Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Picasso Comprehensive

Artdaily: "Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, A Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue"

Picasso's Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture, A Comprehensive Illustrated Catalogue 1885-1973 will be published in January 2008 by Alan Wofsy Fine Arts LLC.

This series of catalogues, directed by the late Herschel Chipp and Alan Wofsy, is the most comprehensive on the master’s work yet published. (...) Each volume contains an overview introduction and a chronology of the period (...) titles in English and French (Spanish and Catalan for the early years); date and place of creation, when known; dimensions of the work; location (...) a bibliography of works that are cited; and concordances to Zervos, the Musée Picasso, Paris, the Museu Picasso, Barcelona and other standard reference works >>>

Caption: Picasso, "Joie de Vivre", 1946

Another Giant Gone Missing ...

The Press Association: "Tributes pour in for Oscar Peterson"

Tributes have poured in for Oscar Peterson, whose early talent, speedy fingers and musical genius made him one of the world's best known and influential jazz pianists.

Peterson, 82, died from kidney failure at his home in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga on Sunday, said Oliver Jones, a family friend and jazz musician. He said Peterson's wife and daughter were with him during his final moments.

Mississauga's mayor, Hazel McCallion, a "very close friend", said: "He's been going downhill in the last few months."

During an illustrious career spanning seven decades, Peterson played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He is also remembered for the trio he led with Ray Brown on bass and Herb Ellis on guitar in the 1950s ... >>>

Here's Peterson in better times with the other Giant of Jazz, Count Basie. Martin Drew on drums and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass. Hat Tip The Spectator: "Oscar P meets Count B"

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Sokal Hoax of Art?

The People's Cube in The Current Truth on 28th of November were reporting on a myth shattering event which we regrettably missed at the time. Today, as the new year approaches, we seek to make amends. Is this the Sokal Hoax of art - the exposure of Pomo snobbery? Or evidence of an ancient Crime Against the People?

The People's Cube: "Classical Art Exposed as Hoax" - "Shockwaves are reverberating throughout the art world following the amazing discovery of abstract ancient Greek statues and paintings that resemble today's modern art and apparently are its long-lost forerunners."

"This finally proves my theory that the so-called 'aesthetically pleasing' 'classical art' with its 'proportions' and 'perfection' is a fraud and never really existed," says Columbia University professor Dan Browny. "It is a scientific fact now, that art has always been about a random grouping of disturbing shapes that required no special skills or training, and that intent is more important than result." >>>

- Caption: The Cup Bearer (2800-2200 B.C.) -

The 'abstract ancient Greek statues' are represented by so-called Cycladic art. I regret I have to disappoint Comrad Browny: it belongs to some of the very earliest human expressions of what could be termed Art in and of itself, and is very important. The Goulandris Museum has a fine collection on permanent display. Details. Article.

The abstract 'random grouping of disturbing shapes' is a important example of subjective creativity representing projections of the preconceptual level of consciousness, acting as - in no particular order - a Rorschach test, a Ouija board, or a latter day oracle.

Cycladic art on the other hand is an early, primitive, unsubsidized attempt at the creation of an objective representation of reality by the use of technical skills.

We can therefore conclude with some confidence that this is not an early case of vile middle class plagiarism of exalted Pomo expression - but on the contrary - evidence that as early as 3000 BC assaults were made on the proletariat by bourgeois servants of capitalism.

No wonder that ever since, the classes are having to cope with the emotional trauma imposed on them by reality! But we shall overcome! The struggle against facts goes on and will be won ... some day!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dick Tracey Original: "Split Face" (1945)

Dick is faced with a series of brutal murders in which the victims, all from different social and economic backgrounds, are viciously slashed to pieces.

Suspects abound but Tracy, getting a clue that there will be fifteen murders in all, must find the common thread among the victims before more are killed.


"I should have fallen in love with a retired business man!"

