Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Developing California

Carleton Watkins
Three Brothers
Yosemite, CA
c. 1861

Thirty years ago, in the fall of 1979, Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco opened with an exhibition of photographs by noted nineteenth century photographer Carleton Watkins (1829-1916). Those original pieces have since been placed at auction and acquired by different museums nationwide, yet recently twenty-four of Watkins’s photographs, made between 1865 and 1881, were discovered and exhibited at Fraenkel Gallery in
Carleton Watkins: Discoveries.

Carleton Watkins was born in upstate New York and arrived in San Francisco in 1851 during the gold rush. Watkins became one of the most important photographers of the nineteenth century, beginning his practice in 1861. He became interested in landscape photography and opened “Yosemite Gallery” on Montgomery Street. Watkins experimented with a number of developing photographic techniques of the time, favoring the “Mammoth Camera,” which used large glass plate negatives and a stereographic camera. Famous for his series of photographs of Yosemite Valley, these glass plates, cameras, tripods, chemicals and equipment had to be carried up and down the mountains, a monumental feat in its self. The contact albumen prints on display at the Fraenkel Gallery, with some exposures taking up to an hour each, include many of these Yosemite images as well as a diptych panorama of San Francisco and images taken in Menlo Park.

Further highlighting the development of California is the exhibition,
Incompletely Visible: The Legacy of the Bay Area Missions at The Society of California Pioneers in San Francisco. This exhibition investigates the arrival of Spanish Missionaries to California’s Pacific Coast and the integration of their teachings and practices with those of the Native Americans. The exhibition included photographs of the 21 California Missions, including Mission San Antonio (1880), Mission Santa Barbara (1880) and Mission Santa Clara (1855) by Carleton Watkins; as well as maps, models, clothing, textiles and religious pieces and imagery. The arrangements of these pieces aim to develop the history, purpose and practices of the Missionaries and their effect and influences over the Native Americans. The Spanish Missionaries attempted to convert the Native Americans to Christianity and brought new livestock, fruits, grains and industry; while at the same time introduced diseases that killed thousands and destroyed their cultural traditions and practices.

These two exhibitions, through the use different mediums, inform viewers on the long history and development of California, and the influences that people, culture and technological advancements have had as the state developed. Arader Galleries in San Francisco is proud to have maps of early and modern-day California and engravings of early Native Americans and California Missions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Schedule

Thursday, December 24th (Christmas Eve) –
Open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Friday, December 25th (Christmas Day) and Saturday, December 26th – Closed

Monday 12/28 through Wednesday 12/30 – Open, regular hours

Thursday 12/31/09 (New Year’s Eve) – Open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Friday 1/1/10 (New Year’s Day) – Closed

Saturday 1/2/10 – Open, regular hours

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Charity Shopping Event - December 10th

Arader Galleries Charity Shopping Event
December 10, 2009
11 am – 7 pm

Don’t miss this chance this find a truly unique gift while supporting your favorite charity!
Arader Galleries is celebrating the holidays with their first annual charity shopping event. 20% of any purchase you make during the event will go to the charity of your choice.

For inspiration on gifting art, visit our previous blog post on this topic.

Location: 432 and 435 Jackson Street, Historic Jackson Square, San Francisco
Please call 415.788.5115 for more information.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Botanical Mezzotints by Thornton

The Snowdrop by Dr. Robert John Thornton

There are many different techniques of printmaking from woodcut to aquatint, but only one style, mezzotint, allows the engraver to produce finite shades of gray and subtle details for “smoother transition between line and shade.” As the article, Made in the Shade, in the November 2009 Arts & Antiques magazine states, mezzotint is a printmaking technique developed in 1642 in the Netherlands by Ludwig von Siegen, who served as an aid to nobles of the Holy Roman Empire. In the mezzotint process, the engraver creates a very detailed and luxurious print by pressing a rocker, a chisel-like tool with evenly spaced teeth onto copper plate to create peaks and valleys. Mezzotints start black and work their way lighter through this process. When finished with the engraving, the engraver “scrapes and burnishes the surface to shape the image” bringing forth the desired image from the background. Through the use of color, the image comes alive as the ink sinks deep into the valley of the copper plates and the black of the peaks creates the lines and shadows.

