Sunday, January 26, 2014

THE WINTER ANTIQUES SHOW Celebrates Diamond Jubilee (c) By Polly Guerin

You may have missed the opening night party but America’s most prestigious antiques show, The Winter Antiques Show, which celebrates its 60th year Diamond Jubilee is a rare and wonderful opportunity which has a long run through to February 2, 2014 at the Park Avenue Armory. This stunning show features seventy-three renowned experts in American, English, European and Asian fine and decorative arts from antiquity through the 1960s. Please note that all proceeds support East Side House Settlement, a non-profit institution in the South Bronx that provides social services to community residents.
Maison Gerard’s large and spectacular Art Deco stained glass window sparkles in faceted colors, by Gerda Wegener, circa 1925, with an elegant and fashionably dressed Deco Lady and Gentleman. It takes center stage mounted on a wall  to the right as you enter and draws you into the show to see the famous Lacquer Room (pictured left) featuring Jean Dunand’s gorgeous lacquer walls with whimsical fish alighting randomly in gold leaf, mother of pearl and lacquered wood. It had been created for a cozy environment, at one time the breakfast room, which was part of the apartment in San Francisco of the tycoon, Charles Crocker one of founders of the Central Pacific Railroad, who was a great supporter of French Art Deco.
Lost City Arts garden sculpture by Kai Nielsen, 1924 in reconstituted stone represents a young girl that holds forth in all her nudity to invite you to see a remarkable desk constructed of layers of different woods in a streamline creation with unexpected storage spaces within.
I always stop at Kentshire, where a selection of Art Deco jewelry mesmerizes by the sheer beauty of each piece. Other noteworthy pieces include A Crossover Diamond Necklace, with graduates round brilliants and baguette diamonds. Platinum and 18K white gold, Signed Marc, Paris.
Joan B Mirviss Ltd. Never disappoints with an original painting of White chrysanthemums with Pale Blue hydrangea and Wild Chrysanthemums c. 1920-1930. Ink, color and gold wash on silk. A charming hanging scroll singed Kamisaka Sekka.
The Delft Puzzle Jug, with Putti frolicking with Blackamoor and Lady Rotterdam is an interesting object for consideration, c. 1725.
DIAMOND JUBILEE EXHIBITION Queen Victoria’s diamond and sapphire tiara is on loan from a private collection by arrangement with Wartski, London and diamonds from the world’s most renowned jewelry firms are featured in a special exhibition celebrating the 60th year Diamond Jubilee of the Winter Antiques Show including jewels from Graff, Tiffany & Col, and Bulgari form the centerpiece of the Show.
“Fresh Take, Making Connections at the Peabody Museum “showcases more than fifty objects from the museum and a lecture series during the show. America’s oldest continuously operating museum, founded in Salem, Massachusetts in 1799, presents extraordinary pieces including a sing for the Washington Hotel 1825-1850, Frederic Remington’s painting, The Gossips, 1909, Mortar Schooner, Siege of Port Hudson, Virginia from the Matthew Brady Studio and Jenny, Jeanne Bernard’s sleeveless side-wrap Dress circa 1926 fashioned in silk, gold lame and glass beading with chiffon handkerchief flounce at the side.
This is an exciting evening, January 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. for new collectors, emerging philanthropists and art and design enthusiasts. It features a private viewing of the show and an exclusive opportunity to mingle with New York’s most illustrious interior designers.
FOR DETAILS and the SCHEDULE FOR SPECIAL EVENTS, LECTURES and BOOK SIGNINGS, Admission and show hours visit www.winterantiquesshow or call 718.292.7492.

Ta Ta Darlings!!! Pollytalk is off to hear Brian McCarthy’s “A Grand Tour of Design: Collecting Across the Globe” on Saturday, February 1 at 2:30 pm. Fan mail welcome at Visit Polly’s website and in the left hand column click on my other Blogs on fashion, visionary men and hidden treasures in New York.

