News from around the Art World

Smithsonian finds color photos of ’06 ‘Quake: A volunteer at the Smithsonian Institution has uncovered what is believed to be the first, and likely the only, color photos of the city of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake and massive fire that all but leveled the city.

San Francisco October 6, 1906 after earthquake and fire

There are six photographs in the series, taken on October 6, 1906 by Frederick Eugene Ives, who was a pioneer in the field of color photography. Smithsonian volunteer Anthony Brooks came across the glass plate photographs while taking inventory and cataloging a collection donated by Ives’ son Herbert. The pictures were taken by Ives from the roof of the hotel where he stayed while visiting, and were stored with other photography items donated to the National Museum of American History.

Hand-colored photos have popped up before, but these are believed to be the only true color photos. Ives was one of a handful of photographers that experimented with color around the turn of the 20th century. The photos show street shots of the downtown area rooftops that overlook miles of shattered ruins. They show buildings that had been damaged by fire and the inevitable shaking due to the broken ground. Some of those buildings remain standing downtown today.  He used a process that involved making separate slides for each color in the spectrum, and it required a long exposure. It was adequate for taking photos of inanimate objects, but not people or moving objects.

Kay Saatchi’s Collection for Sale: Well-known British art collector Kay Saatchi, who with her ex-husband, Charles, amassed a large collection of paintings, sculptures, and other art objects, has decided to part with several pieces from her collection.

Reuters Photo/Christie's Catalog

She has commissioned Christie’s to divest her of much of her artwork before an impending move from England to California. Works by Australian artist Ron Mueck, five drawings by British artist Lucian Freud, and a painting by Paula Rego, are expected to net about $5.4 million at auction. One of the most interesting pieces is “Big Baby”, a very realistic but oversized little cherub that is about three feet tall. It is expected to sell for $800,000 to $1.2 million.




Rijksmuseum Exhibit of Dunescapes :Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum has put together an exhibit of the dunes along the coast of the Netherlands as they were in the seventeenth century. Many artists of the day, including Rembrandt and Goltzius, sought refuge from the urbanized areas along the coasts and captured the qualities of the rugged nature. The museum will be exhibiting the collection from March 15 to June 20,  2011.

Braunschweig, 1636


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