Style Icon: Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola

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Wearing fur over her Kimono At the Chanel Haute-Couture Spring / Summer 2012 Show

Countess Setsuko Klossowska is an artist and a writer and has been cultivating her unique sense of timeless chic for decades. Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola was born in Tokyo in 1942 into the Ideta family, an ancient Samurai clan originally from Kyoto that is part of the Japanese aristocracy. She has been in charge of the Villa Medici in Rome, she has exhibited her work internationally. She became UNESCO’s Artist For Peace in 2005.

She is the widow of the French artist Count Balthus Klossowska de Rola. She met him while he was visiting Japan for the first time in 1962. He was sent to Japan by André Malraux, then France’s first minister of cultural affairs, to choose traditional Japanese artwork for an exhibition in Paris.

Shortly after their marriage in 1967, they moved to the Italian capital where Balthus became the director of the French Academy in Rome, housed in the 16th-century Villa Medici. In 1977, they settled permanently in Switzerland with their two children in the 18th grand chalet, (a former hotel whose guests included the noted French poet and novelist Victor Hugo). Located in the tiny alpine village of Rossinière, it became the setting for chic dinners and gatherings that included an eclectic roster of international guests such as photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, artist Alberto Giacometti, the Agha Khan, the Dalai Lama and David Bowie. There is a room at the Grand Chalet de Rossinière dedicated to storing Countess Setsuko’s legendary collection of custom kimonos, some of which were recently exhibited in Tokyo. To the untrained eye they may appear traditional, but to those in the

There is a room at the Grand Chalet de Rossinière dedicated to storing Countess Setsuko’s legendary collection of custom kimonos, some of which were recently exhibited in Tokyo. To the untrained eye they may appear traditional, but to those in the know, they are a sartorial fusion of tradition and modernity, East and West, thanks to the Countess’ expert eye. She will often appear at private dinner parties in a ravishing gold brocade kimono, flecked in a deep red that she had matched to her signature nail polish.

Surprisingly, her custom of donning the kimono only began after her marriage to Balthus. Her husband was so enamored by the elegance of the traditional Japanese costume that he asked his wife to wear the kimono without fail every day. “Balthus was surrounded by people who were conscious of the beauty inherent in what they wore, and it was through him that I was able to realize the elegance of Japanese style,” recalled Countess Setsuko, who until their marriage had only worn the kimono on ceremonial occasions, such as the traditional tea ceremony or on New Year’s Day. “I couldn’t even tie the obi belt on my own at first. It would sometimes loosen, making the bow droop down. I made a lot of mistakes,” confided Countess Setsuko, who at 73 continues to wear the kimono even when traveling abroad, whether it is to the Middle East or on a plane bound for New York.

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Organizing: Art

I decided to add this new Category on the blog! ….. Because I love organizing…. and also …. why not?… I love it so much! It is my stress reliever! Nothing distresses me more… not even a warm bath in my favorite Aveda oils!!! I just love finding new ways to organise and store things… Yes, I’m aware of how exciting this all sounds! please hold on to your seats!

Lately, I’ve been trying to find best possible solutions in storing my contemporary art collection that has been growing despite the fact that my place hasn’t haha! Storing art in the right climate and the right way has become my obsession!… And after researching for the best possible solution I decided to put an art rack in my storeroom! Yes, I know very exciting!

Anyways, here are the reasons why I’ve decided to do that:

  1. They will preserve precious floor space while maintaining the framed artwork. This means less space is required for my collection in the storeroom.
  2. What it really means is that it’ll double my art storage capacity in the same area.
  3. The artwork would be protected from scratches etc.
  4. Will be easy to reach as well as aesthetically pleasing to look at.
  5. I can even hang my very small collection of antique mirrors!

 

And here is the picture that inspired me,  it might inspire you too!

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Picture via pattersonpope.com

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Book of the Week: Masterpiece Paintings

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I haven’t been consistent with posting about books! In fact, I haven’t been consistent with this blog at all…. I try to blog whenever I can or whenever I find something worth blogging about …. like for example this book! I think if you get only one book about art this year then this should be it! The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings… This book celebrates the greatest and most iconic paintings in The Met Museum collection. I found it very useful and think it’s an ideal introduction to the beautiful masterworks of The Met.

