Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Future plans for ArtTrak

We are pleased to announce our new association with Igavel.com based in New York City and owned by Lark and Erica Mason. To date this online auction house has offered occasional lots of tribal art. We look forward to increasing igavel's profile in this area and encourage you to log on to their site. Recently Lark sold a Chinese chair for a million dollars, so they certainly have been able to attract quality works of art and antiques in all areas. We will keep you informed of future sales. JB

Sunday, December 16, 2012

African Art Christmas 2012

Bembe figure
Ht. 8 1/2"

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Private US Collection
price on request

Forbes.com On the Politics of Crystal Bridges

How Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Exposes The Foolishness Of Occupy Wall Street:
Forbes.com OP/ED | 11/14/2011 byAbigail R. Esman

Last week, Alice Walton’s shining new museum, Crystal Bridges, opened to the public in the most unlikely of places: Bentonville, Arkansas, population 36,800.  Set on 120 acres amidst 500 dogwood trees, sculpture gardens, and springs, and boasting art works culled from private and public collections around the country that celebrate the American tradition in art, Crystal Bridges is the Wal-Mart heiress’s gift to the town where Wal-Mart first began as Walton’s Five-and-Dime in the 1940s.
Yet despite this love letter, as it were, to her community and to America, there remain those so wedded to the whining of the so-called 99 percent that they remain blinded both to the philanthropy and to the significance of the project. Never mind that the museum has brought art works by American giants from Benjamin West and Georgia O’Keefe to Mark di Suvero and Joan Mitchell to a region that has, until now, had little opportunity to view the glories of America’s artistic heritage. Never mind that some of these purchases – costing tens of millions of dollars – hang, not in private homes for the selfish enjoyment of the Walton family, but on public walls for the education and enrichment of the American people. Never mind that funds used to purchase these treasures (and preserve and build nature trails and parks) for the simple purpose of giving them to Americans could instead have easily been used for, say, bracelets and private planes and mansions. Never mind that Ms. Walton consciously chose to use local labor and – for the most part — local materials, or that through an additional $20 million gift, provided by the Wal-Mart Family Foundation, entrance to the museum will be free for the foreseeable future.  Never mind that there is no income reward in this for the Walton family – only expense. Never mind that the museum will employ local workers and bring tourism (read: jobs and commerce) to the town.  All this, for the Occupy crowd, apparently means nothing. What matters to them is simply the fact that Ms Walton has the money to do any of this in the first place – and this, evidently, is an emblem of pure evil.
As reported by ArtInfo.com:
Members of the Organization United for Respect at Wal-Mart (OUR Wal-Mart), an activist group dedicated to improving working conditions for the company’s employees, will team up with branches of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Saint Louis, Miami, Oakland, and San Francisco to distribute information about the Walton family’s labor practices and policies. “If there’s ever a case of the one percent, it’s the Walton family,” OUR Wal-Mart spokesman Ben Waxman told ARTINFO.
The current and former Wal-Mart associates participating in the demonstrations take issue with the fact that Walton has spent millions of dollars on a museum while her family’s organization, Wal-Mart, recently raised health care premiums and has capped salaries for many of its employees. “I have a problem with my pay being capped, but somehow there’s money to do something of this nature,” said Mary Pat Tifft, who has worked at a Wal-Mart branch in Wisconsin for 23 years and says her pay has been capped for six.
Forbes.com on Crystal Bridges
Alice Walton To Talk Art And Growing Up Walton: CBS
Steven Bertoni
Forbes Staff
While I can certainly empathize with Ms. Tifft (the pay for freelance writers, after all, has been unofficially but effectively capped since the ‘70s), I wonder if she would protest as much if, say, Ms. Walton had instead opted to build another several Wal-Marts instead of a museum. Somehow, I doubt it.  I remain unclear as to what effect, too, the creating of Crystal Bridges has on her personal income, since funding for the museum came out of the Walton Family Foundation, which does not pay salaries to Wal-Mart employees., and from Ms. Walton’s own personal fortune. True, as ArtInfo notes, Ms. Walton’s wealth comes largely from WalMart stock; but those monies, too, would not otherwise find their way to paying out ..... Read More
Forbes.com OP/ED | 11/14/2011 byAbigail R. Esman

