Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The air, the earth, the water, the wildlife and us ...

Going nowhere. 1:20 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014. Mild day yesterday in New York. Cold but in the 40s, with temperature plunging to the low teens and RealFeal of below zero.

Last night at the Plaza, in the Grand Ballroom, The National Audubon Society honored Dan Lufkin and Patrick Noonan for their environmental leadership and lifetime commitment to the environment.

This was the first major fundraising event I’ve been to this month in New York. I mention it only because when the season heats up a couple of months from now, there will be at least one, sometimes two or three or more, four to five days at week, for a few weeks.
My very first selfie checking to see if the camera's battery is working before I got off the elevator to the Plaza Grand Ballroom.
When we hear the name Audubon, we think of John James Audubon, the naturalist painter of the 19th century and his paintings of birds and wildlife (ed. note, there was an auction last weekend at the Arader Galleries of several of Audubon’s images with almost a $ million in total sales.) He is the inspiration historically but the Audubon Society is about conservation of life on the planet which means the air, the earth, the water, the wildlife and us (which in many cases could be considered wildlife also).

So last night’s was a “serious” fundraiser. It was an evening of speeches, in a way. But serious. They drew a big crowd of several hundred men and women. They raised about $1.5 million. The dinner was very good, and the wine and the chocolate dessert. And there were speeches. 
George Archibald, co-founder and Senior Conservationist, International Crane Foundation, with last night's honoree Dan Lufkin. Allison Rockefeller, Chairman of the Women's Committee of the National Audubon Society.
But the interesting thing about the speeches was that everyone  in the room was listening throughout! That is almost a phenomenon these days because these large dinners are often shrouded by the din of the diners yakking with each other while someone on the stage is trying to make a point. People become children in a schoolroom without a teacher to supervise. Not so last night.

More impressive was the silence because it meant that many if not all the hundreds of guests are seriously interested in the work of Audubon at a time when Mother Earth is losing her patience with us earthlings.

Speakers were B. Holt Thrasher, Chairman of the board of directors of the National Audubon Society; David Yarnold, President and CEO of the Society; Glenn Olson, who holds the Donal O’Brien Chair in Bird Conservation of the society. Each man talked about the work and progress the Society is making around the country.  After dinner Nathaniel P. Reed, Vice-Chair of the Everglades Foundation presented the Lufkin Prize for Environmental Leadership to Patrick Noonan who has devoted his life to the environment and on-the-ground conservation.
The table set with the first course, a root vegetables salad.
Anne Ford and Ambassador William vanden Heuvel.
Then Holt Thrasher Presented the Audubon Medal to Dan Lufkin. By now you know that Dan Lufkin is involved in conservation issues. I knew that before. What I didn’t know was the extent.

I’ve known Dan Lufkin for several years. Not well, as we are basically social acquaintances who have had serious conversations, and enjoy the camaraderie. He has had a  distinguished career in Wall Street. He grew up in Westchester in an era that evokes Norman Rockwell images --  a humanity that resonated with the age (mid-20th century). Dan Lufkin to this day has that quality about him. Furthermore, he’s a man of great humor but a straight shooter. You know when he’s serious, not because there’s ire or fire before you, but because his words are about serious matters.
Donal O'Brien, the longtime chairman of the National Audubon Society who died last September. Mr. O'Brien was admired and beloved by conservationists who worked with him. He was "always urging Audubon to think the way birds see the world -- to think about large-scale conservation." His longtime friend Dan Lufkin was expressing the same message last night in his acceptance of the Audubon Medal.
Nathaniel P. Reed, Vice-Chairman of the Everglades Foundation, presenting the Medal to Patrick Noonan.
Patrick Noonan and Robert Redford.
Patrick Noonan last night accepting his award.
David Yarnold, Holt Thrasher, and Dan Lufkin with his Audubon Medal
Dan Lufkin talking about his involvement and commitment to conservation and its issues. In these three photos you see the man "of great humor but a straight shooter. You know when he's serious not because there's ire or fire before you, but because his words are about serious matters." And passionate.
Guests in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza, there to honor Dan Lufkin and Patrick Noonan.
It was like that last night. He talked about the matters at hand in the conservation of the planet so that we can exist.  He made it clear that Global Warming is upon us and that we must not only take heed, but act. That wasn’t the point of his acceptance speech, however. The point of his speech was that the issues of the Audubon Society are the issues of the survival of the environment so that we can live with nature. Without it ...

