M.S. Rau Antiques & Fine Arts in New Orleans' historic French Quarter is celebrating its centennial this year and has acquired two original masterpieces by America's iconic artist, Norman Rockwell, which coincides with the Chicago Merchandise Mart International Arts Fair from April 27 to 30, 2012. Art work of this stature and provenance is a trademark of Rau Antiques, which has been "Inspiring Memories for a Century" and doing so while offering an amazing selection of world-class fine art, antiques and jewelry. For this show, Bill Rau has assembled some stellar fine art, beginning with Norman Rockwell's "The Buggy Ride", which glorifies young love. M.S. Rau is one of the country's few galleries to acquire Rockwell's works on a regular basis.
Most people remember Rockwell's contributions as the illustrator for the venerable literary magazine, "The Saturday Evening Post", which sky-rocketed his fame. For collectors around the world, as well as in the US, Norman Rockwell dominated both the painting and illustration categories from the early part of the 20th century. Rockwell, in ways like France's Daumier and Germany's Grosz, became a formidable social commentator through the more than 4,000 works he completed. A socially conscious artist whose medium was canvas and paper, Rockwell took people, dogs, children, senior citizens, even sentimental objects, and rendered them with such realism and attention to detail. Using the paintbrush, Rockwell documented the world around him, sketching and painting for magazines, newspapers and advertisements. An unfortunate fire in his studio in 1943 destroyed many of his original canvases, making his paintings even more collectible. No other artist of his era captured the sentimentality of Americans' dreams and values as well as Rockwell did.
As the cover art for the September 19th edition of "The Saturday Evening Post" in 1925, Rockwell's lifelike rendering of a couple in love is exemplified by a this moment of tenderness. The dewy-eyed look of the young lady, whose arms are wrapped around her boyfriend, is balanced by the young man's head slightly inclined head which pushes, ever so gently, her flower-bedecked hat. It is a realistic and nostalgic memory of romance. The exquisite detail of Rockwell's brushstroke is so precise that you can see the folds of the fabric and the unique spot-lighting under the canopy of the buggy.
The other oil on canvas work that appeared on the cover of "The Saturday Evening Post" for the January 18th, 1930 edition, is called "The Common Touch [Stock Exchange Quotations]". Painted a few months after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, this painting addresses the effect of the pivotal event on all Americans, regardless of their socio-economic status, as seen here. Huddled around a poster with the day's headlines, this group is made up of rich and poor, young and old, male and female, all of whom were affected by the crash. He renders a somber reality with brilliance and reality. (Being offered at $3.4 million.)
On a slightly smaller scale, but equally impressive, is this 17.51 carat natural intense pink Ceylon sapphire ($985,000) which will also be included in M.S. Rau Antiques & Fine Arts booth at the Chicago fair. Flanked by two shield-cut diamonds (2.35 carats total), this ring is exceptional for it's 4 C's: clarity, cut, carat and color. A flawless pink sapphire, it is set in platinum and 18 K yellow gold.
Among the other important and exceptional pieces that will be on view and for sale at this art fair are works by Monet, van Gogh and Renoir, silver by Paul Revere and Paul Storr and breathtaking jewelry. M.S. Rau Antiques & Fine Art is celebrating its centennial this year as the country's largest and third oldest antique gallery devoted to the finest 18th and 19th century furniture, decorative arts, sterling silver, paintings, memorabilia, and other museum-quality precious objects. For complimentary tickets to the antiques fair and more information on the collections, visit www.rauantiques.com.