Monday, September 27, 2010

AIA Austin Homes Tour 2010

Dick Clark Architecture

AIA Austin is holding its annual Homes Tour this weekend – October 2 – 3, 2010, 12- 6pm.  This year marks the 24th anniversary of the tour, which has earned a regional and national reputation.  The tour is a self-guided tour of 12 homes.

Visit the AIA Austin Homes Tour Website for more information.

PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE.  As of Sept. 27th, all tickets purchased online will be available for pick up at the AIA Austin office.

All photos by JH Jackson Photography.

Take a peek at some of the featured homes:

Alterstudio Architects
Bercy Chen Studio
CG&S Design-Build
Nick Deaver Architect
Third:Land, Inc.
Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 08:18:00 PM
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monet at the Grand Palais

“La Promenade, la femme à l’ombrelle” (1875) by  Claude Monet.

Monet at the Grand Palais, Paris 
September 22, 2010 – January 24, 2011

A rich exhibit retracing the artistic path of one of the most illustrious forefathers of impressionism: Claude Monet.

Claude Monet (Nov. 14, 1840 – Dec. 5, 1926)

As the Impressionist Period’s most famous painter, Monet painted for more than sixty years. His masterpieces, rarely loaned out by the Orsay museum, form a unique ensemble in this exposition hanging next to other prestigious works from private collections from all over the world.

Claude Monet. “Water Lilies” 1916.

Organized by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux and the Orsay Museum, this is the first one-man show dedicated to Monet in France since the great retrospective of 1980. It offers a rare look at Monet’s artistic career with over 200 paintings, bringing together his most exceptional works from France, Australia, Brazil, Holland, Russia and the United States.

Claude Monet. “Impression: sunrise” (1872).

If you happen to be in Paris this fall, you won’t want to miss it!

Grand Palais
21 Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt
75008 Paris, France
Tel: (33) 01 44 13 17 17

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 07:45:00 PM
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jules Chéret: Modern Renaissance Man

Les Arts Décoratifs museum in Paris is currently showing an exposition of Jules Chéret (1836-1932), a retrospective of his career as a graphic artist and lithographer, but also of his lesser-known career as an interior designer and painter.

The show takes a look at Chéret’s style, which, while referring back to a neo-rococo tradition, presented the first elements of modernity that would later fascinate all of the impressionists. Furniture, elements of painted décor, wall stamps, tapestry cartoons, portraits and drawings mingle in a fabulous Nestor Perkal set, surrounded by circus and theater posters, advertisements, book covers, brochures and leaflets.

Poster for “Les Folies-Bergère, La Loïe Fuller”, 1893
© Les Arts Décoratifs, photo Jean Tholance

Chéret was a lithographer, printer, “inventor of the modern poster”, illustrator, painter, friend of Huysmans, Rodin and Bourdelle, collected by Seurat, admired by Signac and Manet. He was an important figure in the artistic and literary crowd at the turn of the 20th century. Nicknamed the “Tiepolo of the Boulevards” by his contemporaries, he transformed the urban scene with his prolific color posters, literally bringing art to the street.

Poster for the “Jardin de Paris”, 1890.  Image by © Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS

His career developed within the context of the 2nd industrial revolution. The development of new printing techniques, especially lithography, at the end of the 19th century opened up a whole new era of imagery and massive distribution of illustrations. Drawing was omnipresent in everyday life: magazines, books, posters, menus, fans, etc. the new free press, the railroad systems and the emergence of department stores contributed to an ever-growing demand for posters and drawings.

“Aux Buttes Chaumont Jouets et Objets pour Etrennes”, (toy store) – 1885
© Les Arts Décoratifs

France’s new-found passion for theater and “spectacles” in general was due, in great part, to thousands of posters, many of which were designed by Chéret. He took on every field of business, from café-concerts to cosmetics, circuses to prêt-à-porter. As an apprentice lithographer in Paris, he designed business letterheads and drew religious illustrations. He moved to London and set up business for himself in 1859. There he discovered color lithography and its industrial possibilities, especially in the domain of advertising. In London he met Eugène Rimmel, parfumeur, with whom he developed a profitable relationship designing perfume bottles and their packaging. In 1866, Chéret returned to Paris and set up a printing business that would produce its first poster, “La biche au bois”, a huge success. Commercial art had arrived.

“Ball au Moulin Rouge”, 1889. Photo courtesy

In 1881, Chéret left his printing business for new artistic endeavors. He continued to draw for magazines, books and restaurants, and began showing his work at cultural expositions. The critics were immediately responsive, calling his work innovative, alive, a breath of fresh air. His work inspired the likes of Georges Seurat and Toulouse Lautrec. He invented specific character types such as the “happy clown” and  “la Chérette”– an impish, delicate version of the Parisian woman.

