Anthony's

Fine Art | Antiques

An Historically Important Work by Mahonri Young Resurfaces

Featured PiecesMicah Christensen

Titled simply “Vaudeville” this painting by Mahonri Young (1877-1957) tells the story of a pivotalmoment in Utah history and art. It reveals the vibrant culture in Salt Lake City as experienced and recorded by two of Utah’s most important artists, at the beginning of their careers. 

FullSizeRender-1.jpg.jpeg

The writing on the reverse provides the context. In black ink, on near the top it reads:  “Painted in Salt Lake City in 1906. The panel was owned by AB Wight. Mahonri Young.” The script unmistakably belongs to Mahonri Young.

In 1906, both Young and Alma Brockerman “AB” Wright (1875-1952) had recently finished their studies and were the two most promising artists of their generation. Both had trained from an early age with James Taylor “JT” Harwood (1860-1950), who encouraged them to seek advanced training. Mahonri was the first to leave Utah. He travelled to New York in 1899, where he studied at the Art Student’s League of New York.

Messages Image(2392854114).png

Young returned to Utah in 1901 where, together with AB Wright, he saved money by working for the Salt Lake Herald as an engraver in order to travel abroad. Both Young and Wright were accepted to the prestigious Académie Julian in Paris (i.e. the same school where Harwood and four “Art Missionaries” sere went by leaders of the Church). They received a classical education from masters like William Bouguereau and Jules Lefebrve.

Wright returned to Salt Lake 1904, and was immediately made Department Chair of Art for Brigham Young College in Logan — forerunner to Utah State University. Young returned a year later, and almost as soon received commissions to sculpt statues of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Hyrum Smith for Temple Square.

In the ten years between 1896 and 1906, Utah had become a major draw for mining. The population of Salt Lake City nearly doubled witnon-Mormons, often shut out of opportunities in the Territory of Utah, were then allowed to do business in the new State. The diverse population bought new tastes, including the opening of the Orpheum Theatre on Christmas Day in 1905. 

The theater, later known as the Promised Valley Play House, was opulent and spacious. It seated more than 900 people (i.e. nearly three times the capacity of the Salt Lake Theater built by Brigham Young). And, for the first several years, the Orpheum theater almost exclusively staged Vaudeville performances by a full-time professional company and performed a variety show with dance, humor, and skits. 

Messages Image(1317165600).png

Mahonri’s painting captures three of the company’s members the first year of its history from a view in the grand tier. The construction and pallette of the scene were reminiscent of work of Everett Shinn (American, 1876-1953), one of the eight founders of the Ashcan School would have been well known to Young during his time in New York.

Shinn, along with Robert Henri, sought to overturn polite and, what he considered, tired academic formulas. He used his classical training in the human figure, perspective, and value to depict everyday subjects in new ways calculated to surprise his audience. From 1899 to 1910, Shinn did a series of works in New York Vaudeville theaters. Such as Stage Scene (1906) — a work that sold to a private collector auction in 2004 for $7.8 million.

There are meaningful similarities between this work by Shinn and Young’s Vaudeville (1906). Both feature high contrasts of darks and light. Young and Shinn are less interested in re-creating a well-balanced composition than they are with making the viewer feel as though he or she is experiencing the action on stage as a member of the audience. This means leaving out all kinds of details, such as fabric textures and careful construction of poses, in favor of capturing the ephemeral light and movement of those on stage and in the audience. Young’s figures are made of only a few deftly placed strokes, effectively creating a sense of motion.

Within a few years, Young would move to New York, where he established a working relationship with the dealer C.W. Kraushaar, who founded Kraushaar Galleries in 1885 and quickly became a major influence on American art by being the first to host solo shows by foreign masters like Henri Fantin-Latour, Gustave Courbet, Edouard Vuillard, and Ignacio Zuloaga. Kraushaar was the principle dealer for the eight founding members of the Ashcan School, and was responsible for much of their commercial success.

Therefore, it is easy to conclude that Young, having just arrived in New York, would include this painting, reminiscent of the artists he studied under and whom Kraushaar represented, as part of his audition portfolio for the storied dealer. Mahonri was immediately folded into the galleries line up of artists. And, with the Kraushaar Galleries label on the back, this work was sold from the store on 57th street around 1911 and has been in the same New York collection until acquired by Anthony’s Fine Art in 2017.

Both Young and Wright would go on to have extremely successful careers and enormous influence within and beyond Utah. Wright would teach at the University of Utah and create murals for several of the Church’s temples before settling in France. Young became a fixture of the New York City art scene. Even as he participated at the height of the American art scene’s zeitgeist, he planned and executed several iconic works in his home state, including Seagull Monument (Temple Square) and This is the Place Monument in Emigration Canyon.

This work is a rare example combining the lives of Young, Wright, and their native Utah during a time of great promise.

 

Celebrate Mother's Day with Anthony's

Featured PiecesMicah Christensen
Henrí Fantin-Latour (French, 1836-1904) The Greatest Love (1877) Oil on canvas. 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in.

Henrí Fantin-Latour (French, 1836-1904) The Greatest Love (1877) Oil on canvas. 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in.

In advance of Mothers’ Day, we are happy to have this masterpiece by the painter Henrí Fantin-Latour (French, 1836-1904). The title, The Greatest Love, has two meanings. The first is the love of a mother and child have for one another. The second meaning is the love that God has for humanity by sending Christ into the world to be cared for by Mary. In this latter meaning, Fantin-Latour understood that audiences would immediately compare the image to traditional works, central to so many religious spaces throughout the Christian world. But, by putting the woman in common dress and the informality of the interaction between the mother and child, Fantin-Latour impresses the notion that every mother and child shares the sacred status of Mary and the Christ Child.

Henrí Fantin-Latour is among the most celebrated painters of the nineteenth century. In life, he straddled the period between Realism and Impressionism; and together with his friends — they include Edouard Manet, James McNeil Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Claude Monet, and Edgar Degas — changed the course of art. Fantin-Latour’s delicate and impressionistic paintings of people and still lifes are centerpieces of collections around the world, including the Musée d’Orsay, The Art Institute of Chicago, Rijksmuseum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Getty Center. This year, the Musée de Luxembourg, situated near the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, held the first major exhibition of Fantin-Latour’s work in more than 80 years. Titled “À fleur de peau” (i.e. “A Delicate Flower”) the more than 200 works from museums all over the world showed Fantin-Latour’s remarkable range and influence.

Art Tours with Anthonys: Reserve Your Space Now

Micah Christensen

Private Tours of Major Public & Private Collections for the Friends of Anthony's Fine Art

Each month, between now and October, we use long-established relationships to hold private tours of some of Salt Lake's most important collections of art. Dr. Micah Christensen (PhD, History of Art, University College London) will take small groups of friends and clients of Anthony’s Fine Art on a 60 to 90-minute tour, discussing the history of each collection and key works.

Space is limited. To reserve places for yourself and friends, please send an email rsvp@anthonysfineart.com or call 801.328.2231


SALT LAKE MASONIC TEMPLE | May 3, 6-7:30 PM

Completed in 1927, the historic Masonic lodge on South Temple is rarely open to the public. Yet, it contains hundreds of artistic treasures — paintings and sculptures by local and nationally renowned artists.


UTAH STATE CAPITOL | June 7, 6-7:30 PM

We have arranged to take a private tour of the chambers of the Legislature, Supreme Court, and private offices, which contain works depicting the history and landscape of Utah from the state's vast and important collection.


hero-s-company-info-650.jpg

ZIONS BANK | July 12, 6-7:30 PM

As Utah’s first bank, Zions has long been dedicated to patronizing and showing works by contemporary LDS artists. Bank President, Scott Anderson, has given us permission to have an after-hours private tour of the bank’s collection.


LDS_Conference_Center-up.jpg

LDS CONFERENCE CENTER | August 2, 6-7:30 PM

Although not an official museum, the LDS Conference center is the home to many of the Church’s monumental works of art, including paintings by Arnold Friberg, Tom Lovell, Minerva Teichert, Walter Rane, and portraits of leaders of the Church. We have arranged to lead our own special tour, which is usually headed by volunteer missionaries.