Maurer Margolis Neckrest Collection

Many of you may be aware that the gallery has been acting as an agent for the courts in Minneapolis to sell the Maurer - Margolis African neckrest collection. We were contacted several weeks ago and authorized to entertain reasonable offers below previous price levels. They have also now given us the latitude to negotiate on individual pieces.
The link is: http://arttrak.tela.com/gallery.shtml?0001#all
We also invite you to see the latest posting at: http://shango.arttrak.com/shango/gallery.cgi

Some Christmas Photos

Christmas Snowfall

European Christmas

Fresh Snowfall

First snowfall in Duluth


Christmas fur tree

Maya Cave Murals Found in Mexico

MEXICO CITY.- Underwater archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH – Conaculta), recently explored three spaces, all abundant with Mayan culture materials: two semidry caves in Campeche and a cenote [A water-filled limestone sink hole] in Yucatan. The cenote stands out since it contains particularly stylish ceramic that is calculated to have been elaborated about 2,300 years ago. This is unique in its type since it’s the only one that has been found in a cenote.

To Helena Barba Meinecke, responsible for all the underwater archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, the detailed registry of the caves and the cenote, as well as the archaeological elements found in them, confirm the speculation that these places were used for rituals in the pre Hispanic era.

Cenote San Manuel
The distinct characteristics of the pieces, located in the cenote San Miguel, make them stand out among the other discoveries. Access to this 20 meter (65.61 feet) deep body of water, is through the town well by rappel.

The divers must not be in the water longer than 20 minutes, which is why a change of divers was required. At least six hours of meticulous planning was needed to retrieve two Mayan pots, possibly dating back to 300 AD or 200 AD (during the Late Postclassic period). The cenote has an entry of about a meter in diameter.

One of the pots is globe shaped and has a braided handle. It contains an anthropomorphic face and a phytomorphic body. The other pot shows a Mayan face with a diadem detailed in a red and blue pigment.

“Up till now, there had not been such stylish ceramic elements found in the peninsula’s underwater spaces, nor had they found ceramic elements as well preserved as these. They are unique materials that could have been stolen if we had not extracted them”, said Helena Barba Meinecke, expert of the Underwater Archaeology Section (SAS) of INAH.

Huachabi Cave
The explorations of the Underwater Archaeology Atlas project, carried out during the first half of last November, continued in the semidry cave of Huachabi, Campeche, where the findings were of no less in importance.

This cave – with more than 500 meters (1640.41 feet) in length at its widest part, also has two slopes – is found inside the Miramar archaeological site, still unexplored in the Chenes region. Inside the cave, which one must rappel 20 meters (65.61 feet) to get through, there are nearly 50 spaces with offerings of distinct proportions.

Carbon samples were taken to estimated the approximate date while archaeologist Eunice Uc, investigator of the INAH Center – Yucatan, works on defining the ceramic types to provide an appropriate timeline; the context of the ceramic elements has been preliminarily supposed to date back to the Classic Mayan period (600 – 900 AD).

Also, next to these materials, fragments of mural paintings were detected in different chambers of the cave. The small symmetry between their designs (anthropomorphic as well as representations of vegetables and insects that inhabit the subterranean environment), and the fact that they were elaborated with red clay, taken from inside the cave, could mean these were older than the rest of the elements found.

Aktun aam Cave
The cave was baptized as Aktun aam because of the great quantity of violinist spiders [also known as the “brown recluse”] (Loxosceles laeta) found in its corners. The cave is also located in Campeche and it’s accessed by rappel at a 15º angle. It is possible that initiation ceremonies or purification ceremonies were performed in the cave given the disposition of the objects that were discovered. Also, several strewn materials around the cave suggest the objects were elaborated inside the cave.

