Going to the dogs

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The sun setting behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: JH.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020.  Sunny and cold – at 35 degrees, yesterday in New York. A quiet Monday if you never leave the neighborhood. The schools on either side of me were quiet. Perhaps they’re closed.

Private Correspondence/for your eyes only.  (You believe that?). This past Thanksgiving a friend sent me a little gift delivered in a shiny red paperbag with a bow tied around the handles and the name TEUSCHER (chocolates) on it. This was not bad news, that’s for sure. Although chocolate is not on my dr. approved diet. However. 

I untied the bow and opened the bag to this:

The Teuscher turkey box.

I thought, this is a box? Extraordinary. I didn’t want to destroy the work of the boxmaker, which at first I couldn’t find under the turkey. Then driven by the reality (chocolates inside), I carefully inspected the possibility of opening it. It turned out to be simple. Inside the beautifully packaged box carefully wrapped in paper and then covered with a gold plastic sheet highlighting the treasure were the 12 chocolates. 

I didn’t consume them immediately. I don’t buy boxes of chocolates for myself and I remember as a kid around this time of year when the Whitman’s Sampler boxes were often presented as an aside gift (to the hostess, etc.; the kid was allowed to take a couple of pieces). On the Teuscher’s, I gorged on two, maybe three a day. Didn’t take long and I was left with the real prize, the Teuscher turkey. I put it on a table of framed portraits and a couple of mementos where it still resides two weeks later.

The bad part, which is typical, was that my friend was owed a thank you for her generosity; and I am slow to nil on writing Thank Yous. Two weeks passed and she never heard from me; the pangs of guilt were setting in. I needed to do it but to deflect my bad manners.  I decided to write something so silly she’d forget.

Dear E: It sez on opening the box. Teuscher? Isn’t that chocolates? But where’s the Chocolates?? Oh gawd please don’t tell me … you eat this turkey? It was placed on a small  box an inch in height, but I couldn’t find the way to open it. So what is this? Ofergodsakes! 

Well, it must be chocolates, no matter, I say to myself. And I’m not supposed to eat chocolates. But I don’t have to eat the chocolates (if I can find them even) because the boid is so cool that I’m keeping it on a table to look at.

But then … I discovered HOW to open the teensy little box with 12 little chocolates. Oh gawd. Wellll … I’ll have at least one. That can’t hurt, no?  Of course not. More than one? Well, one more maybe.  Or more than two? Well … yeah … three?

The little snood was just too hard to resist.

Oh gawd, I knew this would happen. I closed the box back up and put it in its proper place so I could see it frequently and maybe I’d just forget about the other chocolates.

Yeah, sure Dave. Just be grateful. And maybe finish them later … no problem. Really sweet and thoughtful, E! And VERY BAD … if you’re supposed to avoid chocolate. Tch-tch-tch. 

Thank you!

Unless me, my friend was quick in acknowledging

Dear David, 

I loved your tale of the 12 naughty chocolates! Oh, but isn’t it fun to be naughty sometimes? Festive holiday decorations and fluff suddenly seem more delightful and necessary than ever due to the dreariness of Covid times. It feels like we are living in a Dickens tale and we need these wee amusements to conjure up cozy  memories of “Thanksgiving and Christmases Past” !

Dreaming of post-vaccine days!!

Going to the dogs. Readers may have noticed Emily Erdmans’ ads lately including the ones with Mario Buatta presiding for the camera. Every time I see Mario, I think how much he’d vocally appreciate Emily’s collection of his works that are for sale. Mario was a shopper especially for antiques, carpets, mirrors, portraits and anything else that took his fancy. His “fancy” was a sharp eye for artistry, artisanship and value. He bought things knowing they would only increase in value because of those three qualities. So Mario lives on.

A portion of the collection in situ at Eerdmans on 14 East 10th Street. Click to view.

With the holiday and Christmas season upon us we asked Emily if she had anything in her gallery that she’d like to share with the NYSD readers. And naturally, because Emily has the eye, she learned from Mario. 

She suggested we tell you about a recent collection she acquired and a newly opened dog portraiture show based on the collection called, “Dog Paintings from the Collection of a Grande Dame,” which just launched last weekend and runs through January at their premises at 14 East 10th Street.

We were asked to present this collection of 23 dog paintings and works of art that belonged to a recently deceased old school lady from Northeast Harbor. I can’t reveal her name but she was friends with Brooke Astor and her decorator Nancy Pierrepont helped her build the collection. Emily has installed it in their Greek Revival parlor in an interior setting to suggest Mrs. Astor and Mario.

This oil, dated 1976, of the pug Winston is by the American society artist Henry Koehler who did a lot of nautical and sporting pictures for the Kennedys as well as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. $7,500.
Pointer in a Landscape with Quail, 18th century, in the style of royal painter Jean Baptiste Oudry. The shaped form of this French work indicates it was incorporated into the architecture of a room, perhaps as an over door painting. $8,500.

Depictions of The Dog date back to the Bronze Age, reflecting the deep and enduring the relationship between humans and canines. Valued for their roles as hunters, guardians, and, most of all, devoted companions, dogs have appeared in works of art historically as allegories for fidelity and loyalty; in hunting scenes at work; and in portraiture where a specific pet is represented.

From the Renaissance onward, dogs often appeared in portraits with their aristocratic owners and as the interest in distinct breeds grew in the nineteenth century, as evidenced by the establishment of The Kennel Club in England in 1873, more commonly in portraits of their own.

The show celebrates this distinguished group of “men’s best friends”, including Maltese, Poodles, Spaniels, Terriers, Whippets and more formed in the old school tradition of Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Pierrepont.

Rich and Poor, 19th century portrait of a terrier and a whippet. $5,000.
A. Vicini, Pompon. Portrait of a seated Maltese wearing a blue ribbon with a dog house to the right inscribed “Chalet Pompon,” 1888. $12,500.
Edwin Armfield, Portrait of a Spaniel and Two Terriers in a Barn, 19th century. $7,500.
Puppy and Kitten Drinking Milk from a Bowl, 19th century. $7,500.
Horatio Henry Couldery (1832–1918), Two Pug Pups and a Kitten. Depicting two pugs, one with a blue bow-tied ribbon around the neck, and a tabby kitten, seated on a tufted red cushion. In a richly carved gilt frame. $12,000.
Frances C. Fairman, Four Samoyeds, 1896. Portrait of four white Samoyed pups. $8,500.
Portrait of a Jack Russell Pup with a White Blanket, 19th century. $3,500.

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