Friday, March 21, 2014

Always learning

Debating in front of Henri Bendel. 4:00 PM. Photo: Jeffrey Hirsch.
Friday, March 21. 2014. A sunny, warming first day of Spring in New York.

I went down to lunch at Michael’s with Faye Wattleton. This was one of those lunches that are the luxury of my work: you get to know New York and how it thinks and what motivates it. You’re learning. Always learning. That was the conversation. Afterwards I made my way up Fifth Avenue because I wanted to get a better look at the Bergdorf Windows which I’d passed quickly in the cab on my way to Michael’s. They are smashing. I also wanted to get a shot of the recently Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ re-gilded General William Tecumseh Sherman statue facing south.
Sculptress Alice Aycock's "Park Avenue Paper Chase," with sculptures on the avenue islands from 52nd Street to 66th Street. Spellbinding in the most wonderful way, aluminum and fiberglass. Up until July 20th.
There were a lot of people, especially tourists and younger people, hanging out and about in this area in mid-afternoon. At the foot of the statue there was a group of street performers wowing the crowd with their refined “improvised” movements and acrobatics that are both astounding and astonishing. You can see why people congregate here. It’s a major hub of the city what with the Plaza, the Sherry-Netherland, Mr. Morgan’s Metropolitan Club, Bergdorf’s, the Apple Cube and Central Park all within one revolution of the eye. And yet it has the feel of a village also. Community. And at the other end of Central Park South are the black and shiny twin towers of the Time-Warner Center. You’re in New York, bub.
Looking south along Fifth Avenue from the Plaza and the Gen. Sherman statue.
In 1892, Augustus Saint-Gaudens modeled a bust of General William Tecumseh Sherman, the Civil War Union General, who lived in New York after the Civil War. Saint-Gaudens created the equestrian sculpture in Paris in 1903. It was re-gilded last year.
On the north side of the Grand Army Plaza, the latest art installation.
Last night I went down to Carnegie Hall where the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (AFIPO) presented the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta, Music Director and Conductor, and featuring guest artists Pinchas Zukerman on the Violin and Amanda Forsyth on Cello.

The Isaac Stern Auditorium (main concert hall) was white and sparkling from its gilded cornices and proscenium arch, and the borders of the four spectator balconies. The house was packed. Several hundred of the guests were part of the benefit gala. The Orchestra, which is a great success in the world with its great talent, gets a lot of support from its Friends. The Music Director’s position, for example is endowed by the William Petschek Family.  The American Friends is the principal underwriting of its US touring program. The President of the AFIPO is David Hirsch, who coincidentally is the father of JH himself. The Hirsch family are generationally music lovers. The thing about all of these “friends” of symphonies and opera and ballet companies, is that their supporters are passionate. It’s all a beautiful thing and the world is always the better for it.
A standing ovation for Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra last night at Carnegie Hall.
Sitting in this great auditorium that Mr. Carnegie built to his wife’s wishes for their friend Maestro Walter Damrosch, I could only think of all the (some now) immortal artists and performers who have worked on that stage such as Gustav Mahler, Vladimir Horowitz, Maria Callas, Leopold Stokowski Bob Dylan, Judy Garland, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Booker T. Washington, as well as Mr. Damrosch and the great host of mid to late 20th century artists and performers. Including last night’s great conductor Zubin Mehta.

Maestro Mehta.
Pinchas Zukerman and Amanda Forsyth.
Maestro Mehta as he enters the podium is a man of commanding dignity, an almost royal bearing in his white tie and tails. His full head of hair almost completely grey now, he invites a kind of awe from his posture, which is almost military, definitely in charge, but with a certain majesty. That’s what you see. His conducting moves are tensely economical but there remains a precise lightness in his movements that is compelling to watch, because it  also takes you into the music.

The program opened with “The Star Spangled Banner” by Frances Scott Key. All American schoolchildren learned the national anthem when I was growing up. All. All verses too. You wouldn’t have known it in Carnegie Hall last night. I fear many of us have forgotten it enough to the point that they don’t really know the words. This was followed by the Israeli anthem “Hatikvah,” sung by Cantor Azi Schwartz of the Park Avenue Synagogue. This was followed by Odon Partos Condertino for Strings.

Then Pinchas Zukerman came onstage with Amanda Forsyth. They performed Brahms’ Concerto for Violin & Violoncello in A minor, Op. 102 Double Concerto. After the intermission, the Orchestra returned to perform Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 4 in F Minor.”  A thrill, in that great and beautiful and historic hall, at this time in our lives.

They closed the program with a standing ovation for the artist, the conductor and his musicians. Almost. The ovation brought them back for an encore, which as Maestro Mehta explained to the audience, was a medley of songs in tribute to their composer, the great Marvin Hamlisch. Gemutlich. And that  was the beautiful evening in New York.