The mezzotint technique traveled across Europe and became widely popular in England in the mid-eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. It was at this time, in the late eighteen century that English physician and botanical writer Dr. Robert John Thornton began engraving and printing a series of botanical illustrations using the mezzotint technique. Assembling the finest flower painters to paint original designs for the engravings, the series, Temple of Flora, was unsurpassed as a botanical document of the Romantic era. Mezzotint was a popular engraving technique in England because it was a faster process and less expensive than line engravings and other more intensive forms of printing. Arader Galleries in San Francisco is proud to exhibit Dr. Robert John Thornton’s mezzotint engravings from the Temple of Flora.

Thornton began to indulge his lifelong love for botany in 1799 when he began the engraving and printing process for the Temple of Flora, which includes five frontispieces, portraits and allegorical compositions with thirty-two plates of flowers. As with all of his brilliantly colored plates, in The Snowdrop, the blue, orange and white flowers stand vividly in the foreground against rolling, snow covered hills behind. This whimsical landscape engraving, in excellent condition, shows the range of tone and shade that the mezzotint process brings to an image, while the coloring and background adds to the dramatic velvety effect. Arader Galleries currently has a wide selection of Dr. Robert John Thornton’s mezzotints from The Temple of Flora available. For more information, please visit or call 415.788.5115.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Envisioning the World; The First Printed Maps

Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus),
Alexandrian Greek, active 146–c. 170

Envisioning the World; The First Printed Maps, 1472-1700

October 2, 2009 – January 17, 2010 at the Sonoma County Museum
A selection of 30 of the earliest printed maps from the private collection of Henry and Holly Wendt to explore the major trends in Western intellectual history from the early Renaissance through the scientific era of the Enlightenment.

Henry Wendt describes this selection of maps in the audio guide for this exhibition as a ‘collection of stories that is the grand story of the progress of knowledge and understanding of our environment and how people understood the world’. Wendt goes on, however to point out that ‘every map serves more than one purpose’ whether it be decorative, navigational, informative, for commerce or marking the outpost of an empire.’

Envisioning the World is divided into four major chronological sections, each one associated with a pioneer in scientific concepts of the time. As one walks through the exhibition, the maps display the evolution in understanding of geography and the nature of our solar system and our place in it. The exhibition also shows innovations in printing beginning with maps printed from woodcuts and graduating to detailed copperplate engravings.

The educational opportunities offered in this exhibition are accessible for those new to the world of cartography as well as those well versed. We recommend visiting the Sonoma County Museum especially to all that are interested in cartography and world history.

Arader Galleries has a fine collection of antique maps from the 16th to the 20th centuries. For more information, visit our locations at 432 and 435 Jackson Street, or call 415.788.5115.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

The Arader Galleries team, from left: Tim Hamilton, Stephanie Waskins and Nicole Lopez

Below: Photographs of the Arader Galleries booth:

Object from Egyptomania exhibition

Andreas Cellarius celestials from the Arader Galleries collection on display in installation by Sutro Architects

The oldest continuously run antique show on the west Coast, The San Francisco Fall Antique Show, was held in the Marina at the Fort Mason Center October 29-November 1st. Arader Galleries San Francisco was pleased to participate in the show and was honored to be able to exhibit amongst the world’s premier antique dealers. Along with about 70 exhibitors, Arader Galleries debuted its impressive collection of maps, natural history and botanical engravings and lithographs from the 16th – 19th centuries, iconic images of California, the Pacific Islands and Asia as well as beautiful antique furniture, globes and more. On exhibition from Arader Galleries were some of the world’s most well renowned naturalists, cartographers and artist’s works, including John James Audubon, Dr. John Robert Thornton, Maria Sibylla Merian, Andreas Cellarius and Alexis-Hubert Jalliot.

