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In the news: Possible Video Clue to Gardner Art Heist

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by Leticia Marie Sanchez

                                    Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered trademark

The New York Times reports that federal officials have released a video that raises questions about the art heist that took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum 25 years ago.

In the video, which took place 24 hours before the art heist, the security guard allows an unknown man in a waist-length coat to enter the museum. The very next night, thieves entered the museum disguised as policemen, tying up the security guard, and stealing world famous masterpieces.

Although some have speculated that the art heist was an inside job, the security guard maintains that he was a clueless hippie, who often showed up stoned to his job at the museum. The NY Times attempted to contact the security guard, who now works as a teacher’s aide, but his wife hung up the phone.The FBI is asking for the public’s help in identifying the man in the video.

Questions abound:

1. Was the video filmed 24 hours before a “dry run” for the art thieves?

Or was the gentleman in the video:

a) A member of the security guard’s rock band, Ukiah?

b) A Manet scholar hoping to look at the painting in the muted light of midnight?

c) A dealer of herbal substance for the security guard?

2. If the security guard was, in fact, an accomplice to the -$500 MILLION DOLLAR- art heist- involving masterpieces by Manet, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas- why on earth is he still currently working as a teacher’s aide in Vermont?  If he were involved in a half a billion dollar escapade, shouldn’t he be enjoying the fruits of his labor in St. Barth’s?

3. Why did the museum allow their staff to show up high to a job at one of the most prestigious institutions in the country?

4. On both instances, this security guard allowed the unnamed visitors (the man in the waistcoat and 24 hours later the art thieves) into the museum when his partner was off doing rounds.Where is the second security guard? What does he have to say about his partner’s shenanigans? 

5) Why is the F.B.I. only offering a $5 million dollar reward for the return of $500 million dollars worth of art? Shouldn’t they up the ante to at least $20 million? At that rate, those paintings are probably being viewed privately from behind a velvet curtain in a penthouse by an oil-rich oligarch.

For the scoop on the recently released video, please see the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/07/arts/design/25-years-after-gardner-museum-heist-video-raises-questions.html?_r=0

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Top Pick: “Revolution of the Palette” at the Norton Simon Museum

 

A Touch of the Blues

By Leticia Marie Sanchez

This week two complementary exhibitions opened at the Norton Simon Museum of Art: Fragonard’s Enterprise: the Artist and the Literature of Travel and the Revolution of the Palette. Although both exhibitions proved stunning (and sublimely curated) this review will focus on the Revolution of the Palette, an exhibition that reveals the power of color, specifically the color blue.

This vivid exhibition sheds light on the nuances of different shades of blue paint, providing insight about their historical origins. Did you know that ultramarine was derived from Lapis Lazuli, a rare semiprecious gemstone mined almost exclusively in Afghanistan in the 6th century and imported to Europe through Venice?

still lifeThe expensive true blue ultramarine can be viewed in the sumptuous cloth in Paul Liégeois’ Still Life, Mid 17th Century.

Paul Liegeois
French, 17th century
Oil on canvas
29 x 38-3/8 in. (73.7 x 97.5 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1979.49.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Prussian Blue was discovered in an accidental experiment by Heinreich Diesbach in the 18th century.

degasIn Edgar Degas’ The Rape of the Sabines (after Poussin), one can observe not only Prussian Blue, but a plethora of shades in the robes of the crowd, including Cobalt Blue and Synthetic Ultramarine.

The Rape of the Sabines (after Poussin), 1861-62; Edgar Degas,  Oil on canvas 59 x 81-1/2 in. (149.9 x 207.0 cm) The Norton Simon Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon F.1983.06.P © The Norton Simon Foundation

 

 

imageAnother facet to the exhibit included displays of palettes, color arranged spontaneously for Plein Air painting versus methodically organized on the palette for traditional painting. The display cases also contained tubes showcasing the different types of blue paint so one could view their strengths and weaknesses first hand.

More museums should follow suit of this illuminating exhibit, using exhibitions as a forum to uncover the techniques of painting, demystifying the process, unlocking the mystery of the finished product. How fast does the paint dry? How strong are the paints themselves? How expensive were they? All of these effect the outcome of the paintings we see hanging on the walls of august museums centuries later, and in, fact, often determine which paintings make it to posterity.

