Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fast New York night

Parked motorcycle. 7:10 PM. Photo: JH.
October 16, 2012.  An overcast day, mild temperatures and rain threatening, arriving in the late afternoon through early evening yesterday in New York.

It was a busy Monday on the social calendar. More than enough for everybody. At noontime I went over to the Mandarin Oriental where the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy was holding its annual autumn luncheon for its members. This is not a fundraiser but more a thank you for support.
The view from the ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental on the 35th floor of the Time Warner Center looking southeast (the Museum of Arts and Design on the lower right of Columbus Circle) toward the uncompleted new apartment tower on 57th Street and Seventh Avenue. 12:10 PM.
The same view looking east across Central Park South and the southern end of Central Park.
This is a very simple luncheon, not a lot of speeches. Called for 11:30 everyone sat down shortly after noon. Salmon was the main course. It is mainly a woman’s luncheon – although they were three men at my table alone, including Marshall Heyman of the WSJ.

Every year they have a speaker who is interviewed. This year the interview, conducted by Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harpers Bazaar, was with Trudie Styler, actress, philanthropist, Ambassador for UNICEF and also the wife of Sting.
Glenda Bailey, editor-in-chief of Harpers Bazaar, interviewing Trudie Styler about her life, her work in creating the Rainforest Foundation as well as other philanthropies and life in New York where she and her husband Sting have been living for the past three years.
After lunch I went across Central Park South over to Verdura at 745 Fifth, on the corner of 58th Street where Ward and Nico Landrigan opened their exhibition of “Midcentury Masters: Fulco Di Verdura and Suzanne Belperron,” as well as a vintage jewelry sale. Not that I am interested in vintage jewelry, and even if I were, Verdura and Belperron command prices often running into the six figures, but it is beautiful and perfectly reflects an aesthetic that represents the modern design of mid-20th century.

Verdura was a master of style of his time and he attracted a clientele of some of the most fashionable and stylish American women of that era – 1930s through the 1960s – including movie stars like Garbo and Dietrich, socialites and leading ladies of the Best Dressed List including the Duchess of Windsor. Many of those designs were made especially for an individual. Often their husband’s or men in their lives were clients and even had a hand in the design they were buying as gifts for their wives and girlfriends, including Jock Whitney and Vincent Astor.
The view of the southeast corner of Central Park and 59th Street and Fifth Avenue (that's the Sherry-Netherland on the right) from Verdura's gallery/salon, at 2:30 PM.
Today under the aegis of the Landrigans, pere et fils, Verdura’s oeuvre commands huge prices because of that wit and beauty, not to mention the precious stones which are used in his designs. I couldn’t resist showing this photo of Princess Diana wearing Fulco’s famous C/C diamond and gold bracelet which she owned. Years ago when Verdura was having an exhibition and sale in London, Diana came to look. She showed them her bracelet and pointed out what the C’s stood for: Charles and Camilla.

More on the exhibition later in the week. But you can go and see it now in the Verdura gallery/salon, the 12th floor at 745 Fifth Monday through Friday from 10AM to 6PM through November 9th. Treat yourself to a tour of beauty.
The famous Verdura gold and diamond CC bracelet which was also owned by Princess Diana, wearing it in the photograph below.
Two main events last night, both Arts related:  The Americans for the Arts National Arts Awards at Cipriani 42nd Street with a star-studded roster of honorees including Paul G. Allen, the Microsoft founder who was given the Eli and Edythe Broad Award for Philanthropy in the Arts; artist James Rosenquist who received the Isabella and Theodor Dalenson Lifetime Achievement Award; Brian Stokes Mitchell for his Outstanding Contribution to the Arts; Josh Groban with the Bell Family Foundation Young Artist Award; and Lin Arison with the Arts Education Award.

Meanwhile, I was up the avenue at the Frick Collection for their annual Autumn Dinner where they honored Henry Arnhold, a longtime supporter of the Frick, who has made a significant promised gift of Meissen porcelain. These pieces come from one of the greatest private collections of early Meissen assembled by Mr. Arnhold, and before that by his father, in Dresden, Germany.

The collection that was first assembled in the earlier part of the 20th century, was in the main secreted out of Germany just before the Second World War by its owners who had the prescience to recognize the fatal dangers of the rising Nazi leadership under Hitler. The son, last night’s honoree, has been a resident/citizen of the United States for many years. After coming to this country, he continued building his family’s collection.

Contemporary art these days is what is the publicized market deals with, but among the hundreds of guests last night at the Frick were a number of major (quiet) collectors of great art, from Old Masters to Porcelains, great sculpture, etc.

After we were seated for dinner, the Collection’s Chairman Margot Bogert addressed the guests from a podium in the East Gallery, referring warmly to the honoree, and encouraging all to visit the Portico Gallery (new) where a selection of the promised gift is on view. After the second course, the Frick’s Director Ian Wardropper took the podium in the West Gallery and recalled how when in his previous post at the Met he first heard about the Arnhold family’s collection. Eventually he was able to finagle an invitation to see it at Mr. Arnhold’s Park Avenue apartment.
The atrium of the Frick Collection last night before the dinner at 8 PM.
Wardropper described what a jaw-dropping experience it was to see objects from the Japanese Palace of Augustus the Strong, birdcage vases from the collection of the King of Italy, early stoneware, and gleaming blue and white vases.  He admitted that the Met had hoped for this collection, although it lacked the available gallery in which to show it. But he was astonished when he later learned that the smaller Frick “down the street” had been promised it, having come up with the creation of a gallery transformed from an open garden loggia. This plan was developed under the Frick’s former Director Anne L. Poulet, who was also there last night.  Director Wardropper joked about following the Meissen porcelain, suggesting that this turn of events partially inspired his own move to the Frick. 

Last night’s chairs were Jody and John Arnhold, Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard. Benefactors for the evening were Chery and Blair Effron, Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, and Aso Tavitian.
The West Gallery with its great collection of masterpieces set for dinner with guests taking their seats.
NYSD's John Foreman ('Big Old Houses') celebrated publication of his new book, Old Houses in Millbrook, on an unexpectedly balmy Sunday at Daheim, his own old house in Millbrook. Friends and neighbors came, drank wine, bought books, congratulated author and publisher Steve Kaye, admired the author's grandchild, and left as a cool October evening finally set in. Old Houses in Millbrook is available in soft and hard cover through The Millbrook Independent, POB 1210, Millbrook, NY 12545 or by visiting oldhousesinmillbrook.com.
John autographing books ...
"Daheim" at Millbrook.
Wine on the porch.
Tony and Ellie Sloan with Farnham Collins.
Patricia Beard Braga and John Foreman. David Braga.
Neighbors John Ianuzzi and Skip Ciferri with the author.
Paul Curran, Millbrook Independent publisher Steve Kaye, and Laureen Knutsen.
Candy Anderson and John Foreman. Mike Kozero, Lily Kozero, and Jasmine Foreman Kozero.
Vincent Vallarino and Sandy Allen.
Jasmine Foreman Kozero and Libbi Mavroleon.
Carola Lott and Charley Pierce.

Contact DPC here.