Archaeologist Barba Meinecke explained that in each branch of the cavern – 200 meters (656.16 feet) -, were placed, generally in ensembles, decorated black colored pots and metates [ a stone block with a shallow concave surface, used for minor grinding], intentionally broken, and that were elaborated with the same limestone from within the cave." artdaily.org

Neill Whitlock Photographs

I have known Neill Whitlock for thirty or forty years. I doubt either of us could remember when it all started, but that's really irrelevant. Neill is a bit of an iconoclast and views the world through his own prism. I can relate and in fact celebrate a vision that is somewhat blind to the status quo. In my mind Neill is both literally and figuratively on a trip that will not end until he finally falls over. And that is good. Neill has traveled the world with his camera and shot everything from fashion to landscapes. All these images are   - Copyright Neill Whitlock - I encourage you to visit NeillWhitlock.com.

Unknown girl at gallery show-Dallas, Texas 

Lake Powell, Utah

Old Church-Terlingua Texas              

Inside church-Terlingua Texas

Mono Lake, California

Roadside cafe-Terlingua, Texas

Leaving  Marfa, Texas

Lunch on 1800's stage coach toll road in Colorado 

Typical hotel accommodations on his car trip to Alaska


LA Times Looks at Crystal Bridges

LA Times
October 14, 2012|By Christopher Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — To meet Gilbert Stuart's "George Washington," Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter," Andy Warhol's "Dolly Parton" and hundreds of other artworks less famous and more subtle, first fly to XNA.
That's right, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. Then drive 20 miles north, through farmland, forest and suburbs, to the home of the planet's largest retailer.
That's right, Bentonville. On Central Avenue, if it's autumn, you'll probably roll past 100-year-old houses under a dense canopy of fall colors. In the downtown square, you'll pass the storefront where Sam Walton's Wal-Mart empire was hatched as a five-and-dime in 1950.
Then the road dips into a woodsy ravine and a strange skeletal tree of gleaming silver rises from the grass. It's a sculpture by Roxy Paine, announcing your arrival at the shimmering, occasionally perplexing Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Crystal Bridges, approaching its first birthday Nov. 11, is this country's wealthiest, most ambitious new art museum. Thanks to its arrival, a visitor to northwestern Arkansas now finds a fascinating jumble of heartland scenery, small-town sensibility, global commerce and American art, along with a measure of irony. After raising big-box stores around the world — and being blamed by many for the decline of Main Street commerce across America — Wal-Mart and its founding family have relaunched their hometown's downtown.
You might not guess this from the Wal-Mart home office on Southwest 8th Street, which shows all the ostentation and assertiveness of a suburban DMV office. But at least seven restaurants and a handful of food trucks have opened around the city's central square in the last two years, and last year Wal-Mart spiffed up its visitor center here. An ambitiously artsy lodging, the 21c Museum Hotel, is due to open early next year. At the recently expanded Phat Tire Bike Shop in the old Hotel Massey building, you can rent a hybrid bike for two hours for $18.
"You've got a little pond, that being Bentonville, that already has a giant alligator lurking in it, that being Wal-Mart," says Dayton Castleman, an artist, educator and bicycle shop salesman who moved here from Chicago during the summer. "And the museum is like dropping a 4-ton boulder in the middle of that pond. Kaboom!
"I think people are going to be studying what happens in Bentonville right now for years to come."
I started with the downtown square: stately courthouse, immaculate flowering plants and a statue honoring James H. Berry, a Confederate officer who became Arkansas' governor in the 1880s. On Saturdays, there's a farmers market, and on some Friday nights, there are acoustic jam sessions.
Not long ago, Crystal Bridges museum director Don Bacigalupi likes to recall, his 6-year-old son pulled out his violin and joined the jammers.
"It's an amazing experience," Bacigalupi told me, "to be part of that indigenous culture even as all of this new culture is arriving."
Good food too. I had excellent organic greens and ravioli at Tavola Trattoria; good guajillo salmon salad at Table Mesa Bistro; a restorative cup of iced coffee at the Pressroom; and a tangy BLT tartine (applewood-smoked pork belly with tomato chutney and arugula) at Tusk & Trotter. None of those restaurants existed five years ago.

