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LACMA to re-open April 1st!

Now here is something worth toasting, in Cultural Cocktail fashion!

In most welcome news for Angelenos who have been parched for the arts during the pandemic:

LACMA will be reopening on April 1st with advanced online reservations required.

For more information on how to reserve tickets and the required safety protocols, please visit:

Flashback Photo of Cultural Cocktail Hour’s Editor-in-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez at “Urban Light” by Chris Burden, at the entrance of LACMA.


Urban Light 4 Instagram

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In the News: Klimt’s “Roses Under The Trees” will be returned from the Musée d’Orsay

In art news, Gustav Klimt’s “Rosiers sous les arbres” (“Roses Under the Trees”) will be returned from France’s Musée d’Orsay to the heirs of its Austrian Jewish owner who sold the painting to Nazi sympathizers “for next to nothing” before dying in the Holocaust. For the full story see:

Below: Gustav Klimt’s “Rosiers sous les arbres” Painted Circa 1905. Musée d’Orsay, Paris



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Pandemic Art

LA museums have been closed for the entire pandemic, so yesterday, I took my son on a walk to see some socially distant ladies.

Vermeer’s “Girl With A Pearl Earring” was my favorite!

Photography and text © 2021 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark



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Flasback to last summer- Color Factory in NYC’s Soho: “Kid-tested mother approved!”


Color Factory 2

The Color Factory in NYC’s Soho-

a treat for the senses!


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Visting the Color Factory in NYC’s Soho was like stepping into the whimsical novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Color Factory 12

Even before entering the galleries we were greeted with savory Mochi and once inside treats galore: macaroons, vanilla blueberry gelato, and candies!

Left: One of many sweet treats on our visit:




But the sweetest part of the day was the stimulating visual lesson on color!

Color Factory 1


At the entrance of the exhibit

was 100 colors by

Artist Emanuelle Moureax.




Color Factory 3


One of my son’s favorite rooms was “Balloon Wishes” with a welcoming placard,

When you wish upon a balloon/You find yourself in this Ombre Room.” Each balloon had a delightful wish bestowed by a student from 826 NYC.





A room that was especially memorable and enriching to me was From Absinthe to Zephyr:  An Alternative Alphabet of Unusual Colors written by Kassia St. Clair.

(Photo Below)


Color Factory 6I learned that the color “Terra Cotta” comes from the Italian for “Baked Earth” and that ”Nymphea” was a pink favored by Claude Monet.

Color Factory 7










Color Factory 5

Nymphea Color













Having a ball



And of course, the ball pit at the end was a blast!

Tips: Buy tickets ahead of time online as when we went no tickets are sold at the door

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Flashback to last summer- Painting à la Pollock, East Hampton, 2019


pollock frame


mom and Julian Jackson Pollock

Painting à la Pollock:

Child’s Painting Class and Tour

at Jackson Pollock’s Home

East Hampton


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Photography and text © 2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

Jackson Pollock Trees

Painting with my 4-year-old son underneath the sun dappled trees at Jackson Pollock’s home as we overlooked the abundant natural beauty of the Accabonac Creek proved one of the most treasured moments on my artistic foray to the Hamptons.

My son and I participated in the wonderful Imagine That! Tour and art class led by engaging art educator Joyce Raimondo.

The class commenced with a tour of Jackson Pollock’s studio, where the children searched for traces of the artist’s footprints in the vibrant floor covered by vestiges of his drip painting.

Jackson Pollock Footprints

Pollock art Tour

The children then peered through a book showcasing Pollock masterpieces that currently hang at world famous museums in order to match the color palette of these paintings with the spot on the floor on which they were created.

Tour Pollock

In addition to the art detective work by the children, old paint cans and images of Jackson Pollock made the studio experience vivid and compelling.

From the studio, Joyce led us up the stairs to Jackson Pollock’s home where he lived with his wife, artist Lee Krasner.  We stepped back in time, as my son discovered old fashioned telephones and viewed Pollock’s collection of hi-fi phonographs.

Old telephonespollock records






After we toured the home, Joyce led us outdoors where the children created their own drip painting à la Pollock.


Jackson Pollock Mat

Jackson Pollock 2




We sat in a blissfully serene spot under the trees. I was struck by the enveloping beauty of East Hampton with its arboreal splendor and vistas of sky blue water on the horizon.





Jackson Pollock 1

Jackson Pollock 2










Pollock Creek

Photo Left: Accabonac Creek at Jackson Pollock’s Home.

No wonder Jackson Pollock felt inspired!

Drip Painting Class at Jackson Pollock’s Home:


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Michelangelo’s Broken Nose

by Leticia Marie Sanchez 

In light of the Getty Center‘s new exhibit, Michelangelo, Mind of the Master, an insight into the maestro that first appeared on Cultural Cocktail Hour a few years ago:

As a teenager, Michelangelo Buonarroti suffered a blow at the hands of a green-eyed bully.

