1.FLORENCE: "Archeologists working in Florence reported to AFP the discovery of the final resting place of Lisa Gherardini this week, potentially confirming a crucial fragment in the biography of one of the most recognizable personages in Western culture and art history. As the purported model for Leonardo da Vinci's "Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo," more popularly known as "La Gioconda" or the "Mona Lisa," Signora Gherardini has been a object of incessant speculation and wonder for five centuries; as with any international celebrity, even the most minor detail that might explain her poise, her countenance, or her uniquely cryptic and subtle simper has posed an unquestionable draw on the world's attention over the years.
And the discovery of the model's bones is far from minor. Historians renewed their focus on the life of Lisa Gherardini in 2008 when experts from the Hedelberg University Library announced they had found a description from the notebook of city official Agostino Vespucci of three works-in-progress by Leonardo, including a portrait of the fair wife of the Florentine textile merchant Francesco di Bartolomeo di Zanobi del Giocondo. "All doubts about the identity of the 'Mona Lisa' have been eliminated," the university said at the time in a statement to Discovery News....." Read More at
2. BARCELONA: "A Swiss family has withdrawn long-term loans of pre-Columbian artifacts to a Barcelona museum, which closed on Sept. 14. The Barbier-Muellers, two generations of Swiss art collectors active in fields ranging from Renoir and Picasso paintings to African masks and ancient Vietnamese daggers, had planned to sell more than 300 pre-Columbian pieces to Spanish government groups for about $26 million, but the financing fell through.
On the Barcelona museum’s closing day, the newspaper El País reported, “There were barely 20 last-minute visitors to the world’s largest private collection of pre-Hispanic art.” Estimates at Sotheby’s reach into the seven figures apiece for terra-cotta, stone and wood vessels, masks and statues of deities and animals, made by cultures scattered from Alaska to Patagonia. A few had previously
belonged to famous expatriates in Mexico, including the film director John Huston and the French-Canadian collector Guy Joussemet.
Collectors in the pre-Columbian field typically focus on one region. But Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, the family patriarch, preferred to cover the whole Western Hemisphere.
“He bought against the currents of fashion,” said Jacques Blazy, Sotheby’s specialist for the sale.
Other portions of the family’s art collection remain on view elsewhere. At the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva, a show of 100 masks includes pieces from Asia, Africa and the Americas, along with contemporary face protectors for athletes and workers.
In Manhattan the family has lent works to the current Neue Galerie retrospective of the Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler. Gabriel and Ann Barbier-Mueller, a son and daughter-in-law of Jean Paul and his wife, Monique, have been lending their samurai armor and artifacts for traveling displays; the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City is showing the pieces through early 2013. African gold objects that the family assembled, which now belong to a mining company, are displayed in an 18th-century Dutch slaveholder’s house in Cape Town. "
3. MEXICO CITY: "A leather corset that belonged to late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is displayed at the Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico City, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. A full collection from Kahlo's wardrobe will go on public display Nov. 22 in Mexico City after being locked for nearly 50 years in her armoires and dressers: jewelry, shoes and clothes that still carry the scent of the late artist's perfume and cigarette smoke or stains from painting. Her loose blouses covered the stiff corsets she wore for back pain. AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills. "
By: Adriana Gomez-Licon, Associated Press
Over the years, Kahlo's look has become as influential as her art, capturing the fancy of trendsetters from Madonna to French designer Jean Paul Gaultier. There are YouTube tutorials on how to braid hair like she wore hers, and Vogue Italy lets readers know where to shop for Kahloesque skirts and jewelry. Now, a full collection from her wardrobe is going on display in Mexico City after being locked away for nearly 50 years in her armoires and dressers: jewelry, shoes and clothes that still carry the scent of the late artist's perfume and cigarette smoke or stains from painting.
"She had a tremendous self-confidence. She was convinced that what she wore displayed who she was inside," said Alejandra Lopez, art restorer for the painter's home, now the Frida Kahlo Museum, where the collection will be shown starting Nov. 22 in an exhibit sponsored by Vogue Mexico.
Yet Kahlo's clothing was also an armor of sorts. It was her ally in disguising a life of pain, both physical and emotional. She had polio as a child, a bus accident maimed her at age 18, there were miscarriages, and she endured the countless affairs of her husband, renowned muralist Diego Rivera.
Her long, full skirts hid a tiny, thin right leg, and loose blouses covered the stiff corsets she wore for back pain. "She described how she used her clothes to cover her body imperfections," the exhibit's curator, Circe Henestrosa, said during a sneak peak offered to The Associated Press.
After Kahlo died in 1954, her husband ordered her clothes to be locked up for 15 years. He died three years later, leaving art collector Dolores Olmedo as the manager of his and Kahlo's houses and she refused to give access to Kahlo's archives of letters, clothes, jewelry and photographs. They were not unlocked until 2004 after Olmedo died. Museum director Hilda Trujillo said three of Kahlo's dresses created a frenzy when they were shown in 2007, featured in fashion stories across the world.
"The story of Frida started to change with the discovery of her things," Trujillo said.
Her life of suffering was the subject of her paintings, and it inspired books, plays and the 2002 movie "Frida" starring Mexican actress Salma Hayek. Kahlo-mania outside Mexico started in the 1980s with the publication of her biography by Hayden Herrera that was widely read outside art circles.
Fashion designers and photographers have since been captivated by Kahlo and have put together collections, such as Gaultier's 1998 homage. As recently as last month for Madrid Fashion Week, the spring 2013 designs of Maya Hansen featured corseted dresses, flowers and skeleton patterns.
The show, "Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The Dresses of Frida Kahlo," will include a black velvet short cape with lace border, a twist on the popular capelet of the time; a worn silk blouse with square neckline of embroidered red, yellow and lavender flowers; and a purple cotton blouse with patterns of red and yellow squares. Also on display will be a long purple skirt with white flowers that look like poppies, a yellow long-sleeved ruffle shirt with a pattern of fall leaves and a muslin skirt of sangria color. Poignantly, the exhibit will show the white corset that Kahlo featured in her self-portrait "The Broken Column." And there will be an earring that was a gift from Pablo Picasso and was featured in a 1940 self-portrait. It's mate has not been found.
Restorers and the exhibit's curator say many of Kahlo's blouses were custom made. She bought the fabrics and took them to Indian seamstresses. Some were made of velvet cherry, the fabric often used for traditional elegant dresses in Oaxaca region known as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Henestrosa, the curator, said the Tehuana dress, called after Indian women of that region, was Kahlo's signature piece of clothing. She wore it with large gold earrings and flowers in her braided hair. It is not a dress she chose by accident. The women run that society. The women symbolize power," Henestrosa said.
The dress became her signature look in her many self-portraits — copied by women worldwide.
"This is going to amplify her influence much more," said Trujillo, the museum director.
Associated Press writer Isaac Garrido contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
4. BEJING Blouin INFO Bits and Bites
"Sotheby's Signs Partnership for Chinese Expansion: The auction house has entered a 10-year partnership with the state-run Beijing Freeport developer Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group that, pending government approval, will allow Sotheby's to become the first international auctioneer to hold sales in China under the name Sotheby’s (Beijing) Auction Co. Ltd. “China and its growing class of collectors has been the single most attractive growth market for the company,” said CEO of Sotheby's Asia Kevin Ching. [Bloomberg]"