Washington Post Looks at Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges in Arkansas: A world-class museum from the land of Wal-Mart
By Philip Kennicott,October 01, 2011 Washington Post

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — On Interstate 540 near Bentonville, a billboard shows what appears to be a wild circus costume, or an outlandish party dress for someone who stands about eight feet tall. It is a Soundsuit, a work by the contemporary African American artist Nick Cave, famous for his distinctive fabric sculptures covered in strange geegaws and decorative exotica.
It is also an advertisement for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the most-talked-about new museum in the United States in a generation. Opening Nov. 11 in the corporate home town of Wal-Mart and a bedrock of Middle America, the museum has ruffled feathers, challenged stereotypes and raised expectations as this country’s newest major cultural institution. That it is announcing its debut to a presumably conservative local audience not with a classic Western landscape, or a meticulous portrait of a Founding Father, but with a work of contemporary sculpture, is a sign of its larger cultural ambition.
“Going against type is a big part of it,” says Crystal Bridges Executive Director Don Bacigalupi, who has been helping the fledgling museum beef up its contemporary art collection. As the museum prepares for a deluge of foreign and national media coverage, it’s easy to anticipate the ready-made story line: The oddity of a world-class art museum rising in Arkansas, with reflexive condescension about its focus on American art and its origins in the Wal-Mart corporate fortune.
But as workers put the finishing touches on the new building and curators oversaw the installation of art collected over decades by founder Alice L. Walton, a visit to the museum made it clear that Crystal Bridges intends to be taken seriously well beyond northwest Arkansas. It has not only gathered a synoptic view of American art, it will feature contemporary galleries and an extensive library, and its leaders profess no squeamishness about embracing all aspects of the canon, including the experimental and the controversial.

Endowed by the Walton Family Foundation with $800 million, Crystal Bridges instantly joins the ranks of the richest museums in this country, and it has been using its extraordinary resources to assemble a collection of American art that may rival in quality, if not quantity, anything available to museum visitors in New York, Washington, Los Angeles or Chicago. It has aggressively pursued some of the most prized and iconic pieces of American art to come on the market in the past five years, leading some observers to detect an impact on prices that they call the “Walton effect.”
The museum, designed by blue-chip institutional architect Moshe Safdie and nestled in a thickly forested basin near the main square of Bentonville, is Walton’s legacy project. Walton, 61, is the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, who died in 1992. She is also “media shy,” a major contributor to Republican political candidates, a horse lover and, in the rare interviews she has given over the years, unabashedly patriotic and sentimentally devoted to the rolling Arkansas landscape she grew up in. Married and divorced once, she lives on an immense ranch in Texas and has been known to bid on art by cellphone while riding one of her beloved horses.
A progressive take
While millionaires and billionaires before her have created museums, Walton’s Crystal Bridges — with its mix of contemporary and classic art, and its origins in the frugal, self-made ethos of the Wal-Mart empire — feels decidedly different from the museums of the Gilded Age, or the boomtown art collections of mid-century Texas. There is no anxiety about the status of American art, no looking to Europe for validation. There’s no embarrassment about the immense fortune that made the museum possible, no old-fashioned cultural money-laundering in the manner of Carnegie or Mellon. Nor is there any worry about whether the art is too conservative or too edgy. It is a mature, serious, relatively progressive museum launched at a time when increasing numbers of people consider themselves socially tolerant and fiscally conservative. It is a museum for people who are as comfortable with art as social experiment and provocation, as they are with untrammeled, winner-takes-all capitalism.

Alice’s Wonderland - NewYorker Magazine

 Alice’s Wonderland
 A Walmart heiress builds a museum in the Ozarks.
 by Rebecca Mead June 27, 2011 .

"On the morning of December 1, 2004, Sotheby’s offered at auction one of the last great private troves of American art. Daniel Fraad, who died in 1987, made his fortune supplying fuel to airlines; in the late forties, he and his wife, Rita, began amassing American paintings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including works by Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Edward Hopper. When the Fraads started buying, their taste was not especially fashionable—French art was more in vogue—but by the time of Rita Fraad’s death, in May, 2004, American art was highly sought after, and the seventy-eight works on the block at Sotheby’s were estimated to be worth between thirty million and forty-five million dollars.