To watch "Split Face": click the pic ...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Humor, Through Space and Time: Take Too

Artdaily: "Recently Discovered Caravaggio Painting Was Just Presented in Trapani, Sicily"

A recently discovered Caravaggio that is an earlier version of The Card Sharps has just gone on display in Trapani. The work was purchased by Sir Denis Mahon, 97, member of the Guinness Mahon banking dynasty. He purchased the work for £50,400 at an auction at Sotheby's last December. During the sale the painting was described as the work of an anonymous "follower of Caravaggio".

Sir Denis Mahon authenticated the work as a Caravaggio and dated it to 1595. He has authenticated three other Caravaggios. According to Sir Denis Mahon, the painting is a predecessor of The Card Sharps that is located at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The recently discovered work is brighter and has more empty space around the characters. The work will be lent to the Ashmolean museum in Oxford in March, after the exhibition in Trapani ends.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Suzanne Bloch: abducted!

The "Portrait of Suzanne Bloch," painted by Pablo Picasso in 1904 (blue period) has been stolen from Brazil's Sao Paulo Museum of Art. It is among the most valuable pieces in the museum's collection.

The robbery took place shortly after five o'clock Thursday morning, just when guards were changing shifts. The thieves made off with paintings by Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari in a brazen heist lasting three minutes.

Sao Paulo police investigator on the case, Marcos Gomes de Moura is heavily speculating: have the paintings been taken for ransom, or is this rather a case of an art lover, wanting a little something to decorate the hall?

All may be revealed some time ... read all about it ...

Ballet time ...

Enjoy an appetizer of NDT performing a part of Jiri Kylian's "Six Dances". Regrettably that's all there is on YouTube. We'll do some more hunting over the weekend ...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Freedom's Birth Certificate: sold to the gentleman in the back ...

Sotheby's New York yesterday auctioned an original copy of the Magna Carta Libertatum, or The Great Charter of Freedoms. It was sold for well over twenty one million dollars (£10.6 million) to David Rubenstein, the founder of the Carlyle Group. More details here.

In sharp contrast to the recently signed "Treaty of Lisbon" - dubbed here "Leviathan's birth certificate" - the Magna Carta is known as the "birth certificate of freedom"*. From the Introduction:

"(...) It (the copy) comes from an issue, that of 1297, which for the first time accompanied demands that there be no taxation without representation: a momentous challenge to royal authority and the origin of much that it is of significance in later history, not least in the history of the American Revolution."

It is shocking to realise that a matter of basic right thought to have been settled by a political revolution in England in 1215 - the principle of "no taxation, without representation" - is actually An Issue in Europe Anno Domini 2007! Wait, it gets worse ...

"From the constitutional principles embodied in Magna Carta emerged the concept of the liberty of the individual citizen, a proper and permanent challenge to the feudal tyranny of England’s medieval kings, and the very origins of the common law." ... and ..."

(...) like the Declaration of Independence, it was nothing less than a public proclamation of a new political order, in this instance of negotiations conducted between the barons and King John of England* nearly eight hundred years ago."

Speaking of which, in today's England the trend is pointing in the opposite direction. EURSOC in a posting just recently, "Fighting Big Brother" detailed a discourse raging within the Left wing. Mouthpiece Al Guardian's journalist Henry Porter apparently had the misfortune to critique the way in which the current government has chipped away at liberties, and was heavily castigated!

His colleague Polly Toynbee reacted as might be expected from one thoroughly versed in the workings of the glorified victimhood of the Marxist dialectic:

"Worries about a nascent police state are, she wrote, "fashionable because it allows the middle classes to pretend to be victims, too. But it is decadence for mainly privileged people to obsess over imaginary Big Brother attacks on themselves, when others all around them are suffering badly from neglect by the state - or sometimes from real aggression by government. Indignation isprecious, not to be squandered on illusory threats, but saved for real injustices."
Tut tut ...! The erroneously aligned, liberty loving Porter may well react by speaking of "breathtaking dishonesty of her argument (...) to describe anyone who opposes Labour on these grounds as a being a right-winger" - Porter is still Leftist enough to consider such an insult - personally I shudder at the realisation that neototals like Toynbee represent today's intelligentsia, calling the shots in politics and in the corridors of power!