SaltMusFineArts_540x242.jpg

UTAH MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS | September 6, 6-7:30 PM

Closed for renovations for more than a year, we will be leading one of the first tours as it opens to the public. Join us as we tour the permanent collection of one of the region’s most important collections.


Huntsman-resolution-for-web.jpg

HUNTSMAN CANCER INSTITUTE | October 4, 6-7:30 PM

Few know that the research hospital displays one of the most important and largest collections of early Utah art, with large works by pioneer artists like CCA Christensen, Danquart Weggeland and major pieces by JT Harwood and John Hafen. We have convinced the institution to allow us to bring a small group of people to tour public and private spaces where masterworks are hung.

Reserve A Seat at the Utah Classical Arts Gala

EventsMicah Christensen

Set aside the evening of June 23, for an evening of remarkable art and music in support of the Institute of Classical Arts & Architecture (ICAA). 

We know many of our clients have already supported or been involved in several events held by the ICAA, which supports the education of artists and restoration of major historical monuments. The Gala will be hosted by KUTV's Amy Nay, feature musical performances by world-class musicians, and an auction. 

This monumental, terra cotta scale bust of Michelangelo's David (c. 1950 by V. Vincenzo) is one of the items we are donating to the auction benefitting the ICAA.

This monumental, terra cotta scale bust of Michelangelo's David (c. 1950 by V. Vincenzo) is one of the items we are donating to the auction benefitting the ICAA.

We will be donating a few items for bidding. All the proceeds will go the ICAA and its efforts.

A pair of nineteenth-century stamped copper lion heads, once featured on the exterior of an historic home in Salt Lake City, will also be offered at the charity auction.

A pair of nineteenth-century stamped copper lion heads, once featured on the exterior of an historic home in Salt Lake City, will also be offered at the charity auction.

If you would like to learn more or attend, please click here to reserve your seat.

Join us on a trip to Spain

Micah Christensen

Each year, we take a small group of friends and clients to places that mean something to us. This year, we go to Spain. 

Last Spring, our own Micah Christensen (PhD, History of Art | University of London) worked with an international cast of friends and artists to arrange a tour of Rome for ten people. They visited well-known monuments like the Sistine Chapel and Borghese Gallery; and, took private tours of Rome’s most luxurious palaces.

This year will be even better.

Over the past ten years, Micah has been to Spain more than 30 times while researching his PhD. Spain has become a kind of second home, with each trip bringing more insights and knowledge of hidden gems. 

Starting in Madrid, Micah will begin at the Museo del Prado, to see works by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, and Bosch. He’ll visit the Royal Palace, Sorolla Museum, and a flamenco show. Then, the group will travel to the ancient city of Toledo to see monasteries, cathedrals, and works by El Greco.  

Then, on to the Roman ruins in Segovia and the Royal Palace of El Escorial, considered by many to be the eight wonder of the world. 

Finally, we’ll travel by bullet train to Barcelona to tour Antonio Gaudí’s Catedral de la Sagrada Familia, begun in the late-nineteenth century and now in the final stage of construction.

Full of wonderful food, art, architecture, and — for those of you who want to lay back a little —  enough time to golf and shop, the trip to Spain will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see the country through the eyes of someone who has been over a decade mining its secrets.

The deadline to reserve your place is March 10. 

For more information, email Micah at mjc@anthonysfineart.com

Featured Artist | Aaron Stills

Gallery StrollEric Biggart
Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Old World Nostalgia  /  Oil on Canvas  /  39 x 38 (in)

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Old World Nostalgia  /  Oil on Canvas  /  39 x 38 (in)

This Friday we open a month-long exhibition of masterworks by the painter Aaron Stills. His meditative oil compositions of everyday objects are composed and executed over months with decades of experience. Those who have met Stills, even for a moment, recognize that the calming scenes in his work are only a extension of his peaceful demeanor

Over the years our Gallery has shown works ranging from Peter Paul Rubens to John Singer Sargent and Maynard Dixon. The skill and quality of these masters is immediately evident and difficult to find in contemporary art. Aaron Stills paintings are among the few that stand comparison. 

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Ginger Jar, Persimmons, & Oranges  /  Oil on Canvas  /  16 x 20 (in)

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Ginger Jar, Persimmons, & Oranges  /  Oil on Canvas  /  16 x 20 (in)

Stills' initial training took place at the University of Utah, where he studied with Alvin Gittins (American, 1922-1981). Gittins was a nationally-renowned portraitist, a staunch proponent of academic practice. From Gittins, Stills learned the important of composition, perspective, and tone. He developed a basic arsenal that would dramatically expand. 

But, first, he became a belly dancer. 

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Studio Accoutrements  /  Oil on Canvas  /  14 x 26 (in) 

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Studio Accoutrements  /  Oil on Canvas  /  14 x 26 (in) 

In the late 1970s, Aaron Stills travelled to Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon, where he trained with the best bellydancing instructors in the world. Stills was a sought-after performer, who won recognition in several international competitions. For fifteen years, Stills was dedicated exclusively to dancing. Then in the early 1990s, he returned to Utah and began painting again. (Stills now splits his time between dancing and painting. He is now a dedicated Flamenco dancer.)

After he returned, Stills' first works were experimental, ranging from figurative paintings akin to those made by Gittins, to abstract paintings. But, shortly, Stills found himself drawn to the challenges posed by still lifes.

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Light & Texture  /  Oil on Canvas  /  20 x 24 (in) 

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Light & Texture  /  Oil on Canvas  /  20 x 24 (in) 

Unlike figurative paintings, where artists are judged on the ability to capture a likeness or communicate narratives, still life artists are concerned with formal challenges: capturing perspective, drawing viewers’ eyes around a composition through shape and color, and the conveying of ideas through symbolism.

Stills' paintings almost always have a large variety of items that are technically difficult to capture in oil painting: the glassy glaze of porcelain, the opaque blue-and-white veining of Stilton cheese, and the opacity of onion skin. Stills' ability to mimic these often takes multiple layers of oil paint that each dry over months. This technical expertise is most often remarked upon by professional artists, who visit the Gallery. Among oil painters, Stills is considered a modern master.

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Garlic, Shallots, & Onions  /  Oil on Canvas  /  14 x 11  (in)

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) Garlic, Shallots, & Onions  /  Oil on Canvas  /  14 x 11  (in)

His works carry titles like “Grandmother’s Preserves” or “Autumnal Harvest.” Their contents are drawn from his own childhood memories of growing up in the West and being raised by a generation that maintained the practical pioneer skills that carried familiar through homesteading and the Great Depression. 

While we have carried Stills' works for years, often having only one or two at a time. This past two year has been unusually productive. Stills is both producing more and better work than he has ever done before. In our current show, there are 16 works — all complete works, ranging from 14 x 14 in. to 40 x 40 in. 

We are thrilled to be Aaron Stills exclusive dealer.

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) The Harvest  /  Oil on Canvas  /  32x 30 (in)

Aaron Stills (American, b. 1953) The Harvest  /  Oil on Canvas  /  32x 30 (in)

Raphael, Michelangelo, and Carrier-Belleuse

Featured Pieces, Forgotten MastersMicah Christensen
Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887) Michelangelo  /  Bronze  /  21 3/4 × 8 × 8 (in)  /  Date of Creation: 1855

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887) Michelangelo  /  Bronze  /  21 3/4 × 8 × 8 (in)  /  Date of Creation: 1855

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887) was perhaps the most admired and influential sculptor of the nineteenth century. His monumental, multi-figural sculptures and portrait busts of the world’s great men and women won major awards and today can be found in major collections including the Metropolitan Museum, Musée d’Orsay, and the J. Paul Getty Museum. This reputation made Carrier-Belleuse a powerful draw for other artists, including Auguste Rodin, who served as Carriere-Belluese’s assistant from 1864 to 1870.  