The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show is the major fundraising event for Enterprise for High School Students, a non-profit job referral and career development agency in San Francisco. The theme of the show this year was Egyptomania: Imitation as Timeless Flattery and the lecture series for the show focused on cultural and historical artifacts and their relation to the ancient Egypt, as well as present day fascination with the culture and preservation of Egyptian life. In keeping with this theme, Arader Galleries displayed its own collection of Egyptian maps by Abraham Ortelius as well as mezzotints, engravings and lithographs of Egyptian landscape views, architecture, iconic imagery, animals and more. Arader Gallery was proud to be apart of the San Francisco Fall Antique Show and thankful for the opportunity to share and exhibit our vast collection of antiques.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Audubon’s Illustration of the Endangered California Condor

John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Plate 426 - California Vulture (California Condor) from The Birds of America

Of the three species of Vulture which inhabit the southern parts of North America, this is so much superior in size to the rest that it bears to them the same proportion as a Golden Eagle to a Goshawk. It inhabits the valleys and plains of the western slope of the continent, and has not been observed eastward of the Rocky Mountains. John James Audubon

John James Audubon is without rival as the most celebrated American Natural History artist. Audubon devoted his life to realizing his dream of identifying and depicting the birds of North America, and his work has had profound cultural and historical significance. In the second decade of the 19th century, he set out to travel throughout the wilderness of the United States, drawing every notable species of native bird. His remarkable ambition and artistic talent culminated in the publication of the monumental Birds of America betweem 1827 and 1838, a series of 435 aquatints that have only grown in fame since the time of their first appearance. This work established Audubon as an early American artist who could attract European attention, and for many, he personified New World culture and its emerging independent existence.

This enormous bird, now endangered, was widespread in Audubon’s time, although he never actually visited the Pacific slope where it was found. His friend, Dr. Townsend, sent him the following account, “The Californian most plentiful in spring at which season it feeds upon the dead salmon that are thrown upon the shore [of the Columbia River] in great numbers...The Californian vulture cannot, however, be called a plentiful species as even in the situations mentioned it is rare to see more than two or three at a time and these so shy as not to allow an approach to within a hundred yards unless by stratagem.”

One of the world’s rarest and most imperiled birds, the California Condor was rescued from the brink of extinction by captive breeding and release. The California Condor was once found throughout the Southwestern U.S. into Mexico (as well as pockets in New York and Florida), by the early 1900s they were largely confined to the rugged mountains and foothills of Central and Southern California, where they remained until 1987. In that year, the last free-flying wild bird was captured and integrated into an existing captive breeding program. (source: The Audubon Society)

From 1987 to 1992, no California Condors flew free in the California skies. In 1992 captive-bred condors were released into the wild at Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge north of Ventura, California, with additional captive-reared birds added to the flock each year thereafter. Today, the condor remains imperiled, with just 279 condors living, including 70 wild birds in California.

Audubon's hand-colored aquantint of the California Vulture/Condor is currently on display at Arader Galleries San Francisco location at 435 Jackson Street, and is available for purchase. For more information, please call 415.788.5115.

Monday, September 28, 2009

History of Botanical Art

Stephanie Waskins, Director, Arader Galleries San Francisco

Catherine M. Watters

Last Thursday, September 24th, Arader Galleries hosted a reception and presentation on the history of botanical art from the 16th century to the present day in our 435 Jackson Street location in collaboration with the artist, Catherine M. Watters. Catherine has been teaching botanical illustration and watercolor at Filoli in Woodside, California since 1999 and is a primary instructor and curriculum developer for the Filoli Botanical Art Certificate Program. She lectures regularly on The History of Botanical Art and The Gardens of Normandy, and served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Botanical Artists from 2000-2006.

San Francisco gallery director, Stephanie Waskins, began the lecture showcasing spectacular examples from the Arader Gallery inventory of original botanical watercolors and prints dating as early as 1547 with illustrated texts devoted to herbals and florilegiums. The lecture included the works of Leonhart Fuchs, Basil Besler, Maria Sybilla Merian, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, and George Brookshaw among other artists. Catherine’s original watercolors of botanical subjects were shown alongside these historic examples.

We encourage you to visit the Filoli and inquire about Catherine’s classes should you have an interest in pursuing the art of botanical illustration. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to obtain a copy of a catalog from our gallery on the history of botanical art from the 16th through the 19th centuries.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Lords of the Samurai exhibition at The Asian Art Museum

Japanese Watercolors of Irises from the Collection of Arader Galleries

The Lords of the Samurai
is an exhibition not to be missed at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. This fascinating exhibition takes an intimate look at the daimyo, or provincial lords of the warrior class in feudal Japan. More than just professional warriors, Japanese samurai of the highest rank were also visionaries who strove to master artistic, cultural, and spiritual pursuits.

