Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ghosts from the past

This week is shaping up to have a photographic theme...hmmm. The above image is part of an extraordinary group of identification photographs of inmates at the Arkansas state penitentiary, made between 1914 and 1937. The negatives were found by Bruce Jackson, who made modern prints from them.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

still life with lemons

Something gorgeous from the art fair. If you are in New York between March 6 and April 6, stop by Hans P. Kraus to see Autochromes: The Dawn of Color Photography, including the above photograph (Emmanuel Sougez, Still Life with Lemons and Siphon, 1926-1928). For more on Autochromes, see here.

(image Hans P. Kraus, Jr.)

Monday, February 26, 2007

a tale of two sisters

Just back from New York, which never fails to delight and inspire. My tale is that of two beautiful, amazing sisters (my cousins) who both live and work in the city. One is the curator of a wonderful exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall: An Artist's Country Estate. She has a knack for finding the lovely, the unknown, the unexpected. Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about Tiffany, she finds something wonderful to surprise you. Favorites from the exhibition include a wonderfully abstract leaded glass window (above); a carved wooden door from Ahmadabad, India; and some stunning Chinese headresses, which were once part of Tiffany's personal collection.

The second sister is (among so many other things) a talented photographer, and author of two extraordinary blogs: Blissville and The L.I.E. Her endless talent, limitless energy, and boundless love for the people, places and things around her amazes me. And she always introduces me to the most fabulous places ~ this time Communitea in Long Island City ~ where lively conversation is guaranteed. Just a few steps from the tea shop we found the Art-o-Mat and San Honesto, the creation of artist Luisa Gloria. I think we both felt that we could use a little more San Honesto in our world.

(top image via; bottom image Luisa Gloria)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

silver spoon

Some of the many delights of this past weekend included driving around in the snow, looking at old houses, and stopping to explore antique shops. At one place I rummaged through a box of old silverware marked "$1 a piece" and came up with an old engraved Gorham serving spoon, black with tarnish. A little Twinkle revealed something lovely. I wonder who JGH is, because she is missing a spoon.

I am off to New York for the Art Fair. Next week I will be back with tales from the big city.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

little house in the woods

I am back from the snowy mountains of western Pennsylvania. What a wonderful weekend! Above is a photograph of the log cabin we stayed in. Once a post office, built in 1820, the structure was moved from its original location in the 1990s and converted into a house, complete with modern amenities.

The highlight of the trip was a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. It is closed to the public until mid-March, but we have connections (our brilliant friend Justin is the curator there)! Because of the ice and snow it was impossible to walk around outside and take photographs (as you can see from the above view). Even the creek that flows underneath the house was frozen solid. But, what a joy to explore the inside. During the months the house is closed to the public, the staff works on a multitude of conservation and renovation projects, so most of the furnishings and collections were nestled in white sheets (though we did peek). I adored all of the wonderful books and objets d'art. In fact, I was a little obsessed with the books...

Books, books, books.

Loved the cover of this book about insects.

And really loved the little book nook beneath a wooden Madonna and Child. I can't wait until the Spring to see the house with all of the furnishings in place. I will have more about the trip in the next few days, including my antiquing finds and details of our snowy adventures!

Friday, February 16, 2007


This is where I am headed for the weekend! I have been to several Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings, but have never been to Fallingwater. I found these 1950s textile designs (below) by Wright at the Archives of American Art. I think the patterns and colors are wonderful.

Have a great weekend--I will report back next week with details from the trip.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

danish delights

Last weekend I found a beautiful little book called Danish Art of Cabinetmaking at Second Story Books ~ a host gift for my friend Justin (can't wait to see you this weekend!). It was published by the Danish Museum of Art & Design or Det danske Kunstindustrimuseum. I couldn't resist checking out their web site, which is an incredible resource for lovers of Danish design ~ everything from Rococo furniture and ceramics to modern decorative arts and textiles (see above). Spend some time searching through their extensive online databases.

(image via det danske kunstindustrimuseum)

navigating the imagination

Yesterday I told you about the Cornell exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I looked to see if there was an accompanying catalogue, which there is not (or at least not one yet published). However, I can highly recommend Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay...Eterniday. It has some of the best reproductions of Cornell's works I have ever seen. Another must for my library....

(image via Amazon)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

happy valentine's day

It is Valentine's Day and I couldn't resist delighting you with a fabulous French drawing by Pierre Thomas Le Clerc, in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The weather is foul here, and I am not having quite as good hair day as this lady.

If you are in Washington and wondering what to do on a cold icy afternoon, go see the Joseph Cornell exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. I took advantage of yesterday's "snow afternoon" to see it. What a wonderful, magical experience. The exhibition closes on the 19th, so don't miss it!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

mysteries of the upper air

"The mysteries of the upper air are about to reveal themselves, if our hands are deft and our eyes quick enough." ~ Wilson Bentley (1901)

The snow today brought to mind the fantastic photographic work of Wilson Bentley (also known as "Snowflake Bentley"), who in 1885 was the first person to ever photograph a snowflake. "Every snowflake has an infinate beauty," Bentley wrote in Popular Mechanics Magazine (1922). While Bentley worked under extreme conditions ~ he had to photograph in the cold, with only a few short moments to capture an image. I read somewhere that today a snowflake can be caught in Superglue, thus allowing the photographer more time to capture the image. For more information about Bentley, visit the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Monday, February 12, 2007

wallpaper and whimsy

I am very excited to tell you about something I am planning with a small group of friends ~ fellow curatorial types and historic house enthusiasts. We are putting together a spring tour of historic houses in the Washington - Maryland - Virginia area. Beginning in March, and going through June, we are hoping to visit 2 to 3 houses per month, including Gunston Hall (see above), Stratford Hall, Woodlawn Plantataion and the Pope-Leighey House, among others (I want to save some surprises). It will be an extravaganza of wonderful architecture, furniture, wallpaper, textiles, and gardens. I am planning to feature all of the trips on my blog, so stay tuned!

(images via Gunston Hall web site)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

style times

The New York Times Style Magazine is such a wonderful treat ~ a fusion of fashion, design, art, and photography. Where else would Fendi and Adam Fuss come together so perfectly? The 2006 women's spring fashion issue featured the photographer's ethereal, almost ghostly, images of dresses by Chloe, Fendi, Mui Mui, and Calvin Klein. Can't wait for the 2007 issue (due out any day)!

(image via New York Times)

Friday, February 9, 2007

invention of simplicity

I noticed this gorgeous new book, Biedermeier: The Invention of Simplicity, on the shelves of the bookstore yesterday. Such a luxe publication ~ the photographs are stunning! It is definitely on my wish list. I adore the spare, simple forms and clear colors of the Biedermeier style. So very elegant.

(images via Amazon)

Thursday, February 8, 2007


I mailed my Valentines this morning. I adore the new Love stamp, and in fact it is so popular that I had to go to TWO different post offices before I could find one that had them in stock! So, keep your eyes on a mailbox near you...

And speaking of sweet things, I had dinner last night at DC Coast and had the most divine dessert, a white cocolate soufflé with passion friut coulis, accompanied by a glass of sparking Moscato. Mmmmm. (Thanks Isabelle!).

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

on a cold, snowy day...'s nice to think of Spring things. I just discovered these wonderful paper butterflies by British artist, Tracey Bush. The Yale Centre for British Art recently acquired one of her pieces.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

coming soon!

News, notes, and inspirations from inside the beltway.