IN THE NEWS-
- "Don't touch the exhibits" is usually an unspoken rule at museums, but during this months' Marina Abromovic exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art some over-enthusiastic viewers are forgetting, when confronted by nude models... "Some at MoMA Show Forget ‘Look but Don’t Touch’ " Read the full story
- Britain's National Gallery to reveal secrets of its fakes : A new exhibition will reveal how the experts detect forgeries – and they're more common than you think. "When the National Gallery was bequeathed an exquisite painting of the Virgin and Child with an Angel in 1924 officials must have been delighted: an early 16th-century masterpiece by Francesco Francia, the artist from Bologna, was to grace the museum's collection. Until, that is, an almost exactly similar work turned up for auction in London in 1954. Problem: which was the original and which a copy? Read the full story
April 16, 1646: Jules Hardouin-Mansart was born. "The French architect whose work is generally considered to be the apex of French Baroque architecture, representing the power and grandeur of Louis XIV, Mansart, as he is generally known, was one of the most important European architects of the seventeenth century. Hardouin-Mansart served as Louis XIV's chief architect, first enlarging the royal château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, then at Versailles from 1675. He became the surintendant des Bâtiments du Roi (Superintendent of royal works). He designed all the extensions and rebuildings at Versailles for the King, including the north and south wings, the Royal Chapel (with Robert de Cotte, 1710), and the celebrated Hall of Mirrors decorated by Charles Le Brun his collaborator. Outside the château proper, he built the Grand Trianon and the Orangerie, as well as subsidiary royal dwellings not far away, such as the Château de Marly (begun in 1679). Among his other best-known works, in Paris, are the Pont-Royal, the Église Saint-Roch, the Invalides great domed royal chapel Église du Dôme des Invalides dedicated to Saint Louis (designed in 1680), the Place des Victoires (1684–86) followed by the Place Vendôme (1690). Most of these works still set their stamp on the character of Paris and can be seen by a modern-day tourist."
April 16, 1660: Sir Hans Sloane, 1st Baronet, was born. "A Scottish physician and collector, he was notable for bequeathing his collection to the British nation which became the foundation of the British Museum. He also invented Drinking chocolate and gave his name to Sloane Square in London, and Sir Hans Slone Square in his birthplace Killyleagh. When Sloane retired in 1741, his library and cabinet of curiosities, which he took with him from Bloomsbury to his house in Chelsea, had grown to be of unique value. On his death on 11 January 1753 he bequeathed his books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, flora, fauna, medals, coins, seals, cameos and other curiosities to the nation, on condition that parliament should pay to his executors £20,000, which was a good deal less than the value of the collection. The bequest was accepted on those terms by an act passed the same year, and the collection, together with George II's royal library, etc., was opened to the public at Bloomsbury as the British Museum in 1759. A significant proportion of this collection was later to become the foundation for the Natural History Museum."
April 16, 1755: Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun was born. An accomplished artist, she "is recognized as the most famous woman painter of the eighteenth century. Her style is generally considered Rococo and shows interest in the subject of neoclassical painting. Vigée-Le Brun cannot be considered a purely Neoclassist in that she creates mostly portraits in Neoclassical dress rather than the History painting. In her choice of color and style while serving as the portrait painter to the Queen, Vigée-Le Brun is purely Rococo."
April 16, 1821: English painter Ford Madox Brown was born. "A painter of moral and historical subjects, notable for his distinctively graphic and often Hogarthian version of the Pre-Raphaelite style. His early works were greatly admired by the young Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who asked him to become his tutor. Through Rossetti, Brown came into contact with the artists who went on to form the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Though closely linked to them, he was never actually a member of the brotherhood itself. Nevertheless, he remained close to Rossetti, with whom he also joined William Morris's design company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., in 1861. He was a close friend of the landscape artist Henry Mark Anthony. Brown was also the main organiser of the Hogarth Club, a short lived replacement for the PRB which existed between 1858 and 1861."
April 16, 1889, movie actor Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, was born. "An English comic actor and film director of the silent film era, he became one of the best-known film stars in the world before the end of the First World War. Chaplin used mime, slapstick and other visual comedy routines, and continued well into the era of the talkies, though his films decreased in frequency from the end of the 1920s. His most famous role was that of The Tramp, which he first played in the Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice in 1914. Chaplin was one of the most creative and influential personalities of the silent-film era. His working life in entertainment spanned over 75 years, from the Victorian stage and the Music Hall in the United Kingdom as a child performer, until close to his death at the age of 88. His high-profile public and private life encompassed both adulation and controversy. Chaplin's identification with the left ultimately forced him to resettle in Europe during the McCarthy era in the early 1950s. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Chaplin the 10th greatest male screen legend of all time. George Bernard Shaw called Chaplin "the only genius to come out of the movie industry". "
"False Impressions. The Hunt for Big-Time Art Fakes"
By Thomas Hoving.
Published in New York by Simon & Schuster: 1996.
A breezy, irreverent journey through the world of art fakes and fakers with the former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There is a common thread running through most of these tales, a common denominator which Hoving terms the "greed - speed - need" factor. Most fraud and forgery succeeds because this factor exists. Simply put, it is: Greed -The price is a steal, what a bargain! Speed -If I don't get it now someone else will snap it up! Need -I really want it! "False Impressions", is a fascinating collection of tales of the fakes and forgers Hoving encountered during his years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and throughout the book this same set of factors recurs time after time.