It was getting brisk outside when the concert let out. Seventh Avenue had a breeze off the river. I went without an overcoat but was lucky to get a cab just a couple under yards down the block. Many of the guests for the gala then moved on to the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza, just a few blocks away (across from the General Sherman statue), for the gala benefit dinner.
David Hirsch, Lucia Noseda, Rochelle Hirsch, and Gianandrea Noseda.
Lauren and John Veronis with Herb and Jeanne Siegel.
Elisa Ross and Adrienne Arsht.
David and Lisa Klein. Jane Lebell and Elaine Petschek.
Steve Bush, Betsy Bush, and Alan Shamoon.
Vicki Schussler, Harvey Schussler, Justine Schussler, and Nathan Griffith.
Bob Rendon, Terre Blair, and Valerie Lemon Rendon.
David Hirsch, Paola Curcio Kleinman, and Jerry Kleinman.
Susan Catalano, Gabrielle Gubitosa, Nunzio Gubitosa, Marie Stedman, and Shirley Kirshbaum.
Jeffrey and Danielle Hirsch. Susan Catalano and Shirley Kirshbaum.
William and Marion Weiss.
Ian Frankel, Angeliki Kotsianti, and Lawrence Perelman.
Dasha Epstein, Don and Jane LaBelle, and Geoffrey Stern.
Simi Matera, Steve Bush, Betsy Bush, Nancy Czaja, Cherie Stahl, and Alan Shamoon.
Dylan Page and Jonny Friedman. Alyssa Barrie nad Guy Billauer.
Rachel Weg and Dr. Oskar Weg.
Dr. Postley with Dr. Leon Root and Paula Root
Dinner at the Plaza for the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's annual gala.
Our piece on the death of Bunny Mellon on Tuesday’s Diary drew a lot of interest. What struck me about her – I never knew her nor met her, was her image – the elements to provide the imagination with what someone is like. Very American almost down home, although that was impossible because she had the breeding that implied sophistication, cosmopolitan, all the trappings of the very rich. But that picture we ran of her next to her friend Jackie Kennedy tells you more about who she might have been than anything else. Almost dowdy, not sleek or glamorous like her leonine friend, a natural beauty. Bunny Mellon loved beauty, wherever she went. That could explain her soft spot for those good looking, talented men who knew the ropes of charm about her.  Who could be more charmed than such an artiste as Mrs. Mellon?
Bunny Mellon by Harry Benson, Antiqua, 1976.
My colleague Mackenzie Carpenter, (who is also an NYSD reader, fortunately for us), a reporter for the  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sent me her dispatch in yesterday’s Post-Gazette on the Will of Mrs Mellon. Ha, you don’t care what’s her in Will? I’ll bet. A woman with a half dozen homes, vast tracks of property, art, private planes and a centi-million dollar fortune?

You can read in the Will, the woman had a lot to leave, including a lot of jewelry, including a lot of Schlumberger. She bequeathed to her children, grandchildren and friends. Item by item. “it’s all in the details,” she was evidently fond of saying. Well there it is. Carpenter reports that the Will had been revised nine times since 2003, and that its original left a lot of jewelry to her daughter Eliza Lloyd who died in 2008 after a long term coma from being hit by a car.
Mackenzie Carpenter in the Post-Gazette points out that the changes reveal that Mrs. Mellon “never gave up hope that her daughter Eliza would recover from her coma. That hope is all over this document ... right off the bat, it’s about the jewelry, There’s pride of ownership, ‘my’ this, ‘my’ that ... but more importantly I see a mother handing down beloved things to her only daughter. Never mind that daughter is in a coma. Someday ...”

Carpenter also pointed out that the original executors were Mrs. Mellon’s longtime attorney Alexander Folger but that he originally shared that position with Mr. Kenneth Ira Starr, aka Ken Starr, who was another one of those men who appealed personally to Mrs. Mellon. She was introduced to him by a friend who had also been “impressed” by his manner and self-assurance as a financial adviser. This same friend later warned Mrs. Mellon that Starr had absconded with millions of her mother’s fortune and that Mrs. Mellon should flee. Mrs. Mellon listened, but after that was “cool” to her friend and apparently ignored the warning.

The Post-Gazette and Mackenzie Carpenter ran the entire Will with all its changes yesterday online here.
On the occasion of Asia Week New York, the Asian art extravaganza that is currently underway, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its majestic Asian art galleries to over 600 international collectors, curators, gallery owners, and scholars who have been in New York for the non-stop round of exhibitions, auctions, and museum shows. 

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Now in its 6th year, a record-breaking 47 galleries -- from Australia, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, Thailand and the U.S. -- have set up shop all over town offering an astonishing array of the rarest and finest Asian examples of porcelain, jewelry, paintings, ceramics, sculpture, bronzes, prints, photographs, and jades from China, Japan, Korea, India, the Himalayas, and Southeast Asia. 