The sale got under way at a quarter past ten, and
the first lot, a portrait by the naturalist painter Gari Melchers, sold to a telephone bidder for more than nine hundred thousand dollars, seven times what was expected. The sixth lot, “The Little White House,” a 1919 landscape by Willard Metcalf, sold for just over a million dollars—nearly three times its estimate, and also to a buyer on the phone. As a reporter for Maine Antique Digest noted, “People began to wonder: with almost every collector one could think of present in the room, who the heck could be on the phone?”

One of the phone bidders that day was a collector whose activities had thus far gone largely unnoticed by the art world: Alice Walton, the daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, who died in 1992. The youngest of Walton’s four children, Alice, who was born in 1949 and grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, was a member of the richest family in America. The Waltons were worth some ninety billion dollars at the time—as much as the fortunes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett combined. Alice had started buying art in the seventies, mostly watercolors by American artists, but by the late nineties she had become a more serious collector; she hung the works on the walls of her ranch outside of Fort Worth, where she raised, bred, and rode cutting horses, which are trained to work with cattle. In fact, as the auction got under way in New York, Walton was at the Will Rogers Coliseum, in Fort Worth, preparing to compete in the first qualifying round of the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity.
So it was from the saddle of a three-year-old gelding named IC Lad that Walton successfully bid for several lots from the Fraad collection: “Spring,” a gorgeous watercolor of a rural scene, by Winslow Homer; “A French Music Hall,” by Everett Shinn, the Ashcan School artist; and “The Studio,” by George Bellows, which depicts the artist at work with his children playing at his feet. Collectively, these works cost Walton more than twelve million dollars. She competed with IC Lad before lunchtime—they were in the third round, fourth horse—then returned to making bids during the afternoon session at Sotheby’s. From the collection of Pierre Bergé, the co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent, she bought several notable works, including “The Indian and the Lily”—an exquisite rendering of a muscular Native American, by George de Forest Brush—and “October Interior,” a sunny, celadon-hued painting of a domestic scene, by Fairfield Porter.

By the end of the day, Walton had spent more than twenty million dollars on art. She had also prevailed at the Will Rogers Coliseum, placing sixty-second out of three hundred and seventy-four entrants, which allowed her to advance to the next round. Indeed, she made it all the way to the finals, which took place on December 10th. Walton came in nineteenth out of twenty riders—not a spectacular result but one that came with a prize of nearly thirteen thousand dollars.
“There is a lot that horses and art share in common,” Walton told me one morning not long ago, when I visited her in Bentonville, which is in the Ozarks, near the Missouri border, and is where Walmart has its headquarters. “I have found that most horse people are art lovers, and vice versa,” she went on. “I think it is more of an intuitive, circular kind of personality, for starters. And, as I say of horses, the secret to breeding great horses is the three ‘B’s: bones, brains, and balance. If you look at art, it shares some of the same qualities.”
Walton does not have the expensively curated look of a Park Avenue matron: her face is tanned and weather-beaten, and shows no signs of having been submitted to the surgeon’s knife. She wears her steel-gray hair pulled back in a straggly bun. For a very rich person, she lives relatively modestly: the house on her ranch in Texas, where she spends most of her time, is a simple one-story affair, apart from the masterpieces that have hung on its walls; when guests visit, she cooks dinner herself, though she has help to do the cleaning up. She speaks with a broad Arkansas accent—Bill Clinton at his most down home—and when she talks about her museum project she avoids loftiness. “One of the great responsibilities that I have is to manage my assets wisely, so that they create value,” she told me. “I know the price of lettuce. You need to understand price and value. You buy the best lettuce you can at the best price you can.”
As Walton spoke, we were in the boardroom of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which is being built in Bentonville to house Walton’s acquisitions in perpetuity. After four years of construction, Crystal Bridges is scheduled to open in November. Looking out of floor-to-ceiling windows, we could see that a large pit had been dug in the red soil several stories below us. Half a dozen cranes and other pieces of heavy machinery were active at the site, transporting hardware and pumping water from the pit—Bentonville had recently suffered almost two straight weeks of rain. Dozens of construction workers had been toiling since dawn. The pit was flanked by two lozenge-shaped bridge structures, each with a convex ribbed roof, which museum employees liken to the shell of an armadillo. One armadillo was to house two galleries; that morning, glass panels were being carefully inserted into the structure. The other armadillo was to be a restaurant. Eventually, the area between them would be a reflecting pond, filled with creek water. On the far end of the pit was another gallery space, a curvilinear concrete structure with a concave roof. In the end, eight pavilions, made from concrete and inlaid with wood, would be linked by bridges and walkways that offered visitors views of the trees and the water—breathing spaces from looking at art. The site was wedged in a tight ravine, and hemmed in by dense woodland: a two-hundred-thousand-square-foot cultural palace-to-be, nestled beneath the tree line. This would not be a triumphal acropolis, like the Getty Center, in Los Angeles. Crystal Bridges aimed to complement its natural setting, rather than crown it."
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/06/27/110627fa_fact_mead#ixzz2FFLHrmI4

