Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, December 10, 2004
The always excellent Art Newspaper has a couple of articles that will, for a brief recuperative spell, take your anxious mind away from the ugliness of war and politics and, possibly, make you partly understand why the big boys are fighting so hard for the endless bushels of cash the Social Security privatization scam will generate.

The Badminton Cabinet

"News from Liechtenstein" is not a phrase one sees every day.
However, The Art Newspaper is reporting that Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein, has purchased the Badminton Cabinet, an early 18th century example of Florentine pietra dure furniture, for £19,045,250 ($35.8 million) at a December 9th sale at Christie’s of London.
The Badminton Cabinet, now the world’s most expensive piece of furniture, was purchased with the Prince’s “private funds” but will reside in the Museum of Liechtenstein in Vienna and will be shown to the public beginning in the spring of 2005.
The Cabinet was last sold by David Somerset, the current and 11th Duke of Beaufort, in 1990 to American band-aid and baby powder heiress Barbara Piaceska Johnson for a, then, record-breaking £8.58 million $15 million.
Miss Johnson, shockingly to a collector but par for an investor, did not keep her nylons and panties in the historic treasure but rather kept the expensive bauble in storage.
The Cabinet was commissioned in Florence, Italy by Henry Fitzroy Somerset, the 3rd Duke of Beaufort, and was assembled between 1695 and 1732.
Commenting of this latest sale the 11th Duke of Beaufort said:

I don’t give a damn where it went, but I wish I’d made that much money when I sold it.

He was not amused.

Pietra dure is decorative mosaic of semi-precious stones such as agate, jasper and lapis lzuli that achieved technical and artistic excellence in 16th century Florence, Italy.
In furniture, the decorative mosaic usually adorns cabinets, like the Badminton, tabletops, boxes and chests.

Liz and her van Gogh

Another Art Newspaper article that won’t be found in such fascinating detail through our lazy media concerns the ever-feisty Elizabeth Taylor’s ongoing fight over her ownership of Vincent van Gogh’s View of the Church of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, a 44.5 X 60.0 cm. oil on canvas painted in Saint Rémy during October 1889.
I urge you to follow the link and read this excellent article concerning the always-complicated ownership of major artwork.
And, for the record, I’m with Liz on this one.
All the best, sweetie!

Images: The Art Newspaper,

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