Monday, March 17, 2008


Central Park. Friday, 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Changes: Last week in New York, the governor resigned from office; while the member of the World’s Oldest Profession who “served” the governor was said to have made more than $1 million selling her recordings over the internet and fielding magazine layouts, thanks to her side of the coin. And in the meantime, a 20-story crane wobbled on its base, fell over across an entire city block between 50th and 51st off Second Avenue, smashed an entire four-story building to the ground and killed at least four people.

Meanwhile over in the financial world, the venerable and 85-year-old investment banking firm of Bear Stearns collapsed only three days after its current CEO said everything was just fine. Bear Stearns had two hedge funds collapse last summer. Its CEO, James Cayne, resigned.

Mr. Cayne is said to have owned more than 5.8 million shares of Bear Stearns or just under at 5% stake, at one point worth more close to a billion. Yesterday, Sunday, it was announced that JPMorganChase would buy the entire company for $2 a share, putting the value of Mr. Cayne’s shares at just about $17 million. An Englishman named Joseph Lewis who resides in the Bahamas, with a 9.6% stake in Bear took a loss in the neighborhood of $800 million with this deal. Another investor, an American, held a 9.9% stake.

What the media wanted to know about: Silda Spitzer and why did she stand by her man as he publicly expressed his apologies and latterly his intention to resign. It seemed to many that she should have let him stand there on his own. I know Mrs. Spitzer, although not well. I immediately concluded that  her choice was borne at least from her natural sense of commitment to those vows she took many years ago; i.e., “for better or for worse ... ”

Inquiring minds also wanted to know if those girls on BRAVO, now known as “Real Housewives of New York City” are real socialites. Socialites, yes maybe; Society, no. But then, it could be argued successfully that there is no Society anymore. Socialites go out at night. Society stays home. One of the “Real” Housewives is a “real” countess – LuAnn de Lesseps whose husband’s great-grandfather Ferdinand de Lesseps, built the Suez Canal. (Tyrone Power played him in the American film version of his life.) The Countess de Lesseps, off-camera is a very nice woman, and is also a Native American.
The opening night preview of The International Asian Art Fair.
The International Asian Art Fair opened last Friday at 583 Park, the “new” venue in town for so many social gatherings from Oscar de la Renta runways shows to private charity galas to now, Art Fair exhibitions. Asia Society was the beneficiary of this Benefit Preview opening.

This was a pared down event for the annual fair produced annual by Haughton International Fairs. The regular venue, the Seventh Regiment Armory four blocks north on 67th and Park, is carrying the overflow from the Whitney Biennial.

It also marked the beginning of Asian Contemporary Art Week in New York at galleries all over New York. Elegant is the word, elusive but not in this art.
Alison Minton, David Steiner, and Helena Kim Steiner
Marcia Levine, Ijaz Malik, and Lorenzo Avati
Kaikodo, USA.
JH checked out the new venue with the Digital. Many great works: Lesley Kehoe Galleries from Australia has a handsome 18th-century black and gold lacquer storage chest from the ruling Tokugawa Dynasty of the Age of the Shogun. On the cusp of success at the recent Art and Antiques Fair in Dubai, Kehoe Galleries presented two of Japan’s most exciting contemporary artists.

Exhibitor Christian Deydier, one of the foremost experts in the world in Chinese bronzes and metalwork showed a jawdropping exhibition of pieces including a Bronze mirror decorated with six dragons, with bronze inlaid with gold and silver from China, Warring Sates Period, 5th-3rd century BC, priced in the region of $600,000. Deydier is also showing a Pair of terracotta horses from China, Tang Dynasty (618-907) Priced in the region of $330,000.
Brian and Anna Haughton
Elizabeth Hui, Amanda Mettler, Andreas von der Goltz, and Roopal Patel
Kaikodo, USA.
New York exhibitor Joan B. Mirviss is showing an extraordinary hanging scroll of ink and color on silk by UTAGAWA TOYOKUNI (1769-1825). Subject: Courtesan smoking a tobacco pipe on a veranda overlooking Shinagawa River, around $40,000. The unlicensed pleasure quarter of Shinagawa was a less formal alternative to the more controlled environment of the Yoshiwara with its well-established protocol and ritual. The artist, Toyokuni, was a celebrated member of the prominent Utagawa school and specialized in pictures of beautiful women and kabuki actors. He was a pupil of the school’s founder, Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814), and produced an extensive body of paintings of beautiful women during the Kansei era (1789-1801).  