That we may long be neglected by the state, in the absence of which, I'd rather have the Middle Ages as a more enlightened period ... I wouldn't be surprised, if at some point in the near future we'd not all prefer the rule of John, an awful king as explained by Messrs Sellar and Yeatman in "1066 and all that, a memorable history of England" (Methuen & Co., 16th October 1930):

"When John came to the throne he lost his temper and flung himself on the floor, foaming at the mouth and biting the rushes. (...) John was so bad that the Pope decided to put the whole country under an Interdict, i.e. he gave orders that no one was to be born or die or marry (except in Church porches)."

* "There also happened in this reign the memorable Charta known as the Magna Charter (...) and was invented by the Barons on a desert island in the Thames called Ganymede. By congregating there, armed to the teeth, the Barons compelled John to sign the Magna Charter, which said:

- That no one was to be put to death, save for some reason - (except the Common People).

- That everyone should be free - (except the Common People).

- That everyone should be of the same weight and measure throughout the Realm - (except the Common People).

- That the Courts should be stationary, instead of following a very tiresome medieval official known as the King's Person all over the country.

- That 'no person should be fined to his utter ruin' - (except the King's Person).

- That the Barons should not be tried except by a special jury of other Barons who would understand.

Magna Charter was therefore the chief cause of Democracy in England and thus a Good Thing for everyone - (except the Common People).
- Filed on Articles in "The Post Democratic Preferences of the Neotots" -

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mother Goose's Melodies

Today, a memorable day in the history of rhymery, in 1719 Thomas Fleet published "Mother Goose's Melodies For Children".

The official theory is that Fleet, a colonial Boston printer, invented the figure of Mother Goose in the likeness of his mother-in-law, Elizabeth Foster Vergoose, a lady who'd married a man of Dutch extraction, no doubt. (The name Vergoose by the way is unrelated to fowl - geese or otherwise.)

Contrary to what the title suggests, the rhymes were intended to be read, not sung, nor played on a musical instrument.

Originals are hard to come by, but Rutgers University website provides us with a fascinating online "adaptation of Illustrations Of Mother Goose's Melodies. Designed And Engraved On Wood By Alexander Anderson, M.D., With An Introductory Notice By Evert A. Duyckinck (New York: Charles Moreau, 1873)" asserting that ...

"... All seventeen of the rhymes and illustrations Duyckinck and Charles Moreau selected from the original Mother Goose's Melodies (Boston: Munroe & Francis, 1837), have been reproduced here, even though we know not all of the illustrations were created or engraved by Alexander Anderson, whose memory Duyckinck sought to honor by this book."

Further search yields a modern, interactive online version of "Mother Goose Melodies" by Willis P. Hazard, provided by Children's Books Online: the Rosetta Project.

And if the fancy takes you, you can even book a performance by MaryLee Sunseri, winner of three "Parents' Choice Awards" and two "American Library Association Notable Children's Recordings". Enjoy ...!

Three wise men of Gotham
Went to sea in a bowl
And if the bowl had
been stronger
My song had been longer.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Greek Art, Coming of Age

Last Thursday the international auction house Bonhams in London offered for sale over two hundred paintings and works depicting Greek subjects by 19th and 20th century Greek and Foreign artists. The paintings came from private collections.

Caption: Celest Polychroniadi (1904-1985): "Dreamy Landscape"
"Herakleidon, Experience in Visual Arts" in Athens also had the exhibit online. Unlike Bonhams', their catalog is thankfully still operative. "Herakleidon" is a story in itself. I'm sure we'll post news here more often. Proprietors Paul Firos and his wife Anna-Belinda, collectors and art lovers, created the private museum which is located in the heart of Athens, under the shadow of the Acropolis.

The exhibition program consists of artists who play or have played an important role in the evolution of art. In addition to the permanent collections, the museum will host exhibitions of work by Greek and foreign artists.