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If you do attend the exhibit, make sure to read the placard describing the technique behind the stunning, transcendent work of Jules Dupre, Large Trees at Water’s Edge, the dexterous manipulation of various shades of blue: Prussian, Cerulean, Cobalt, and Synthetic Ultramarine. The placard next to the painting described in detail the skill that prevented this evocative atmospheric portrait of stillness from becoming “a dark, muddy mess.” How did the painter avoid a catastrophic crack in his work?

 

Large Trees at Water’s Edge, c.1865; Jules Dupré; Oil on canvas; 38 x 30 in. (96.5 x 76.2 cm); The Norton Simon Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon

F.1983.11.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

 

Now that I have visited the Revolution of the Palette, my eyes will be on the lookout for the Blues in whatever gallery I may find myself. As Marcel Proust observed, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Armed with new insights about color, one can see new paintings as well as old favorites in a whole new light.

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Plein Air- the perfect way to spend an evening

 

An evening of Plein Air Painting in the Norton Simon Sculpture Garden, as the sun sets over Aristide Maillol’s “Night”- July 11, 2015

Photo © 2015 by Leticia Marie Sanchez

NS Plein Air 2

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CCH Review- “The Hollywoodland Murder” at the Next Door Lounge

By

Leticia Marie Sanchez

This week’s feature may seem a bit off the beaten path for the Vivaldi-loving readers of Cultural Cocktail Hour.

imageWarning: if you’re expecting  a white-gloved, chamomile-tea sipping Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express, you’re in for a huge surprise. Instead, the boisterous atmosphere feels like Sherlock and Watson at a local pub, laughing uproariously with their comrades as a hapless victim gets assassinated during a game of darts.

Held at Hollywood’s Next Door Lounge, “The Hollywoodland Murder” re-creates a movie premiere about a dark subject matter: the Black Dahlia murder. This dinner party proves raucous and racy. The highlight of the production is undoubtedly the talented cast of actors. Witty, engaging, and hilarious, their sense of spontaneity steals the show. Zingers fly in this performance, both between the actors themselves and in their interaction with audience members. A second highlight is the exuberant team-building that the clue-hunting fosters, strangers in the night becoming fellow detectives.

A third bonus is the speakeasy setting, which enhances the noir milieu.

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At the very end of the production, one hears the sultry sounds of trumpet and piano. One minor suggestion would be that during the moments of clue-gathering, this soothing music be played earlier, so true detective work can occur above the din of the bar, beyond the sound and the fury of a madcap comedic production.

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CCH Top Picks June 7th

The latest Cultural Cocktail recipe includes a dash of Degas, an infusion of artists in their natural habitats, & a smooth stirring of secret walks in LA

Enjoy!

D PastelDegas: “Russian Dancers” and the Art of Pastel.

Getty Center.

1200 Getty Center Drive. LA, CA. 90049. (310) 440-7300

http://www.getty.edu/

 

 

VeniceVenice Artblock Open Studios

 June 7th 11-6pm

Visit 60 Open Artist Studios: Free & Open to the Public. For info, see the website of artist Melissa Herrington http://www.melissaherrington.com/ as well as http://www.veniceartblock.com/

 

 

 

SWSecret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles by Charles Fleming. Santa Monica Press. CCH has selected this non-fiction guide as a delightful weekend companion for exploring our city; this guidebook not only presents innovative walks in LA but also describes the colorful characters behind the landmarks: controversial Water Engineer William Mulholland, convicted murderer Colonel Griffith, and tobacco millionaire Abbot Kinney.

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A dose of London in LA: British Polo Day USA 2015

 

A Dose of London in LA: British Polo Day USA 2015

by

Leticia Marie Sanchez

The launch party for British Polo Day USA 2015, held at the rooftop of the London Hotel brought a dose of Britain to the city of angels.

BPD 1

Naturally, one of the 10 cities in the global British Polo Day series is Los Angeles, the film capital of the world, as the event itself is cinematic, with exotic landscapes and adventurous protagonists.

This exciting series encompasses matches across the globe at destinations including Abu Dhabi, Singapore, and Mexico.

In Morocco, the terracotta hued sand of Marrakech billows like swirls of desert smoke while a caravan of vehicles heads to the polo match, the majestic Atlas Mountains looming in the background.

