Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ayya Sobhana speaks at the Alameda Sangha Sunday, November 2

Sunday, November 2
Ayya Sobhana speaks at the Alameda Sangha
 Buena Vista United Methodist Church, 2311 Buena Vista Ave, Alameda, CA

Ayya Sobhana will the the guest speaker at the Alameda Sangha.
 She will guide us in a 30 minute meditation and speak for 45 minutes on
the dharma. There will be time for questions and answers. More information
about Ayya Sobhana is available here:

This event is given on a donation basis to to provide an opportunity to practice generosity
 and to make teachings available to all.

The Alameda Sangha meets every Sunday evening at 7pm.
The Alameda Sangha is a place to practice and discuss
mindfulness meditation and Buddhist teachings. Founded
in 2008, today we are led by three teachers of the Theravada
tradition, Pauletta M. Chanco, Rebecca Dixon, and Deb Kerr.
We are blessed to have these three dharma teachers to guide us on a regular basis.
We occasionally organize daylong retreats and other events supportive to the
meditation practice.

 Please visit the Alameda Sangha web site at to learn more
about our teachers and our sangha.

Alameda Sangha
Buena Vista United Methodist Church
2311 Buena Vista, Alameda, CA 94501

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reproductions After Artists' Deaths Haunt Todays' Art Historians

Degas bronzes controversy leads to scholars’ boycott

Fears of legal action if authenticity questioned at Hermitage seminar

The disputed plasters — experts are even wary of scholarly debate
Degas experts boycotted a Hermitage colloquium arranged in part to discuss a group of controversial Degas bronzes, cast from a set of plasters recently discovered at the Valsuani foundry outside Paris. The refusal of the scholars to attend reflects the growing problem of art historians avoiding questions of attribution, even at scholarly conferences.
The seminar at the State Hermitage Museum, on the wider issue of “Posthumous Bronzes in Law and Art History”, was held in St Petersburg (26-27 May). Papers were presented on Léger, Archipenko, Moore and Dalí, but Degas was by far the most controversial case study. A museum spokeswoman says that the conference was arranged because the Hermitage wants to acquire more 20th-century bronzes.

The Degas experts who were invited to the seminar, but declined, include Sara Campbell, who recently retired from the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Catherine Chevillot from the Musée Rodin, the consultant and art historian Joseph Czestochowski, the leading independent curator Richard Kendall and Anne Pingeot, formerly of the Musée d’Orsay.

Walter Maibaum, the New York dealer who commissioned the casts from the plasters, says that scholars “have a responsibility to seriously study them”. None of the experts would discuss the situation on the record, but several reasons have been given to explain the boycott. Some curators are at museums that do not allow them to comment on the authenticity of works owned by dealers or private collectors. None of the experts accepts that the new find represents early plasters—and some simply want to avoid becoming embroiled in the debate. Most importantly, there are increasing concerns, particularly in America, that specialists could find themselves facing legal problems if they publicly question authenticity, as has happened to scholars over the work of other artists.

The obscure terms in which the discussion has been couched are illustrated in the recent “Edgar Degas Sculpture” catalogue published by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. In a footnote, it says that the new casts “are intentionally not included”, without further explanation. In the April issue of the Burlington magazine, Richard Kendall merely notes that the recent bronzes have created a “note of uncertainty”. Avoiding giving his personal view, he simply states that “they have failed to sway the Degas specialists and the major auction houses”.

The Hermitage seminar raised further issues. It was initiated after an approach by the M.T. Abraham Center for the Visual Arts, Paris, which owns two sets of the 74 bronzes. The centre suggested an exhibition at the Hermitage, but the museum did not want to proceed until there was a scholarly discussion. Initially, it was thought that the foundation might be sponsoring the colloquium, but it was soon realised that this could be seen as prejudicial. The centre’s director, Amir Kabiri, tells The Art Newspaper that he is not funding the meeting, although when asked about possible future donations, he said that he would “always be honoured to co-operate with the Hermitage”.

After the scholarly boycott, the Degas plasters and the resulting bronzes remain in limbo. It is now clear that they are not late 20th-century fakes, but the key question is when they were made.

The experts believe the plasters were made after the Second World War and are, therefore, fairly far removed from the artist’s intentions, while those who commissioned the casts are convinced that they are much earlier and may well be from Degas’s lifetime. The story began two years ago, when a set of newly cast bronzes was unveiled at the Herakleidon Museum in Athens (The Art Newspaper, March 2010, p29). Earlier bronzes, which are in numerous museums, were cast from 1917 to 1936 and from 1958 to 1964 and were made via the original waxes, which survived after the artist’s death.