But back for now to Bonhams' "Greek Sale". Artdaily's reporting that "(...) with an auction of 209 pictures which saw 82 per cent of lots sold (... the ) sale was £2m up on (the one) earlier this year, which made almost £4m."

Caption: Nikos Engonopoulos (1910-1985): "The Sailor"
"Terpsichore Angelopoulou of Art Expertise, Bonbams agents in Greece commented: “This sale shows the growing strength of the Greek art market. We saw an amazing number of world record prices achieved in Bond Street today, no fewer than fourteen and the highest price ever paid for a painting at a Greek sale." >>>

Greek modern art is coming of age ...

Friday, December 14, 2007

For the record, Spartans did not throw deformed babies away

Earlier this year - in a meta review of the movie "300", entitled "Postmodern Fallacy #14: relativism leads to historical barbarism!" - we discussed the ancient legends surrounding the Spartans. One of those stories is, that Spartans were supposed to have exposed their young children to the elements, so that only the strongest ones would survive.

In today's Postmodern, sentimentalist times, in which the Self and subjective feelings are the leading counsel to ethics - such practises come across as rather barbaric. I don't see why. It is entirely in keeping with the unproved Darwinian theory of natural selection, the number one article of faith as practised by the Postmodern Left. Never mind for the moment - consistency and logic never was their strong point ...

But according to researchers of the Athens Faculty of Medicine the myth of the exposure of Spartan children may need some re-adjustment:

AFP: "Spartans did not throw deformed babies away: researchers"

The Greek myth that ancient Spartans threw their stunted and sickly newborns off a cliff was not corroborated by archaeological digs in the area, researchers said Monday.

After more than five years of analysis of human remains culled from the pit, also called an apothetes, researchers found only the remains of adolescents and adults between the ages of 18 and 35, Athens Faculty of Medicine Anthropologist Theodoros Pitsios said.

"There were still bones in the area, but none from newborns, according to the samples we took from the bottom of the pit" of the foothills of Mount Taygete near present-day Sparta. "It is probably a myth, the ancient sources of this so-called practice were rare, late and imprecise," he added.

Meant to attest to the militaristic character of the ancient Spartan people, moralistic historian Plutarch in particular spread the legend during first century AD. According to Pitsios, the bones studied to date came from the fifth and sixth centuries BC and come from 46 men, confirming the assertion from ancient sources that the Spartans threw prisoners, traitors or criminals into the pit.

The discoveries shine light on an episode during the second war between Sparta and Messene, a fortified city state independent of Sparta, when Spartans defeated the Messenian hero Aristomenes and his 50 warriors, who were all thrown into the pit, he added.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Callas' Life for Art and Love!

Sotheby's Milan is auctioning today the estate of Maria Callas' first husband, Giovanni Battista Meneghini.

Musical scores, furniture and household goods including fine china, paintings, gowns and dresses, crucifixes and icons, theatre programs, newspaper clippings (including a rather nasty caricature), correspondence and love letters, remnants of Maria Callas' life during her marriage with her first husband, come under the hammer.

Enough has been said and written about the greatest singer of the twentieth century. The tragic, protracted love affair with Greek shipping tycoon Aristotl Onassis - who broke his betrothal to her when the availability of President John F. Kennedy's widow, Jacky became to much a temptation for the middle class Greek laddy from Smyrna - seems to have been fatal to both.

Despite the depth of the Greek drama, the artistic accomplishments of the great mezzo soprano are her truly unique contribution to the world of music ... or it might be said that both were the fruits of the same driving passion and dedication.

The aria from the second act of Giacomo Puccini's opera "Tosca" characterizes her in more ways than one: Vissi d'arte, vissi d’amore - I lived for art, I lived for love ...

A slide-show is available in the Store Room, which is undergoing refurbishment at the moment, for which apologies. "Maria Callas La Divina" provides a rather comprehensive biography.


