Issue 31, Summer 2012

Editor's letter

There is no doubt about it: summer 2012 is London's moment in the limelight. To join in the celebrations, Bonhams Knightsbridge is holding an Olympic Games sale in July. So if things go wrong in the 100m, there's another way you can get your hands on a gold medal – and in a slightly less stressful fashion.

Being first in the field applies to George Daniels, one of the greatest watchmakers of all time. Despite little education or family support, London-born Daniels taught himself to mend watches and invented the co-axial escapement – one of the great leap forwards in the history of horology. This invention funded his passion for motor cars, and by the end of his life – Daniels died last October – he had assembled a wonderful collection that is on offer in June at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in Sussex. On page 22, Richard Williams writes about Daniels' extraordinary story and how he achieved against the odds.

Bonhams New York is featuring the work of another innovator: Louis Tiffany. At the turn of the century, no American household with any pretension would be without one of his glowing lamps. As Eric Knowles describes on page 40, it was Tiffany's passion for glass that led him to experiment with techniques that blended it together in a molten state to produce subtle shades and textures. It made his company a world-beater.

Bonhams also features another American who tore up the rulebook: Andy Warhol. His image of Queen Elizabeth II – the cover of our Diamond Jubilee issue – is from a series, Reigning Queens. On page 26, Adrian Dannatt writes about how Warhol took the portrait tradition and transformed it through mass media and mass production, and juxtaposed the rare, the rich and the ordinary. In their individual ways, all of these artists were first among equals.
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Lucinda Bredin

  1. Joan Miró (1893-1983) Femme et oiseau devant le soleil 24 3/8 x 18 ½ inches Executed in 1942

    Page 18

    Homage to Catalonia

    Femme et oiseau devant le soleil (1942) is in many ways a highly characteristic work by Joan Miró (1893-1983). It contains several of the staple ingredients in his private language of signs: a woman, a bird, stars. It is at once earthy and ethereal, abstract and concrete. The picture comes from an interval in his long career which could be ...

  2. Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987) Queen Elizabeth II (from Reigning Queens) Screenprint, 1985, a trial proof aside form the edition of 40, on Lennox Museum Board, signed and numbered /30 in pencil lower right, printed by Rupert Jasen Smith, New York, published by George CP Mulder, Amsterdam, 1000 x 800mm (39 3/8 x 31 1/2in)(SH)

    Page 26

    Face time

    Artists often act as soothsayers, fortune-tellers, harbingers of the future and so it was that Andy Warhol foretold our culture's everyday obsession with celebrity. For we are all now living in the very era prophesied by his mantra: "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes," an ideal embodied by Twitter, You Tube and Facebook. Warhol loved ...

  3. Henry Moore O.M., C.H. (British, 1898-1986) Reclining Figure: One Arm 33 cm. (13 in.) long (including bronze base)

    Page 30

    Bronze age

    The reclining figure exerted an abiding fascination on Henry Moore. His long career was punctuated by many recumbent bodies, each one different to the last. Moore defined his own persona as an artist not so much by endless variety as by his ability to return to a familiar motif and make it new. In so doing, 
he renewed himself.

    Born ...

  4. Walter Osborne (British, 1859-1903) Feeding the chickens

    Page 32

    Wrong time, wrong place

    In his lifetime Walter Osborne was a misfit. He came from the wrong class. He had the wrong friends and painted the wrong portraits. Not only did he portray titled British rulers or their representatives: the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Houghton, later Earl of Crewe; the Second Duke of Abercorn; the Archbishop of Dublin, William Plunket; Viscount Powerscourt and ...

  5. no image

    Page 36

    Platform: Blond ambition

    The Fitzwilliam on a wet Wednesday presents the ideal conditions in which to see art. This is one of the most marvelous – but perhaps unsung – collections of paintings in Europe. Walking through the galleries, all I could think was, "Good God, I didn't know that was here." Actually, I could have bellowed it out loud, because no one would ...

  6. no image

    Page 41

    Light fantastic

    Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) dedicated his life to the quest for beauty, to bring together nature and exoticism. Here was an individual who was blessed by being born into a New York family of means, which became regarded as the most influential jewelers and silversmiths of the eastern seaboard.

    The young Louis soon showed a talent for painting and, despite ...

  7. Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson A.R.A. (British, 1889-1946) War in the Air 55.3 x 47 cm. (21 3/4 x 18 1/2 in.)

    Page 42

    War and peace

    What an extraordinary place the Slade School of Fine Art must have been on the eve of the Great War. There survives a memorable photograph of staff and students on their annual school picnic in 1912. Captured in that image is one of the most brilliant cohorts produced by any British school of art: Dora Carrington, Christopher Nevinson, Mark Gertler ...

  8. A Washo basket

    Page 46

    Print the legend

    John Ruskin wrote, "All machine work is bad – it is dishonest." He idealized handmade craft. However, the story of one of the greatest Native American basket weavers, Dat So La Lee (aka Louisa Keyser), is a case of supreme skill – dishonestly marketed.

    Ruskin's ideas experienced their heyday in America during the early 20th century. The Arts and Crafts movement ...

  9. Zinaida Evgenievna Serebriakova (Russian, 1884-1967) 'Jurisprudence'

    Page 48

    A nude awakening

    In 1914 Alexander Benois was invited to design a decorative scheme for a first-class restaurant at the new Kazan Railway Station in Moscow. Benois was one of the most colorful and influential figures of what is now called the Silver Age of Russian art. A founder member – together with Diaghilev and Léon Bakst – of the Mir Iskusstva (World of Art ...

  10. An Important Olympic Archive collection, H.R.(Bobby) Pearce, Champion Sculler (1905-1970)Including Olympic Gold Medals and Diplomas, 1928 & 1932 Olympiads.

    Page 52

    Gold Standard

    It's impossible to describe how it feels to win an Olympic gold medal; if I could tell you it wouldn't be worth doing. I suppose it's a combination of pride, relief, exhaustion and elation. It's complicated, and not something that you can explain easily because it doesn't feel like anything else most people have ever ...

  11. no image

    Page 55

    Wine: Liquid gold

    What makes Château d'Yquem so special? We all know it is the most acclaimed white wine brand in the world – other names like Montrachet and Tokay are in the frame too, but they are made by dozens of different producers. There are a handful of other great sweet white wines in Bordeaux, such as Climens and Rieussec, but none ...

  12. Page 72

    My favorite room: Edmund White

    My favorite room is Le Train Bleu, the crazy belle époque restaurant in the Gare de Lyon in Paris. I have a fondness for belle époque interiors – they are very kitsch and gaudy, and overwhelmed with decoration – and Le Train Bleu is one of the best examples in Paris: it is heavy with red velvet and gilt, chandeliers, wood paneling ...

Contacts
  1. Lucinda Bredin
    Press
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8394