Friday, January 24, 2014

REVOLUTIONARY COOKING: Over Two Hundred Recipes Book Review (c) By Polly Guerin

BOOK REVIEW by ARRT Board Member, Polly Guerin,  for the February 4th, 2014 Meeting of the American Revolutionary Round Table

REVOLUTIONARY COOKING: Over 200 Recipes. (Published by Skyhorse Publishing 2013)
By Virginia T. Elverson and Mary Ann McLanahan, Illustrated by Betty T. Duson

Scholars interested in what Americans’ breakfasted, dined, drank and entertained will find the book, Revolutionary Cooking a rich source of information that sheds light on some rather unusual meals in a text spiced with a bit of social history.
   In the early years when Americans settled in the New World, they came to this country totally unequipped and unprepared. For one thing, the settlers were unfamiliar with country living and the American Indian became both teacher and savior instructing the settlers in hunting, food preparation for such unfamiliar foods to them at that time, such as corn, pumpkin and squash.
  Did you know that breakfast in the 18th Century was typically a mug of beer and some mush and molasses, invariably taken “on the run” just as we do today? Although the settlers acquired a taste for slightly spoiled meat due to the lack of preservation, they masked it with spices. The settlers did not even know how to make tea and instead stewed the tea leaves in butter, threw out what liquid collected, and munched on the leaves.
   It is interesting to note that eighteenth century egg and bacon pie is today’s quiche Lorraine. The recipes, in a sense are all original because they are the result of personal adaptations from old recipes called “receipts” pronounced re-ceets which have been tested by three different cooks in three different kitchens.

RECIPES (RE-CEETS) Imagine having to deal with guidelines calling for “a wine glass of…,” “two porringers of ….,” as much mace as needed,”…or “boil at 2 or 3 wollops. Just deciphering these early instructions into comprehensible jargon is quite an accomplishment. The authors found the source of their research in English cookbooks family journals, and notebooks from 150 to 250 years ago..
   The first truly American cookbook, American Cooking, was printed in 1796 by Amelia Simmons with such recipes for pumpkin pudding, crooknecked squash, slapjacks and Indian pudding. Bread made from cornmeal alone dried out too quickly so “rye’n ‘ Injun” bread was created, which was corn and rye mixed together. The English apple tart became American apple pie. Beer drinking reached zeniths of consumption as it was believed to have medicinal qualities and could prevent scurvy.

UNUSUAL DINING Some of the early recipes called for some unusual ingredients. “Cold Grapefruit Soup, for one gave the following instructions: 3 large or 4 small avocados, 2 l/2 cups of grapefruit juice, juice of one lemon, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of sugar, l/4 ground allspice, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and two cups of ice water, blended together and served cold.
   Or you might find Lemon flummery, Apple-shrimp curry, sour rabbit and potato dumpling to name but a few of old recipes, to tempt your palate. Sunday dinner for a young Massachusetts’ boy consisted of baked beans and salt port followed by baked Indian pudding with butter. As was the custom in those early days, dinner was accompanied by long-winded graces. Pease Porridge, of nursery rhyme fame, became today’s split-pea soup.
   Whether it was with the help of indentured servants, slaves, or other family members preparing dinner was a full time job. How about dining on Grady Smith’s Oyster Jambalaya, or the Tweedy Family Steak and Kidney Pie or Royal Mincemeat, or Fruited Pork Shops or Panbroiled Doves or Quails.
  To top it off desserts might include Lemon Curd Tarts, Apple Pie, and if there was time for tea you might have been served a Bacon-Tomato Casserole or Agnes’ Gumbo or Cleto’s Game-Bird pie or Olde-tyme Indian Pudding.
  The illustrations of utensils, tankards, porringers and pots accompany the text as does a section of colored images of dining settings. This book is also available as an ebook. $16.95. American history enthusiasts will find Revolutionary Cooking a fascinating resource.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


 “Calligraphy: The Art of Beautiful Penmanship”

In an age when even penmanship is becoming a lost art, Bernard Maisner, a master calligrapher, upholds the time honored standards of the venerable art of fine craftsmanship in a field of creativity that commands the talent of an inspired artist. Maisner’s skill and talent identifies his work as a virtuoso artist who has made his style of custom calligraphy recognizable worldwide. He is a modern day visionary and his distinctive execution of personalized calligraphy is synonymous with luxury and the most celebrated social events and high-end occasions. In a recent presentation of the Lecture Series at the (GMST) General Society of Tradesmen and Craftsmen Maisner beguiled the audience with the vast scope of his distinguished career, his expertise on social calligraphy, as well as his retail line of fine stationery. In his calligraphy Maisner brings his talent as a contemporary artist to all aspects of calligraphy. His works which have been exhibit in museum nationwide attest to his multifaceted talent.

