Sunday, September 30

Intrigue in the Art World - A Stolen Renoir?

Well, I guess it was too good to be true, as things usually are. A few weeks back I blogged about a lady who bought the painting at a West Virginia USA (not Virginia as I had reported) swap meet for the ridiculous sum of $7US. It happened to be a real bona fide Pierre-August Renoir painting.

As I said, just too good to be true.

Turns out, the painting, On the Shore of the Seine, seems to have been stolen from the Baltimore (Maryland USA) Museum of Art on November 17, 1951. So its provenance is suddenly in question.

What to do? Well, the auction house has postponed the auction of the painting, which was estimated to bring about $75,000US.

More on this intrigue in the art world as it unfolds...

Wednesday, September 26

An Ed Ruscha Exhibit at LACMA

We were back in LA recently and always like to check out at least one art museum and/or gallery while there if time permits. Fortunately we got a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon to visit LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).

I had read about the work of artist Ed Ruscha but was not really all that familiar with it, and maybe you fall into that category, too. I knew he was famous for his depictions of life in LA from mid-century and later, but that's about all.

You may have seen his iconic work, Standard, which is hanging prominently on the first wall you see. If you haven't ever seen it, it's a very graphic rendering of a Standard-brand gas station with its mid-century architecture of steel portico and gas pumps in reds, blues, and oranges. Very graphic and very eye-catching. I did not know that he also rendered the same image in different color schemes including lavender and yellow and tan.

I also did not know that most of his work was contemporary graphic lithographic prints rather than painterly pictures. He also uses words and phrases in much of his work along with a stray pimento-filled olive dropped in several works unexpectedly--attention getting if nothing else.

Anyway, you couldn't take any photos of his work, but I did get a shot of the entrance to the exhibit, which is today's image.

Check out the LACMA website on Ruscha's work:

Friday, September 14

Museums Should Be Free?

The Castle @ The Smithsonian
The timing is appropriate since this weekend is Museum Day in the US when many museums will open their doors free to the masses.

This thought-provoking article is from the The Huffington Post (by Hallie Sekoff) via the Los Angeles Times (by Jori Finkel). Several LA museum directors discuss the decisions around whether to charge admission to the some of the world's great museums and why some do and some don't.

And don't forget to scroll through the montage of Top 10 Free Museums in the United States ("Remember the Alamo").

Happy Museum Day!

Monday, September 10

A Renoir in Your Garage

This is the kind of story I like. From the ABC News website, someone bought a box of "unknown" artwork at a Virginia USA flea market.

Well, you can guess from the headline what happened. One of the pieces was a Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting, Paysage Bords de Seine, that had not surfaced since 1926!

It's going to be auctioned later this month for maybe $100,000US.

And that, my friends, is why I buy a lottery ticket every single week...

Thursday, September 6

I Did Not Know There Were Four Paintings of "The Scream"

If you look over there in the right-hand column you may have noticed (or not) a section I call The Art Book I'm Currently Reading...

If you noticed, the book that I am still reading is  The Rescue Artist A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick.

It's the story of an art detective who attempts to recover one of the most famous paintings in the world by Edvard Munch. I am about 3/4 of the way through, and so far the painting has not yet been found.

I wish there had been a Spoiler Alert because I just happened to see where someone paid nearly $120 million at auction for The Scream last May. Obviously the painting that was stolen in 1989 was found.

More interesting to me is that the article, written by David Ng in the LA Times, mentions there being four versions of the painting. I did not know that, did you? I just wonder how much the other three are worth.,0,2698556.story