Welcome to NewsFile, your weekly update about goings-on in the world of contemporary ceramics and contemporary ceramic art! This week we have a collector theme for you. We’re starting off with an online auction from the Watershed Center in Maine.
Above image: Work by Benjamin Cirgin. Photographs courtesy of the Watershed Center.
Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine will host its fall eBay auction from Thursday, October 13 through Sunday, October 23. More than 100 notable artists and collectors have generously donated art and craft pieces to the fundraiser for anyone to bid on and win. Bidding on all items starts at just a penny. The auction provides a unique opportunity to take home rare and collectible works in support of Watershed. All proceeds will support the Center’s residency, outreach and education programs.
Ceramic pieces, glasswork, prints, and drawings, including work by Christa Assad, Sam Chung, Benjamin Cirgin, John Gill, David Katz, Linda Lopez, Kelly Rathbone, Don Reitz, Robert Sperry, Toshiko Takaezu, Patti Warashina, Paula Winokur, and many others will be featured in the auction.
The Frick Acquires Rare 18th Century Porcelain
From the Frick Foundation, New York City, recently announced:
The Frick Collection is delighted to announce a gift from Paul Sullivan and Trustee Melinda Martin Sullivan of porcelain produced by the Du Paquier Porcelain Manufactory in Vienna. The Sullivans generously permitted the Frick to choose 14 superb examples from their collection, considered to be the finest private collection in the world from this important early Western manufactory.
The objects, dating from about 1720 to 1740, perfectly complement the museum’s porcelain holdings, which have grown since Henry Clay Frick’s day to represent in depth some of the best productions of this prized material. Mr. Frick focused his porcelain collecting on Sèvres, which accompanied beautifully the eighteenth-century French paintings and furniture he acquired. In 1966, his collection of Chinese porcelain was augmented by some two hundred pieces through the bequest of his son, Childs. The museum’s holdings were further extended by recent and promised gifts of Meissen porcelain from Henry Arnhold.
Now, the Sullivan’s gift of Du Paquier porcelain adds to the Frick’s already strong assemblage, which illustrates the Western fascination with Eastern models and represents the brilliant and distinctive tradition of porcelain production in Europe. Starting September 28, these stunning works will be on view in the Frick’s Reception Hall, remaining there through March 2017.
Michael Butler Porcelain Scandal
We’re hitting this one a little late, but it fits in with our collector theme this week and is a rather fascinating story of a collection gone wrong. Dish, Telegraph, dish!
An exquisite £8 million Ming porcelain collection built up by a confidant of Margaret Thatcher has sparked a bitter legal feud which has torn apart a once close-knit family.
Sir Michael Butler was a trusted adviser to Thatcher in the 1980s, and was a principal architect of her victory in cutting the UK’s contribution to the European Community budget.
In private, however, his pride and joy was his 800-piece hoard of 17th century ‘late Ming’ Chinese ceramics, collected over five decades of globe-trotting as a top diplomat.Experts have variously dubbed it as “unique in the world” and “the finest and most extensive collection of its kind”, London’s High Court heard.
Sir Michael, who died aged 86 two years ago, gave 500 of his most prized pots to his four children – who are now at legal war over their inheritance.
The row is putting Sir Michael’s posthumous reputation in jeopardy amidst accusations of marital infidelity, family strife and favouritism between children.
Charles and Katharine Butler say their father would have wanted the “Butler Family Collection” to remain intact at a private museum in Mapperton, Dorset, where he lived.
But their older siblings, Caroline and James, argue they are entitled to 125 pots each and are asking Judge Brian Barker QC to order them to be handed over.
This could’ve been resolved had Butler either never had children, or if he were buried like a pharaoh with all of his earthly possessions. Let that be a lesson to you all.
Caruso St. John Wins Stirling for Damien Hirst Gallery
Congrats to architecture studio Caruso St. John, who just a few days ago won the coveted Stirling Prize for architecture. Their project: renovating an old industrial building in London into the free gallery for the private art collection of Damien Hirst. You may remember this story from earlier. From The Guardian:
From the train window, it’s easy to rumble past the unassuming row of brick warehouses in Vauxhall, south London, and not look twice. Your eye will most likely be distracted by the cacophony of gaudy apartment blocks now clustered along the other side of the tracks. But Damien Hirst’s quiet Newport Street gallery, announced as the winner of this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building, reveals its special qualities the closer you look.
The sawtooth roof-lights, so common in industrial buildings, are each differently angled, to give the subtle impression of the building unfolding like a concertina. The sharp metal balustrade of the Mussolini balcony, where Hirst might give a cheeky salute to passing trains, has been water-jet cut from a single slab of steel. The row of Victorian sheds is in fact a combination of old and new, a collage of brickwork with the variation that makes London’s streets so pleasing to wander.
Do you love or loathe this news from the world of contemporary ceramics and contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.