Alice Walton - Who is She

"Alice Walton is the daughter of the late Helen Walton and the late Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. Born in 1949, the youngest of four children, she spent her childhood in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Ms. Walton graduated from Trinity College, in San Antonio, Texas, with a B.A. in Economics and Finance. She began her career in finance as an equity analyst and money manager for First Commerce Corporation; and later served as Vice Chairman and head of all investment-related activities at the Arvest Bank Group.
In 1988, Ms. Walton founded Llama Company, an investment bank engaged in corporate finance, public and structured finance, real estate finance and sales and trading. She served as President, Chairman and CEO. 
She was the first chairperson and driving force behind the Northwest Arkansas Council. This community development organization played a major role in securing the development of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.
Ms. Walton arranged for, and provided, the initial seed capital to finance the construction of the airport. Her involvement was instrumental in the creation of the airport, and in recognition of her contribution to the airport project and her support of transportation improvements throughout the region, the Airport Authority Board of Directors named the airport terminal the Alice L. Walton Terminal Building. In 2001, Ms. Walton was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame.
In addition to her philanthropic activities as a board member of the Walton Family Foundation, Ms. Walton has been active on the Board of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock and the Board of Advisors for the University of Arkansas Graduate Business School at Fayetteville.
In 1996, the University of Arkansas established the Alice L. Walton Chair in Finance, allowing the University, through its College of Business Administration, to pursue educational excellence on a national and international level.
Ms. Walton's vision led to the creation of Camp War Eagle, a unique summer camp in Northwest Arkansas that brings together children of differing socio-economic backgrounds and provides a remarkable experience for children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a camp of this stature
Ms Walton serves on the board of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas and is a member of the Trustees' Council of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
An avid horse-lover, Ms Walton currently lives in central Texas, where she raises cutting horses and operates the Rocking W Ranch." alicewalton.org