The exhibition features more than 160 works from the Hosokawa family collection housed in the Eisei-Bunko Museum in Tokyo, and from Kumamoto Castle and the Kumamoto Municipal Museum in Kyushu. Objects on view include suits of armor, armaments (including swords and guns), formal attire, calligraphy, paintings, tea wares, lacquerware, masks, and musical instruments.

The Arader Galleries team was particularly interested to see a beautiful album of Japanese watercolors of irises in the exhibition. In fact, we have recently received for inventory a set of delicately rendered 19th century Japanese watercolors very similar to the iris watercolors in this exhibition! The iris is a symbol of high importance in Japanese culture, and during the Edo period in Japan there was a renaissance of iris cultivation.

Please stop by the 435 Jackson Street location of Arader Galleries in San Francisco to see these extraordinary watercolors, or call us at 415.788.5115 to request a copy of our “The Japanese Iris” catalog.

Also, this is your last chance to see The Lords of Samurai at the Asian Art Museum, the exhibition closes on September 20th!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The First Official State Map of California

William M. Eddy
Approved and Declared to be the Official Map of the State of California by an Act of the Legislature Passed March 25th 1853.
New York: J.H. Colton, 1854
Hand-colored lithograph
Paper size: 52 1/5” x 43 1/2”
Framed size: 51 1/4” x 59 3/4”

The need for an “Official Map” of California was recognized at the founding of the California state government. An act of the state legislature passed on April 4, 1850 ordered the State Surveyor General to make an accurate map of the state. This was William Eddy.

Not much is known about William Eddy’s earlier career or education, however it is fairly certain that he was an experienced surveyor, and had some education in engineering before being appointed City Surveyor of San Francisco in 1849 during San Francisco’s first charter election. Eddy and his staff surveyed numerous city and private locations, and the majority of early maps of San Francisco were based upon Eddy’s various surveys, thus putting Eddy Street on the map!

With his new position as State Surveyor General, William Eddy, submitted a budget of $12,850 to pay for expenses to be incurred while surveying and drafting the development of the “Official Map” of California. He received only $3,000, greatly limiting his ability to travel to sites to make accurate, first hand surveys. He submitted his map in 1853 and was ordered to have the map engraved on copper and supply copies to various state officials. The map was sent to J. H. Colton in New York for engraving and printing.

William Eddy’s map was the best of the state of California up to this time, however, Eddy was unable to ascertain critical information resulting in errors that eventually met with harsh criticism. In fact, the map was criticized by government and military officials as “disgraceful”. One major error in Eddy’s map showed the Colorado River running to the east, but the river was found to run almost north. Also county boundaries were still obscure in areas, as it had been difficult for Eddy to obtain accurate data from county surveyors who were mostly unaware themselves.

In spite of the critics, Eddy’s map of the state of California was a substantial improvement over the commercial maps previously published. For the first time the map showed the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada in approximately the correct location. It also showed Lake Bigler, whose name officially changed to Lake Tahoe in 1863, very close to its actual position. Also the beautiful, large scale of the map allowed Eddy to depict many mines, ranches, trails and routes. The Oregon Trail is prominent to the north, and Fremont’s route of 1844 is equally prominent in the south. The inset of San Francisco is based upon Eddy’s map of 1851.

Eddy’s California map was further reviewed and determined not up to the standards of an “Official Map” thus tossed aside. It was not until 1873 that California had an accurate map of the state produced by the California Geological Survey. That map was based on a trigonometric survey of the whole state that took over 10 years of work to produce.

This map is currently on display at Arader Galleries' 432 Jackson Street location in San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A wonderful trip to Hidcote Manor Gardens in Gloucestershire

Hidcote Manor is a delightful surprise, hidden down a series of twisting country lanes in the Cotswolds. I had the opportunity to pay these incredible gardens a visit last month and spend time in the many ‘rooms’ of this fabulous estate run by The National Trust, Europe’s largest conservation organization.