Two New York-based dealers discovered the plasters: Walter Maibaum, who runs Modernism Fine Arts and the Degas Sculpture Project with his wife, Carol Conn, and Gregory Hedberg, a consultant at Hirschl & Adler. The plasters were found at the Valsuani foundry, outside Paris, which had taken over the stock of the Hébrard foundry. Hébrard had earlier cast Degas’s bronzes for the artist’s descendants.

Leonardo Benatov, who owned Valsuani, agreed to cast a new set of bronzes for Maibaum. So far, 16 sets have been cast and rights have been acquired to cast a further 13. Their value will depend on whether they are accepted as authentic, but appraisers suggest that a set of 74 could be worth around $20m. On this basis, all 29 sets would be worth more than $500m.

The M.T. Abraham Center has bought two sets. The first has been displayed in a travelling exhibition, which began in Athens and went on to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, three Bulgarian venues (the National Art Gallery in Sofia, the Varna Archaeological Museum and the City Art Gallery in Plovdiv), the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, the Valencia Institute of Modern Art and the Evagoras Lanitis Centre in Limassol. The show is currently at Zagreb’s Galerija Klovicevi (until 3 June). It is notable that many of these venues are not mainstream international-level museums.

The New Orleans Museum of Art was due to exhibit the bronzes last winter and then help to arrange an American tour. This has been postponed because of questions about the status of the works.

One set of bronzes was bought by Yank Barry, a Canadian rock star turned businessman. A further set was bought by Artco, a Parisian company that sells Dalí bronzes. Another belongs to the Connecticut collectors Melinda and Paul Sullivan, who anonymously lent five bronzes for an exhibition at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut (until 24 June).

In a paper that Maibaum prepared for the Hermitage colloquium, he argues that “all the plasters were made from Degas’s waxes before the Hébrard foundry began casting bronzes in 1919 and some were made during the artist’s lifetime [he died in 1917]”. He believes that the plasters were made from Degas’s original waxes by Paul-Albert Bartholomé, a sculptor and friend of Degas. If correct, then it means that the newly cast bronzes may be closer to Degas’s originals than the casts made from 1919 to 1964.

The situation of the bronzes has been examined by Geraldine Norman, a British adviser to the Hermitage’s director, Mikhail Piotrowski. Her paper is the best non-specialist summary of the issues. She concludes that the plasters must have been made by 1955, the year the Hébrard family sold Degas’s wax originals to America (they were bought by Paul Mellon and most were later donated to the National Gallery of Art).

Although it remains unclear exactly when the plasters were made, Norman suggests that the key figure was Albino Palazzolo, the chief caster at Hébrard. “The simplest answer is that they were made by Palazzolo in or around 1955, direct from the waxes before they were sold to America.” She believes that, “based on all the physical and scientific evidence, there is every reason to conclude the plasters are authentic, and therefore the posthumous bronzes cast from the plasters are authentic as well”.

The new bronzes are slightly different from the 1919 to 1964 casts. This raises the question of whether the mid-20th-century or early 21st-century bronzes are closer to Degas’s original, undamaged waxes.

In addition to considering the newly discovered plasters and bronzes, Norman’s paper also points out that the total number of earlier (and entirely separate) Degas bronzes could number 1,200. She points out that nearly half were cast before 1936 and raises questions about the circumstances in which the remainder were cast post-1936, as well the role of Palazzolo.

There is growing pressure from scholars outside the narrow band of Degas specialists for these issues to be resolved. Steven Nash, a sculpture expert and the director of the Palm Springs Art Museum, was invited to the Hermitage colloquium, although he was unable to attend because of other commitments. “What we need is an objective discussion on the possible origin of these plasters,” Nash says.

The Hermitage conference, which was presided over by Piotrowski, was attended by Russian and international curators and sculpture specialists. It called for more detailed labelling of bronze casts by museums and the art trade, to help with transparency.
More from The Art Newspaper


