Beautiful British Steals

Friday, September 12, 2014 No comments

Bonhams and the other auction houses usually arrange their lots to create suspense in the actual auctions, the beautiful-yet-affordable climbing to the beautiful and wildly astronomical. But psychologically, when scrolling through by your lonesome, shouldn't they start with the dreams and wind us all down to reality? Where impulsively dropping $250,000 for single seat 1935 MG Magnette at the Goodwood Revival auction could propel one's spouse to start divorce proceedings, that $2,000 Hermes suitcase could launch a thousand conversations about "bargain" shopping. Hell, even the 1951 Jag XK120 comparatively seems like a steal at $100,000...and the wife (or hubby) could actually come along for the ride. Here is a selection of wallet killers that have easily birthed thousands of automobile fantasies.

Lot 226
Registration no. XKJ 470 Chassis no. 671751 Engine no. E-5393-8
£60,000 - 70,000
US$ 97,000 - 110,000

Lot 305
Registration no. SLC 611 Chassis no. LML 933 Engine no. VB6J 62
£140,000 - 160,000
US$ 230,000 - 260,000

Lot 244
Registration no. XNF 435 Chassis no. 1E50912 / Body Number: LB4575-9
£225,000 - 275,000
US$ 370,000 - 450,000

Cars, Fueling Excuses for Accessories Shopping for Generations

Thursday, September 11, 2014 No comments

This weekend hundreds of Brits will throw on their best Brideshead-looking kit and head to see the world's most beautiful sports cars race at the annual Goodwood Revival. To coincide with the event, Bonhams will be auctioning off loads of autos (see the next post) and the accessories everyone would need to make them complete. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lot 130† | A Veteran Leather Cased Picnic Set For Four Persons, by Drew & Sons, £1,500 - 2,000 ($2,400-3,200)

£500 – 700 ($810-1,100)

Lot 110† | An Edwardian Leather-Cased Set Of Bartholomew's Road Maps For Scotland, Circa 1905, £800 - 1,200 ($1,300-1,900)

Lot 138† | A Leather-Cased Cocktail Set For Six Persons, By James Dixon & Sons, Circa 1910, £3,000 - 4,000 ($4,800-6,500)

Lot 96 | A Herbert Johnson Racing Helmet, Formerly The Property Of 'Bob' Roberts Obe,
£700 – 900 ($1,100-1,500)

Lot 122 | A Hermes Suitcase, Circa 1930, £1,200 - 1,400 ($1,900 - 2,300)

Lot 94 | A Twin-Bladed Wooden Propeller, Circa 1917, £600 – 800 ($970-1,300)
Lot 48 | A Collection of 17 Original Ferrari Yearbooks, £3,800 - 4,500 (US$ 6,100 - 7,300)

Lot 114 | Louis Vuitton Steamer Bag, Circa 1960, £1,000 - 1,200 ($1,600-1,900)

Lot 107 | A Moynat Suitcase, Circa 1910, £600 – 800 ($970-1,300)

Judging Nations by Their Fonts

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 1 comment

Perhaps instead of giving us the current respective horrifying/mind-boggling, embarrassing/wild political situations, Russia and France could just turn their energies back to...fonts. Both are so great at fonts, fonts that define their cultures AND actually bring joy to people with eyes all over the world. Pierre Bergé's October 9 Literature auction lets us celebrate those fonts (of course, many of which emerged as a response to other horrifying and mind-boggling political situations, but great-looking, still).

Lot 225 | €600-800 | Litterature Et Avant-Gardes Russes | SCHKLOVSKII Viktor | Moscow, Berlin | Gelikon | 1923

Original edition of these letters to Elsa Triolet.

 Lot 311 | €500-600 | SACHS Maurice | Words (Original notes and sketches)

List of words and definitions related to botany or concerning precious words. This set was offered to the previous owner by the antiquarian Madeleine Castaing, mistress of the painter Soutine, in May, 1975.

