Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PUGLIA: For Sale or Rent

Puglia - For sale or Rent.  Four kilometers from Ceglie Messapica in Puglia, and one hour from Brindisi airport, amongst three hectares of olive and almond trees is this 19th century restructured casolare Pugliese or country house. Casolari are typical buildings of the area, they are low and rectangular and this one also has a roof terrace, a lily pond and a free form stone small pool, with waterfall, is also being built on the property.  There are four bedrooms and three bathrooms, a cellar, which could eventually become a fifth bedroom and bathroom, a living room and a kitchen, complete with pantry. Englishman Maurice Kavanagh and Argentinian Margarita Fornieles restored the house.  Globetrotter, Margarita who is an interior decorator and has a great sense of color decorated the casolare with Moorish and ethnic details inspired by her travels around the world.
For information: Maurice Kavanagh: mauricekavanagh@gmail.com -  Cell. phone: 347-788-4873.

The meditation room # 1.  The central point of the meditation room or studio just off the sitting room is the elaborate gilded hand carved wood 1860 Buddha shrine from Thailand.

The meditation room # 2.  The view of olive trees from the meditation room is framed by a window below which sits a gilded Indonesian wooden box covered in semi precious stones.

A detail of the living room. Interior decorator Margarita who is also a collector and expert in antique textiles covers modern chairs and armchairs with precious fabrics from her collection.  The cushion on the armchair has an antique Susani motif applied on it.  The obelisk, painted white, comes from a colonial hotel in India, the Moorish inspired arch leads to the kitchen.

A detail of the kitchen.
  Maurice who dabbles and deals in 20th century design has placed a Fritz Hansen table and Arne Jacobsen chairs below two family portraits in the kitchen.   The paintings were done by fashion designer Lee Pring and portrays Maurice aged thirty with his father William aged sixty, on the left and  himself aged sixty with his son Kerry aged thirty on the right.

A detail of the master bedroom.  Margarita's sense of color is evident in this chair made with patchwork fabric from old pieces of quilted eiderdown from Jaipur and velvet. A Flos lamp leads to the sitting room.

A detail of the guest bedroom.  The pea green bed spread is a very refreshing color in the Pugliesi heat and matches the color on the ceiling.  On the wall there is a precious nineteenth coat from Uzbekistan.  And, the Chinese hand painted silk panel, over the bed was bought at auction and comes from the collection of a former Italian ambassador to China.

A detail of the master bathroom.    A detail of the Moroccan inspired en suite master bathroom.

A corner of a guest bedroom.  Under a Willy Mazzi painting, two single beds and an en suite bathroom are the only rooms on the first floor. The beds are covered in a Hawaiian print Japanese fabric bought in Cannes.  The lazy Susan on the floor is made from precious Kaya wood from Hawaii and the decorative bottles on the table are from Scandinavia.

The Land.   Just over three hectares of olive and almond trees lead up to the casolare.
Pin It

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Majorca: Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation: Nins: Portraits of Children.


Majorca: Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation:  Nins: Portraits of Children.  The jewel in the crown at the Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation is the important collection of Nins, Portraits of Children from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, which is hung in what used to be an underground reservoir.  The entrance to the exhibition space is marked by a discreet canopy of Corten steel, designed by Antonio Obrador and the superb interior lighting, which facilitates the interpretation of the paintings, was designed by Alain Chevalier who had worked on the lighting of artworks both at the Louvre and at the Centre Pompidou. “The main criteria for choosing the selection was the aesthetic response and emotions provoked by each painting rather than by the desire to assemble a complete collection with a didactic purpose.  The theme, which emerged as the collection took shape, was not just an overview of portraits of children across centuries but a glimpse of the mysterious world of childhood.  These portraits, which form the core of the “Nins” collection, are from different countries, and different epochs and although, for the most part, they represent the sons and daughters of important historical figures, there are also images of children of more modest origins among them…   This selection also enables us to follow the evolution of a certain way of depicting children, as well as the metamorphosis of clothing…   And… The symbolism of various objects is given remarkable attention in these portraits and is of great interest.  Important emblematic accessories and attributes of power such as scepters, crowns, thrones, drapes and tables are shown in detail, but so also are animals, fruits, flowers, elements symbolizing and underwriting the necessity of education and emphasizing the desirable virtues….  To a certain extent, this collection is a history of a family, a great European family, told through its unions and alliances.” Yannick Jakober.
Above: far right: Italian School: Portrait of Michele Antonio Saluzzo With His Dog, 1743 – M.G.B. Clementi called Clementina (1690-1761).  Clementina was a court painter.  Many of her works are conserved at the Palace di Caccia Stupinigi.  One of the pictures exhibited there is a portrait of Vittorio Amedeo III, dated one year previously to this painting and clearly showing a stylistic similarity.