13 Aug 12
15:42 CET
In addition, In its analysis the laboratory also rebutted a key point raised by some museum conservators, who concluded the reason plasters are larger than bronzes is because, in part, “.... plaster expands upon setting.” While it is well known by foundries and most sculpture specialists that plaster does not expand, it was nonetheless important to scientifically test a Degas plaster for confirmation. The petrography laboratory reported: “None of the minerals observed in the Degas sample were susceptible to expansion” and “No evidence of expansion was observed.”
13 Aug 12
15:42 CET
Early dating of the plasters was substantiated scientifically. While plaster itself cannot be dated, the University of Arizona laboratory was able to perform radiocarbon tests of fibers embedded in the plasters.The results indicated the fibers pre-date 1955. An independent laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota, American Petrographic Services performed significant additional tests. Its personnel analyzed the component materials in a Degas plaster (fig. 33) and compared them with the component materials in a certified lifetime (pre-1918) Rodin plaster. A modern plaster (circa 1995) was also tested. The component materials and percentage ratios in the Rodin and Degas plasters were consistent. The modern plaster contained materials not found in the Degas or Rodin plasters. These results provide strong evidence to conclude the Degas plaster was made during the same period as the Rodin (before circa 1920).
20 Jun 12
15:13 CET
Molecular analysis of the plasters composition would shed light on the origins of the plaster itself and therefore provide dating information. If the value of the bronzes is indeed in the 500 million range then it would be well worth the expense to determine a more exact origin of the chemicals used in the composition of these plasters. There are other examples of Degas plasters that could be compared to these newly discovered ones. The inverse of this suggestion would be that if the plasters are fraudulent, what definitive proof would be used to prove the plasters fake ? This analysis could be easily accomplished in 90 days. Why has it not been done ?
10 Jun 12
11:52 CET
Now--afterward , won't it be funny if the bronzes turn out to be authentic Degas after all!
7 Jun 12
17:37 CET
June 7, 2012 “In Wilken’s essay we read that in 1921 Francois Thiebault-Sisson recalled that Degas had once said: I modeled animals and people in wax for my own satisfaction, not to take to rest from painting or drawing, but to give more expression, more spirit, and more life to my paintings and drawings. They are exercises to get me started. My sculptures will never give that impression of completion that is the ultimate goal of the statue-maker’s trade and since, after all, no one will ever see these efforts, no one should think of speaking about them, not even you. After my death all that will fall apart by itself, and that will be better for my reputation." Additionally, under Association of Art Museum Directors' endorsed CAA ethical guidelines: "any transfer into new material unless specifically condoned by the artist is to be considered inauthentic or counterfeit." The dead don't condone. Gary Arseneau artist & scholar Fernandina Beach, Florida
4 Jun 12
15:51 CET
I think finger printing needs to be applied to sort this out as Im sure there will be plenty to cross reference.

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Eileen Ormiston - Holiday Open Studio and Sale November 15 & 16 San Anselmo CA

Eileen Ormiston - Holiday Open Studio and Sale:  Watercolor paintings, T-shirts (children and adults)
Refreshments:  scones, shortbread, tea, wine. 
November 15 & 16, 11-6 p.m., Sat. & Sun
Studio at 38 Dutch Valley Lane, San Anselmo CA  94960
 Tel:  (415) 457-9295

A native of Scotland, watercolor artist Eileen Ormiston, now lives in San Anselmo, California. Her paintings which blend flowers with still lifes and landscapes are in homes in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Sweden, Japan and New Zealand. Observing familiar objects such as favorite pieces of china, oranges, pears and apples will often spark the beginning of an idea for a painting. Painting flowers from her garden, reflections on water, shadows and changing light are a constant source of interest to her. Portal Publications of Novato, California have produced posters from her paintings, and Camden Graphics in London, England have produced cards from many of her paintings. She is represented by the Hanover Fine Arts Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland. One of her paintings was juried into the 2014 edition of American Art Collector produced by Alcove Books of Berkeley, California. She is a member of the Marin Society of Artists of California. She enjoys participating in Marin Arts Council Open Studios, and the Marin Art Festival at Lagoon Park in San Rafael, California.

B.A. Queens College, Glasgow, Scotland, 1964
M.A. San Francisco State University, California, 1972
M.Ed. San Francisco State University, California, 1987

Art Background:
The artist has studied watercolor with artists John Komisar, Ken Potter, Helen Stanley, Elaine Badgley-Arnoux, and Peter Kitchell. She has also taken watercolor classes at San Francisco State University and College of Marin.

Art Show Awards and Juried Exhibitions
Mill Valley City Hall, Solo Show, January, 2013
Falkirk 2011 and 2012 Annual Juried Exhibition
Bouquets to Art - de Young Museum San Francisco April 2010
Belvedere-Tiburon Library, Tiburon, Solo Show August, 2008
Napa Library, Napa, Solo Show August, 2008
Ross Valley Winery, San Anselmo, Solo Show August, 2007
International Festival Exhibition, Hanover Fine Arts, Edinburgh, Scotland 2001-2008
Marin County Fair, Honorable Mention July, 2007
Marin Arts Festival at the Civic Center Lagoon 2002-present
Marin Open Studios 1999-present
Marin Society of Artists, Annual Member Show 2002-present
Marin Society of Artists, Spring Rental Show 2002-present
Marin Society of Artists, Fall Rental Show 2002-2008
Fairfax Library, Fairfax, Solo Show December 2006
Marin Arts Council, Civic Center, San Rafael 2003-present
Artisans Gallery, Group Show, Mill Valley 2000-2005
Two Bird Café, San Geronimo, Solo Show September, 2005
San Francisco Women Artists Gallery 2000-2004