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887) Raphael  /  bronze  /  21 1/2 × 8 × 8 (in)  /  Date of Creation: 1855

Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (French, 1824-1887) Raphael  /  bronze  /  21 1/2 × 8 × 8 (in)  /  Date of Creation: 1855

We recently acquired two life-time castings (i.e. works sculpted by and cast under the direct supervision of the artist) by Carrier-Belleuse. They depict the great Renaissance masters Raphael and Michelangelo. That Carrier-Belluese would pay homage to these artist, at the height of his own career, reveals a great deal about how the sculptor, and French artists in general, saw their role in the history of art.

In the mid-nineteenth century, France was the undisputed center of the art world. Each year, millions attended the annual Paris Salon, where hundreds of paintings and sculptures were on display. Of the thousands of artists who submitted works to the competition, less than 10 percent were accepted; and, even fewer were given awards. Award-winning works often resulted in fame and commissions — public and private — for successful artists. 

Honoré Daumier (French, 1808-1879) “A. Carrier Belleuse (1863) For Le Boulevard. (24 May 1863)

Honoré Daumier (French, 1808-1879) “A. Carrier Belleuse (1863) For Le Boulevard. (24 May 1863)

Beginning in 1855, Carrier-Belleuse became a regular award-winner at the contest. By 1860, he was the pre-eminent portrait sculptor of French and European society. His success and virtuosity was lampooned in 1863 by the painter-satirist Honoré Daumier with a cartoon showing the sculptor working on two portrait busts at the same time, effortlessly making the separate likeness without looking at either of them. (See above.)

Carrier-Belleuse and the French academy where he trained and taught, considered themselves the inheritors of Renaissance tradition. The most copied artist of the nineteenth century was Raphael da Sanzio (1483-1520), whose beautifully structured paintings drew the attention of cardinals and Popes in his lifetime; and, for centuries afterwards, offered artists a format composing large-scale works. Carrier-Belleuse shows Raphael holding a drafting pencil and a placard.

Michelangelo (1475-1564) Night and Day, from the Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici (1526-1530) Marble. Florence, Italy.

Michelangelo (1475-1564) Night and Day, from the Tomb of Lorenzo de Medici (1526-1530) Marble. Florence, Italy.

The statue of Michelangelo (1475-1564) is a especially telling. Near the beginning of his career, it indicates Carrier-Belleuse’s ambitions to achieve works comparable to the great master.. Michelangelo is holding a figure of “Day,” part of a large monument made for Lorenzo de Medici, and considered by many to be the Renaissance master’s greatest work. 

According to some estimates, less than one percent of all sculptures in the nineteenth-century were ever realized in bronze or marble. Having a pair of works by Carrier-Belleuse, which represent not only his own great achievements as one of the great artists of the century, but which also pay homage to another generation, makes these two sculptures a rare combination.

Meditations on a Rediscovered Masterpiece

Featured PiecesMicah Christensen
Ernest Hébert, La Mal'Aria (1854), Oil on Canvas. 53 ¼ x 77 in. 

Ernest Hébert, La Mal'Aria (1854), Oil on Canvas. 53 ¼ x 77 in. 

If there is one painting I could share right now with friends around the world, it would be La mal’aria by Ernest Hébert (French, 1817-1908). Painted in the midst of a European refugee crisis, the work offers a message of perspective and hope. We recently discovered that we have one of four originals made by the celebrated artist. Exploring its context has been a revelation, both about the past and present.

Shown in the Paris Salon of 1850, La mal’aria (1850) was awarded the prestigious contest’s top award. Critics hailed the work for both its execution and theme. The writer Théophile Guatier dedicated an epic poem to the work, and returned to it again and again as the first work of a new era in the discipline of art, “embracing both tradition and providing a new approach” of naturalism. The critic Étienne-Jean Delécluze considered La mal’aria not only the greatest work of the Salon, but one of the two best paintings of the century, saying “The work is a representative of the second half of the 19th century as the Raft of the Medusa [by Théodore Géricault] was for the first.”

La mal'aria (1850) as exhibited in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris

La mal'aria (1850) as exhibited in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris

The work was painted at the height of a malaria outbreak in southern Europe that, over the course of eighty years, killed more than two million people in Italy alone. With mosquitoes thriving in the warm climates that favored farming, the poor and uneducated were disproportionately affected. Entire farming villages in the South of Italy were abandoned as survivors fled to the cooler, northern parts of Europe, in particular France.

Simultaneously, France underwent a series of political upheavals.  Throughout the 1830s, disenchanted with King Louis-Philippe, anti-monarchists staged several armed rebellions. They finally succeeded in the February Revolution of 1848. When, King Louis-Philippe abdicated, and a new government was formed with Napoleon III at its head. His Second Republic first coined the national motto: Liberté, égalite, fraternité (i.e. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). But, for some Frenchmen, this egalitarian brotherhood did not extend to foreigners.

Those fleeing disease were poor and uneducated. In newspapers, Italian immigrants were described as a drain of economic resources, and, even more seriously, a potential source of contagion. One contemporary newspaper compared Italian immigrants to rats, suggesting that the safest course of action would be to blast immigrant-laden boats with cannon for “the sake of patriotism.”

Working in Rome, Ernest Hébert watched events unfold. Hébert was a child of privilege. His father was a provincial merchant who had grand plans for his son. At age 20, Hébert was sent to Paris to study law. However, he secretly enrolled in painting lessons. Four years later, Hébert surpassed his contemporaries to win the prestigious Prix de Rome, a scholarship granted to the nation’s most promising artist, providing room and board in Italy for two years.  

Two years stretched into several decades. Hébert thrived in Rome, staying long after the period his scholarship ended. He made a living by selling artworks to tourists. Occasionally, Hébert sent large works to Paris as submissions to the annual Salon. But, more often than not, his works were shown with little to no critical attention. Then in 1848, Hébert caught malaria and, to recover, travelled to the Italian coast, specifically the Pontine Marshes, 28 miles east of Rome.

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

There he witnessed a small family making their way north. In a letter to his Mother, the artist wrote:

I am going to make ... a picture of average size, it is Italian peasants who descend the canal of the Pontine marshes on a kind of boat. I composed it in Rome and all those who have seen it here have urged me to execute it on a grand scale. (February 14, 1850) 
Ernest Hébert, La Mal'Aria (1854), Oil on Canvas. 53 ¼ x 77 in. 

Ernest Hébert, La Mal'Aria (1854), Oil on Canvas. 53 ¼ x 77 in. 

The scene depicts a small group of peasants, a husband and wife, a young boy and girl, and a grandmother holding a toddler. They are surrounded by their meager, earthly possessions: a few onions, a bagpipe, and a religious icon. Their small boat is just exiting a barren, sandy land and directed towards a sun-filled expanse in the far distance. There is no menace. These are strong, capable, and clean individuals; the victims of circumstance, who are risking their lives for a better world. 

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

While the subject could be immediately grasped by a broad audience, Hébert appealed to the educated class of politicians, artists, and writers through classical references. By including the strong young man at the helm, the baby and the religious icon, Hébert was borrowing iconography from the story of Aeneas, the Greek hero, who carried his father, son, and sacred icons out of a burning city and across a river to safety.

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

When the final, “grand scale” La mal’aria arrived in Paris, it immediately became part of the national debate about refugees.  The work was unanimously voted as the Grand-Prize winner of the Salon of 1850, and acquired by the French State. It now hangs in the Musée d’Orsay. Over the next six years, Hébert made four versions of La mal’aria, identical in size to the original. The whereabouts of one of those versions is unknown. One is located at the Musée Hébert, a museum dedicated exclusively to the artist and located in his home province of Grenoble.  The other surviving version was located in a warehouse in Belgium, where it sat for more than 60 years until purchased by Anthony’s Fine Art & Antiques. We had the work in storage for nearly a decade, assuming it was only a study copy by an admiring artist, until imaging technology revealed Hébert’s signature, dated 1854.

The date "1854" can be made out written in red on the reverse of the canvas stretcher. 

The date "1854" can be made out written in red on the reverse of the canvas stretcher. 