Two different accounts of the story exist. In Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, Pietro Torrigiano, an artist studying with Michelangelo under the patronage of Lorenzo De ‘Medici, grew jealous of Michelangelo’s undeniable talent. Resentful of his former pal’s new status as teacher’s pet, Torrigiano delivered a blow that knocked the 15-year-old genius out cold.

In the Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini, Torrigiano defended himself by saying that Michelangelo was teasing the other artists working in the Church of the Carmine. He admitted the viciousness of his attack: “I felt bone and cartilage go down like biscuit beneath my knuckles; and this mark of mine he will carry with him to the grave.” 

Torrigiano should have taken Anger Managment 15th Century style: I’m sorry I Baroque a Friend’s Nose.

Instead, Torrigano continued on a temper tantrum-filled path that eventually led him to prison. Not just any prison.

A Spanish holding cell established by the black-robed goons of the Inquisition. Woops. Torrigiano had become so enraged at a miserly payment for his sculpture of the Virgin that he smashed his Madonna to smithereens. Let’s just say that the fanatical judges did not crack up at the crack up.

As for Michelangelo, he carried more with him to the grave than a broken nose. He has bequeathed the world everlasting art brimming with humanity, majesty, and passion.

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Michelangelo: Mind of the Master at the Getty Center – MUST SEE Exhibit

Last judghement context

Review: Michelangelo: Mind of the Master-

 Must SEE Exhibit

February 25-June 7, 2020 

Getty Center


Leticia Marie Sanchez

What does it mean to be a genius? Artists throughout history have sought to mythologize their own personas, creating an aura of mystique around their identities as divinely inspired individuals. As part his self-created flamboyant persona, Salvador Dalí drove a cauliflower-stuffed Rolls Royce and showed up to a surrealistic exhibit dressed head-to-toe in scuba gear.

In Michelangelo’s case, the Renaissance maestro tragically destroyed the majority of his 28,000 drawings so that the public would not realize that he had struggled for his art; Michelangelo preferred that people believed that his breathtaking masterpieces, like the frescoes on the Sistine Ceiling, were works that he created spontaneously.


On several occasions, Michelangelo ordered his drawings to be burned. His biographer Giorgio Vasari noted that Michelangelo made this decision “so that no one should see the labors he endured and the ways he tested his genius, and lest he should appear less than perfect.”

Image Left: Striding Male Nude, and Anatomical Details, 1504 or 1506, Michelangelo Buonarroti, black chalk with white heightening. Teylers Museum, Haarlem. Purchased in 1790. © Teylers Museum, Haarlem EX.2020.1.3

Out of more than 28,000 drawings by Michelangelo, only 600 survived his intent to destroy them. Currently on view at the Getty are twenty-eight drawings that reveal the artistic process behind masterpieces including The Sistine Ceiling, The Last Judgement, and The Holy Family. Most of the surviving sketches hail from the collection of the 17th century monarch, Queen Christina of Sweden, an arts enthusiast who abdicated the throne and moved to Rome where she built an impressive art collection. The collection of Michelangelo’s drawings was then housed in the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands and have been there since 1791. The Michelangelo exhibit was organized by the Teylers Museum in collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art. At the Getty, this exhibit was curated by Julian Brooks, Senior Curator Of Drawings and Edina Adam, Assistant Curator of Drawings.

Julian Brooks

At left: Julian Brooks, Senior Curator of Drawings at the J.Paul Getty Museum

What makes this exhibit a MUST-SEE is the fact that the opportunity to view Michelangelo’s drawings is, as stated by J. Paul Getty Director Timothy Potts, “a once-in-a-lifetime experience. According to Potts, this collection is on view for the first time in the United States as many of these drawings have never left Europe. The surviving works have to be rationed in terms of their exposure to light.


Image Above:

Four Studies of a Left Leg (verso) 1515–20, Michelangelo Buonarroti, red chalk, retraced with pen and brown ink. Teylers Museum, Haarlem. Purchased in 1790. © Teylers Museum, Haarlem EX. 2020.1.23

The exhibit allows one to explore Michelangelo’s work as a painter, sculptor, and architect. One can view his detailed anatomical sketches: Michelangelo studied dissected corpses to better understand the underlying muscles.

Sistine chapel

In terms of the curatorial conception, the monumental transportive atmosphere evoked by vivid replicas on the exhibit walls makes one feel as though one has traveled to Italy to the iconic sites created by Michelangelo.

sculpture replica

Surrounded by immense replicas of The Creation Of Adam, The Last Judgement, and The Medici Chapel Tombs one can view the intricacy in the individual drawings of Michelangelo on display, tiny pieces of a massive artistic jigsaw puzzle in the context of his epic works.

Photo Left: Replica of the Medici Chapel, Florence at the Getty Center

Hand of God

For instance, on view in front of the glorious replica of The Creation of Adam is Michelangelo’s drawing of the leg of God.

Having the ability to view this micro level of detail first hand at the Getty and the labor intensive process behind such large-scale works underscores how mind-boggling it is that Michelangelo completed the entire Sistine Ceiling fresco cycle in only four years.