The gardens at Hidcote Manor were designed and developed by Maj. Lawrence Johnston, a wealthy and well educated American, scion of a Baltimore stock broking family, who became a naturalized British subject and fought with the British Army in the Boer and First World Wars. Johnston was an avid plant collector and horticulturalist who sponsored and participated in plant hunting expeditions to secure rare and exotic species for this truly unbelievable garden.

Maj. Johnston's mother, Gertrude Winthrop, bought the Hidcote estate for her son in 1907. During the 1920s and 30s, Johnston worked with 12 full time gardeners to design and plant the garden. He was advised by many of the top artists and garden designers of the day including Alfred Parsons and Gertrude Jekyll. Johnston traveled the world in his search for unusual plants, participating in plant collecting expeditions to the Swiss Alps, the Andes, South Africa, Kenya, Burma, the South of France, Formosa, the Maritime Alps and the Atlas Mountains. Johnston is known to have introduced more than 40 new plants to the United Kingdom. Many of them now bear his name.

Hope you will enjoy these recent photos and plan a trip the next time you find yourself in London. It is just a 2 hours drive from the city center.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tycho Brahe and the Island of Hven

Inside the Tycho Brahe Museum on Hven

Arader Galleries, San Francisco recently had the opportunity to attend the International Conference for the History of Cartography held in Copenhagen, Denmark this year. During our trip to Denmark, we traveled to the island of Hven, Sweden to visit the Tycho Brahe Museum and Observatory. Tycho Brahe was a Danish scientist and astronomer who dedicated 20 years to the study of the celestial heavens on Hven. He is best known in history for the astronomical observations which led Kepler to his theories of the Solar system. Hope you enjoy reading about his life below.

Tycho Brahe was born to Danish nobility in 1546 and by the age of 13, he was sent to the University of Copenhagen to study philosophy and rhetorics. A solar eclipse in 1560 awoke his interest in astronomy, and he began reading books on the subject. He attended the universities of Leipzig, Wittenberg, Rostock and Basel to study law, humanities and science. In Leipzig he started astronomical studies without permission, but was soon forgiven after demonstrating successes. He found that old observations were very inaccurate, and started to design methods and instruments for high-precision measurement of positions of celestial bodies.

On November 11th, 1572 he observed a new brilliant star in the constellation of Cassiopeia. Brahe's measurements showed that it really was a distant star and not any local phenomena. This was very intriguing at that time, since the sphere of the stars was considered to be divine and perfect. Brahe observed its brightness evolve until it faded away the next year. He reported the event in his book "De stella nova", which made him famous all over Europe.

Because of his scientific observations, Brahe was granted the island of Hven by the Danish King Frederick II in 1574. The site and other sites, which created the basis for financing the research project that he so strongly wished to devote his life to. On Hven he had a library, laboratory and platforms for observations of the skies. He also had assistants who lived with him on the island which were recruited from universities and from his colleagues in Europe that he maintained correspondence with. Brahe entered into multiple-year contracts with them. In these contracts, they committed themselves to assisting Brahe in his scientific work, and not to reveal the results that were achieved to any outside parties. In return, they received food, lodging and clothing. More than 100 assistants are mentioned by name, as being active on Hven, in the observation protocols, letters and other documents from this time. The research was carried out in subjects such as astronomy, chemistry, medicine, horticultural refinement, meteorology and cartography.

We strongly encourage you to visit the Tycho Brahe Museum on the beautiful island of Hven during your future travels to learn more about Brahe’s life and contributions to modern science.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Memphis; Vue des Ruines, Prise du Sud-Est
From Description de l'Egypt

In 1922, Howard Carter opened a tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, unearthing the undiscovered tomb of King Tutankhamen. The furniture, thrones, model boats and figurines, ornate jewelry and game boards, all meant to service a purpose in the afterlife, were found in the tomb as well as the mummy of King Tut himself. These fascinating items are on display at the Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition at the de Young Museum. The exhibition successfully puts these objects in context with the changing political and religious times of King Tut’s lifetime (1333-1324 BC).

Inspired by this fabulous exhibition, Arader Galleries is pleased to present our latest catalog, The Rediscovery of Egypt. The catalog includes views and architectural studies from the landmark publication on Egypt, Description de l’Egypte, as well as maps, ornamental studies and natural history.