Italian School:  Portrait of Vittorio Amadeo (1587-1637), Emanuele Filiberto (1588-1624) and Filippo Emanuele (1586-1605), di Savoia as young children, C. 1593-1594, Jan Kraeck known as Giovanni Caracca (active 1567-1607), Dutch School, oil on canvas.

French School: Portrait of Louis-Bufile Marquis of Brancas (1710-1753), 1711 Jean Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755). The painter signs this original canvas, dated 1711 by himself, on the reverse.  Oudry was the pupil of Michel Serre and Nicholas Largilliere.  He painted nearly three thousand works, including animal scenes, still lifes and portraits.  In 1719, he became a member of the Academy of Painting and Sculpture and one of the favorite artists in the court of Louis XV.

French School: Portrait of Louis XIV (1638-1715) With His First Wet Nurse Madame Longuet de la Giraudiere, 1638 Charles Beauburn (1604-1692).  Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, is represented at the age of four months with his first wet nurse.  The Queens of Europe were supposed to give birth to a high number of children, in order to produce an heir to the crown.  The royal babies ere in consequence fed by ladies of the most important aristocratic families.

Spanish School: Portrait of the Infante Alonso Caro (1611-12) Circle of Bartolome Gonzalez (1564-1627).  The Infante was the last son of Philip III of Spain and his wife Margarita, who died giving birth.  The king was loyal to her memory and never married again.   This could be a version of the central part of the portrait representing the Infantes Fernando, Alonso Caro and Margarita, painted by Gonzalez in 1612, now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna.

Hapsburg School:  Portrait of Sophie Christiane Wilhelmine, Countess of Solms-Laubach (1741-17720, c 1743 attributed to Antoine Pesne (1683-1757).  The dress is influenced by the French fashion during the XVIII century.   Antoine Pesne was the favorite painter of Fredrick I of Prussia.  After the monarch’s death, he continued to work for his son in the palaces of Sans Souci, Postdam and Charlottenburg.

Dutch School: Portrait of a Lady with Two Sons and a Daughter, 1646 Monogramist C.V.D.  This is presumably the portrait of a widow with her three children.  The little daughter is holding a handbag of the type that is to be found in portraits of girls from the 1630’s and 1640’s.  The whip in the older son’s hand represents discipline, in keeping with the educational ideals of the time.

  photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

French School: Portrait of a Boy Dressed in Red, 1603 Francois Quesnel (1543-1619). According to the inscription, this boy is exactly seven and a half years old and has probably cast of his children’s clothes scarcely more than a year ago.  For decorative reasons, the cloth is slashed, as was very much in fashion at the beginning of the XII century.  The ruff is smaller than in earlier years.  On the whole, the costume has lost the stiffness of the XVI century when Spanish fashion was the model.

English School:  Portrait of Young Boy Wearing as Silvery Doublet, c. 1600 Circle of Robert Peake (1551-1519).  Peake was one of the most successful portrait painters of the late Elizabethan period.  The models wanted to resemble their medieval ancestors and therefore artist showed an ingenious archaism.  The sitter wears elegant breeches and a sword.  Boys around seven received both during their “breeching” ceremony, entering thus the world of adults.


Hapsburg School:  Portrait of the Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790), c. 1743/44 Martin van Mytens the Younger (1695-1770).  After the early death of the Emperor Charles VI, the House of Hapsburg in Austria had a big crisis.  Then Joseph II became his family’s only hope.  He always enjoyed the particular attention of his mother, the Empress Maria Teresa, and a privileged position among his numerous brothers.

Northern School:  Portrait of Charles V (1500-1558) and of His Two Sisters Leonor (1498-1558) and Isabel (1501-1526), unknown copyist of the Master of the Brotherhood of Saint George.  This triptych shows the children of Philip the Handsome and Joan the Mad.  The sitters can be identified by the coats of arms and inscriptions: Charles V, future Emperor of Germany, Leonor Queen of Portugal and after of France: and Isabel wife of Christian II of Denmark.