One of the evening’s highlights were the curatorial tours of the major exhibitions now on view: Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, the Met’s first Chinese contemporary art exhibition; The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection and Tibet and India: New Beginnings.

This drew a big New York and international crowd including The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Yoo Soon-taek, Emily Rafferty, Maxwell K. Hearn, Carol Conover, Lulu Wang, Mary Ann Rogers,  Gisèle Croës,  Kasper, Bernard Wald, Marie- Hélène Weill,  Colin Mackenzie, Joan Mirviss, Jiyoung Koo, James Lally,  Kit and Tina Luce, Melissa Chiu, Alexandra Munroe, Harry and Ellen Eisenberg, Annysa Ng, Suneet Kapoor,  Robert Mowry,  Suzanne Eliastam, John Carpenter, Beatrice Chang, Martha Sutherland, Carlo Cristi, Katherine Martin, Margriet Krigsman Scholten, Annysa Ng, Karen  and Leon Wender, Keum Ja Kang, Erik and Cornelia Thomsen, Nancy Berliner, Jane Portal, Michael Goedhuis, Francesca Galloway, Henry Howard-Sneyd, Christina Prescott-Walker, Anu Ghosh-Mazumdar, Yamini Mehta, Mee-Seen Loong, Xian Fang, Dessa Goddard, Bruce MacLaren.
Galerie Jacques Barrère
Carved wood and deer antlers with traces of polychromy
Chu Kingdom,Warring States period
4th – 3rd century BC
Joan B. Mirviss Ltd.
Screen-style sculpture, Tôhen Mandara, 1973
Michael Goedhuis
Peacock: Pearl, a work in ink, acrylic and lacquer on paper, 2012
Kaikodo LLC
An 8th century Gilt-silver wine-drinking Game Set, Tang Dynasty
Gisèle Croës
Archaic bronze vessel Zun
Late Shang dynasty 1600-1050 BC - c. 1300-1050
Prahlad Bubbar
Maharana Bhim Singh at a Jharokha Window (detail). Attributed to the master artist Chokha. Udaipur, Rajasthan, India, circa 1800.
Wait, there’s more: Jeff Olson, Edward Wilkinson, Claire and Michael Chu, Lesley Kehoe, Byron Kehoe, Debbie Misajon, John Reed, Michael Hughes,  Elias Martin, Eric Zetterquist, Nana Onishi, Oliver Forge,  Brendan Lynch,  Jonathan Tucker, Prahlad Bubbar, Tina Zonars , Elisabeth Hammer, Ashley Hill, Louis Webre,  Jennifer Casler-Price, Marley Rabstenek, Nancy Berliner, Sue Ollemans, Walter Arader,  Nicholas Grindley, Ruth and Richard Dickes, Bill Griswold, Chris Malstead, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Feinberg, Karsten Tietz,  Giuseppe Piva, Antoine Barrère , Marsha Vargas Handley.
Yoo Soon-taek, Mike Hearn, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Emily Rafferty, Carol Conover, and Lulu Wang.
Anyone here you know? Here’s more: Chiu-Ti Jansen, Dessa Goddard, Machiko and Koichiro Kurita, David Orentriech, Marina Killery, Carole Davenport, Erik Schiess, Gaia Banovich,  Jessie Paindiris, Dr. Alvin Friedman Kien, John and Berthe Ford,  Tu Qiang,  Andrew Kahane, Christophe Hioco, Shawn Ghassemi, Hiroshi Yanagi, Nayef Homsi,  Kathy and Paul Bissinger,  Bob Levine, Vijay Anand, Leonardo and Tomaso Vigorelli,  David Joralemon,  Ed Nagel, Thomas Bachmann, Gabriel Eckenstein, John Guy, Joe Earle, Erica and Lark Mason,  Jiaxin Tian, Alice Chin,  Nancy Wiener, Leiko Coyle, Calli and Bob McCaw, Vyna St. Phard, Corinne Plumhoff,  Shao Wang, Carlton Rochell and Kathleen Kalista, Noémie Bonnet, Sarah Callaghan,  Margaret Tao, Marilyn White, Pilar Conde, and Alfonso Lledo Perez.
Jeff Olson, Dessa Goddard, Suneet Kapoor, Christina Prescott-Walker, Carol Conover, Katherine Martin, Joan Mirviss, and Henry Howard-Sneyd.
This year, Asia Week New York welcomed their Presenting Sponsor, Amanresorts, with seven of its properties in four Asian countries including Amanfayun in Hangzhou, China, Aman at Summer Palace in Beijing, China, Amanbagh in Rajasthan, India, Aman-i-Khas in Ranthambore, India, Amangalla in Galle, Sri Lanka, Amanwella in Tangalle, Sri Lanka, and the Amankora in Bhutan. 