The Description de l’Egypte was a publication now considered the foundation work on Egyptology, and had a huge aesthetic impact on art and architecture of 19th century Europe. In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Egypt, in what would become a failed campaign, with the intent to undermine Britain’s access to India and protect French Trade interests. In addition to his soldiers, Napoleon was accompanied by 150 engineers, scientists, mathematicians, naturalists and artists, called the Commission des Sciences et des Arts d’Egypte, whose mission was to explore and record Egypt: its ancient and modern buildings and monuments, its people and customs, its geography, and its flora and fauna. The product of this exhaustive research was the publication of Description de l’Egypte, which includes extraordinary illustrations of Ancient Egyptian temples.

Please call Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115 to request a copy of the Rediscovery of Egypt catalog.

This exhibition is not to be missed!
Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs
De Young Museum
June 27, 2009–March 28, 2010

Friday, July 10, 2009

Modernizing Antiquity

Postcard from Aleksandra Mir's Venezia installation

Piranesi's Aranzi d'un Portico coperto...

The Grand Tour is a tradition that affects all modern travelers as it laid the foundation for the tourist industry we know today. Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century, young European men of means traveled through Italy in search of art, culture, and the roots of Western civilization. The main purpose and value of the Grand Tour was to experience the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, which translated into commissioning paintings, perfecting secondary languages, and mingling with European nobility. Having recently participated in a modern take on the Grand Tour, studying Renaissance art in Florence and contemporary art in Venice, I would like to share an interesting comparison between the master engraver, Giovanni Piranesi and contemporary Polish artist, Aleksandra Mir.

Aleksandra Mir is one of the artists participating in the 53rd International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, an event that is the closet thing the art world has to the Olympics, where seventy-seven countries present pavilions devoted to artists of their choice. Mir’s installation, Venezia (all places contain all others), was among my favorites at the Biennale and prompted my reflection on the Grand Tour tradition. The piece consisted of a million free postcards, presented in open cardboard boxes. Walking through the vast arsenale (Venice’s massive former shipping yard), filled with the most incredible and outrageous displays of contemporary art, coming across relatively conventional items, such as postcards, I was somewhat tempted to keep walking. However, skepticism is a useful mentality to implore at the biennale and what looks seemingly commonplace is, of course, so much more.

In Mir’s installation, various places characterized by the presence of water were substituted for traditional images of Venice, with the word “Venezia” printed over the appropriated landscapes, effectively disorienting the observer. The artist therefore redefines the essence of tourism, freeing tourists of its stereotyped images while simultaneously challenging paradigms. In a similar way, Giovanni Piranesi disregarded realism to make a statement to the tourists of his day, the grand tourists. Indeed, he took creative liberties in an effort to augment the sense of antiquity in Rome, and even though his views weren’t necessarily realistic, they became the standard images of ancient Rome. Piranesi sold his prints to grand tourists, who brought them back to every corner of Europe, where their awestruck neighbors conceived a desire to see the amazing antiquities in person. Thus the artist not only capitalized on the Grand Tour—he intensified it. Naturally, Mir’s postcards will also be circulated by the public to every part of the world as nonrepresentational mementos, serving as evocations of the Biennale experience.

By printing a million copies, Mir transforms the ephemeral nature of postcards into a powerful medium, transmitting the meaning of the artwork across time and space. Piranesi pioneered this concept—using copperplate prints as a medium, he routinely pulled over 3,000 prints from a single plate, way above the then average of 100 prints. Undoubtedly, Mir hopes that one day one of these postcards will end up on the stall of an antique dealer similar to the way Piranesi’s etchings of Rome hang in antique galleries today. I found Mir’s installation a brilliant piece of contemporary art, categorized by its interesting connection with Piranesi and capacity for long-term resonance. Indeed, Mir, as well as tourists like me, have Piranesi to thank for popularizing the idea of the visual memento, for what are postcards if not the modern day equivalent of the 17th century vedute?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Astronomy Astounds All

Farnese Atlas, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Example of Arader Galleries' selection of
Diderot's Astronomy Instruments