Pin It

Monday, August 08, 2011

Majorca: Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation: Contemporary and Modern Art.

photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

Majorca: Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation:  Contemporary and Modern Art.  The Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation was created in 1993 and is a private cultural foundation.  Its objective is principally the conservation and restoration of Spanish Heritage and also the promotion of the arts in general, and painting and sculpture in particular, through the exhibition of the pictures and works in it’s collection, and the exchange of cultural and artistic ideas and material.   The main building conceived by the great Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy (see below) houses the Karlweis Wing, where the largest collection in the world of paintings, sculptures and drawings by Domenico Gnoli (Rome 1933-New York 1970) are on show, with another room dedicated to Rebecca Horn. There are also works by Alan Rath, Miralda, Meret Oppenheim, Takis and Ben Jakober / Yannick Vu. There is no pretence that this is a collection but rather an accumulation of works by artists close to the founders acquired by exchange, gift or inheritance.
Above:  Two paintings by Domenico Gnoli from the series An Afternoon at the Bulls, 1966 published in Sports Illustrated, New York, acrylic on silk glued paper and panel.

 photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

 Domenico Gnoli

 photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

 Domenico Gnoli's Back View and Chair paintings.

The Domenico Gnoli corridor.  In the Domenico Gnoli corridor there is a selection of his best drawings, like the above Woman Sole in Bath Tub, 1967 from the Series of Robert Graves’ article A Modern Bestiary. What is a Monster?, published by Horizon, New York, 1968 in Indian Ink, tempera and acrylic on cardboard.  All in all this is the most important body of Gnoli’s work in any museum.

The first floor landing.  A series of Ben Jakober’s MVSEV, 1991. Eight colorful wall sculptures, which represent scale models of well-known museums. In the foreground Donald Lipski’s Red, White and Blue Flag Ball, 1990.

  Photograph and copyright Manfredi Bellati

The Yannick Vu room.  A selection of paintings and sculptures by Yannick Vu.  On the table some early sculptures of family and friends.  Yannick Vu made her first three dimensional work in 1963 using part of a cement balustrade with vinyl glue and sand and polished.  However she did not develop this talent until 1986 apart from some small bronzes made in Rome in the seventies.  Having seen her father the well known Vietnamese artist Vu Cao Dam working clay she had the urge to dedicate herself seriously to the modeling of heads, using once fired in the kiln a technique of patinas whose secret her father had passed on to her.

  Photograph and copyright Manfredi Bellati

 The Yannick Vu room: the sculptures on the table; Maima, 1987; Ben, 1986;  Yannick avec Perles, 1987; and Reza,1987. 

The Rebecca Horn room – details. On the first floor the first room is dedicated to the famous German artist Rebecca Horn who made an interactive mechanical installation called Dreaming Stones, 2006 especially for this space.

The Sculpture Court. Frank Benz Silla chair, assembled wood; in the middle Rolf Sach’s Dirty Thoughts chair, 2009; Miralda’s Have a Good Year chair 7/11, 1995 recycled tires, TV screen, foot rest; above, Hamaca, 2001 fibre optics, stainless steel by Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu. In this room there are also works by Meret Oppenheim, Takis, Alan Rath.

Chairs in the Sculpture Court.  A Damien Hirst whimsical butterfly deckchair and an armchair by Japanese artist and designer Shiro Kuramata How High the Moon chair, 1986 in expanded steel net.


The stairway. Artist among the founder’s friends fill the wall of the stairway to the second floor with drawings.

The stairway.  Works donated by Yoko Ono to Ben and Yannick.


The Vu Cao Dam 1908-2000 rooms.  Vu Cao Dam’s Retrato de Nina, c. 1940.  Two adjacent rooms harbour the work of Vu Cao Dam, father of Yannick Vu, a Vietnamese painter and sculptor who studied under Victor Tardieu.  He and Le Po are undoubtedly the most important Vietnamese artists of the 20th century with works in major international museums.

The Vu Cao Dam 1908-2000 rooms.   Previously a bathroom tiled with XVII and XVIII century Cuerda Seca ceramics are a number of bronzes by Vu Cao Dam, including one of his father Vu Dinh Thi, executed when he was only nineteen.  In the same room is a sculpture of Ho Chi Minh, which was modeled in Paris 1946.

The Library.  The library is on two floors and has rich wooden beams and balustrades; it is lined with oak bookcases, sculptures and works of art.

The Founders.  Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu sit in the portico under their work Cruxigram, 1992.


Pin It

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Majorca: Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation: Sa Bassa Blanca – Architecture.

