Monday, December 22, 2014

Some Thoughts From Kim

I would like to take a minute to thank you for your continued patronage of our appraisal services. I have seen some wonderful artworks this year, to include well established living artists like Jasper Johns, Julian Opie, Donald Sultan and Idelle Weber, to some perhaps less well known Texas artists like Cesar Martinez, Michael O’Keefe and Winter Rusiloski.  One of the more interesting challenges was determining the origin of a signed 1942 Dali drawing that was one of a limited edition insert in his 1942 autobiography “The Secret Life of Salvador Dali”. This pen & ink drawing was sold without specifying the details of its origin, and it was not clear whether it was one of the original drawings interspersed throughout his autobiography, part of another unknown edition, or even a very clever forgery.

 Appraising art always brings adventures, both large and small, and I feel privileged to be in this business. Every day I have the opportunity to traipse into the mind of the artist, and examine the fruit of the creative journey. For those of us who love art, it doesn’t get any better than that.

 Best wishes to you and your family for 2015,

Pre-Columbian Art

Maya polychrome Vase
AD 600 - 900
Peten, Guatemala
Ht. 6 1/2"

Foxworth Collection

Mochica Culture, Peru , 100 BC- 100 AD

Kneeling Royal Warrior Lord in Presentation.
Ex Eugene Lions Coll., Switzerland
Ht. 5 7/8"

Mochica Culture, Peru,100BC - 100 AD

Reclining Jaguar 
Private San Francisco Coll.
Length  8 1/2"

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Extinction of Neanderthals - New Data

Early Man
1.PARIS (AFP).- Neanderthals shared Europe with modern humans for as long as five millennia until they died out 40,000 years ago -- "ample time" for cultural exchanges and interbreeding, researchers said on Wednesday. While there is no evidence that the two groups lived closely together, they did co-exist for anything from 25 to 250 generations, depending on the region, according to a paper published in the journal Nature. "The results reveal a significant overlap of 2,600-5,400 years," wrote the researchers, who used improved technology to date about 200 samples of bone, charcoal and shell from 40 archaeological sites from Russia to Spain. This was "ample time for interaction and interbreeding," said a press statement.
In the latest attempt to date our cousins' final moments on Earth, the team found that Neanderthals disappeared at different times from different parts of Europe instead of being replaced by humans at one fell swoop. The question of how, why and when Neanderthals became extinct, leaving humans to take over, has long fascinated scientists. Some have postulated a much more recent disappearance. Anatomically-modern humans, having originated in Africa, reached Europe between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago, finding Neanderthals there. Their brief interaction resulted in non-African people today carrying about 1.5-2.1 percent Neanderthal DNA. According to the new, six-year study, Europe 45,000 years ago was still occupied mainly by Neanderthals with small pockets of humans in between. This balanced shifted over the following 5,000 years, until the Neanderthals eventually disappeared, the paper said. Rather than modern humans abruptly replacing their distant cousins, there appears to have been a progressive change "characterised by a biological and cultural mosaic that lasted for several thousand years," the researchers wrote. They said theirs was the most accurate dating yet of this period in history. Reliable radiocarbon dating is often rendered difficult by the degradation of carbon in bone or rock samples older than 25,000 years.
"Previous radiocarbon dates have often underestimated the age of samples from sites associated with Neanderthals because the organic matter was contaminated with modern particles," said study leader Thomas Higham of Oxford University. "We used ultrafiltration methods, which purify the extracted collagen from bone, to avoid the risk of contamination. "This means we can say with more confidence that we have finally resolved the timing of the disappearance of our close cousins, the Neanderthals." The study did not reach a conclusion on whether there had been a single human-Neanderthal interbreeding event, or several over time. "Of course the Neanderthals are not completely extinct, because some of their genes are in most of us today," said Higham.

Christmas Facts

Christmas History

"A typical Neapolitan presepe/presepio, or Nativity scene. Local crèches are renowned for their ornate decorations and symbolic figurines, often mirroring daily life.The practice of putting up special decorations at Christmas has a long history. In the 15th century, it was recorded that in London it was the custom at Christmas for every house and all the parish churches to be "decked with holm, ivy, bays, and whatsoever the season of the year afforded to be green".[132] The heart-shaped leaves of ivy were said to symbolize the coming to earth of Jesus, while holly was seen as protection against pagans and witches, its thorns and red berries held to represent the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus at the crucifixion and the blood he shed.
Nativity scenes are known from 10th-century Rome. They were popularised by Saint Francis of Asissi from 1223, quickly spreading across Europe. Different types of decorations developed across the Christian world, dependent on local tradition and available resources, and can vary from simple representations of the crib to far more elaborate sets - renowned manger scene traditions include the colourful Kraków szopka in Poland,which imitate Kraków's historical buildings as settings, the elaborate Italian presepi (Neapolitan, Genoese and Bolognese),or the Provençal crèches in southern France, using hand-painted terracotta figurines called santons. In certain parts of the world, notably Sicily, living nativity scenes following the tradition of Saint Francis are a popular alternative to static crèches.The first commercially produced decorations appeared in Germany in the 1860s, inspired by paper chains made by children.In countries
where a representation of the Nativity scene is very popular, people are encouraged to compete and create the most original or realistic ones. Within some families, the pieces used to make the representation are considered a valuable family heirloom.