Art Collectors: Herb and Dorothy Vogel

f53945b695088ec7474dc688431aa6f9Herbert Vogel (August 16, 1922 – July 22, 2012) and Dorothy Vogel (born 1935),

My Husband and I love watching documentaries and one of our favorites is the award-winning Herb and Dorothy by Megumi Sasaki. We love it so much that we have been watching it at least twice a year ever since it came out!!!

This documentary tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary couple with modest means, Herb, a postal clerk, and Dorothy, a librarian, who together managed to build one of the most important collections of Minimalist and Conceptual art.

Spending all of Herb’s salary for art, and living on Dorothy’s paycheck alone, the Vogels amassed over 5,000 works of art. In 1992, the Vogels donated their collection, estimated at several million dollars, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

At the core of this film is a love story that celebrates not only the couple’s passion for art but also their dedication to each other. It is through their loving partnership that the viewer experiences their remarkable story. I’m sure that most of you out there have seen it already but if you haven’t yet please do…. its a must!!!

I’m planning to watch the “part 2” of this documentary soon … the 2nd one is called HERB & DOROTHY 50X50. This one focuses on the final chapter of the Vogel’s extraordinary life and their gift to their country, raising various questions on art, and what it takes to support art in today’s society.

In 2008, legendary art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel made an announcement that stunned the art world. The Vogels launched a national gift project with the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington DC that would constitute one of the largest gifts in the history of American art: to give a total of 2,500 artworks to museums in all fifty states.

This came sixteen years after the Vogels had transferred their entire collection to NGA, the majority as a gift, making headlines in 1992. During those years at the NGA, the collection had grown to nearly 5,000 pieces, too large for any one museum to contain. As a solution, a national gift project titled The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for the Fifty States was conceived. Though their collection was now worth millions of dollars, the couple did not sell a single piece, instead of giving fifty works to one museum in every state.

On July 22, 2012, Dorothy declared their collection closed after the passing of her husband Herb. Dorothy works to create a living tribute to their partnership, the collection they created together, and the overwhelmingly positive legacy they have left on the American art world for generations to come.

Can you imagine? On two lower middle-income government paychecks? and living in a rent-controlled small one bedroom apartment in Manhattan? They have collected almost 5,000 pieces of art, most by major artists….Oh, and Btw where do you think they stored their valuable collection before it was all donated? All their collection was stored in their tiny little apartment… under their bed! In the bathroom … every nook was stuffed with art…. they barely had a place to sit!! they had 2 chairs that they left for them to sit on and haven’t seen their sofa in years before all that art was sorted out!

They donated about half of it to the National Gallery of Art, and the other half (in 50 piece increments) to museums in all 50 states!!!

How incredible were those two?

Featured artists include Will Barnet, Robert Barry, Lynda Benglis, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Chuck Close, Sylvia Plimack, Lucio Pozzi, James Siena, Pat Steir, Richard Tuttle, and Lawrence Weiner.

Carpet Interiors by Farid Rasulov

I have a confession to make!!! I have been obsessing over the Farid Rasulov installations for a while now!!! His installations are not minimal at all and very unlike me to like right?…. Well….I don’t what’s come over me… but I really am considering converting one of the rooms in my house into something inspired by him?

 The thing with Rasulov’s installations is that you’re surrounded by the familiar (chairs, tables and well rugs, rugs, and more rugs) and yet there’s something wonderfully off!! Something a bit crazy yet magical about the space. If I decide to devote a space like this in my house I will have to be a hundred percent committed or otherwise it just wouldn’t work!!!! As you can see below Rasulov took simple everyday interiors and covered every inch (and I mean every single inch) in traditional Azerbaijan carpet patterns, from floor to ceiling, from doors to bookshelves, right down to the individual books. Look at the details of the accessories like the flower arrangements, the plants and the chandeliers… The only point of contrast in his works are the minimal all-white sculptures of living creatures, like dogs, lions, birds etc that he places within.….

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So? What do you think? Should I convert one room in my minimal home into a piece of art instead of putting art in it?

 

Modern Face Painting for Halloween!

I feel that art adds beauty and interest to our everyday lives and as a result, I love incorporating it in almost everything!!….. A few years ago I saw this series of Moscow-based photographer Alexander Khokhlov  called Weird Beauty and somehow thought it would be a great inspiration for some last minute Halloween costume!!! Face painting is nothing new, I mean African tribes and aboriginal tribes have been doing it for centuries … But I loved that Khokhlov took it to the next level and modernized it!… Here Khokhlov used model faces as canvas and painted on them in only black and white.