The Supporting Sponsor for the second year, is The China Center,  which is scheduled to open on 6 floors in One World Trade Center in 2015. Serving as a gateway for Chinese companies and individuals entering the U.S. to connect with American entities seeking new opportunities with China. A multifaceted space, The China Center will include a private members club with a restaurant, a tea lounge, a bar, premier event and conference spaces and best-in- class serviced office suites.
Pilar Conde, Miwako Tezuka, and Alfonso Lledo Perez. Noémie Bonnet and Debbie Misajon.
Eric Zetterquist and Carol Conover. Mary Ann Rogers and Carol Conover.
Vyna St. Phard, Alice Chin, and Chiu-Ti Jansen. Spencer Sharp and Chiu-Ti Jansen.
Barnaby Conrad III and Martha Sutherland. Tomaso and Gerolamo Vigorelli.
Lisa and Steven Chait. Michael Goedhuis and Grace Dai.
Shawn Ghassemi and Ina Nouel. Alexandra Monroe and Gisèle Croës.
Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch. Kasper and Emily Rafferty.
Annysa Ng and Karen Wender. John Reed and Carol Conover.
Mike Hearn, Michael Knight, Dr. Pedro Moura Carvalho, and Colin Mackenzie.
Marie-Hélène Weill.
Dina Bangdel, Ashmina Ranjit, Debottam, Bose, Sam Chapin, Dr Sid Bhansali, and Sanjiv Sharma.
Helmut and Heidi Neumann, Christina Prescott-Walker, and Henry Howard-Sneyd.
Thomas Bachmann and Gabriel Eckenstein.
Kathleen Kalista, Carol Conover, and Carlton Rochell.
Margriet Krigsman Scholton and Katherine Martin.
Carlo Cristi and Nayef Homsi.
Moke Mokotoff and Grant Barnhart.
Jiyoung koo, Victoria Lee, Risha Lee, and Yang Liu.
Jiaxin Tin, Erica Mason, Lark Mason, and Ed Nagel.
Margaret Tao, James Lally, Antoine Barrère, and Jeanne Jauneaud.
Bob Mowry and Suzanne Eliastam.
Jessica Paindiris and Gaia Banovich.
James Godfrey, Leon Wender, and Clarissa von Spee, Curator in the Department of Asia, British Museum
Michael Knight, Nancy Murphy, and Nicholas Grindley.
David Orentreich, Marina Killery, Helen Dennis, and Michael Hughes.
Also in little ole Manhattan … This past Wednesday night, Bertrand Lortholary, Consul Général de France, and Christian Deydier, President of the Syndicat National des Antiquaires, celebrated the upcoming Biennale des Antiquaires et de la Haute Joaillerie at a cocktail reception at the French Consulate.

The Biennale is a spectacular show, NYSD has covered it several times. The collections are fabulous and the venue is fabulous and it’s everything brilliant about the French and you’re in Paris for it. Treasures abound.
Bertrand Lortholary and Christian Deydier.
Guests at the recpeiton included Cecile David-Weill, Laura de Gunzburg, Philippe & Stephanie Dauman, Pierre Levai, Sharon Alouf, Corice Arman, Michael Avedon, Edgar Batista, Benoit Pous Bertran de Balanda, Eric Boman & Peter Schlesinger, Leighton C. Candler, Cecile Casablancas, Lady Liliana Cavendish, AlejandraCicognani, Pietro & Elena Cicognani, Ricky Clifton, Nora Coblence, Milly De Cabrol, Trish Caroll, Anne De Louvigny Stone, Massimiliano Di Battista, Barbara Wilhelm Dwek, Martha Kramer & Neal Fox, Marilyn Gauthier, Cindy Farkas Glanzrock, Stéphane Houy-Towner, Cory Kennedy, Stephanie Lacava, Aurora Lopez, Ghislaine Maxwell, Patty Newburger & Brad Wechsler, Lee & Liliana Siegelson, Lucien Terras, Douiglas and Florence Von Erb, and Camille Wiart.

The premier showcase of art and antiques fearing treasure from the world’s greatest dealers sinc the 1950s will take place at the Grand Palais in Paris from September 11 through 21st.
Sharon Alouf. Lily Snyder and Laura de Gunzburg. Slava Radanovic.
Elsa Fine, Amy Fine Collins, and Flora Collins. Eric Marx and Jackie Swerz.
Michael Avedon. Liliana Cavendish. Jane Fire.
Lili Siegelson, Jacques Babando, Geraldine Lenain, and Lee Siegelson. Giulia Coccia and Adelaide Roset.
Ghislaine Maxwell. Edward Barsamian. Cory Kennedy.
Trish Caroll. Stephanie LaCava. Stefania Pia.

Photographs by Annie Watt (AFIPO & Asia Week)

Contact DPC here.