Diderot's Astronomy Instruments

“The strongest affection and utmost zeal should, I think, promote the studies concerned with the most beautiful objects. This is the discipline which deals with the universe’s divine revolutions, the stars’ motions, sizes, distances, risings, and settings . . . for what is more beautiful than heaven?” Copernicus, 1543

In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy has staged the exhibit: Galileo: Images of the Universe from Antiquity to the Telescope. Florence is home to one of the world’s leading research centers for astronomic research and the birthplace of Galileo, making it the perfect destination to accommodate the greatest exhibition on the history of astronomy. This exhibit traces the history of astronomy through its images and tools, illustrating how the heavens have been a source of mystery and fascination for all civilizations. Participants are taken back to the beginnings of the study of the heavens with the mystical and poetic visions of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It then moves on to the Greek cosmogonies, through the planetary architectures of Ptolemy and Arab astronomy, revoking the Christian interpretations and finally arriving at the heliocentric theories of Copernicus that inspired Galileo and Kepler.

Highlights include the Farnese Atlas (on loan from the Museo Achelogico Nazionale, Naples) which is the oldest surviving celestial globe and the only map of the heavens from Greek and Roman antiquity, as well as the infamous telescope Galileo pointed up to the heavens exactly 400 years ago. The exhibition does an incredible job exploring the relationship between astronomy and astrology and the fascination that cosmology has always exerted on architecture and art.

Inspired by this world-class exhibit, Arader Galleries is pleased to present newly acquired prints, depicting astrological tools from Denis Diderot’s Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences et des Arts. These engravings are not only aesthetically striking but also serve to deepen our appreciation for how technology aids us in our desire to understand the universe. Namely, the telescope, more than any other tool, has enabled scientists to probe deeper into the cosmos, into the vastness of the heavens, and by consequence, completely change our conceptions of the universe and our relationship to it.

Please call 415.788.5115 for more information on Diderot’s Astronomy prints.
Please visit for more information on the Galileo exhibit.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Arader Galleries at Audubon Richardson Bay Center and Sanctuary

Arader Galleries would like to thank would like to thank the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary, along with all attendees of the Audubon exhibition for making this event a success. A spectacular collection of hand-colored engravings from John James Audubon's Birds of America was on display at the Lyford House, a historic landmark on the edge of the San Francisco Bay, throughout this past weekend. The Lyford House, one of the oldest houses surviving from the ranching era in Marin County, was the perfect setting for extraordinary collection of Audubon engravings. We were happy to see the enthusiastic reactions to the collection of Audubon as well as artwork by the naturalists Mark Catesby (1682-1749) and John Gould (1804-1881) also on display.

If you would like to inquire about any of the artwork on display, please call contact Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115.

For more information about the Richardson Bay Center and Sanctuary, visit

Friday, June 5, 2009

Special Audubon Exhibition at the Lyford House: June 13th & 14th

John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Plate 161 - Hooping Crane (Sandhill Crane)

Lyford House at Richardson Bay, Tiburon

The Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary and Arader Galleries welcome you to attend a special exhibition of works by John James Audubon at the Lyford House in Tiburon. Arader Galleries’ spectacular collection of original engravings from John James Audubon’s Birds of America (1827-1838) will be on display in this historic landmark on the edge of San Francisco Bay.

This special collection will be on view Saturday, June 13th and Sunday, June 14th from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Arader Galleries will donate 20% of all proceeds directly to The Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary.

Please visit or call 415-788-5115 for more information. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Arader Galleries Hosts Botanical Watercolor Class

Arader Galleries was pleased to coordinate a botanical exhibition in honor of Mary Harden (botanical artist and educator) and her students Wednesday afternoon. Approximately 50 art enthusiasts gathered to study the splendor of Arader Galleries’ magnificent botanical collection. The exhibition included works by Georg Ehert, Baldassare Cattrani, Jacques Le Moyne, and lastly Pierre Joseph Redoute—the indisputable star.

