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Art and the Art of Conversation in New York.
12 June 2015

In between our Fireplace and Lighting appointments last week we dived into local museums and galleries gathering inspiration from Art and the Art of Conversation in New York. On the corner of the hotel where we stayed is the Helly Nahmad Gallery, which had a superb exhibition called ‘the Wounded Canvas’ exploring how artists expressed the aftermath of the Second World war including work by Lucia Fontana, Piero Manzani and Antoni Tapies.

‘Angle and Relief with Red tashe’ (1968) by Antoni Tapies

Over the road in the Gagosian Musuem was an exhibition of the last paintings and sculptures created by Cy Twombly, many of which have never been shown publicly. No photos were allowed in the actual show. Some things are best left to memory.

The poster shows Cy Twombly’s Untitled (2004) never shown publicly before.

Indeed a painting I have never forgotten from when I first saw it in the Neue Gallery is Klimt’s ‘Woman In Gold’ portrait of Adele Boch Bauer (with the George Minne sculptures of kneeling youths either side as originally positioned in the Bloch Bauers home)

The painting and sculptures were stolen by the Nazis in the Second war and it took over sixty years to rightfully return them to Bloch Bauer’s neice Maria Altmann. A film was released this year of the incredible story with Helen Mirren playing Adele Bloch Bauer’s neice. I’m not sure I would advise you to rush out to watch the film but don’t miss paying a visit to the Neues Gallery when you are in New York.

The Frick Collection is also down the road. The original home of Henry and Adelaide Frick who housed one of the greatest private collections of eighteenth and nineteenth century sculptures, paintings, and French Furniture.

Henry Clay Frick: a ruthless industrialist and financier who vowed he would become a millionaire by thirty and grew to become one of the richest men of all times but also one of the most hated. On one occasion he was shot three times and repeatedly stabbed in the leg through an assassination attempt by an employee but survived and was even back at work within the week. In 1912, Frick and his wife planned to travel back to New York on the Titanic but Adelaide twisted her ankle and they decided not to board…Their home and collection became a museum in the 1930’s

At the weekend we were able to really relax and savoured great breakfasts in the wonderful uptown Milanese institution on Madison Avenue ‘Sant Ambroeus’. But what we savoured even more was the company we were surrounded by and the conversations we over heard…There was an American Italian father and his son, the most exquisite sartorially dressed and immaculate couple, 40’s Godfather chic, and to our right, a charming seventy five year old couple of Jewish ladies discussing sex, money and illness. Snippets of the conversations went something like this:

“Hymie said I was frigid! I mean me frigid!? He should talk to Moisha!”

“Can you love someone who you don’t respect?… He doesn’t even like Brunettes!”

“That smuck, he’s got no money. I don’t know why she married him.”

“It’s a good job they caught your cancer early and it didn’t get terminal on you”…

The brilliant communicators talked like they were teenage girls but with the fearless wisdom and confidence of their years. It was the most honest conversation I have heard in a long time. People who were not afraid to say it as it really is.

The Met’s new exhibition ‘Through the Looking Glass’ was inspiring.

A beaded 1920’s dress is placed with a 8th century Tang dynasty silver plate

I loved the juxtaposition of the works of art: the most extraordinary costume with Ancient Chinese Antiquities.

Finally we just had time to walk through my favourite areas of Antiquities from Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt.

A Roman marble head of an athlete, Antonine period.

A Bronze portrait of Alexander the Great

Sadly on Sunday we had to leave Manhattan, the most original and authentic of cities and a place where style and eccentricity thrives in abundance.