The signature "HEBERT" has been washed from the canvas but is still regognizable in its original location. 

The signature "HEBERT" has been washed from the canvas but is still regognizable in its original location. 

After the success of La mal’aria, Hébert sealed his position as a member of the French pantheon of artists. In 1867, he was named Director of the French Academy in Rome — a position held by Jacques Louis David and Jean-August-Dominique Ingres — from 1867 to 1873 and, again, from 1885 to 1890. There he influenced a generation of artists, including Gustave Doré, Arnold Böcklin, Anselm Feuerbach, Frederic Lord Leighton, William Blake Richmond, Giovanni Costa and Giulio Aristide Sartorio. Today there are two museums dedicated exclusively to his works, the Musée Hébert (Grenoble) and Musée Hébert (Paris).

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

Our discovery of this La mal’aria has coincided with another great refugee crisis — one that has sparked a debate as divisive and urgent as the one experienced by Hébert’s generation. Families from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Honduras, and Somalia are gathering in camps and on borders. Studying La mal’aria each day has provided me with an historical perspective on current events. I am reminded of Mark Twain’s observation that “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” It is my goal to be out of rhythm with the voices of fear that are present at all times, and to harmonize with the hope and goodwill embodied in Hébert’s masterpiece.

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

Detail from La Mal'aria (1854)

Historic Painting of Popular Skiing Destination

Featured PiecesMicah Christensen
HLA Culmer (English/American, 1854-1914) Storm Mountain, Brighton, Utah (c. 1890) 20 x 30 in. Oil on canvas.

HLA Culmer (English/American, 1854-1914) Storm Mountain, Brighton, Utah (c. 1890) 20 x 30 in. Oil on canvas.

Entrepreneur, industrialist, politician, outdoorsman, and painter, Henry Lavender Adolphus Culmer (1854-1914) was among the most colorful and influential men of his generation. He was born in Kent, England. At age 14, Culmer joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and travelled to the Salt Lake Valley, crossing the plains before the railroad was erected.

In Utah, Culmer simultaneously began a career in mining speculation — investing in land rich with coal and silver — and enrolled at the Deseret Academy (i.e. the precursor to the University of Utah). Unlike many artists who struggled to make a living in the territories, Culmer combined his surveying of natural resources with his love of art. 

Culmer was the first artist to paint in Alaska and also the first to paint the arches and red rock of southern Utah. In a 1886 interview with the Salt Lake Daily Herald, the artist said that mountains were “the most noble subject for any artist’s brush.”

In this work, Culmer captured a view from the base of Storm Mountain in Big Cottonwood Canyon, now part of Brighton Ski Resort and one of the most popular hikes in Utah, in what appears to be Spring, where the snow is still hugging the mountains and the melting runoff is creating a green valley below. Mostly likely made in the 1870s, it closely resembles a 1869 photograph of the same scene, made by the photograph Timothy H. O’Sullivan (Irish/American, 1840-1882).

 

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (Irish/American, 1840-1882) Great Cottonwood Canon, Wahsatch Mountains [sic.] (1869) Albumen print (Photograph) 7 3/4 x 10 5/8 in. Still Photograph Archive, George Eastman Museum, Rochester.

Timothy H. O’Sullivan (Irish/American, 1840-1882) Great Cottonwood Canon, Wahsatch Mountains [sic.] (1869) Albumen print (Photograph) 7 3/4 x 10 5/8 in. Still Photograph Archive, George Eastman Museum, Rochester.

O’Sullivan is best known for his heart-wrenching, graphic documentation of Civil War battle scenes, including Gettysburg. In 1864, he was made the official photographer of the United State Geological Exploration effort. In that capacity, he travelled to Utah and captured the Wasatch Mountains. (He would return again and again.)

According to Culmer’s writings, O’Sullivan’s photographs had a tremendous influence on his own work. It is possible that, seeing O’Sullivan’s 1869 image, Culmer sought out the same location for this painting.

The Best of 2016: Anthony's Year End List

Best OfMicah Christensen

This year has been momentous, marking our thirty-first anniversary. It feels as though we have gone from strength to strength; improving the quality of works we find and meeting new people along the way.

A few of us sat down to make a list of the artworks, exhibitions, books, restaurants, and events that have made our 2016.  

ART & ANTIQUES

Painting of the Year

Twelve Year Old Christ in the Temple (1879) by Ernst Zimmermann (Now part of the permanent collection of the Brigham Young Museum of Art)

Twelve Year Old Christ in the Temple (1879) by Ernst Zimmermann (Now part of the permanent collection of the Brigham Young Museum of Art)

Beautiful and historical, we discovered this painting of the Twelve Year Old Christ (1879) at a minor sale on the East coast. Minor restoration showed soon it to be a technical masterpiece by its author, Ernst Zimmermann (German, 1852-1901). Research soon revealed that the painting was a lost treasure, given a top award at the Universal Exhibition (i.e. World's Fair) in 1879, and then lost to history. We were happy to see that the painting was donated to the Brigham Young Museum of Art, another gem in the Museum's impressive collection 

Read more about this historic painting on our blog

Runner Up

La coiffe en danger (1893) by Émile Villa (French, 1836-1900) Oil on canvas.

La coiffe en danger (1893) by Émile Villa (French, 1836-1900) Oil on canvas.

Acquired only last week, this joins three other paintings we have on show by Émile Villa (French, 1836-1900). The work, La coiffe en danger (i.e. "The endangered bonnet") showed at the Paris Salon of 1893, and the Universal Exhibition (i.e. World's Fair) of 1894. Villa was himself a prestigious painter, who studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, worked at the chief assistant to Gustave Courbet, and shared a studio with Claude Monet and Frédéric Bazille. After a quick cleaning, the painting will be on view starting mid-December.

 

Sculpture of the Year

The Composer Giuseppe Verdi by Florence Darnault

The Composer Giuseppe Verdi by Florence Darnault

After reading an interview with the screenwriter of the movie Florence Foster Jenkins, starring Meryl Streep, were were shocked to learn that we owned a sculpture commissioned by the "opera" singer, and since lost.

Read the entire story of how this fascinating bust is connected to one of the most intriguing characters in the New York Opera Scene

Runner up

Diana by Henri Weigele (German, 1858 - 1927)

Diana by Henri Weigele (German, 1858 - 1927)

A tour de force of artistry, materials, and technical ability, this sculpture of the Goddess Diana is undoubtably one of the finest works we've ever had. 

Pair of Imari Vases from the Estate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Pair of Imari Vases from the Estate of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Two large and matching Japanese Imari baluster vases with covers, from the estate of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,

Design Partner of the Year

(Also named one of Architectural Digest's "Top 100 Designers" of the Year)

Thomas Jayne Design Studio 

Recently, we began working with the delightful Thomas Jayne on a few of his many, many international projects. A gentleman and a scholar, working with Thomas has been a privilege.

ARTISTS & EXHIBITIONS 

Local Artist of the Year

You can only have one (2016) by Mary Sauer

You can only have one (2016) by Mary Sauer

An internationally award-winning artist who calls Utah home, Mary Sauer was our featured artist for September this year. We were thrilled to have two dozen of her works here for display

Runners Up

Triumphal Entry (2014-1016) by Jeff Hein

Triumphal Entry (2014-1016) by Jeff Hein

This year, we had the enormous privilege of putting on view Jeff Hein's work Triumphal Entry. Painted from life and executed over two years, the painting will be soon be on permanent display at the LDS Church History Museum. In the meantime, we've framed and hung several of Hein's graphite studies for the work on our top floor.

The Harvest by Aaron Stills

The Harvest by Aaron Stills

For years, we have been the only representative of Aaron Stills' beautiful still-life paintings. Calming and beautiful, each one is the fruit of hundreds of hours of work and Stills unique, thoughtful persona. Though we've had several, and each one is remarkable, we believe The Harvest, now on view, is his best, and one of the best works of art we have ever had.

