DoTheRightThingPresident Obama anticipated the response in Ferguson, even referring to it as “good television,” in his address to the nation after the grand jury’s decision was announced.

It’s hard for young people to grow up in America, especially when ‘adults’ mistake the wrong thing for the right thing.

Faulkner-Hamlet (2)The United States continues to be a place where new things need to look old, and old things (and people) need to look new.

For example, this 2003 copy of Thomas Jefferson—Basic Writings has a dust jacket made to look old (see brown spots). It sits next to a 1940 first edition copy of William Faulkner’s The Hamlet, considered by many to be an important work in American literature—but with a dust jacket that one ABAA book dealer recently wrote was “too ruff…to be able to resell.”

What would Faulkner say about that? Perhaps: “I told you so; blame the damn Snopes, with their snap-on bow ties, acting like Sartoris!”

One shouldn’t disregard shabby volumes. In his introduction to “Nostromo” (Doubleday, 1924), Joseph Conrad writes that his inspiration for the work came from “a shabby volume picked up outside a second hand bookshop.”

GeorgiaOKeeffe-JimsonWeed1GeorgiaOKeeffe-Sotheby'sIn describing Lot #11 of today’s American Art Auction at Sotheby’s, the program reads: “In Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 (from 1932), O’Keeffe transforms the poisonous into the sublime.”

When the bidding was over, the amount on the board was $39,500,000 ($44,400,000, with fees for Sotheby’s).

Photographs: Stephen Wise

ConchaYToro-DonMelchorConchaYToro-Enrique (2)The Wine Spectator announced its Top 100 Wines of 2014 on Monday. Topping the list was Dows 2011 Vintage Porto, an unusual choice with few if any bottles available. Dows has already released the 2012. But coming in at #9 was a favorite of ours, Concha Y Toro Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Don Melchor, which is available at Zachy’s for $125, as of last night (while supplies last).

Don Melchor Technical Director (Winemaker): Enrique Tirado Santelices


BordeauxUnderOneRoof2014BordeauxUnderOneRoof2014aThe recent Bordeaux Under One Roof event in NYC highlighted some of the fine wines from Bordeaux in the $20-40 price range.

We liked the Chateau Smith Haute Lafitte, “Les Hauts de Smith” 2011 (Red & White); Chateau de Landiras 2010; Clos Magne de Figeac 2010; and Chateau Tour Seran 2011. For a few more dollars the Chateau Latour Martillac Cru Classe de Graves 2005 is worth it.

BarbarianWomenAs seen on Madison Ave., November 16, 2014

SalonArt&Design2014aSalonArt&Design2014hSalonArt&Design2014dSalonArt&Design2014eThis year’s Salon Art & Design, at the Park Avenue Armory, has brought together 55 galleries from around the world and runs through November 17.

Some of the important items at the show include: a sofa by Karre Klint, a painting (top) by Giorgio De Chirico, and the Red Billet Armchair by Gerrit Rietveld (1924).

HavelALifeRemnickZantovskyTwenty-five years ago (Nov. 17)  the peaceful Velvet Revolution brought an end to Communist rule in the former Czechoslovakia, and led to play right and dissident leader Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) becoming President.

Mr. Havel’s former Press Secretary, Michael Zantovsky, is out with a book that some are calling the definitive biography of Havel. He was interviewed about the book by David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, before an audience last evening at Bohemian Hall in NYC.

Mr. Zantovsky described Vaclav Havel, as “a hero for what he has done,” but also as a flawed man filled with “guilt and doubt,” who made mistakes but was committed to telling the truth.

When asked why Havel supported the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq? Zantovsky said “because Havel trusted the American President.”

The American people and the world are learning there is no future in trusting American Presidents—who are guided more by Bolshevik values than the truth. Ironically, it’s the American leadership that has become Bolshevik (collapsing societies) in recent years, with the Russians (and Czechs) more Jeffersonian.

In his conversation with Mr. Zantovsky, Mr. Remnick suggested that the Czech Republic’s post-revolution success was an “outlier”, and that other countries in the region, especially Russia (and Putin) have disappointed. Later LE asked Mr. Remnick why he was down on Putin? He responded with a question: “I should be high on him?” LE then suggested that the U.S. government has done more harm in the world than Putin and Russia in the last 25 years. Remnick closed with: “It’s a longer conversation,” and left.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

Sotheby's-RothkoMrsPaulMellonThe 43 Masterworks from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon (1910-2014) were all sold at Sotheby’s last evening. Two paintings by Mark Rothko were featured in the Collection, including Yellow, Orange, Yellow Light Orange (1955) which sold for $36.5 million.

In 2012, another Rothko painting Orange, Red, Yellow (1961) sold for $87 million at a Christie’s auction (the addition of Red was worth an extra $50 million).

Given that American Abstract Expressionist Art has long been used by the CIA and U.S. State Department, as a tool (weapon) in U.S. foreign policy, it’s fitting that this post falls on Veterans Day. Mr. Rothko took his own life in 1970.

Photographs: Stephen Wise

Christie'sAmericanArt2014Christie'sAmericanArtAmerican Art Auction at Christie’s — November 19, 2014

Photographs: Stephen Wise


Stephen B. Wise


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