"Born on:Oct 07, 1949 (Age: 63)Libra
Born in: Newport, Arkansas
Marital status: Divorced
Occupation:Hieress, Walmart
A woman with endless amount of fortune to spend, Alice Walton is the youngest of the 4 children of Sam Walton and Helen Walton and one of the three surviving heirs to the world’s biggest retail chain and business, Wal-Mart. Her life has been the major topic of interest to the Americans, who despise the Wal-Mart family as much as they love its stores, which has been a positive force in terms of bringing down the cost of living for poor Americans.
With a net worth exceeding $21 Billon, she is the 10th richest American and can buy almost anything and everything. However, when she does buy, it makes the top headlines, almost always not for better. Her $35 million acquisition of “Kindred Spirits,” by Asher B. Durand, from the New York Public Library for her Crystal Bridges museum created a huge stir in the art market and aroused a wave of skepticism from art lovers.
A graduate in Economics and Finance from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, she didn’t join her father’s company right away. Instead she got her first job as an equity analyst at First Commerce Corporation. Her later business exploits include an investment bank, which she opened in 1988. However the ill-timed bond market crash in 1998 was enough to fold the bank. Alice’s also served as the vice chairperson of Arvest Bank Group.
Despite her secrecy shrouded persona, Walton’s philanthropic efforts have not gone totally unrecognized. Using her position at Northwest Arkansas Council, she got built an airport, which used the finances provided by her as seed. Alice Walton has also funded the 160-acre Camp War Eagle in Bentonville’s outskirts, where campers belonging to different socioeconomic strata and races participate, with the less affluent ones receiving scholarships. Alice Walton likes to spend her time in the quiets of her 3,200-acre Texas Ranch and her childhood home in Bentonville. She likes to go for horse riding on occasions and dotes on her nieces and nephews. A more interesting bit of her life has been her frequent conflicts with the law on accounts of rash driving or drunken driving." (bornrich.com)

Crystal Bridges - My View

This past weekend I visited Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. Locate in the northwest corner of the state this complex is the vision on billionaire Alice Walton and her extraordinary architect Moshe Safdie. I have devoted a significant portion of this Christmas newsletter to this museum. Museum installations are often a journey that extends over a significant period of time starting with raising the funds, selecting the architect, agreeing on a concept and design, choosing the contractors, and finally implementing the vision and opening the building. The politics involved can alone be a deal breaker with winners some times imposing impractical idiosyncratic plans that create long term problems. From the success stories in Kansas City to the disasters in Denver there are many institutions in between. Alice Walton and Safdie succeeded in every way in creating a truly unique experience that in my judgment ranks with the very finest museums in the world. I cannot say enough, so I have offered the efforts of some of our more important newspaper and magazine art critics to do this job. Below is the question and answer section from the Crystal Bridges website.