Local Exhibition of the Year

To Magnify the Lord: Six Centuries of Art and Devotion (Currently on view | BYU Museum of Art)

To Magnify the Lord: Six Centuries of Art and Devotion (Currently on view | BYU Museum of Art)

Mark Magleby, Director of the BYU Museum of Art, and his team have put on show a treasure of religious art, collected over decades by one of the country's unabashedly religious art institutions. With works from the Renaissance to today, it is a remarkable, beautifully curated experience.

Runners up

Zion Art Society First Annual Exhibition (September and October | Hosted at Anthony’s Fine Art)

Zion Art Society First Annual Exhibition (September and October | Hosted at Anthony’s Fine Art)

The Classical Tradition: Serenity, Simplicity, and Harmony (Currently on view | Springville Museum of Art)

The Classical Tradition: Serenity, Simplicity, and Harmony (Currently on view | Springville Museum of Art)

This year, we played host to small show that exhibited works by professional LDS artists working today. The show was judged by Peter Trippi (Editor, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine), Warren Winegar (Former VP of Sotheby's Auction House), and Jeff Lambson (Former Curator, BYU Museum of Art).  Thinking we would only have a small number of works and submissions, we were surprised at both the quality of works and the large variety of people who came to see it.  

 

Internationally, Utah is known for producing accomplished figurative artists. Now more than ever, the region boasts several masters and schools, each with a different and compelling approach. Rita Wright (Director of the Springville Museum of Art) has spent years developing relationships and preparing artists to show in this exhibit, for which several original works were created.

International Exhibition of the Year:

Heironymous Bosch 500: Visions of a Genius (Noorbrants Museum, Netherlands).

Heironymous Bosch 500: Visions of a Genius (Noorbrants Museum, Netherlands).

This year marks the 500th anniversary of Heironymous Bosch's birth. In a show that is unprecedented in scope and cooperation, museums from around the world lent their Bosch masterpieces — many of which are major draws and whose absence would affect each museum — to Bosch's birthplace. The result has been not only a remarkable experience to view; but, an explosion of scholarship as pieces that have been separated for hundreds of years are seen and examined together

Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of Genius | The Catalogue

Hieronymus Bosch: Visions of Genius | The Catalogue

Runners up

Painting with Light: Art and Photography from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age (Tate Britain, London)

Painting with Light: Art and Photography from the Pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age (Tate Britain, London)

Alma Tadema — Classical Charm (Belvedere Museum, Vienna | 2017, Leighton House, London)

Alma Tadema — Classical Charm (Belvedere Museum, Vienna | 2017, Leighton House, London)

We wish that every painter working today could see this show. It explores the role, for better and worse, of photography as an aid to creating fine art. Hardly a simple subject, the exhibition shows examples of artists who used it to enhance their already formidable skills; along with those who relied on it to their detriment. It is a timely and important exploration of a subject that is controversial still among many artists.

 

This is the first retrospective of the artist Lawrence Alma-Tadema, the Dutch virtuoso who made his career in London. It is what we hope is the first of many retrospectives of major nineteenth-century masters who, famous in their time, have since been neglected.

Exhibition Catalogue of the Year

Some exhibition catalogues are even better than the shows they accompany. Below are three catalogues from shows that stood out for their beautiful imagery and scholarship.

The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France (Legion of Honor, San Francisco)

The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France (Legion of Honor, San Francisco)

Exhibition: The Brothers Le Nain, Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco. Oct 8, 2016-Jan 29, 2017.

Exhibition: The Brothers Le Nain, Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco. Oct 8, 2016-Jan 29, 2017.

Runners up

Exhibition: Charles Gleyre (1806-1874). Le romantique repenti, Museé d'Orsay, May 10 - Sep 11, 2016.

Exhibition: Charles Gleyre (1806-1874). Le romantique repenti, Museé d'Orsay, May 10 - Sep 11, 2016.

Charles Gleyre (1806-1864): Le romantique repenti (Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Charles Gleyre (1806-1864): Le romantique repenti (Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Beyond Caravaggio (National Gallery, London)

Beyond Caravaggio (National Gallery, London)

Exhibition: Beyond Caravaggio, The National Gallery (London). Oct 12, 2016-Jan 15, 2017

Exhibition: Beyond Caravaggio, The National Gallery (London). Oct 12, 2016-Jan 15, 2017

BOOKS OF THE YEAR

History Books

East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes Against Humanity” by Philippe Sands: 

East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes Against Humanity” by Philippe Sands: 

Tony, who has read hundreds of books on World War II and its aftermath has been passing this book out to friends and visitors. Though a heavy subject, it is written with great humanity and hope.

Art Books

Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director by Gary Vikan

Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director by Gary Vikan

A colorful account from the former Director of the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore) detailing the bizarre and absurd world of collecting rare irreplaceable objects — like reading a scholarly gossip column.

Rembrandt: The Painter Thinking by Ernst van de Wetering

Rembrandt: The Painter Thinking by Ernst van de Wetering

Getting inside the heads of artists is nearly impossible. In this book — full of great illustrations and anecdotes from the artist's daily life — van de Wetering gets as close to how an artist puts together a work of art than anyone we've ever seen.

Esoteric Read of the Year

Thinking with Tolstoy and Wittgenstein Expression, Emotion, and Art by Henry Pickford

Thinking with Tolstoy and Wittgenstein Expression, Emotion, and Art by Henry Pickford

Okay . . . So this may not be for everyone.  But, for those of you who wonder about the role of fine art in furthering truth and understanding, this is a worthy exploration of three great minds who tackled the topic.

LOCAL RESTAURANTS OF THE YEAR BY MEAL

We consume a lot of good food at the Gallery. (If you've seen us, you know that it's more than our fair share.) Below are some of the places we've found ourselves going back to again and again.

Breakfast

Bake 360 (Draper)

Bake 360 (Draper)

Lunch

Poutine Your Mouth (Salt Lake City)

Poutine Your Mouth (Salt Lake City)

Dinner

HSL (Salt Lake City)

HSL (Salt Lake City)

MAJOR EVENTS

Trip to Rome (Next Year Spain)

In May, we took a group of clients and friends to Rome for a one-week trip. We had private tours of monuments, palaces, and villas. Next May were are going to Spain. If you want to come, send an email to Micah: mjc@anthonysfineart.com. 

In May, we took a group of clients and friends to Rome for a one-week trip. We had private tours of monuments, palaces, and villas. Next May were are going to Spain. If you want to come, send an email to Micah: mjc@anthonysfineart.com. 

Second Floor Remodel

We've added about 20,000 square feet of wall space on the top floor. It was the brainchild of our own Brett Levitre and Eric Biggart; and an acknowledgement of the increasing numbers of paintings we have on display. The new space allows us to host temporary exhibitions. And, it's not so messy up there.

We've added about 20,000 square feet of wall space on the top floor. It was the brainchild of our own Brett Levitre and Eric Biggart; and an acknowledgement of the increasing numbers of paintings we have on display. The new space allows us to host temporary exhibitions. And, it's not so messy up there.

Tony

Tony reached a major milestone this year with the birth of his first great-grandchild, though not through much effort of his own; his granddaughter did most of the work.  Be sure to congratulate him on his new status as great-grandfather.

Tony reached a major milestone this year with the birth of his first great-grandchild, though not through much effort of his own; his granddaughter did most of the work.  Be sure to congratulate him on his new status as great-grandfather.

Brett

Although he still has all his hair and teeth, Brett Levitre is now a grandfather, giving Tony his second great-grandchild.

Although he still has all his hair and teeth, Brett Levitre is now a grandfather, giving Tony his second great-grandchild.

Micah

Micah Receives his PhD (And a funny hat) After moving back from London, Micah Christensen continued to travel to the UK, France, Italy, and Spain to research and collaborate for his PhD. He turned in the final 80,000-plus-word thesis to University College London in April of 2015, was examined by experts from Oxford and the Prado Museum last November, and flew back to attend his graduation in September of 2016. He is now our resident Dr., whose degree qualifies him to be of no practical use to anyone; but, he's a lot of fun when talking about fine art.