At the Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Gallery (London): A Stucco Head of a Bodhisattva, a sublimely beautiful white stucco head with a gentle face and soft eyes, the hair in wavy lines and secured by a circular diadem. In Kim, Rudyard Kipling refers to the Gandhara sculptures of the Lahore Museum as possessing the mysteriously transmitted Grecian touch‚ and this is especially apparent here.
David Jacobs, Melissa Berkelhammer, and Dennis Wong
Sue Huybensz, Seema Mehta, and Cristiano Mancini
Olyvia Oriental, UK.
Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York is showing the work of Nathan Slate Joseph, including A Time for Prayer, 2003 Pure pigment on galvanized steel  and
Siam Orchid, 2003 Gold leaf on galvanized steel. Born in Israel, Nathan Slate Joseph moved to New York in the 1960s, pursuing study at the Art Student’s League, the New School for Social Research, and the Pratt Institute. He was a compatriot of Larry Rivers and John Chamberlain. His work is in the personal and public collections of Beth Rudin DeWoody; the Johnson & Johnson Collection, Racine, Wisconsin; and Prudential Insurance, New York, New York.
Sundaram Tagore Gallery, USA.
Susan Shin, Amy Dwek, Emma Snowdon-Jones, and Diana Sheng Hsu
Elaine T. Merguerian and Jeen Yee
Shalini Ganendra Fine Art, MALAYSIA, UK.
Susan Shin, Bebe Neuwirth, and Geoffrey Carroll
M. Sutherland Fine Arts, Ltd, USA.
Nathan Frank, Cynthia Meera Frederich, and Amjad Pervez
Valerie Tocci and Jasmine Chang
Sundaram Tagore Gallery, USA.
Carole and Freddie Guest
Edith Dicconson
Fiona Salmon and Greg Harden
Dillon Gallery, USA.
Douglas Dawson Gallery, USA.
Koo New York, USA.
Paola Isabella Tornito and W. SyCip
Jay Gunther
Millie S. Liu and Jason Hirsch
Kemin Hu Asian Art, USA.
Erik Thomsen LLC, USA.
Jane Harrison, Charlie Schlangen, and Tricia Waters
Eli Klein
Sallie Brady and David Moss

Lea Sneider, USA.
Kathleen Doyle
Ida Liu and Douglas Dechert
Miss Pakistan USA
Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art, UK.
Chris Mason and friend
Krystian von Speidel, Jessica Betts, and Melissa Berkelhammer
Galerie Christian Deydier, FRANCE.
Hiroshi Yanagi Oriental Art, JAPAN.
Japonesque, USA.

Goedhuis Contemporary, UK & USA.
Galerie Christian Deydier, FRANCE.
Tai Gallery/Textile Arts, USA.
Oi Ling Antiques, HONG KONG.
Kashima-Arts Co. Ltd, JAPAN.
Lesley Kehoe Galleries, AUSTRALIA.
Phoenix Ancient Art, USA.
Mika Gallery, USA; Shouun Oriental Art, Japan.
Joan B Mirviss Ltd, USA.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Dubai’s first-ever antiques fair opened with a bang three weeks ago as more than 2,000 VIPs arrived via the red carpet to shop the wares of 42 dealers from 11 countries at the fair’s gala opening at the Madinat Jumeirah.

Art and Antiques Dubai, which ran from February 21 to 24, is veteran fair promoters, Brian and Anna Haughton’s first venture in the Middle East – but this time, with the help of their son, Giles, and daughter, Emma Jane. We, of course, know the Haughtons from their 26 years of staging the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers fairs, International Asian Art Fair, and Art + Design Fairs here in New York, as well as their International Ceramics Fair in London.
Emma, Anna, Giles, and Brian Haughton with Minister of Health Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development Abdul Rahman Al Owais, and Khalifa Al Falasi of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
Under the patronage of Dubai’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, who arrived at the opening with an entourage of other government ministers, and spent almost two hours inspecting Christina Grajales contemporary furniture; Bernard J. Shapiro’s maps of Arabia; Berry-Hill’s paintings; and  Koopman Rare Art’s spectacular silver, the fair seems poised for success, as many dealers already say they’ll be back next year.       
Koopman Rare Art director, Lewis Smith, demonstrates an early 20th-century sterling silver and enamel horse racing game for Dubai's ministers during the VIP preview. The piece was sold that evening.
Most interesting was seeing how business is done here. The fair was awash in ladies-in-waiting of Emirati and Saudi princesses scouting and buying for their royals, and rumors quickly spread when a sheikh’s sister was spotted in a booth. Wise dealers, like London’s Ronald Phillips, translated object descriptions into Arabic, and had an Arabic-speaking female colleague on their stand. Others, brought art and objects with images of horses, falcons, Orientalist themes, and Islamic calligraphy.

Potterton Books, which we all know and love from their stand at the fairsand shop in the D&D Building, was left with empty shelves–completely sold out of books on classical interior decoration by the likes of Nina Campbell and Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill.

While few American accents were heard, there was word of private jets arriving  from Palm Beach and Austin, and Dubai’s expat community, which is 80 percent of the population, couldn’t get enough of the French 1920s-1940s treasures in Maison Gerard’s booth. “We’re so happy to see you. Now we don’t have to go Paris!” Gerard Widdershoven, the gallery’s founder, said he heard repeatedly.

For those Americans who did make it, there were new treats: galleries from Dubai; a contemporary art gallery from Syria, and first-time fair dealers from Italy. And the fun of shopping at night. The fair went to 10 p.m. most evenings, with a lively first night after-party on Fort Island, where dealers clinked glasses under a full moon. We joined them before retiring to a mountain of down in our room at the outstanding new Dubai InterContinental Festival City Hotel, which is the way to go in this traffic-logged city–just five minutes by taxi from the airport. – Sallie Brady
Brian Haughton, David Moss, Sarah Harcourt-Webster, Amy Page, Susan Moore, Brook Mason, Sallie Brady, and Anna Haughton
Meanwhile back at Thursday night, over at the The Young Fellows of The Frick Collection’s Gala, I stopped in after the performance of “South Pacific” at the Vivian Beaumont. Frick parties all have a certain elegance. The venue just seems to demand it; it is understood. These “younger” parties start later than the cocktail hour and are mainly cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dancing with a late hour small but delicious buffet and lots of champagne filling the terraces surrounding the museum’s atrium – which was specially lit for the occasion. The men were mainly in black tie and the women in their long dresses were, almost all, the fashion designers’ dream. So I strolled through with my little Digital and took in as much of the passing parade as the hour would allow.

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