Sotheby's has announced the results:

Sale Total: 1,766,228 EUR.
The rather nasty caricature fetched 5.250,=.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Michelangelo's Last Master Piece

The Vatican announced last Friday it has discovered a previously unknown drawing by Renaissance artist Michelangelo, believed to be his last work. The work is a sketch of part of the new St Peter's. The partial design of one of the columns in St Peter's dome is believed to have been the artist's last drawing. A probable instruction to stone quarriers, it was sketched in 1563, a year before Michelangelo died at the age of 89.

The new discovery was stated to be unveiled today, Monday 10th December. Until this moment no news is forthcoming.

Until the master piece is reveiled, enjoy "The Agony And The Ecstasy, Part I". Here's the link to Part II. It's not the latest material available, but it's pre-Postmodern (this is, without undue emphasis on body parts). I'll update present post as news becomes available.


Catholic News: "Vatican discovers rare Michelangelo sketch"

(...) The sketch will be presented today (10 December) to the Fabbrica's president, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, and other Vatican officials in a private ceremony Dec. It will be unveiled to the public at an unspecified future date. >>>

... reverting ...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Philips' Communist Recommendation

Christie's in London has the small, but fine art collection of the late Dr. Anton Philips (1874-1951) on auction.

Christie's "About" section on the relevant website yields an eulogy about the entrepreneur, containing a typical example of the double standards that are common in the false dichotomy in dealing with the two Counter-Enlightenment twin ideologies, National Socialism and Communism.

Whereas Soviet propaganda took care that Nazi collaboration eternally constitutes a stain on corporate history, soliciting and associating with Communists comes as a recommendation. Consider the following excerpt:

"(...) Anton Philips ranked amongst the foremost entrepreneurs of the 20th century. Trained as a banker in Amsterdam and London, at the age of twenty he joined the small company his brother Gerard and his father Frederik had founded in Eindhoven in 1891. Anton was responsible for the commercial side of the enterprise and built a network of industrial customers in western Europe.

Anton travelled to Russia at the turn of the century. (...) a Russian anecdote serves as a perfect example for both his perseverance and creativity. In 1922, two decades after his first visit to Moscow, Anton tried to win over Lenin himself by presenting him with a framed picture of his elderly home in the Dutch town of Zaltbommel. In the accompanying note Anton pointed out that Karl Marx, his great-uncle from paternal side, had completed several chapters of Das Kapital enjoying the hospitality of the Philips family. Vladimir Iljitsj declined, saying that the nephew had apparently either not read or understood his uncle's writings."

Image: Kees van Dongen (1877-1968), Portrait of a woman with long hair
The collection is great though ... the "Two studies of a young man" by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) is a true gem! The accompanying video comes highly recommended ... by us!


Art Daily: "New Record for Sir Peter Paul Rubens Oil Sketch at Auction at $7.7 Million at Christie's"

Christie’s evening auction of Important Old Master and British Pictures including Works from the Collection of Anton Philips realised a total of £18,802,200 / $38,021,808 / €26,041,047. The top lot was Two studies of a young man, a little-known work by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), which realised £3,828,500 / $7,741,993 / €5,302,473, the highest ever price for a Rubens oil sketch at auction.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens’ (1577-1640) Two studies of a young man was painted between 1615 and 1617. The panel (46.5 x 65.5 cm.) is a study for Balthasar in The Adoration of the Magi at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon and shows a Levantine head, pictured en face and en profil respectively. The sitter is unkown but judging by his tanned skin, plain shirt and leather hat, it is thought that he could have been a contract labourer building the extension of the artist’s house in the Wappen, Antwerp.

The picture was rediscovered in 1934 when Mr Douglas Lewis of Merton Park, near Wimbledon, brought it to Christie’s having acquired the work in a box of paintings at a local West Country auction. The picture was recognised as a Rubens and was offered at Christie’s on 23 November 1934 where it sold for £1,560. It was acquired soon afterwards by Anton Philips who displayed it as a central work of his private collection at his house Villa de Laak. The picture left this sanctuary on very few occasions, and was exhibited at The Museés Royaux des Beaux Arts in 1937 and the landmark Rubens oil sketch exhibition at The Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam in 1953. >>>

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Ayaan's Trust

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a new website, celebrating the inauguration of the trust fund that is to raise money for the round-the-clock protection, now that funding has been withdrawn by the Dutch government.

