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This weekend’s MUST SEE- “20th Century Highlights” at Christie’s Beverly Hills



Culture Lovers, do NOT miss a Cultural Cocktail that blends a dash of David Hockney, a fizz of Frank Stella, and blend of Basquiat. Shaken, Not Stirred.

A thrilling artistic experience featuring the works of artists including: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jonas Wood, David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol to Balthus, Man Ray, Georgia O’Keefe and Fernand Leger.

You will have a chance to view highlights from the Post- War and Contemporary, Impressionist and Modern and American Art sales, ahead of major New York auctions in May.

Together, the exhibition encompasses over $120 million worth of art and represent various collections, including those of S.I. Newhouse and Drue Heinz.

Christie’s welcomes all to the exhibition free of admission.

CCH selected this as a MUST SEE experience, because when else do you have the chance to view (in one space) so many seminal works that have been in private collections before they head back to (likely) private collections? It is a rare opportunity to view museum quality work spanning artistic movements all in the same room!

Sat, April 13: 10am – 4pm | Sun, April 14: Closed Mon, April 15: 10am – 6pm | Tues, April 16: 10am – 6pmOn View until Tuesday April 16


Christie’s Los Angeles 336 N. Camden Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210

And, my fellow art detectives, tune in next week for a full report on “The Art of Deception: Art Fakes & Forgeries” by Art Law expert  Joshua Kaufman, an intriguing discussion which was held at Christie’s

Left: Robert B and Beatrice C. Mayer Family Collection

Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

Kiss III

64X 48 in. (162.6 X121.9 cm)

Painted in 1962


Above: Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale | 15 May 2019

The Robert B. and Beatrice C. Mayer Family Collection

Andy Warhol, Liz (Early Colored Liz)

synthetic polymer and silkscreen inks on canvas, 1963 

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CCH is reading “Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails to celebrate the novels of Jane Austen”

Gin Austen 1       Gin Austen: A book that’s Top Shelf!


Leticia Marie Sanchez 

The introduction to Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails To Celebrate the Novels of Jane Austen includes a revealing quote from Jane Austen to Cassandra Austen: “I believe I drank too much wine last night at Hurstbourne; I know not else how to account for the shaking of my hand to-day.”

Despite being an Austen fan, I never realized how freely drinks flowed at the social engagements during her time.

I could not put down the book down, mainly due to the chuckle-factor and wit of Colleen Mullaney.

Firstly, the names of the concoctions are hilarious, from Jane’s Addiction to Bloody Elliot to Gin and Bennet to No Weymouth.

Gin Austen 2

Secondly, the author integrates, with finesse, the literary works of Jane Austen, with each chapter devoted to novels like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion.

Thirdly, Mullaney includes useful descriptions of items ranging from barware, glassware, and cocktail ingredients that even neophytes like myself could understand!

CCH recommends this book as being Top Shelf!

Gin Austen 5

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Badabing Badaboom: Stolen Van Gogh paintings found in Mafia den

Badabing Badaboom

 Two Stolen Van Gogh paintings found in home of Naples Mafia boss

In honor of Van Gogh’s birthday this week (Happy Birthday, Vincent Van Gogh!)

a Flashback to a news story from 3 years ago, 2016, when 2 Pilfered Van Gogh Paintings were found!

by Leticia Marie Sanchez


Two Vincent Van Gogh paintings that were stolen from a museum in Amsterdam fourteen years ago have been recovered in the house of a mafia lord at Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples.

The two paintings, Seafront at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, were stolen from the Van Gogh museum in 2002 by thieves who climbed to the roof of the museum using a ladder and then absconded by means of a rope. One of the agile art thieves earned the alias “The Monkey,” and the FBI Art Crime Team listed the brazen heist as one of the Top 10 Art Crimes.

What is murky is how the stolen Van Gogh paintings made their way from the hands of the original Dutch art thieves to the luxurious den of the Italian mobster where authorities found the paintings in decent condition.  According to an Italian prosecutor, the mobster runs “one of the most dangerous and active crime groups” in the region. The mafia boss, Rafaelle Imperiale, flew the coop and is believed to be currently running a construction business in Dubai. Italian authorities have requested his extradition from the United Arab Emirates. Investigators have also seized other loot belonging to Signor Imperiale, including apartments, villas and a plane worth an estimated total of $22.3 million. Quite a stash there, goodfella.

