estate remained in limbo due a family dispute that lasted five years. The feud ended in March of 2012 and $100 million of Astor’s estate was freed for her charities. The amount going to Anthony Marshall, her only son, was cut by more than half as he was convicted of taking advantage of his mother’s deteriorating mental state and altering her will to his advantage.

Among the most coveted of Astor’s pieces that will be headed to Sotheby’s are an Imperial Chinese gilt-bronze lion clock slated to bring in around $180,000–$220,000 and an emerald and diamond necklace with earrings estimated at $280,000– $390,000 for both.

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