Lot 271 | €1500-1800 | Henri Cartier-Bresson | Paris | Verve | 1952.

Considered one of the finest photography books with 370 x 273 mm boards illustrated by Henri Matisse. First edition illustrated by 126 photographs, taken by Pierre Gassman, reproduced in full pages. Blurb Henri Cartier-Bresson . First work done by the photographer Tériade under a cover illustrated by Matisse. Beautiful specimen, despite back very slightly browned.

Lot 95 | CHAVAL | €150-200 | Vive Gutenberg | Paris | Laffont | 1956 | First edition

Lot 18 | Antonin Artaud | €150-200 | Au pays des Tarahumaras (In the land of Tarahumara) | Paris | Fountain, 1945 | First Edition.

No. 240 of 700 copies on vellum. Includes his “Mexican texts” of lectures at the University of Mexico, including some details on the rite of peyote, and letters, including one from 1937 to Jean Paulhan.

Lot 277 | €400-500 | Nus (Naked) | Daniel Masclet | 1933

First edition of this album from the first "International Exhibition of Photographic Nude with images by Man Ray, George Platt Lynes, Moholy-Nagy, Pierre Boucher, Frantisek Drtikol and Laure Albin-Guillot.

Lot 226 | €400-500 | Literature And Russian Avant-Guard | Moscow-Berlin | Gelikon | 1922

First Edition with cover illustrated by Pavel Tchelichshev
48 Hours in Vienna (Day 2)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014 No comments

On day two, we'll head to museum and garden territory with many of the shops closed.

Perhaps we'll do breakfast at the Meierei em Stadpark (the photo above is from this) or Jospeh Bakery at Landstraßer Hauptstraße 4, 1030 Wien (below).

And then take coffees for a walk through the Belvedere Palace Gardens.

And then head to Europe's oldest shoe maker, Rudolf Scheer & Söhne, to gawk at the beauty (or just click here to see Daniel Gebhart de Koekkoek's beautiful photos of the operations for Monocle Magazine like the one above). NOTE: I bet anything they're closed on Sunday. This might have to wait for Monday morning.

(Bräunerstraße 4, Vienna, Austria)

And grab a snack at at Palmenhaus (Burggarten 1)...before we head to Porter's favorite museum in the world (thus far), MuMOK. 

Daniel Spoerri's Der General, 1962, part of the MuMOK collection at Museumsplatz 1. The gift shop there is also incredible looking.

Followed by cocktails at Loos American Bar on Kärntner Durchgang (photo from Vanity Fair).

 Followed by wiener schnitzel at Plachuttas Gasthaus zur Oper at Walfischgasse 5.
48 Hours in Vienna (A Pared Down Version of My Actually Totally Unrealistic Plan - Day 1)

Monday, September 08, 2014 No comments

After a few hops to Europe in college and my early 20s, I made a pact with myself that I would never apply any pressure to see more than a single museum and do one touristy thing in each locale. I spend my hours of Brooklyn freedom sipping wine in cafes with friends and scrounging through flea markets and wonderful little shops. So, when I travel, I shall do just that, only in completely new flea markets, cafes and shops, I swore to myself. It's worked perfectly for a decade and a half. 

Until now, when I've become a Type A planning monster. My friend Maggie and I head to Vienna for what is actually about 48 months' worth of activities that we'll have to pack into 48 hours if you are to believe my map (has roughly 100 entries). We'll get to about 1/10th of that, but to help calm the old brain, here's a pared down version of some some of the must-do highlights featuring images borrowed from all across the internet: 

Arrive early Saturday and drop off bags in the beautiful loft with herringbone floors I've rented in Neubau, Vienna's 7th district. Obtain fuel at the ZÅMM Coffee + Art Collective down the street (more on that here!).

(Kirchengasse 35) From there, head to the weekly flea Naschmarkt flea and pop into Cafe Dreschler for a late lunch. 