Painting Above: ”Seascape at Scheveningen” (The Van Gogh Museum)

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This week in LA


Hiking the Poppy Reserve in Lancaster this week, March 2019

“Through the dancing poppies stole a breeze, most softly lulling to my soul.”

John Keats

All Photography  © 2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez


Poppies 1

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Review: Oscar Rejlander and Reenactment in Contemporary Photography at the Getty Center

Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer

Encore: Reenactment in Contemporary Photography

On View March 12-June 9, 2019


Leticia Marie Sanchez

With the advent of I-phones, Instagram, and social media, photography is the artistic medium most often at people’s fingertips. Aided by the use of filters, users attempt to curate frothy artistic images out of everyday items like cups of Espresso or Pumpkin Chai.

But photography was not always viewed as an artistic medium on par with Fine Arts like painting and sculpture.

The Getty Center’s new exhibit Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer sheds light on an artist who became known as “the father of art photography.”

The exhibition, curated by Lori Pauli, curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Canada, and Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, is comprised of 150 photographs and includes images of some of the most seminal figures of the day including Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll, and Julia Margaret Cameron. Rejlander worked first as a painter before experimenting with photography. His photographs exude a painterly quality, particularly in the pose of the sitters. For instance, Non Angeli sed Angli (Not Angels but Anglos), alludes to the cherubim in Raphael’s Sistine Madonna.


Oscar Gustaf Rejlander

British, born Sweden, 1813-1875. Non Angeli sed Angli (Not Angels but Anglos), after Raphael’s Sistine Madonna, about 1854-1856.

Albumen silver print

Image: 20.5 X 26.3 cm (8 1/16 X 10 3/8 in.) Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase. David H. Mc Alpin. Class of 1920. Fund. EX.2019.5.91

The exhibit is filled with works that shed light on the time period. One of the most hilarious photographs is Rejlander clad as Italian nationalist and general Giuseppe Garibaldi. At the time, Garibaldi was a world superstar with legions of fans. Apparently, the emulation of celebrities is nothing new.


Another Rejlander work not to be missed is the epic photograph, the Two Ways of Life, or Hope in Repentance. Similar to Angeli sed Angli , this work was influenced by Raphael. The composition of the Way of Life alludes to Raphael’s School of Athens. The photograph is a complex allegory of two divergent paths in life, the road of Vice and the road of Virtue. The ghastly portrayal of vice includes dark and depressing depictions of those spiraling into a world of gambling, idleness, and desire. The uplifting portrayal of Virtue includes orderly depictions of industriousness, education, and religion.  What was avant-garde for the time was Rejlander’s technique of combination printing. This process involved the combination printing of over 30 separate wet collodion on glass negatives, a technique which took more than three days. The Two Ways of Life is considered one of the finest examples of combination printing from this era.

As a companion exhibit, Encore: Reenactment in Contemporary Photography depicts the reimaging of events for the camera as a means to explore historical art narratives. The visually arresting exhibit includes works by seven photographers: Eileen Cowin, Christina Fernandez, Samuel Fosso, Yasumasa Morimura, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Gillian Wearing, and Qiu Zhijie.

Highlights of the Encore: Reenactment in Contemporary Photography Exhibit include:

371825EX1_x1024Yinka Shonibare, CBE

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (America) 2008

Chromogenic print

Image: 182 X 125.9cm (71 5/8 X 49 9/16 in.) Collection of Michael W. Rabkin and Chip Tom. © Yinka Shonibare CBE. Courtesy James Cohan, New York. EX. 2019.4.2

Based on a Goya etching, the “reenactment” helps one to better understand the horror in the original Goya etching.

Just as color functions to highlight emotions in German Expressionist paintings, the vibrant color in Shonibare’s work intensifies the experience of the work.

The original Goya is accompanied by the following epigraph: “Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her (reason), she (fantasy) is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels.” Viewiing Shonibare’s work, the frightful monsters are experienced in a bright, visceral way, the bats flying straight towards the viewer, making the original Goya etching pale in comparison to the visceral, three-dimensional impact.