Works on Consignment and Collections
2009, 2012, 2013 American Art Collector
Marin General Hospital
Queen of the Valley Hospital, Napa
Bank of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Marin Society of Artists Rental Gallery
Portal Publications, Novato
Camden Graphics, London, England
Marcel Schurman, Fairfield, California
Eileen Ormiston - Holiday Open Studio and Sale:  Watercolor paintings, T-shirts (children and adults), tote bags, greeting cards, Christmas cards, decorative tiles, and many more new designs and gift items. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

A presentation by Susan J. Montgomery The Endless Possibilities...Tiles from the Collection of the Two Red Roses Foundation Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm-Alameda Architectural Preservation Society Event

Alameda Architectural Preservation Society Event

A presentation by Susan J. Montgomery
The Endless Possibilities...Tiles from the Collection of the Two Red Roses Foundation

Sunday, November 162014 at 7:00 pm
Immanuel Lutheran Church
1420 Lafayette Street, Alameda, CA 94501
Parking available at the corner of Chestnut Street and Santa Clara Avenue

Suggested Donation: $5

For more information about AAPS events visit or call 510-479-6489

At the November 16th presentation, Susan J. Montgomery, a consultant to the Two Red Roses Foundation, will show a sampling of more than two hundred examples of individual tiles, panels, fireplaces and overmantels, even a mural and entire bathroom faced with tile.  American and British tile makers, including Grueby, Hartford, Marblehead, Rookwood, Newcomb, Batchelder, Rhead, Morris and Doulton, will be represented.
Susan has written the forthcoming catalogue, The Endless Possibilities: Tiles from the Collection of the Two Red Roses Foundation and The Aloha Boathouse and the Iris Bathroom, published in 2013. She earned her Ph.D. in American and New England Studies at Boston University, where she wrote her dissertation on the ceramics of William H. Grueby. She has curated exhibitions at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Tarpon Springs, Florida, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts, and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. She works as an Independent Scholar from her home in Maine. 

The Two Red Roses Foundation is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to the acquisition, restoration, preservation, and public exhibition of important examples of furniture, pottery and tiles, lighting, woodblocks, textiles, photography, architectural faience, and fine arts from the American Arts & Crafts Movement. The Two Red Roses Foundation of Palm Harbor, Florida, exists to foster public recognition and appreciation of the high quality craftsmanship and design philosophy of the early 20th century.

Over the past sixteen years, Rudy Ciccarello, President of the Two Red Roses Foundation, has amassed an outstanding collection of Arts & Crafts-era furniture, pottery, tiles, metalwork, light fixtures, woodblock prints, and photographs. In 2017, the Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement, now in the planning stages in St. Petersburg, Florida, will become the permanent home of the foundation’s collection. 


Bookends by Dirk van Erp and D'arcy Gaw, San Francisco, 1910-1911, copper, with tiles designed by Addison LeBoutillier for the Grueby Faience Company, Boston. Image: Two Red Roses Foundation.

Peacock panel,1910, designed and made by Frederick Hurten Rhead at the Academy of Fine Arts, People's University, University City, MO. Image: Two Red Roses Foundation.

Friday, October 24, 2014

We all love Sherlock, but we should all really love Doyle. By Alexandra K. Vicknair

We all love Sherlock, but we should all really love Doyle.

By Alexandra K. Vicknair   alexandrashistorymusings

     The (Mis)adventures and (a)musings of a historian

“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Adventures of SherlockHolmes

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Golden Gate Boys Choir & Bellringers Old English Christmas Feast and Revels Sunday, December 21st

Step back in time with us and enjoy the exciting sights, beautiful sounds and tantalizing aromas of an old English Christmas Feast.  Come experience the drama, the pageantry, and the elegance of a 16th century celebration. You will marvel at the sights and sounds
of the performers and musicians.

Golden Gate Boys Choir & Bellringers
Old English Christmas Feast and Revels
Pre-feast bell ringing, five course dinner. Readings and Carols.
Sunday, December 21st
Saint  Mary's Cathedral Conference Center
(downstairs under the main church)
1111 Gough St,
San Francisco, CA 94109
Free Parking
4:00 p.m.
$150 plate, black tie optional

Call GGBC office to leave mailing address to receive an invitation, which will include meal
choice options and other important information. Reservations Required Phone: (510) 887-4311

Proceeds benefit the Golden Gate Boys Scholarship Programs