A colorful host of global luminaries inhabit these real-life sets, from royal families and dashing athletes to fashion icons like haute couture London milliner Philip Treacy.

 

BPD 3British Polo Day Co-Founder, Tom Hudson shared historical trivia about polo, current cultural adaptations in each host country, and ways that the sport is breaking new ground.

For instance, a princess in Dubai, Sheikha Maitha Al Maktoum, has recently come on the scene as a formidable opponent to her male peers.

Called the King of Games and the game of kings, Polo has been played throughout history by Emperors, Shahs, Kings, Khans, and Sheiks.

And now by Sheikhas as well.

Well played!

BPD 2

A spot of tea, anyone? Elevator at the London Hotel, West Hollywood.

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End of May Highlights: Cultural Cocktail Hour Top Picks

 

The latest Cultural Cocktail recipe includes a flask of Flamenco, a pinch of Polo, & a splash of Strauss!

Enjoy!

Walt-Disney-concert-hall-take-2Rodrigo’s Concierto De Aranjuez performed by classical guitarist Angel Romero

MAY 21-24; Thu-Fri, May 21-22 8:00pm; Sat-Sun, May 23-24 2:00pm; Program also includes Manuel de Falla, El Amor Brujo; Siudy Garrido Flamenco Dance Company;

Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012 www.laphil.com

British Polo DayBritish Polo Day

Saturday May 30th; Noon

Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor will be hosting a day of Polo and Philanthropy in Los Angeles; including matches between Eton, Oxbridge, and the Southern California Polo Club and Harrow and the Will Rogers Polo Club.

Will Rogers State Park, 1501 Will Rogers State Park Road, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

For invitations, please send an email to info@britishpoloday.com

For additional info go to www.britishpoloday.com

LACMA photoCapitol Ensemble

Sunday, May 31st; 6 pm LACMA

Members of the Capitol Ensemble perform music of Johann Strauss as transcribed by Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern.

Bing Theater. Free and open to the public. 5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036. 323 857-6000. http://www.lacma.org/

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This week in LA: May 1-8

This week’s Cultural Cocktail recipe: a blast of Beethoven, a mixture of Masterpieces, and a blend of BaroqueEnjoy!

 

Stieler, Joseph Karl: Beethoven mit der Missa solemnis Ölgemälde, 1819Beethoven and Strauss

Fri May 1 8pm; Sat May 2 8:00 pm;

Walt Disney Concert Hall. 111 S. Grand Ave. LA, CA USA 90012 (323) 850-2000

http://www.laphil.com/

 

DegasLACMA 50 for 50

Opened April 26

Works by Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edouard Vuillard, Claude Monet, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, & Andy Warhol.  5905 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90036. 323 857-6000. http://www.lacma.org/

 

 

VivaldiBaroque Conversations

Thursday, May 7th 7 pm

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Zipper Hall.  The Colburn School. 200 South Grand Ave. LA, CA 90012 Program: HAYDN; KOHAUT, & VIVALDI.  www.laco.org.

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Picasso: Quote of the Day

“My mother said to me,

If you are a soldier,

you will become a general.

If you are a monk,

you will become the Pope.’

Instead, I was a painter,

and I became Picasso”

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This weekend in LA: April 24-26

This weekend’s Cultural Cocktail recipe: a dose of Duveen, a burst of Baroque, and a touch of Turner! Enjoy!

Cultural Cocktail Hour® is a registered Trademark

Duveen NS

Lock, Stock and Barrel: Norton Simon’s Purchase of Duveen Brothers Gallery

Closing April 27

Norton Simon. 411 W. Colorado Boulevard Pasadena, CA 91105 626.449.6840

http://www.nortonsimon.org/   Bust Portrait of a Courtesan, c. 1509 Giorgione

 

 

Bernardo_Strozzi_-_Claudio_Monteverdi_(c.1630)

Vespers of 1610

Friday, April 24  8pm

English Baroque Soloists;The Monteverdi Choir; Sir John Eliot Gardiner, conductor;

Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. 600 Town Center Drive. Costa Mesa, CA 92626. (714) 556.ARTS. Monteverdi by Bernardo Strozzi, c.1630

 

turnerJ. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free

Through May 24

Getty Center. 1200 Getty Center Drive. LA, CA. 90049. (310) 440-7300 http://www.getty.edu/     Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834, exhibited 1835, J. M. W. Turner

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