The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters by Francisco Goya; c. 1799

Etching, aquatint, drypoint and burin
Dimensions 21.5 cm × 15 cm (​8 7⁄16 in × ​5 7⁄8 in)
Location Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York







Another highlight in the Reenactment exhibit is Christina Fernandez’ photographic narrative depicting her great grandmother’s migration to the United States. In this reenactment Fernandez photographed herself as the character of her great-grandmother. Fernandez’ narrative has a cinematic quality: the various stages of her intrepid grandmother’s odyssey are depicted in black and white. The last image, the only one in color, emerges like a burst of Technicolor, possibly depicting the artist herself, safely ensconced in her middle-class 1950’s home, a comfortable life only made possible due to the sacrifice of her great-grandmother.Christina Fernandez, American, born 1965, 1927, Going back to Morelia, 1995-1996; Gelatin Silver Print. Image: 44.8 X 30.5cm (17 5/8 x 12 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles © Christina Fernandez 2014 37.3

Both of the exhibits challenge the viewer to look at photography in a new light, one in which art historical narratives shaped the camera lens.

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Art and Nature

“Great art picks up where nature ends”- Marc Chagall.

On a post-rain walk at the Huntington where clouds combine with Alexander Calder’s sculpture “Jerusalem Stabile

Photography  © 2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez

Calder Statue Huntington

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Art News: Is the world’s most expensive painting a fake?


The latest Da Vinci mystery 


Leticia Marie Sanchez

The Salvator Mundi, supposedly painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, sold for a staggering $450.3  million at Christie’s in New York was bought by a Saudi prince.

Yet rumors have surfaced that the Louvre Abu Dhabi postponed an unveiling of this painting, due to disputes about its authentication.

The painting is  set to make a cameo appearance at the Louvre Paris this Fall to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Da Vinci.

What is mind-boggling is that this “Da Vinci” was purchased at a Louisiana estate sale in 2005 for a measly $10,000. And tracing its provenance, further, the Kuntz family purchased it in London in 1958 for a mere $120, not as a Da Vinci painting, but instead attributed to the “school of Da Vinci.” *

Jonathan Jones’ informative article in the Guardian includes the revelation that Oxford academic Matthew Landrus, an Oxford academic, has  suggested that this work was painted by Da Vinci’s “third-rate imitator” Bernardino Luini.

For more information please read:

*For information on the “Patchwork Provenance” please see

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On A Winter Walk at Descanso Gardens

On A Winter Walk at Descanso Gardens

Photography  © 2019 Leticia Marie Sanchez

“Each moment of the year has its own beauty,” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Descanso 1 2019

Descanso 2 2019Descanso 3 2019

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CCH Interviews the Getty’s “Miraculous Encounters” curator Davide Gasparotto, about a Pontormo art mystery!!

Cultural Cocktail Hour is a registered trademark 


VasariGiorgio Vasari is pretty much the world’s first famous art historian. He was in the circle of Michelangelo, Pontormo,  Andrea del Sarto, and other world-class artists. Vasari book Lives of the Artists, first published in 1550, lays the foundation for art historical writing. Yet despite writing extensively about Pontormo, Vasari never once mentioned Pontormo’s resplendent painting, The Visitation.

Why not?

Once having viewed this mesmerizing painting, it would be impossible to forget it. Yet Vasari ignored it completely.

Some have speculated that since Pontormo painted it during a historic siege, there may have been political reasons for the mysterious omission. At the time Vasari’s patron, the Medici Duke was an adversary of Bartolommeo Pinadori, the patron for Pontormo’s “Visitation.”

Cultural Cocktail Hour’s Editor-In-Chief Leticia Marie Sanchez asks Davide Gasparatto, Senior Curator at the Getty to shed light on this art mystery.

CCH: “My question to you is a mystery. Why is this painting not in Vasari’s Lives of the Artists? Does it have to do with the patronage of the families, the Medici versus the patrons of Pontormo?

DG: “I think that probably Vasari did not know of this painting. This painting was in some ways executed during the dramatic moment of the siege. And then it probably was executed for a church or for a place that maybe was demolished, maybe destroyed. Then it ended up in this sort of very peripheral location. So Vasari didn’t know.

He didn’t know of its existence.

CCH: Thank you for clarifying this great mystery for us. Grazie Mille!