CUSTOM STYLE Maisner says that calligraphy has the potential to be alive in a way that typesetting can never be. His elaborately embellished letters, invitations and envelopes turn something ordinary like a plain piece of paper into a work of mesmerizing beauty. His masterful script is a combination of Spencerian and Copperplate writing with intricate flourishes and letterforms. As I watched his demonstration at the GMST lecture he mentioned that the calligraphy pens needed to warm up before being used, but after a few minutes he dipped the nip of pen into the ink pot and as he drew a guest’s name dramatic flourishes filled the page. In 2000, Maisner began his foray in social calligraphy, creating elaborately embellished styles. On display at the GMST were samples of custom designed wedding, anniversary and epic birthday invitations, menus, party and event announcements, placecards and personal stationery—all enhanced with the flourishes of the master calligrapher

COMMERCIAL SUCCESS Maisner is sought after by major corporations that commission him to give their name or message a unique identification. If you ever looked at out-of-ordinary calligraphied advertising, logos, slogans, books, retail advertisements and even CDs you may not have realized that these were Maisner-specific creations. On another interesting note, Maisner is also sort after for his ability to create lifelike re-creations of historical writings done for fictional characters in motion pictures; writing as Daniel Day Lewis’ hand in Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence. He puts a great deal of research into jobs were historical accuracy is imperative. As a result of his film work he has become a member of SAG, the Screen Actors Guild and frequently works for the movie industry writing live-on-camera and creating written document props. Case in point: He wrote on camera for a documentary film about the Oswald/Kennedy assassination.

BECOMING A CALLIGRAPHER Maisner says that he was self-taught and his fascination with lettering began when he made signs for rock bands. “I had a lot of lettering practice in high school and was even asked to create a certificate. I used Gothic lettering. My father saw it and thought that it was good and the next day he came home with calligraphy model books, pens, paper and inks. He encouraged me to practice every day.” Maisner was on his fledgling way towards segueing into calligraphy and later attended the art school at Cooper Union in New York. His teacher Don Kunz was impressed that he had never met someone who had done so much on his own. Obviously with such praise, Maisner was impressed with himself and thought that he knew it all. Kunz put him in the right direction in “beginner calligraphy,” which retrained his eye and hand properly.

Maisner is now regarded as a prominent scholar and expert in the art of Medieval and Renaissance manuscript gold illumination techniques and has lectured at prominent museums and galleries. His works have appeared on Martha Stewart Living and in New York magazine as well as other major magazines and the Wall Street Journal as the definitive expect on social calligraphy. Visit Bernard Maisner Studio at

For more information about the GSMT Artisan Lecture Series, held at 20 West 44th Street contact the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen at 212.840.1840, ext 2. Or email the program director Karin Taylor at Visit

Monday, January 13, 2014


                                                                       Fashion is on the agenda and New York’s trendy city venues come to the top of the list of things to entertain as we thaw out from the cold. The choices are   varied, it’s up to you to choose from the rich assortment, and most  events are free and open to the public…just remember to register first. Only in New York...the best of New York. Here’s the scoop!!!

FASHION CULTURE: The Museum at FIT, (MFIT) Spring 2014 Special Programs offers eight very interesting lectures in its Spring 2014 Special Programs including: “Dressing Divinely: 1930s Hollywood Costume/Couture February 26, 6pm; Diana Vreeland Memos: The Vogue Years on March 26 when Diana Vreeland’s son and grandson will present their new book, an extraordinary compilation of Vreeland’s personal life, while her communications with designers offer the reader an intimate education in fashion. Other titles include “The High Cost of Cheap Fashion, Latin American Fashion, I am Dandy, The Science of Trend Forecasting and Branding a City: Barcelona and Fashion. All lectures are held in the Katie Murphy Amphitheater at 6pm. Register early to get a seat. There is also a series of Talks and Tours. To register, email museuminfo@fitnyc or call 212.217.4585. Image: ADRIAN, Evening gown and cape worn by Joan Crawford in The Bride Wore Red, 1937. Courtesy of MFIT.

FOREVER SAINT LAURENT: Buzz has built around the eagerly awaited film on YSL, due largely to the performances of Pierre Niney, who plays Saint Laurent and Guillaume Gallienne, who takes on the role of YSL’s former partner Pierre Berge. To fine tune Saint Lauent's voice and mannerisms, the 24-year-old Niney obviously watched old television interviews of the designer, who died in 2008. A consummate actor, Niney took lesions in fashion design, sewing and drawing, and spent hours poring over the archives. The film features several of the women in Saint Laurent’s life including Loulou de la Falaise, Laura Smet and Marie de Villepin to name a few. Among the outfits seen in the movie are creations from Saint Laurent’s first collection shown in 1962, and pieces from the Collection 40, which sparked a scandal in 1971 with World War II-inspired items like a broad-shouldered green fox fur coat. For photos go to Watch for New York film dates.