(Cafe Dreschler, Linke Wienzeile 22, Wein 1060)

Pop down the road to Joseph Maria Olbrich's 1897 Viennese Art Nouveau architectural masterpiece, the Secession Building, which houses Gustav Klimt's Beethoven Frieze (top photo) and lots of other modern and contemporary art.

(Vienna Secession, Friedrichstraße 12, A-1010 Wien)

Head back down the Gumpendorferstraße to hit the Saint Charles Apotheke (above) and Cosmothcary (below) 

Grab a light dinner and drinks at Finkh (Esterhazygasse 12, 1060)

. . . 

For more shopping tips, check out Shopikon's guides. They're damned good. 

Also...this might even be manageable.

Hare on the Stair (The Best Museum Show Promotional Concept Borne Since the Birth of Instagram)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 1 comment

Over the summer, the tiny, meticulous "Young Hare" that Albrecht Dürer sketched up in 1502 hung prominently inside Vienna's Albertina Museum...while a gargantuan facsimile greeted visitors on the stairs. The museum sits inside one of Wein's many Hapsburg palaces (this one having been built in 1744 for Count Emanuel Teles Silva-Tarouca, then gifted, redecorated, rehauled, redecorated, gifted, bombed and recently rehauled). The bunny was the cornerstone of the "Dürer, Michelangelo, Rubens" show, which went down in June, but the bunny, remains alive in wildly detailed HD as part of the Google Art Project/Cultural Institute (yes, I'm obsessed).

While not all museums have stairs designed to elevate Hapsburg princes, why don't more do this?

I'm heading to Vienna in a couple weeks and will have the chance to see Miró and Katz, but no bunnies. 

(The top photo is a still from Cast Your Art's video - in German - about the show and the one below is from morganchele's flickr). Merisi's Vienna for Beginners blog has even better shots here.

Wood on the Water (Part 2) | Cutts & Case Museum and Shipyard

Tuesday, September 02, 2014 No comments

While these ladies looked like beauties from outside, the up-close view of the Cutts & Case collection blew those distance perceptions away. Many of these grande dames are still works-in-progress like the one above that clearly shows the Cutts Method where a double planked skin is laid over a simple set of molds.

Before he died, Edmond Cutts' dream was to finish this enormous "commuter," the kind of boat wealthy businessmen might have taken from the Hamptons to Wall Street while enjoying a morning cocktail. After talking with Fred Stocker, our sailing, photographing, shipyard guide, we all decided that a Kickstarter campaign to get this baby finished and in the water is in order (more on that to come!). Look at that hull (and the baby boat for size context...and the shots below)! 

Foto belonged to Stanley Rosenfeld, part of what might be the best family of boating and nautical photographers to ever set sail. 

Inside Foto.

Cutts' Commuter, a more accurate scale.

Cutts' Commuter, still in dream form.

Edmund Cutts also loved motorcycles.

This was in one of the ships in the yard. I want to rope all my banisters with an extra spiral (even the gear shifts have it!)

A detail from the shipyard.
Wood on the Water | A Peek Inside the Cutts & Case Workshop

Monday, September 01, 2014 No comments

Years ago, when visiting our Aunt Rita and Uncle Al in Oxford, Maryland we all went on a post-dinner stroll through town and passed a lifetime's worth of maritime fantasies - big ones - encased in a glass box. Shells in the sky, full vessels on the ground, sails, perched. It was Cutts & Case, one of the few remaining wooden boat builders in the Mid-Atlantic, and it was closed for the night. We felt like humans looking into an aquarium...of beautiful boats.

So, when we were there over the weekend, we went early and with a more adventurous spirit. On our sneak through the boatyard behind the glassed-in museum, we met photographer Fred Stocker (a close friend of Eddie Cutts the owner and son of Edmund Cutts, the founder), who offered to let us inside... 

Here's a glimpse of the workshops with nearly magical light...(the boats, in all their glory are in the next post).