Micah Receives his PhD (And a funny hat)

After moving back from London, Micah Christensen continued to travel to the UK, France, Italy, and Spain to research and collaborate for his PhD. He turned in the final 80,000-plus-word thesis to University College London in April of 2015, was examined by experts from Oxford and the Prado Museum last November, and flew back to attend his graduation in September of 2016. He is now our resident Dr., whose degree qualifies him to be of no practical use to anyone; but, he's a lot of fun when talking about fine art.

Eric

Eric Biggart begins his Masters of Public Administration Long known as the practical power behind what happens here at the Gallery, Eric Biggart is preparing for a career in public and nonprofit administration with his MPA from the University of Utah. (We're grateful he didn't take the offer from Columbia, so he could stay with us a little longer.)

Eric Biggart begins his Masters of Public Administration

Long known as the practical power behind what happens here at the Gallery, Eric Biggart is preparing for a career in public and nonprofit administration with his MPA from the University of Utah. (We're grateful he didn't take the offer from Columbia, so he could stay with us a little longer.)

New hires:

We have four new people working at the gallery this year, who make what we do possible. They are:

José Becerra: The always positive and helpful young man tasked with the logistics and delivery of fine art and furniture.

Max Bleiweiss: Tony's brother; a Nuclear Physicist who worked at the White Sands Proving Grounds, who recently moved from New Mexico and is not quite ready to retire.

David Sauer: A PhD Opera singer, who makes everything we do look beautiful by taking professional-quality photographs of our work for online clients.

Marta Heinz: Recently moved from London, where she graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from Sotheby's Institute, Marta is helping us develop our online presence.

Before the year is over, please come in and see us. We'd love to express our love and gratitude for you.

All Our Best,

Anthony Christensen, Brett Levitre, & Micah Christensen

 

The Court of the Patriarchs, Zion National Park (1924) by JB Fairbanks

Featured PiecesMicah Christensen
Zions (1924) by J.B. Fairbanks. 24 x 16 in. Oil on Panel

Zions (1924) by J.B. Fairbanks. 24 x 16 in. Oil on Panel

JB Fairbanks was a prolific and influential landscape artist, who dedicated his time to traveling throughout and capturing the huge diversity found in the State of Utah. In 1891, Fairbanks was one of four artists sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to study at the prestigious Academia Julien in Paris. These art missionaries returned to Utah to paint the interiors of various sacred Church buildings, including the Salt Lake and Saint George Temples. Fairbanks went on to teach at the University of Utah, where he passed on his passion for plein air painting to a new generation of artists, including his student LeConte Stewart.

Signed and dated "JB Fairbanks 1924," this painting depicts Isaac's Peak in The Court of the Patriarchs five years after the region was designated a National Park. Seen close up, Fairbank's confidence as a painter and extreme attention to detail are evident in his multiple stokes used on each of the hundreds of trees dotting the mountainside.

The work is both an early depiction of the park and a rare example of early Utah red-rock paintings, which would become its own genre of art, due in large part to Fairbanks own excursions and teaching.

A Masterpiece of Russian Realism | Athletes (1953)

Featured PiecesMicah Christensen
Mikhail Mikhailovich Devyatov (Russian, b. 1928) Athletes (1953). Oil on Canvas. 39 x 30 ¾ in. 

Mikhail Mikhailovich Devyatov (Russian, b. 1928) Athletes (1953). Oil on Canvas. 39 x 30 ¾ in. 

Simply titled "Athletes," this painting by Mikail Mkhailovich Devyatov captures the dignity and esteem of a female ice skater and skier. Russian female athletes were among the most pioneering in their fields, often given higher recognition and more funding in their native country than counterparts in Western Europe or America. 

Here the two are not posed in typical female stances that emphasize the shape and line of the female form or sexuality; rather, the artist emphasize their strength and seriousness.

Born in St. Petersburg (a.k.a. Lenningrad) Devyatov was a star student at the prestigious Repin Institute. The Institute was renowned for its dedication to classical academic rigor in teaching, with the human figure at the core of its curriculum.  He eventually became a professor at the Institute. Like so many of his contemporaries, Devyatov applied this academic skill to contemporary Russian subjects and people, elevating the common men — or in this case women — to the most important subjects. 

Completed in 1953, this painting was begun during the 1952 Winter Olympics, held in Norway. Although invited to participate, the Soviet Union declined to send athletes, leaving many professionals, who had trained to compete, unfulfilled. It seems likely that this painting was made by Devyatov to commemorate these female athletes at the height of their powers, yet unable to express them fully.

The painting is pictured as a featured work in the book The Dictionary of Twentieth Century Russian and Soviet Painters by Matthew Cullerine Brown.

Forgotten Masters Lecture Series Calendar

Forgotten MastersMarta Heinz

Mark your calendars for the next few months.  Below is the master schedule of the lectures Dr. Micah Christensen will be giving bimonthly through the winter and spring as part of an ongoing lecture series entitled Forgotten Masters. 

Join Dr. Micah Christensen (History of Art, University of London) — together with an audience of artists, collectors, and art lovers — as he rediscovers the major works and careers of once great master painters and sculptors who have been forgotten by time.

Each lecture is held from 5 to 6:30 PM and presented once at Anthony’s Fine Art (401 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111) and again at the Beaux Arts Academy in Provo. 

For additional information and archives, click the Events tab.

Each lecture will be posted on the Anthony's YouTube channel and on the blog.

CHRIST WITH THE FISHERMEN by ERNST ZIMMERMANN

Featured PiecesMicah Christensen

Ernst Zimmermann (German, 1852-1901), Christ with the Fishermen (Christus bee den Fischern), 1888, Oil on canvas. 27½ x 33½ in. Anthony’s Fine Art & Antiques, Salt Lake City

Earlier this year, we were privileged to acquired a major work Twelve Year Old Christ in the Temple (1879). (It is now a centerpiece in the BYU Museum of Art and on view until 2019 for their exhibition “To Magnify the Lord.”) We are thrilled to have acquired a second major work by Ernst Zimmermann (German, 1852-1901):  Christ and the Fishermen (1888).

In his short life, Zimmermann won two international awards, the first at 1879 Universal Exhibition  in Munich for Twelve Year Old Christ in the Temple and the second for Christ (1879).  Much to the disappointment of contemporary Germans, that painting was sold — even before the exhibition opened — to an American, who donated to the painting to his local Church in Philadelphia. 

Seven years later, at the Jubilee Exhibition of Berlin — attended by more than two million people — Zimmerman won the top award for his painting Christ and the Fishermen (1886). The work was immediately acquired by the German State, and placed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Munich. 

Two years later, Zimmermann made the only known copy of his work, which he signed and dated “E. Zimmermann 1888” in the top left corner.  This was common practice for artists to make copies of their most famous work (e.g. Heinrich Hofmann made at least four copies of this painting Christ in the Temple). This work is even more significant because, the whereabouts of the original, 1886 version are no longer known. The work was originally hung in the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. But, after several decades of museum changes, the original has been lost.

Image from the Illustrated Catalogue of the 1886 Berlin Jubilee Exhibition (Illustrirter Katalog. Berlin: Berliner Verlags-Comtoir, 231)

Image from the Illustrated Catalogue of the 1886 Berlin Jubilee Exhibition (Illustrirter Katalog. Berlin: Berliner Verlags-Comtoir, 231)

Zimmermann was a student at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, where he trained as both a landscape and figurative artists. He gained international attention at the Universal Exhibition of 1879, and then went on to create a series of religious works, nearly all of which were acquired immediately by the German State and placed in state-run museums.  In 1901, Zimmermannn unexpectedly died at the age of 49 from a horse-riding accident. A few days later, the art critic Fritz Von Ostini a long commentary, about the career and contribution of the artist, Zimmermann the “greatest master of religious painting, to which he devoted his entire abilities and aspirations.” (Friz Von Ostini. Die Kunst unsure Zeit; eine Chronic des moderne Kunstlebens. Munich: Franz’Sche, 113).