Poster by Jules Cheret [L’Hippodrome 4 clowns], 1882
© Les Arts Décoratifs, photo Jean Tholance
“Musée Grévin Pantomimes lumineuses”, 1892
© Les Arts Décoratifs

Over time, collecting old posters became trendy, and Chéret once again found himself in the middle of a new phenomenon, his work extremely sought after. Expositions and special revues were dedicated to him. He belonged to circles of artists and socializing with the montmartrois and the impressionists. The impact of his posters had shifted from a commercial sphere to a cultural sphere.

At the request of the director of the Grévin museum, Chéret branched out to interior design. In 1894, he painted two small tableaux destined to embellish the entrance of the proprietor’s home; then in 1900 he designed the stage curtain for the small theater of the museum itself. From that moment on, he dreamt of designing an entire mansion. His dreams came true in 1896, when he collaborated with Rodin, Charpentier and Bracquemond for the Baron Vitta’s villa, “La Sapinière”, in Evian. The salons of the Paris Hôtel de Ville in Paris and the Préfecture of Nice would follow. His decorative panels would serve as inspiration for tapestries that Chéret would execute for Maurice Fenaille’s villa in Neuilly.

2006 photo of the stage curtain in the Grévin museum by Jules Chéret, 1900
© DR
Baron Vitta’s villa, “La Sapinière”, in Evian, France.
Chéret murals in the Prefecture de Nice, France.

In 1895-1896, Fenaille asked Chéret to design a dining room for a villa he had given to the architect Émile Bastien-Lepage in Neuilly. Chéret chose to illustrate the arcades of the room with scenes of the “pleasures of life” with feminine allegories of cafes, liqueurs, and card games. Clowns, musicians and ballerinas sprang out of clouds. The characters and the style of drawing were very similar to his poster work. As always, Chéret remained loyal to his style, adapting strictly what he wanted to see – “images of gaiety and feminine grace, which I specialize in.”

Decorative panel, Exposition Universelle, 1900.
© Les Arts Décoratifs, photo Jean Tholance

Show runs through November 7, 2010.

Les Arts Décoratifs
107 rue de Rivoli
75001 Paris 

Tel. : (33) 01 44 55 57 50

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 01:16:00 AM
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Tomato Season – it’s not over yet!

Nope. In fact it’s peak season and they are plentiful. So hurry down to your nearest farmers market and take advantage of this gem of the season.

Surely your summer has already been chock full of tomato salads, tomatoes-with-mozerella, burgers with fresh slices of tomato and other raw forms of the fruit. But now’s a good time for canning tomatoes, making tomato sauces and other tomato ragus that can either be canned or frozen.

So here’s a roundup of what’s available now and some ideas about how to use them…

Traditional Vine-Ripened Round Tomatoes

The old stand by – available year round – great for any fresh salad but also for sauces because they are so juicy. They make excellent “containers” for stuffing too (like the traditional southern French summer dish  “tomates farcies”) – especially the larger, fleshier ones.

Beefheart Tomatoes

Coeur de boeuf” in French – (these are my all time favorites) so delicious, heavy, dense, just full of flavor. Of course they are perfect in salads of all kinds, or simply sliced and served with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt. They can also be sliced and sauteed briefly with garlic and/or herbs for a warm side dish.

Plum Tomatoes (Roma Tomatoes)

Less juicy than their round counterparts, these are perfect for tarts or pizzas (no wonder they’re called Roma!). They make a great base for sauces and they too can be served up raw in a salad.

Cherry Tomatoes/Grape Tomatoes

Everyone’s favorite, the cherry tomato – so easy to pop in your mouth any time, great for snacking, salads, hors-d’oeuvres… Try adding them to your next fruit salad for a surprisingly delicious twist!

Multi-Colored Heirloom Tomatoes

These wonderful heirloom tomatoes come in various shapes, sizes and colors which make for some beautiful salads – purple, yellow, even black! These organic tomatoes are delicious and I encourage you to try them and compare them with commercially grown tomatoes. The term “heirloom” means they are grown from seeds that have been passed down for generations for their valued characteristics. They are genetically unique and have developed over time a resistance to pests and diseases. Look for them at your local farmers markets!

So enjoy your tomatoes while they are at their best. Check your local newspapers for farmers markets locations and hours of operation.

But whatever you do, remember – don’t put these jewels in the refrigerator! It will knock the flavor (and texture) right out of them!

Bon Appetit!

Posted by Jean-Marc Fray French Antiques at 07:42:00 PM
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