And that was the evening. Started at 6:30 for cocktails. 7:30 dinner. About 9:30  quarter to ten, we were finished. We left with a reassuring sense that Purpose remains an accessible asset to all of us, and an objective with many, many of whom are supporters or activists in The National Audubon Society defines it.
During the evening when the video screens that were set up in the four corners of the ballroom weren't showing closeups of the people on the stage, they ran this series of our feathered friends, demonstrating that Mother Nature is the mother of all art, beauty, and wonder.
Last Thursday night when I went over to the preview of the Winter Antiques Show benefiting the East Side House Settlement, I took several photos of the stalls to give you an idea of what fair looked like. Unfortunately, my photos don't adequately relate the cornucopia of precious objects, art, furniture, silver, gold, etc. The show runs through next Sunday, at the Park Avenue Armory.
The crowd at the 2014 Winter Antiques Show.
Furniture from the Peabody Essex Museum collection which is celebrating its 215th birthday this year.
1926 dress by Parisian designer Jenny (Jeanne Bernard); 1868 - 1962, Paris. In 2011, with the promised gift of Iris Apfel's "Rare Bird of Fashion" collection, the museum launched international modern and contemporary fashion as its most recent collecting initiative. It's extensive holdings in historic costumes and textiles include a world-class concentration of shoes, American women's fashion and accessories from 1820 to 1930.
Rupert Wace Ancient Art Limited, London, England.
Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, NY. Macklowe Gallery, New York, NY.
David A. Schorsch • Eileen M. Smiles American Antiques, Woodbury, CT. Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, NY.
Jonathan Trace, Portsmouth, NH. Ralph M. Chait Galleries, Inc., New York, NY.
Delaney Antique Clocks, West Townsend, Massachusetts. Peter Finer, London, England.
A French Epee de Luxe with gold and porcelain hilt, presented to King Fernando VII of Spain, 1816. Thomas Gainsborough, Portrait of Admiral Philip Affleck, mid 1780s. Alexander Gallery, New York, NY.
Barbara Israel Garden Antiques, Katonah, NY. Hyland Granby, Antiques, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.
The scene at the bar.
Winter Scene with Archery Contest, by a Chinese artist, c. 1815. Martyn Gregory, London, England.
Keshishian, New York, NY.
Alfred Bullard, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Aronson of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
A pair of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls, American, c. 1930.Designed by Charlotte Clark for the Disney Studios in 1930. Frank & Barbara Pollack American Antiques & Art, Highland Park, IL.
Cove Landing, New York, NY.
Philip Colleck, Ltd. New York, NY.
Wartski, London, England.
Emerald and diamond brooch of a lady.
Hostler Burrows, New York, NY.
S.J. Shrubsole, New York, NY.
Allan Katz Americana, Woodbridge, CT.
Lost City Arts, New York, NY.
David Webb Jewelry at Kentshire, New York, NY.
René Boivin at James Robinson, Inc., New York, NY.
Colorful guests having drinks.
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, NY.
Queen Victoria's Tiara at Wartski, London.
Diamond Stars and Moons necklace in platinum by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.
The crowd milling about.
Also in New York this week there are 28 distinct exhibitions by the world's leading drawings dealers -- from the largest show of Gainsborough drawings in the the US in the past hundred years, to iPad created digital art by Mexican artist Elena Climent; as well as works of Picasso, Rauschenberg, Miro. Tonight many are open till 8 p.m. Check it out on www.masterdrawingsinnewyork.com.
And now for something to warm your heart with a reminder about our greatest four legged friends ...

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