REDISCOVERED SCULPTURE TELLS THE STORY OF FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS

Featured PiecesMicah Christensen

A movie about the life and times of the “worst singer in the world,” starring Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins, opens this weekend. This sculpture was destined as the centerpiece of the Verdi Club in New York, established by Florence Foster Jenkins. Missing for nearly 80 years, the bust was rediscovered by Anthony’s Fine Art & Antiques (Salt Lake City).The circumstances of its commission and public reception reveal an embarrassing secret about Jenkins and the probable cause for her famously bad singing.

SEPTEMBER FEATURED ARTIST: MARY SAUER

Gallery StrollEric Biggart
Sauer-Flyer.jpg

Each month throughout the year, we feature a different artist in our new contemporary gallery space. On the third Friday of each month, join us from 6:00 – 9:00 pm for a private look at some of the pieces for sale here at Anthony’s. Throughout the month of September, Mary Sauer’s works will be on view and will join us during gallery stroll to discuss her paintings and answer questions. We hope to see you there!

Painter Mary Sauer was born in Greenville, Kentucky in 1986. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States including over a dozen shows in New York City alone. Mary is a 2014 recipient of The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant for traditional figure painting and winner of the 2014 Director’s Award at the Springville Museum of Art’s annual Spring Salon. Mary’s art is influenced by nineteenth century painting including John Singer Sargent, the Pre-Raphealites, and the French Academics as well as contemporary realist academic painting and fashion photography.

Her education includes a BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University in 2009, further studies at The Art Student’s League of New York and The Grand Central Academy of Art, and an MFA from The University of Utah. For two years she apprenticed in the studio of master painter William Whitaker.

Her work has been featured on the cover of American Art Collector Magazine, in the annual, “21 Under 31,” feature in Southwest Art Magazine, and in feature articles in both International Artist Magazine and the April 2014 issue of The Artists Magazine.

Her painting, ‘Anna’ was awarded Best in Show at the 2012 Portrait Society of America International Portrait Competition, for which she was again a finalist in 2013.

 

 

STUDY FOR THE SALT LAKE TEMPLE GARDEN OF EDEN ROOM BY JOHN HAFEN

Featured PiecesEric Biggart
Study for the Salt Lake Temple Garden Room by John Hafen (American 1856 – 1910). Oil on Canvasboard. 12 x 9 in

Study for the Salt Lake Temple Garden Room by John Hafen (American 1856 – 1910). Oil on Canvasboard. 12 x 9 in

What are we going to do, Brother Cannon, when one beautiful temple in Salt Lake City is ready to receive inside decorations? Who is there amongst all our people capable to do . . . justice to artwork that should be executed therein. I must confess that it is impossible for me to see any other . . . course to pursue… than to give two or three young men who possess talent in this direction, a chance to develop the same . . . If it should ever fall to my lot to receive assistance in this way . . . I would esteem it the highest honor and the crowning point in my ambition.1

When John Hafen wrote George Q. Cannon this letter in 1890, the Salt Lake Temple had been under construction for 37 years. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was reeling from a crushing court ruling that allowed the US Government to confiscate both property and tithing funds, leaving Wilford Woodruff to wonder whether or not the Church would ever be able to pay its debts.2 In this environment, with the Salt Lake Temple drastically over schedule and budget, Hafen’s unsolicited suggestion that the interior of the Temple be painted and that the artists be sent abroad to sharpen the skills for the project, would have been easily dismissed. But, despite these very practical concerns, George Q. Cannon agreed to send John Hafen, along with three other artists, from the Utah Territory to Paris as “art missionaries.” Three years later, after studying at the prestigious Academie Julien, he returned to Salt Lake to paint the Temple’s Garden Room. One of Hafen’s rare studies for his “crowing point” of ambition is now here at Anthony’s Fine Art & Antiques.

JOHN HAFEN & UTAH ART

There has been always an incentive to art in Utah. Not in the existence of schools or academies or the presence of great masterpieces of art in our midst . . . the Local incentive has been purely natural . . . the overwhelming influence of nature’s masterpieces arrays in perpetual exhibition at our doors.

Despite few opportunities for arts education or outlets for showing works, there were artistic talents in the Utah Territory. Hafen was one of several promising artists who had come to Utah as a young child. Together with Edwin Evans, JB Fairbanks, and Lorus Pratt, Hafen copied works from print journals and travelled throughout Utah to paint en plein air.

Despite their enthusiasm and access to natural wonders, the artists keenly felt the limits of their own abilities in France, the then universally acknowledged center of art and art education.

TRAINING IN PARIS

When, in 1890, John Hafen approached leaders of the Church for funds to study abroad, it was an acknowledgement of ambition and lack of training. In Paris, Hafen and his fellow art missionaries followed the example of another Utah painter, James Harwood, to study at the prestigious Académie Julian. The school had been founded in 1868 as a preparatory program for those applying for the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris, which had attracted and nurtured the talents of some of the greatest artists of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. However, by the 1890s, the Académie Julian had become prestigious in its own right.

There, Hafen studied the fundamental rules of the classical tradition: composition, tone, light, and mastery of the human form. These studies were done almost entirely in black and white — without the use of oil paints — and provided the kind of structure for making pictures that was lacking in Hafen’s provincial educational.

To augment these studies, Hafen, Evans, and Fairbanks took private lessons from the French landscape artist Albert Rigolot. In contrast to the crowded Parisian classrooms of the Académie, Rigolot took artists to the fields surrounding Paris. He encouraged the use of vivid colors and quick, loose brush strokes.

For two years, the combination of this impressionistic technique with academic rigor transformed Hafen, as is clearly evidenced in his first major work: the Salt Lake Temple Garden Room.

THE SALT LAKE TEMPLE MURALS

A photograph of the Salt Lake Temple taken in 1893. Source: Archive of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers

A photograph of the Salt Lake Temple taken in 1893. Source: Archive of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers

When Hafen returned to Utah in 1893, there were only five months before the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. The First Presidency of the Church tasked the returning artists with monumental murals for the Creation and Garden Rooms. From the beginning, the work was collaborative, with each artist playing to his particular strengths. Fairbanks had a gift for animals, and Evans was partial to dynamic atmospheric effects. Hafen was especially gifted with creating landscape, and was given leadership over the Garden Room.3

Before working directly on the walls of the Temple, Hafen created a series of oil studies to explore the composition and coloring of the overall work. These studies were shown to First Presidency of the Church — used as a collaborative tool for the leaders and Hafen to develop the room together. A handful of these studies have survived. Some are in the collection of the Church Museum of History & Art (Salt Lake City) and most of these do not include signatures, perhaps because they were the collaborative work with more than one artist. The oil painting currently at Anthony’s Fine Art & Antiques is one of the finest examples of Hafen’s work. Clearly signed “John Hafen” in the lower-right corner, it is a bold and complete picture of the artist’s approach.

Study for the Salt Lake Temple Garden Room by John Hafen (American 1856 – 1910). Oil on Canvasboard. 12 x 9 in.

Study for the Salt Lake Temple Garden Room by John Hafen (American 1856 – 1910). Oil on Canvasboard. 12 x 9 in.

The Garden Room is an evocation of the Garden of Eden; the paradise where Adam and Eve lived before the world fell into sin. In his book describing the room itself and its purpose, James E. Talmage wrote:

There are sylvan grottoes and mossy dells, lakelets, and brooks, waterfalls and rivulets, trees, vines and flowers, insects, birds and beasts, in short, the earth beautiful — as it was before the Fall. It may be called the Garden of Eden Room, for in every part . . . it speaks of sweet content and blessed repose. There is no suggestion of disturbance, enmity or hostility . . .4
Study for the Salt Lake Temple Garden Room by John Hafen (American 1856 – 1910). Oil on Canvasboard. 12 x 9 in.

Study for the Salt Lake Temple Garden Room by John Hafen (American 1856 – 1910). Oil on Canvasboard. 12 x 9 in.

A detailed view of the work, shows that Hafen used a large variety of colors — with over 30 variations of green. His brushstrokes are visibly confident and diverse, broad in some instances and staccato in others. The result is a startling array of textures and a feeling of verisimilitude.