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“Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters”- A MUST SEE exhibit at the Getty Center

“Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters”

A MUST SEE Exhibit at the Getty Center


Leticia Marie Sanchez

Organized by the Getty Museum in conjunction with the Gallerie degli Uffizi in Florence and the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, “Pontormo: Miraculous Encounters” is curated by Getty Museum Senior Curator of Paintings, Davide Gasparotto and Bruce Edelstein, coordinator of graduate programs and advanced research at NYU Florence.

The paintings and drawings presented in the exhibition were created by Jacopo Pontormo between 1528 and 1530, during an intense historical period. Battles between Florentine Republican forces and the Medici family in 1527 resulted in a siege. Incredibly, all three Pontormo paintings in the exhibit were painted during this tumultuous time, when Mannerist painter Jacopo Pontormo bravely remained in Florence to guard his home.

The opportunity to see the Visitation is somewhat of a miracle, not only because it’s the first time this riveting painting has left Italy, but more importantly because it was considered, according to Getty Director Timothy Potts “lost to the world,” until it was discovered within the last century.

The theme of the exhibit, “Miraculous Encounters” not only alludes to the miraculous meeting between the pregnant Virgin Mary and Saint Elizabeth in the “Visitation,” it also refers to a dialogue between drawings and painting by Pontormo and his pupil Bronzino.

The exhibit includes:

The Visitation by Jacopo Pontormo


Pontormo’s Visitation utterly captivates, holding the viewer spellbound with its expressionistic color and serenely moving subject. More than six feet tall, the painting depicts Mary’s meeting with her cousin, Saint Elizabeth, when both were pregnant. As patrician women, they are both accompanied by female attendants of the same age. When observing the painting, compare and contrast the rigidity of the architecture and the stoic mien of the female attendants with the dynamic, electric fluidity of Mary and Elizabeth. Vibrant flowing robes conceal epic, Biblical heroes waiting to be born: Jesus Christ and John the Baptist. Despite cloudy skies overheard warning of impending tempests, the strength of Mary and Elizabeth’s gaze is firm and unbroken. Similarly, by prolifically painting masterpieces during a historic siege, when the walls of his own city were being destroyed, the painter Pontormo himself embodied resilience.

Visitation, about 1528 – 1529, Pontormo, oil on wood panel. Parrocchia di San Michele Arcangelo a Carmignano (Prato). Image: Su concessione della Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la Città Metropolitana di Firenze e per le Province di Pistoia e Prato. Photo © Antonio Quattrone, Florence

Cultural Cocktail Hour Trivia: Did you you know that the painting was commissioned by Bartollomeo Pinadori, a merchant of art supplies, particularly pigments? This explains why, even for a painting of its time, the colors are exceptionally resplendent.

  • Who are the two mysterious tiny figures at the bottom left of the panel? Bruce Edelstein suggests that they are Zacharias and Joseph, the husbands of Elizabeth and Mary.



  • Edelstein also revealed that Michelangelo saw Pontormo as his successor; Pontormo was considered the greatest living painter in Florence.

Indeed, the rich orange hued folds of Elizabeth’s robe evokes Michelangelo’s Delphic Sibyl in the Sistine Chapel.






00094501_x1024Portrait of a Halberdier (Francesco Guardi?)

Dr. Gasparotto called the Portrait of a Halberdier a “glory” of the Getty’s permanent collection.

When observing the painting, note the medallion in this young man’s cap. The medallion contains the image of Heracles, a symbol of Florence. Just as the statue of David symbolized the power of the Florentines to vanquish powerful adversaries, Heracles also epitomized the intrepid spirit of the Florentines during this epoch of military strife.

Portrait of a Halberdier (Francesco Guardi?), about 1529 – 1530, Pontormo, oil on canvas (transferred from wood panel). The J. Paul Getty Museum


Attendant's Face Visitation

Another aspect to note is the uncanny similarity between face of the Halberdier and the face of one of the female attendants in the Visitation.






Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap (Carlo Neroni?)

Pontormo’s painting depicts Carlo Neroni, a volunteer in the army for the Florentine Republic. In his hands, this serious young man holds a letter. What does the letter represent? Is it a love letter? Is it a secret political letter? The only clue that we have are the few letters visible on the letter “Dom”- which could refer to a lord or to a house. Yet another file for the Art Mysteries!

Jacopo da Pontormo (1494-1557).Portrait of a Young Man in a Red Cap (Carlo Neroni?) ca. 1530, oil on panel. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Tomilson Hill. Photo Courtesy of Shepherd Conservation, London

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