Q. How did the Museum get its name?
A. Crystal Bridges takes its name from Crystal Spring—a natural spring on the Museum's wooded site that feeds into the Museum ponds—and from the unique bridge construction incorporated into the building design.
Q. Who was the architect of Crystal Bridges?
A. The building was designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author who embraces a comprehensive and humane design philosophy. Safdie is committed to architecture that responds to human needs and aspirations and is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place.
Q. What is in the collection?
A. Crystal Bridges' permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. Included within the collection are iconic images such as Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirits, Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, and Andy Warhol's Dolly Parton, each reflecting a distinct moment in American artistic evolution. In addition to historical works, the Museum's collection also showcases major works by modern and contemporary American artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, James Turrell, and Georgia O'Keeffe, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the full scope of American art. Crystal Bridges will continue to grow its collection through the efforts of its professional staff as well as through important gifts from private collectors.
Q. What else can I see at Crystal Bridges besides the art?
A. Crystal Bridges is a vibrant, engaging place that offers a variety of activities for visitors. In addition to the galleries, the Museum complex encompasses a Library, the hands-on Experience Art Studio and Drop-in Studio, a glass-enclosed gathering hall for lectures, films, and other events, a Museum Store, a restaurant, and areas for outdoor concerts and public events. In addition, more than three miles of walking and biking trails through the Museum's 120-acre grounds offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beautiful Ozark landscape and enjoy sculptures, gardens, and interactive education areas.
Q. What are the Museum's hours?
A. Crystal Bridges is open Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays, as well as on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Crystal Bridges' trails are open from sunrise to sunset, every day.
Q. What is the admission price?
A. General admission to Crystal Bridges is sponsored by Walmart. There is no cost to view Museum permanent collections. There may occasionally be an admission fee to view travelling exhibitions.
Q. Is there a restaurant onsite?
Crystal Bridges Cafe
A. Yes. Eleven, the Museum's restaurant, is located in a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds. Eleven offers a delicious menu of Low Midwest and High South cuisine for lunch on Wednesday through Monday, with dinner service on Wednesday and Friday evenings. Click here for menu and information.
Q. Is there a Museum Store?
A. Yes, the Museum Store, designed by architect Marlon Blackwell, offers educational and art-centric toys, books, gifts, and jewelry inspired by the Museum's permanent collection, and prints of many of its most popular works. Original artworks by some of the finest artists and artisans in the region also are available for purchase.
Q. Are reservations required for a group tour?
A. Groups of 10 or more desiring a guided tour should make a reservation at least two weeks prior to the date of the group's visit. For more information or to schedule a group tour, call 479-418-5746 or visit our Group Tours page.
Q. What programming is available for school groups?
A. The Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program includes a guided tour, pre- and post-visit materials to use in the classroom, a 30-minute lunch provided by Eleven, the Museum's restaurant, a 30-minute session in Experience Art Studio, and souvenir gift bags for each of the students. There are several themed tours to choose from. We will be accepting applications from teachers interested in visiting the Museum during the Spring 2013 semester. Click here for more information about school groups.
Crystal Bridges trail
Q. How do I access the Crystal Bridges Trail and the Art Trail?
A. Crystal Bridges Trail can be reached from downtown Bentonville. The trailhead entrance is on Northeast 3rd Street between A and B Streets (across from the splash park). Crystal Bridges Trail can also be accessed from Compton Gardens' entrance on North Main Street, or from Northeast A Street north of the Museum. Click here to download a map.
The Art Trail begins at James Turrell's Skyspace installation, The Way of Color, on the Crystal Bridges Trail. It leads to the Museum's south lobby.
Q. Can I ride my bicycle on the trails?
A. Bicycles are welcome on the Crystal Bridges Trail, the Art Trail, and Orchard Trail. The Dogwood Trail is a stroller-friendly, pedestrian-only soft-surface trail. The Tulip Tree Trail, Crystal Springs Loop, and Rock Ledge Trail are all natural paths for pedestrians only. Skateboards are prohibited on all trails. Click here for more information about Crystal Bridges' Trails.
Q. Can I rent facilities at the Museum for a special event?
A. Several of the Museum's facilities, including the beautiful Great Hall, meeting rooms, classrooms and grounds will be available for event rental by Museum Members. For information on renting Museum facilities, click here.
Q. How is Crystal Bridges tied to Walmart?
A. Crystal Bridges is a nonprofit organization focused solely on creating a world-class museum for the benefit of the public. The Museum was founded by Alice Walton, who also serves as chair of the Crystal Bridges Board of Directors. Because of its commitment to the educational and cultural development of Northwest Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation has provided significant funding to help make the dream of Crystal Bridges a reality. In July, 2011, Walmart announced a grant that will sponsor general public admission to the Museum. However, Walmart Stores, Inc. is in no way connected to the development, construction, or planning of the Museum or the development and ownership of the permanent collection.

Auction Results December 2012

1. Sothebys had another strong tribal sale today with lots with the buyers premium bringing a total of  7,268,875 euros or $9,994,178.57. 34 out of 119 lots were bought in failing to sell.It is interesting to note that you can have almost 30% of your lots failing to make reserve and still do almost 10 million dollars. The Biwat spirit figure in lot 17 from the Speyer and Lemaire collections sold for  1,408,750  euros ($1,936,932).

2. The Christies Paris  was held December 11, 2012 and grossed 6,022,975 euros ($8,251,475.75) with 91 lots of which 28 lots failed to sell giving a buy in rate of almost 31%. The star of the show was Willy Mestach's 100" Nkundu reliquary which sold for 2,697,000 euros or $3,506,100. So this one object was almost half the the total results of the sale which most would describe as uneven. Other notables were the Baga snake which is 76" in height and sold for 313,000 euros ($428,810). There actually were some interesting objects in the sale; however, in some lots the reserves just made no sense. The Twa neckrest in lot 63 was bought in with an estimate of $14,000 - $27,000. The quality was not there to justify this range. The sale points out that the competition for good material is strong and the auction houses are going out on limb to compete. Make your sale with three or four big lots and then hope that these objects will bring up the others. Both Sothebys and Christies had relatively small sales for this active .