Photograph and copyright Manfredi Bellati

Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation: Sa Bassa Blanca – Architecture. The Hassan Fathy building which houses the Contemporary Art Collection can be glimpsed from the wild, long and dusty track that leads to Sa Bassa Blanca and the Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation a few kilometers south of Alcudia on the North Eastern tip of Majorca.

The dirt road. The dirt road leading up to the Museo Sa Bassa Blanca is flanked by beautiful trees and the dry fields are scattered with Carob trees.

photograph and copyright manfredi bellati

The entrance to Sa Bassa Blanca.   The outstanding feature of Sa Bassa Blanca, which houses the Comporary Art Collection of the Yannick and Ben Jakober Foundation is undoubtedly the building designed by the renowned Egyptian architect, Hassan Fathy (1900-1989).   He was already 78 years old and had never built anything in Western Europe when he drew up the plans of this Hispano Moresque building, which he called a “ribat”, retaining only the outside walls of an existing farmhouse of the property. White crenellated walls, traditional vaults and domes punctuate the otherwise flat terraces of the edifice surrounding a central courtyard with gardens and fountains. “At Sa Bassa Blanca, what once was a rather ugly farmhouse has given way to a unique landmark.  It is a place where the visitor can appreciate not only the work of a great architect but also the melding of different cultures, not as mere decoration, but as an integrated whole.  It is a vision that reflects the rich history of this Mediterranean area.” A Pigeon sculpture by Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu is the focal point for photographs with visiting VIPs.


The Pots. A collection of gigantic old terracotta pots are placed at the main entrance to the Museum. 

Photograph and copyright by Manfredi Bellati

The Roof. A view from the roof of the surrounding landscape from the flat roof surface.

Photograph and copyright by Manfredi Bellati

The interior courtyard.  “The interior garden courtyard, designed by Hassan Fathy, has a number of levels.  Its features include a fishpond, and also a sunken pit (in the foreground) where people sit and watch performances in the small open-air theatre… The garden boasts fully grown trees, as well as jasmine and a Lady of the Night (Cestum Nocturnum).  The overall design of Sa Bassa Blanca, with its internal courtyard, is well suited to the Majorcan summers. It serves not only as a garden but also as the focus of the building.  It opens onto two reception areas: one traditionally called the iwan, with a number of stark chairs and low tables; the other a summer dinning area with a long refectory table.”

The tiles of the ground floor in Sa Bassa Blanca. “ The floors, too, deserve special attention. The tiles were custom made in a local kiln… The makers were two brothers, now dead, who lived and worked in adjoining houses but had not spoken to each other for thirty years.  One made only glazed tiles, the other only unglazed ones.  As both were needed for the Sa Bassa Blanca project their work came together and was interlaced in the final building.”

The windows # 1. Most windows, designed by Hassan Fathy himself, are covered by wooden lattices called “mushrabeyehs”.

The windows # 2.  The iron latticework on the arches in the patio.

The roof terrace.  On the wall a sculpture by Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu entitled Mazzocchio, 1994 it is situated on the roof terrace, which goes around the interior courtyard.
Note: one of the two domes, which form an integral part of the design of the building, the other being in the tower on the left.

 Photograph and copyright by Manfredi Bellati

The View.  A close up of the sculpture Tres Columnas on the hillside overlooking the property.

The vaulted ceiling # 1 - detail. “Among the other highlights of Sa Bassa Blanca are the “artesonados” or paneled ceilings, especially the polychrome Hispano-Moresque example from Tarazona, which dates to 1498.”


The two fountains.  “The two fountains in the courtyard, both of which appeared in Hassan Fathy’s plans, come from Granada.  One is a rare sixteenth-century fountain in white marble, while the other is probably a former baptismal font.  On Fathy’s plans the fountains were not aligned with the centre of the courtyard.  When questioned on this point the architect replied that, “only Allah is perfect”, and so the fountains were positioned just as he had envisaged.”

The Doors. “Also notable are the old paneled doors (cuarterones).”

Barbie and Ken.  Gigantic silver Barbie and Ken sculptures called Apollo and Aphrodite made by Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu grace one of the arches looking out onto the interior courtyard. They have the exact same proportions as classic Greek sculpture.

Photograph and copyright by Manfredi Bellati

The vaulted ceiling # 2. The terracotta brick vaulted ceiling in Yannick Vu’s studio.

Note: all quotes are taken from Ben Jakober’s text, Hassan Fathy and Sa Bassa Blanca in the Foundation's catalogue.

Pin It