And let’s not forget that Michelangelo was also a master architect and took on the project of St. Peter’s Basilica when he was 72 years old. At the Getty, one can also view Michelangelo’s drawings for the cupola of Saint Peter’s Basilica towards the end of the exhibit. Seeing that drawing in the context of his drawings for painting and sculpture makes one realize that we have only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to delving into the mind of this quintessential Renaissance Man.

CCH Editor-In-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez interviewed Julian Brooks about Michelangelo’s fierce privacy when it came to protecting his drawings from the public eye. Some of Michelangelo’s drawings were stolen during his lifetime by sculptors who broke into his Florence studio. In addition to not wanting to dispel the myth of spontaneous divinely inspired genius, Brooks suggested that a second reason for Michelangelo’s burning of his own drawings had to do with intellectual property concerns; he did not want another artist to copy any of his works. Seeing the labor of love, the intense detail, and the meticulous level of anatomical study, we realize that even if a lesser artist had been able to get their hands on his drawings, they would never have been able to recreate one of his masterpieces: after all, there is only one Michelangelo.

Photo Left: Third Image, Leg of God from the Creation of Adam

[Image at Top of Article: Wall Replica of Michelangelo's The Last Judgement at the Getty Center]

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“A Winter Walk” by Henry David Thoreau

Winter Walk 2

“A Winter Walk” by Henry David Thoreau

“It is invigorating to breathe the cleansed air. Its greater fineness and purity are visible to the eye, and we would fain stay out long and late, that the gales may sigh through us, too, as through the leafless trees, and fit us for the winter,—as if we hoped so to borrow some pure and steadfast virtue, which will stead us in all seasons.”

Photo:  © 2020 Leticia Marie Sanchez 

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In the News: Missing Klimt painting discovered in the wall of Italian art gallery

In the News: Missing Klimt painting discovered in the wall of Italian art gallery


Leticia Marie Sanchez

portrait of a lady by klimt

The long-lost “Portrait of a Lady” by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt was found hidden in a wall of the Ricci Oddi Modern Art Gallery in Piacenza. The gallery announced that experts deemed the painting to be an authentic work by Klimt. Unbelievably, while gardeners were cleaning ivy off a wall, they discovered the Art Nouveau painting concealed by a trash bag. How the painting ended up in the wall remains a mystery. Presumed to have been stolen, the painting disappeared from the gallery during a building renovation in 1997. Adding to the mystery, the painting’s frame was discovered near the gallery’s skylight after the work vanished, leading some to believe that art thieves could have entered and left through the skylight.

The discovery of this painting is a major coup. This work was deemed the second most valuable art work missing in Italy, after a work by Caravaggio stolen from a church in Sicily.

For the full story, see CNN:


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Picasso and Monets– burnt to a crisp?

 Picasso and Monets—Burnt To a Crisp?

by Leticia Marie Sanchez

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Left:  Matisse, Reading Girl in White and Yellow(1919)

Ed. Note: This article first appeared on Cultural Cocktail Hour in 2016

Will she ever see the light of day?

Carmelized Monet. No, this is not a trendy Crème Brule whipped up by a chef obsessed with molecular gastronomy, but quite possibly one of the most heinous art crimes covered by Cultural Cocktail Hour.

Olga Dogaru, mother of art thief Radu Dogaru, confessed to using her oven to set ablaze seven masterpieces valued at between 100 and 200 million Euros including works by Picasso, Matisse, Gaugin (and two by Monet) as if they were no more than slices of pizza.

Dogaru’s son Radu was the ringleader of a group of six Romanian art thieves who broke into Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum last October with a set of pliers. After her son’s arrest, Mama Dogaru hid the pilfered artworks in a graveyard in the village of Caracliu (Talk about unresponsive audiences).Then, Ms. Dogaru essentially transformed this case from art kidnapping to outright art murder. 

What museums desire most is to retrieve their works. Ergo, most art thieves with an IQ higher than a gnat realize that keeping the works intact can be a future bargaining chip in order to reduce their sentences.

In the dim attic of Ms. Dogaru’s mind, however, the light bulb went off a bit too late.

According to an interview with People magazine, Ms. Dogaru revealed her recent epiphany, “I sense I made a big mistake.”

Alas, sense and sensibility does not seem to be her strong suit.  Moreover, with the classic Parenting 101 mistakes exhibited by Mrs. Dogaru (enabling, aiding, abetting, barbecuing Cubist works), it was inevitable that her mama’s boy would not wind up an Eagle Scout. 

Of course, now the case has its inevitable twist. According to Reuters, forensic experts linked Mama Dogaru’s humble oven to the traces of a specific Prussian Blue paint in addition to other materials corresponding with the missing paintings. And yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, her son now claims that his mother’s initial confession was all a lie. That if he is somehow transported away from the blasted Bucharest courtroom and allowed to be tried in the Netherlands, he will reveal the paintings’ location.

Recently, however, the trial was delayed due to offending footwear. The art thief’s defense attorney donned blue suede shoes, which sent the judge into a tizzy. The judge fined the attorney more than 1400 dollars for his bold fashion sense. Unfortunately for Radu, having an attorney who dresses like Elvis is the least of his problems.

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