As is often true of final works, when the studies were developed into the final, full-scale murals, they became less impressionistic and lively. Yet, they gained a sense of grandeur. After touring the temple, the Salt Lake Herald reported:

In [The Garden of Eden] room the genius of the artist has transferred vividly realistic scenes to the walls and ceilings. Forest scenery, streams, mountains and wild beasts are depicted with such marvelous skill . . . that the spectator is almost convinced that he is standing in the midst of the creation wilds.5

The earliest photos of the interior of the Garden Room were taken by Charles E. Savage and published in James E. Talmage’s book The House of the Lord. These photos give the clearest idea of the original work done by Hafen, Evans, Fairbanks, and Pratt.

Damage and changes to the room over the years has led to several restoration projects and repainting, with little of Hafen’s original work remaining.

Damage and changes to the room over the years has led to several restoration projects and repainting, with little of Hafen’s original work remaining.

The Garden Room. Salt Lake City Temple, c. 1970.

The Garden Room. Salt Lake City Temple, c. 1970.

The Garden Room. Salt Lake City Temple, c. 1970.

The Garden Room. Salt Lake City Temple, c. 1970.

In her catalogue created for an exhibition on the the work of Hafen and the Church’s art missionaries, Linda Gibbs described the Garden and Creation rooms of the Salt Lake Temple as the “result of the temple experience” and the “beginnings of Utah impressionism.” 6

This small study for the Garden Room is a reminder of Hafen’s natural abilities combined with the skills he developed in the art capital of the world. Through this and subsequent works, he would inspire a new school of Utah art. The work is also powerful evidence of the Church’s dedication to beautify its sacred spaces, even at great sacrifice. As Hafen said himself:

The influence of art is so powerful in shaping our lives for a higher appreciation of the creations of our God that we cannot afford to neglect an acquaintance with it. We should be as eager for it’s companionship in our homes as we are eager for chairs to sit upon, or for food to sustain our lives; for it has as important a mission in sharing our character and conducing to our happiness as anything we term necessities. Life is incomplete without Art. A religious life is not an ideal religious life without it.7

ENDNOTES

  1. Letter from John Hafen to George Q. Cannon, 25 March 1890. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Special Collections. 
  2. Samuel W. Taylor. Rocky Mountain Empire: The Latter-Day Saints Today. (New York, MacMillan Publishing, 1978), 65-69.
  3. Linda Jones Gibbs. Harvesting the Light: The Paris Art Mission and Beginnings of Utah Impressionism. (Salt Lake City: Museum of the Church History and Art, Exhibition Catalogue, 1987), 35-38.
  4. James E. Talmage. The House of the Lord (Salt Lake City: The Deseret News, 1912), 186.
  5. Editorial commentary. “Dedicated to the Lord.” Salt Lake Herald (7 April 1893), 6.
  6. Linda Jones Gibbs. Harvesting the Light: The Paris Art Mission and Beginnings of Utah Impressionism. (Salt Lake City: Museum of the Church History and Art, Exhibition Catalogue, 1987), 35-38.
  7. John Hafen. “Artist Explanation,” O My Father: Illustrated Booklet. (Salt Lake City, Deseret Press, 1909)

A MID-CENTURY FRENCH MÉRIDIA WRISTWATCH TAXICAB ADVERTISEMENT

Featured PiecesEric Biggart
A photograph of a 1960 Citroen DS 19 taxicab on the streets of Paris with the advertisement superimposed on the roof.

A photograph of a 1960 Citroen DS 19 taxicab on the streets of Paris with the advertisement superimposed on the roof.

Every once in a while, we get a really interesting curiosity out of Europe, a beautiful antique that is all new to us.

This advertising sign was designed to mount to the roof of a French taxi. The three-dimensional chromed and painted metal advertising sign for the Swiss-made Méridia wristwatch evokes nostalgia for the Paris of yesteryear.

Interestingly enough, it looks great on our 1926 Citroen 3CV Trefle also. 

See more or inquire about the piece here.

HETCH HETCHY IN THE HIGH SIERRAS BY HERMANN HERZOG

Eric Biggart
Hetch Hetchy in the High Sierras (c. 1910) by Hermann Herzog (German-American, 1832-1932). Oil on Canvas. 21 x 28 ½ in.

Hetch Hetchy in the High Sierras (c. 1910) by Hermann Herzog (German-American, 1832-1932). Oil on Canvas. 21 x 28 ½ in.

With paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smithsonian, Hermann Herzog (German-American, 1832-1932) was among the first artists to travel to the American West. Herzog trained at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf. Before moving to the United States, he painted throughout Europe and was patronized by several royal families. In the 1870s, together with Albert Beirstadt (German-American, 1830-1902) and William Keith (Scottish-American, 1838-1911), Herzog travelled to the Yosemite, through the Sierras and to the Hetch Hetchy Valley, for this painting.

Hetch Hetchy is just north of Yosemite Valley and directly east of San Francisco.  For more than 6,000 years it was occupied by the Miwok and, then, Paiute peoples. After the 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of San Francisco, the decision was made to dam the Hetch Hetchy Valley in order to provide a stable water supply for region.  The controversial plans were opposed by the Sierra Club —founded to fight the dam project — and the naturalist John Muir who said:

A view of the Hetch Hetchy Valley at the turn of the century

A view of the Hetch Hetchy Valley at the turn of the century

Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water-tanks the people’s cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man. (Hetch Hetchy Valley, 1912)
The Hetch Hetchy Valley today

The Hetch Hetchy Valley today

This painting by Herzog of Hetch Hetchy is one of the few that records the valley before it was covered in water. Other depictions include William Keith’s, located in the DeYoung Museum of Art (San Francisco) and another by Albert Beirstadt held in the Wadsworth Antheneum (Hartford).

Come see the painting in person or you can purchase it through 1stdibs.com.

 

A LOST MASTERPIECE, REDISCOVERED

Featured PiecesEric Biggart
Ernst Zimmermann (German, 1852 – 1901), Der zwölfjährige Jesus im Tempel (1879), Oil on Canvas, 63 x 94 ½ in.

Ernst Zimmermann (German, 1852 – 1901), Der zwölfjährige Jesus im Tempel (1879), Oil on Canvas, 63 x 94 ½ in.

Several months ago we acquired Der zwölfjährige Jesus I’m Tempel (The 12-year-old Jesus in the Temple) by Ernst Zimmerman portraying a young Jesus among the elders of the temple in Jerusalem. The painting was originally hung at the 1879 Munich International Exhibition, the precursor to the World’s Fair. Since the exhibition, the painting had been lost until it made its way to Salt Lake City. Now the painting is on its way to the BYU Museum of Art for the opening of a new exhibition later this month

In 1879, the Zimmermann hung alongside this famous work by Max Liebermann of the same subject. Liebermann created a wave of controversy over his simplistic portrayal of Jesus alongside historical Jewish priests dressed in modern robes. The resulting uproar against Liebermann, a Jew himself, created a fervor around the exhibition and around artists working in Munich at the time. A retrospective of the exhibition in 2011 featured many of the original pieces from the 1879 exhibition, but curators could not locate the original Zimmermann painting.

Max Lieberman (German, 1848 – 1911), Der zwölfjährige Jesus im Tempel (1879), Oil on Canvas, Collection of Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Max Lieberman (German, 1848 – 1911), Der zwölfjährige Jesus im Tempel (1879), Oil on Canvas, Collection of Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Two years later, and after attending the Munich exhibition and seeing both the 27 year old Zimmermann and the 31 year old Liebermann’s depictions of Christ in the Temple, Heinrich Hofmann created a number of famous versions of the same scene, depicting a much more idealized depiction of Christ among the doctors. 

Heinrich Hofmann (German, 1824 – 1911), Der zwölfjährige Jesus im Tempel (1881), Oil on Canvas, Collection of Riverside Church, New York.

Heinrich Hofmann (German, 1824 – 1911), Der zwölfjährige Jesus im Tempel (1881), Oil on Canvas, Collection of Riverside Church, New York.