LOVE IN BLOOM: Valentine’s Day begins early. The Ana Tzarev gallery has installed a luscious ruby red monumental flower, a LOVE sculpture in Dag Hammarskjold plaza, adjacent to the United Nations and the public is invited to share their own messages of “Love & Peace” by adding your own story. Simply take a picture and add it to Instagram or Twitter with the hash tag #lovepeaceflower, or download the app at LovePeace/ The artist’s Love & Peace Campaign present 15 monumental sculptures circling the globe through 2017.

CHINESE NEW YEAR: Another time to celebrate. On February lst the New York Philharmonic will celebrate Chinese New Year with its third annual Chinese New Year Gala featuring Bejing-born pianist and rising young start Yuja Wang performing Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The program will also include Li Huanshi’s Spring Festival Overture; Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, with cellist Jian Wang, and Tan Dun’s The Triple Resurrection. At 101 Lincoln Square #132 Avery Fisher Hall.

Ta Ta darlings!!! I’m still celebrating and New Year and hope to see you at the Philharmonic. Fan mail welcome at Visit and on the home page in the left hand column clink on the links to access my Blogs on fashion, health, visionary men and poetry.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New York Thaws Out of the Frigid Frost (c) By Polly Guerin

As New York thaws out from the frigid frost new cultural venues burst forth into the New Year with venues to warm one’s interest in museum openings, fashion and new restaurant launches. Only in New York, my friends, the best of New York. Here’s the scoop!!!

METROPOLITAN VANITIES: The History of the Dressing Table --“Malady won’t you please be seated.” Few pieces of furniture have revealed more about leisure pursuits, popular taste, and changing social customs than the dressing table, or vanity and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition provides a tantalizing overview of the origins and development of the dressing table from antiquity to the present day. Some 50 related objects, paintings, and drawings inform and animate much of the dressing table’s lengthy design history and showcases many of the objects associated with the toilette. One of the finest examples of a table artfully engineered is the Mechanical Table (1761-63) which moves forward to reveal the vanity mirror and additional compartments and don’t miss Bel Geddes’ enamel and chrome-plated steel dressing table (1932) a model of the streamlined chic and sophisticated style of the Art Deco era Also on note is Raymond Loewy’s (1969) modern molded –plastic valet dressing table. Exhibition through April 13, 2014. Pictured here: Le Bonheur du Jour; ou, Les Graces a la Mode by George Barbier (1882-1932). Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

COMME DES GARCON It’s time to check out CDG. For the first time since it opened on West 22nd Street in 1999, Rei Kawakubo has renovated the Chelsea store, recasting the former black-and-white fixtures and curving, sculptural partitions in gold, because Kei believes people gravitate toward gold. Perhaps the biggest, Comme des Carcon news is happening at the Dover Street Market, CDG’s ultimate cool multibrand store located at 160 Lexington Avenue in the heart of streets that seemingly belong to the not so fashionable area called, ‘Little India.’ Yes, it’s worth a visit to see the wild synergy of the place which showcases all 15 of CDG’s collections, plus other top lines including megabrands Louis Vuitton and Prada. A complete floor-to-ceiling view of the store can be had by riding the glass elevator in the middle of the store.

GOOD EATS, THE EMPIRE RETURNS New Yorker’s favorite hangout, the Empire Diner, located on the corner of 22nd Street and Tenth Avenue is another comeback venue. The thirties-era diner with its stainless steel doors opens under the management of executive chef Amanda Freitag who you may recognize from her frequent appearances on the Food Network. Freitag and her partners are trying to re-create the magic of the Empire Diner’s past but for now, the diner will just be open for dinner with plans in the future to be a 24 hour a day restaurant. It will still carry some of those nostalgic diner favorites: omelets, pancakes and milkshakes while higher end meals might include steak and gravlax with caviar. Visit

CHAMBERS FINE ART presents Guanshan Gathering: collaboration between the influential scholar, curator and artist Zheng Shengtian and the highly regarded calligrapher Wang Dongling. For Guanshan Gathering, there will be a calligraphy performance during the opening reception. Zheng has changed the parameters of his analysis of the relationship between mark and meaning by choosing Zong Bing’s fifth-century classic introduction to Landscape Painting as text, and a celebrated contemporary calligrapher, Wang Dongling as executant. Chambers Fine Art is located at 522 West 19th Street. The exhibition opens on Jan 9, 6-8 pm.

Ta Ta darlings!!! I’m visiting my favorite dressing table a la Pompadour. Fan mail welcome at Visit and on the home page in the left hand column clink on the links to access my Blogs on fashion, health, visionary men and amazing women.