Anxiety for her safety often prompted the national security services to lodge her on high-security Air Force Bases and other 'creative' means of 'protective custody'.

The author of "The Caged Virgin" and "Infidel" is an incisive logician, a staunch Islam critic and apostate.

A former Dutch M.P. she is currently a permanent U.S. citizen, working for the American Enterprise Institute. On the institute site links are available to articles and short stories.

The Spectator: ‘We are at war with all Islam’, by Mary Wakefield

"It would be easier in some ways to ignore Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to label her as bonkers — but it would also be irresponsible. She’s not just another hawkish hack, anxious to occupy the top tough-guy media slot — she has the authority of experience, the authenticity of suffering. >>>

The title of her Home Page unwittingly explains why she received the Moral Courage Award by the American Jewish Committee in 2006 ...

... "tolerance of intolerance is cowardice" ...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

"Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and The Revolt of Islam"

Mideast Outpost: Review, by Rael Jean Isaac

Joel Gilbert has pulled off a remarkable tour de force: in “Farewell Israel” he has produced a technically sophisticated, visually imaginative, scholarly documentary that manages in the space of 145 minutes to investigate the belief system and history of Islam, the development of the Arab-Israel conflict (more accurately the Muslim-Jewish conflict) and the aftermath of 9/11.

The documentary’s enormous achievement is in bringing all this together to show incontrovertibly the total misunderstanding of Islam that shapes the policy follies of the West in general and the U.S. and Israel in particular. The potentially deadly results are summed up in the foreboding title—Farewell Israel. (...)

Gilbert makes no bones that Israel—and the Jews of the world not far behind—will bear the most lethal consequences of Islam’s obsession with destroying Israel on the path to Islamic revival. But he offers scant comfort to the West. The documentary concludes with Gilbert’s warning that the loss of Israel will erode, not enhance, the West’s security, for the goal of the revived Islamist movement that we see enunciated by Ahmadinejad – bringing the whole world to Islam – will now only be pressed the harder.I have one small cavil and that concerns the documentary’s subtitle “Bush, Iran and the Revolt of Islam.” In terms of accurately reflecting what the film is about, a better subtitle would focus on the West’s misunderstanding of Islam. >>>

"Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and The Revolt of Islam" website

The Balfour Declaration Turns Ninety

On the 2nd November 1917 British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour wrote Lord Walter Rothschild, representative of the Jewish community and the Zionist Federation, a short letter reading as follows:

His Majesty¹s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

Jerusalem Post: "Balfour At 90"

"Almost a century later, the latest tyrants seeking Israel¹s destruction, Iran¹s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Arab jihadi allies, habitually pretend that Israel exists only as redress for the Holocaust, and claim that the Muslim world is bearing the burden of the genocide in Europe against the Jews. But the truth, as Olmert¹s statement alluded, is exactly the opposite: If the Jewish state had been founded earlier, history, including the Holocaust, would have been very different. (...)

Long before the word "Zionism" was coined, a strong current of "restorationism" ran through the Christian world and strongly influenced many of the founders and almost all the presidents of the United States. Restorationists deeply believed the Jews should be "restored" to their ancient land. The British cabinet of 1917 did not act on a whim or in a vacuum, but in a political-religious landscape in which its action, while engendering some controversy, was considered natural and just. (...)

Ninety years ago, no less than today, there were those who saw the recognition of Jewish national rights as a provocation and irritant. Since 9/11, if not before, it should be clear that the "irritant" to the Islamic extremist ideology is not Israel or any other Western manifestation, but the existence and independence of the West itself." >>>

What happened after the Balfour Declaration, as they say, is history.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Here's Jane ...

... enjoy the weekend!