The traditional colors of Christmas decorations are red, green, and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus, which was shed in his crucifixion, while green symbolizes eternal life, and in particular the evergreen tree, which does not lose its leaves in the winter, and gold is the first color associated with Christmas, as one of the three gifts of the Magi, symbolizing royalty. On Christmas Day, the Christ Candle in the center of the Advent wreath is traditionally lit in many church services. The Christmas tree is considered by some as Christianisation of pagan tradition and ritual surrounding the Winter Solstice, which included the use of evergreen boughs, and an adaptation of pagan tree worship;[146] according to eighth-century biographer Æddi Stephanus, Saint Boniface (634–709), who was a missionary in Germany, took an axe to an oak tree dedicated to Thor and pointed out a fir tree, which he stated was a more fitting object of reverence because it pointed to heaven and it had a triangular shape, which he said was symbolic of the Trinity. The English language phrase "Christmas tree" is first recorded in 1835 and represents an importation from the German language. The modern Christmas tree tradition is believed to have begun in Germany in the 18th century though many argue that Martin Luther began the tradition in the 16th century.

From Germany the custom was introduced to Britain, first via Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and then more successfully by Prince Albert during the reign of Queen Victoria. By 1841 the Christmas tree had become even more widespread throughout Britain. By the 1870s, people in the United States had adopted the custom of putting up a Christmas tree.Christmas trees may be decorated with lights and ornaments.
Since the 19th century, the poinsettia, a native plant from Mexico, has been associated with Christmas. Other popular holiday plants include holly, mistletoe, red amaryllis, and Christmas cactus. Along with a Christmas tree, the interior of a home may be decorated with these plants, along with garlands and evergreen foliage. The display of Christmas villages has also become a tradition in many homes during this season. The outside of houses may be decorated with lights and sometimes with illuminated sleighs, snowmen, and other Christmas figures. Other traditional decorations include bells, candles, candy canes, stockings, wreaths, and angels. Both the displaying of wreaths and candles in each window are a more traditional Christmas
display. The concentric assortment of leaves, usually from an evergreen, make up Christmas wreaths and are designed to prepare Christians for the Advent season. Candles in each window are meant to demonstrate the fact that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the ultimate light of the world.

Christmas lights and banners may be hung along streets, music played from speakers, and Christmas trees placed in prominent places. It is common in many parts of the world for town squares and consumer shopping areas to sponsor and display decorations. Rolls of brightly colored paper with secular or religious Christmas motifs are manufactured for the purpose of wrapping gifts. In some countries, Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on Twelfth Night, the evening of January 5."

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Ugly Christmas sweaters have become big business and like much of the holiday season these symbols of bad taste have lost much of their meaning. Anyone can make an ugly sweater. The meaning of truth is found in how many people can honestly try to make a great sweater and instead create something horrific. These well meaning holiday warriors are the true heroes of Christmas. For your entertainment I have looked at may ugly sweaters that MAY fit the true meaning of Christmas. This has not been an easy task which has driven me to wine. I have ended this group with a nice snow scene to calm your sensibilities.

Christmas Around the World

Last year we shared photos of how Christmas was being  celebrated around the world. We had such a positive response,we have repeated and expanded it again this year.

Outside the White House 2014

420 Pound Ginger Bread House, White House 2014

White House 2014

Christmas London 2014

Christmas San Francisco, 2014

Christmas Alaska, 2014

Christmas, Fashion Mall, Las Vegas

Christmas, Strasbourg 2014

Christmas, Hong Kong 2014

Christmas, Graben Vienna, 2014

Christmas Paris 2014

Christmas Rockefeller Center New York

Christmas Glendale Galleria, California

Christmas, Hong Kong, A Selfie

My Word Christmas 2014

In the past month I have been in New Orleans, Tucson, Chicago, and St. Louis, so we welcome the holidays and a chance to catch a breather. 2015 looks to be even busier with continued unpredictability in the market place. In our next newsletter we shall evaluate the recent auctions in New York and Paris. Sothebys continues to do an amazing job in marketing African and Oceanic art. Many of us have mixed feelings about whether their success is a good thing or a warning sign of things to come. It certainly appears that new less knowledgeable buyers from other areas have greatly impacted rising prices, which then significantly influence future expectations of collectors, dealers, and yes even the auction houses. We can only hope that we are not watching an elaborate game of musical chairs. The Myron Kunin sale at Sothebys certainly exceeded expectations grossing  $41,617,500.

For 2015 we will certainly be covering changes from Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Government on repatriation issues. Again we strongly recommend following the newsletter available at for up to date information on many of the issues impacting the art world.

On an optimistic note if you are a passionately collector but can't afford the top of the food chain, I believe there will be great bargains available in the coming year. Many financial experts are predicting a market correction in 2015 which will undoubtedly have an adverse impact on the art market. This will create opportunities.

Unfortunately there are only a few weeks left in the runs of the Polynesian show in St. Louis and the Indian show in Kansas City. The latter will move on to the Met in the early spring but this is the last venue for Mike Gunn's show. At the very least get the catalogs for both of these which have objects that will not be in the States again for a very long time.

Remembering Old and New friends

For some time rescue dogs have been a big part of Barbara and my life.  As many of you know you do sacrifice the occasional piece of furniture or art. Somehow around the holidays it seems like a reasonable price to pay. We remember most of them here. Unfortunately, Annie and Jessie are gone but Izzy and Chakka will no doubt be around for quite some time. One of our holiday traditions is including our four-legged friends in the Christmas cards. This year we decided to pay special respects to those no longer with us.





Christmas 2014

Aurora Borealis, Alaska 2014