Saturday, December 22, 2018

Victorian Christmas at the Moran Studio

The East Hampton Historical Society imagines a Victorian Christmas as it could have been celebrated by the Moran Family. The enchanting display of historic clothing, toys and furnishings was such a treat! Such charming attention to every detail. My only wish was that I could have returned to view it all in the evening by the light of the glittering Christmas tree.
The high ceiling of the main floor studio easily accommodates a gloriously tall Christmas tree. Mannequins dressed in festive vintage clothing inhabit the scene.
What stories could this gown tell?

Beautiful vignettes
I loved this gentleman with his pooch and carrier.
Fireplace mantel detail
Window chandelier
I recognize some of the furniture as being original to the house.
Moran Studio Photo via
Historic Photo of Studio Interior via
The mezzanine was set up for punch.
This wasp waist mannequin stood at the entrance to the turret room which was decorated with its own small Christmas tree surrounded by toys.
Top floor master bedroom
Master closet. Is that a bed jacket?
A view towards Town Pond.
More vintage clothing details.
Moran's desk includes a telephone. 
The Moran Studio Christmas exhibition also included a display of Vintage Christmas cards. I was struck by the depictions of Santa on the telephone. Makes sense. Santa doesn't rely on magic alone to keep up with children's wishes. There he was with the latest tech at the Sag Harbor Cinema holiday party that I attended the following day.
Best wishes for a lovely Christmas and a blessed New Year!


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Value of Art

We recently watched, The Price of Everything on HBO. The film discusses the commoditization of art and art as a "luxury brand". Very thought provoking. I wrote the post below last year and never published it. I thought it "too controversial" for the blog at the time. Now I think it is something that needs to be thought about and discussed. What do you think?

March 9, 2017
The value of art is one of those dangerous discussions. Arguments ensue. Positions are given. Not a peaceful conversation topic at dinner parties. Along with politics and religion,  it is fodder for fisticuffs. My niece had me thinking about it again. She set up an art store. In it, the art supplies are the art itself. The above drawing is offered for 14 cents.
How do I value art? While creating art, I am lost in the process. The resulting work a reminder of a meditative feeling and pleasure or satisfaction of the eye. While I value my own art for those reasons, I value other's works of art for similar reasons. The art produced echoes the process, a sympathetic vibration. The value of the creative process is only part of it.

Art is often a visual representation of actual or imagined things. Art materials can be used by the artist for symbolic purposes.

We are currently in the midst of the battle between art as an investment or as a collectible. Auction houses and large dealers are pushing for art to be viewed as an investment. Art as an investment becomes just another commodity. In many ways the commoditization of art has already occurred. However, the art market is unregulated and transactions are opaque. As long as it remains so, in my opinion, it is not an investment. Art is a collectible which may increase in value or not. Stocks, bonds and real estate are regulated; art, antiques and baseball cards are not. 

As an artist, could my comments regarding the art market be sour grapes because I'm not getting a piece of the action? Sure, why not? I can think of plenty of artists who do work that I love that I think should be paid more for their work. Commoditization of some art and not others creates fear in the art buying public. As a collector,  I will continue to buy work that I can afford which resonates and moves me. As an artist, I will continue to create, no matter if there is a market for the work or not. At least it will all make an amazing garage sale when I am gone.
More information:
The Price of Everything here
The Judgement of Paris by Ross King here
The Value of Art by Michael Findlay here
"Data Leak Reveals Word Elite's Offshore Wealth" - NY Magazine here
"Amount of money that art sells for is shocking says painter Gerhard Richter" - The Guardian here
Has the Art Market Become an Unwitting Partner in Crime? - NY Times here
As Art Collections Grow, So Do the Places that Stash Them - NY Times here 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

No Longer Haunted

Given the season, I thought you might like to see an amazing transformation. In 2016, I reviewed a  novel titled, Ghost Hampton and mentioned a house in Sag Harbor that looked haunted. That house, at 6 Union Street, was the Morpurgo House.
2006 Photo Gordon M. Grant for the NY Times via
The feuding Morpurgo sisters fought over their Sag Harbor house, an inheritance, for years. While they fought, the house fell into extreme disrepair. Annselm Morpurgo, pictured above, was quoted in a 2006 NY Times article, "Ms. Morpurgo said she thought the house, an Italianate three-story, could be older and more valuable than the sisters first believed. Last year, the sisters said the house was built in 1812 for a whaler named Captain Vail. Now, Annselm Morpurgo says she thinks the house may have been built even earlier' she says she has found indications that it may have been the home of Lt. Col. John Hulbert, a militia leader in the Revolutionary War." After numerous auctions, two of which received no bids, the property was finally sold to an investor that deemed it worthy of a full restoration and renewal. If Ms. Morpurgo is still following the home's story, I believe she would be saying, "I told you so!"
Before (August 2016)
After (October 2018)
What a transformation!
Take a tour of the inside here
There is now a plaque on the front of the house which reads, 
"Capt. John Hulbert House
Circa 1760
Designer of the first 
American Flag prototype
Revolutionary War Veteran
Time to start calling this beautiful home by its true name.
Hulbert Flag via

Sisters Feud And A Mansion Crumbles - NY Times
After A Long, Troubled History, Morpurgo House in Sag Harbor Has an Uncertain Future - 27East
Morpurgo House Much Older Than Originally Believed - Sag Harbor Express
An Eyesore Is Revived - East Hampton Star
Some Say John Hulbert of Bridgehampton Made the First American Flag - Dan't Papers