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  • "News from the world of art and antiques"
  • "Care and Feeding of Antiques"
  • "Did You Know...?"
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Beaumont, TX 77701

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News from the world of art and antiques
Lauder Pays $135 Million, a Record, for a Klimt Portrait
From the New York Times article by Carol Vogel Published: June 19, 2006

A dazzling gold-flecked 1907 portrait by Gustav Klimt has been purchased for the Neue Galerie in Manhattan by the cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder for $135 million, the highest sum ever paid for a painting. The portrait, of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the wife of a Jewish sugar industrialist and the hostess of a prominent Vienna salon, is considered one of the artist's masterpieces. For years, it was the focus of a restitution battle between the Austrian government and a niece of Mrs. Bloch-Bauer who argued that it was seized along with four other Klimt paintings by the Nazis during World War II.

That Mrs. Altmann and her relatives have possession of the painting is a tale of perseverance and tenacity. After the war the family tried to regain their stolen possessions, including the paintings, porcelains, palaces and the sugar company founded by Mr. Bloch-Bauer. Much of the artwork was divided up among the top Nazis, including Hitler and Hermann Göring; Reinhard Heydrich, a Nazi commander, occupied a summer palace owned by Mr. Bloch-Bauer outside Prague.

Mrs. Altmann said he had felt especially receptive to Mr. Lauder because throughout all the years the family was struggling to reclaim the art, he consistently kept in touch with her, offering to help in any way he could. "He was incredibly generous and constantly supportive," she said.

In April Mrs. Altmann and her heirs lent the paintings to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where they remain on view through June 30. Then the five works will travel to the Neue Galerie, where "Gustav Klimt: Five Paintings From the Collection of Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer" will be on view from July 13 through Sept. 18.

Mrs. Altmann said that when the gold portrait of her aunt finally hangs in the Neue Galerie, she will feel that it is finally where it belongs. The painting, which took Klimt three years to create, shows her aunt regally posed, with a mysterious gaze, sensuous red lips and her hands twisted near her face to conceal a deformed finger. He used gold throughout the richly painted background and in the glistening fabric of Adele's patterned gown.

Although confidentiality agreements surrounding the sale forbid Mr. Lauder to disclose the price, experts familiar with the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he paid $135 million for the work. In a telephone interview Mr. Lauder did not deny that he had paid a record amount for the painting, eclipsing the $104.1 million paid for Picasso's 1905 "Boy With a Pipe (The Young Apprentice)" in an auction at Sotheby's in 2004.

Casino boss puts elbow through a $139 million (£74m) Picasso
From the Telegraph article by Catherine Elsworth in New York Last Updated: 1:52am BST 20/10/2006

A casino mogul had to pull out of the largest ever deal for a painting when he accidentally put his elbow through his prized Picasso.

Steve Wynn, the hotelier and art collector, was showing Pablo Picasso's Le Reve (The Dream) to friends in the office of his luxury Las Vegas hotel shortly after finalising a deal to sell the picture for $139 million (£74 million).

Mr Wynn, who suffers from an eye condition that affects peripheral vision, struck the picture with his right elbow while gesturing as he spoke about the work, said Denise Randazzo, his spokesman.

He had agreed to sell the painting to Steven Cohen, a hedge fund investor. Mr Wynn bought the work in 1997 for $48.4 million.

The sale would have beaten the record set by the cosmetics magnate Ronald Lauder, who paid a reported $135 million for Gustav Klimt's 1907 portrait Adele Bloch-Bauer I in July.

Le Reve, a 1932 portrait of Picasso's mistress Marie-Therese Walter, was left with a coin-sized hole in the canvas, according to Nora Ephron, the director and screenwriter, who was in the office when the mishap occurred. " 'Oh s***,' he said. 'Look what I've done'," was the hotelier's reaction, according to Ephron's weblog. Mr Wynn had raised his hand to show the group a detail on the painting, she wrote.

The tycoon now plans to keep and restore the painting.

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The Care and Feeding of Antiques
Fine Linen


Linens should be washed separately from other items. Zippers, buttons and other rough surfaces may damage the long staple fibers causing pilling.

Spots and stained areas should be pre-soaked before washing.  There are several safe soaks, some more effective than others on a particular stain: lemon juice, cream of tarter, salt water, and milk to name a few.  Denatured alcohol or hair spray are good for removing ball point ink, and vinegar is also a useful stain remover.

Use a mild laundering product. Whatever detergent you choose should not have brighteners or other bleaching agents as this will eventually fade colors and inherently weaken the fibers. Also, be sure your machine agitates with detergent BEFORE you add your linens, as this will avoid any detergent coming directly in contact with the fibers - which may cause bleaching or damage to them.


Claims it will safely and effectively remove the most difficult stains from washable bed, bath and table linens as well as antique linens, colored linens, lace, quilts, 100% cottons, synthetics and blends. Easily removes the yellow discoloration typical of aged linen. No bleach, caustics or phosphates.


Don’t use fabric softener. Remove your load promptly from the washer, shake the items and line dry or place in dryer when advisable.

Avoid bleach and products containing bleach like the plague. They will damage your items more than do anything good for them. Bleach destroys fibers, weakens them and generally is not worth the damage.


Line drying is a wonderful way to care for your linens. However, Large and/or heavy items sheets (linen ones), quilts, bedspreads and the like should be dried flat. Putting them on a line will damage them by stretching them out of shape and resulting in major damage. Take care to hang items in the shade (direct sunlight will fade fibers).  

If you have to use a dryer, remember to remove your linens before they are completely dry, to make ironing easier. Do not use the dryer if there are still stains or spots left on your linen. Use the lowest heat setting (as extreme hot or even cold temperature shocks the fibers and decrease their life) and take the piece out as soon as the excess water is removed.



If you intend to iron the piece, it's best to do so while it is still damp, using a hot iron ("cotton" or "linen" setting).

Some recommend that you do not iron your antique linens until you are ready to use them. The linens should be damp for ironing.   To dampen antique linens, spray them with distilled water mist. Set the iron on the "no steam" setting and go at it. Its best to use spring or distilled water in your iron and dampen only with distilled water.

Starch will break down and gradually turn linens yellow and then a nasty brownish color. It can hasten the breakdown of delicate antique linen fabrics and all but ruin a fine organza or lightweight linen in just a few years. (it also attracts silverfish, who like it’s taste!) Don’t iron creases in things because over time, those areas become weak spots that tear. Also over time, those creases can yellow and discolor. If you must starch, do so just before use and then immediately wash your pieces before you put them away.

Iron on a smooth, clean surface. Use a large white soft towel if you are ironing embroidery, and place face down, so the embroidery does not get flattened. Use the correct setting, and work slowly, from one end to the next. Fold or place the item on a hanger, and let it sit until bone-dry (it won't be bone dry after ironing, not quite yet). Roll tablecloths and large sheets rather than folding, to avoid stress on the creases.                                                                - Dexter S. Augier

Did you know...?
In bronze sculpture, as opposed to furniture, PATINA is not the natural process of aging, but rather the application of one of a variety of chemical 'soups' under heat. Different chemicals give different colors-greens, blacks, browns, reds, etc. This was either done by the artist himself, or by the bronze foundry, following the artist's instructions. Several of the methods for achieving certain patinas have been lost over the years. Some think that one lost process was exposure to the fumes of burning leather.        - Dexter S. Augier

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