Everyone was pleased to learn an exciting fact regarding the influence of Redoute on botanical art: Mary pointed out that stippling (technique in printmaking of carving small dots to which ink is applied to produce a greater or lesser density of ink, which simulates varying degrees of shading) is seen in numerous 19th century, hand drawn, botanical illustrations because artists drew directly from the minute study of Redoute’s hand-colored stipple engravings rather than from nature itself—therefore including unnatural elements such as stippling. The implication is clear: artists felt Redoute had depicted the elusive character of nature so exquisitely that it made drawing from nature seem obsolete!

Like most still-lifes, flowers permit artists to display refinement in their artistic methods, yet botanical artists distinguish themselves in that they examine their objects with scientific rigor while simultaneously employing sensitivity for the aesthetic means of its reproduction. Indeed, few subjects in art are more beguiling and universally admired than flower still-lifes.

Arader Galleries’ material provided the perfect platform for Mary as she found numerous examples enabling her to relay her extensive knowledge of the technical and aesthetic challenges botanical artists face, as well as history of botanical illustration. Arader Galleries would like to thank Mary and her students for joining us in our appreciation for rare works on paper. Please contact Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115 for more information on upcoming events!

Monday, May 18, 2009

2009 Designer Showcase

Cabinet of Curiosities designed by Nicole Hollis

Stairwell designed by Nicole Hollis

Garden View of Salzburg by Mathias Diesel

Natural history undeniably marks one of the standout trends from this year’s Designer Showcase. Upon entering the magnificent Georgian mansion, visitors are greeted by a monumental cabinet of curiosities—a tradition dating back to Renaissance Europe, where objects, whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined, were showcased. It is easy to comprehend the design community’s interest in natural history as well as its lasting appeal, when considering the history of collecting. Initially, collections acted as a library, museum, and means of displaying an individual’s wealth. Indeed, these objects (on loan here from the California Academy of Sciences) invite observers to touch or study objects that are not only beautiful but also serve as remnants from the beginnings of collecting.

Along the main stairwell, butterflies and various other natural history prints hang, further indicating how living among references to the natural world can be richly fulfilling. Other examples of an adherence to natural history, include a prehistoric skeleton of a predatory marine reptile, located on the upper hallway, and pet portraiture which hangs along the stairwell leading to the penthouse.

The Study, designed by John Wheatman, achieves a timeless conformable retreat, making it one of our favorite rooms. Near the bookcase, hang lovely 18th century views of the Mirabelle Gardens in Salzburg, Austria. These engravings prove the importance of integrating art with design, for their presence contribute in large to the scholarly and leisurely atmosphere. Examples of picturesque Baroque gardens, these views are available through Arader Galleries.

Needless to say, the Designer Showcase is one of our favorite times of year. Inspiring elegant new design ideas, this event keeps us coming back year after year. Arader Galleries is pleased to offer a special catalog highlighting our natural history material. Please contact Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115 or email us to receive our Exploring the Natural World catalog.

The 2009 San Francisco Decorator Showcase is open through May 25 at 2830 Pacific Ave., San Francisco. Hours are 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Tues., Wed. and Fri.; until 7 p.m. Thurs.; 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday and Memorial Day. Closed Mon., except Memorial Day. $30 at the door; $25 seniors. Proceeds benefit the financial aid program at San Francisco University High School. Please call (415) 447-5830 for more information.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

2009 Los Angeles Art and Antiques Show

Arader Galleries had the pleasure of participating in the Los Angeles Art and Antique Show last month. Some of the world’s finest art and antiques dealer's gathered in the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Air Center to display their treasures to Los Angeles’ most prominent designers and collectors. The money raised through The Antiques Show Catalogue and The Opening Night Preview Party went directly to P.S. ARTS, a non-profit organization that restores arts education programs to schools in California. Despite the adverse economic climate, approximately 5,000 – 7,000 patrons of the art and antiques world attended the show, indicating how richly fulfilling it is to live with pieces of history.

Arader Galleries would like to thank those who attended the show and we hope to see you again next year! Please contact the gallery at 415.788.5115 for more information on upcoming shows, or visit

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World

Mark Catesby
From Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands
London, 1731-43

Science, which is beautiful in various and sometimes unexpected ways, has an unsurpassed power to bring about change. Often, scientific work has been accompanied by an alchemical mixture of creativity and logic, making art a likely and suitable affiliate. Indeed, art is part of the rich tapestry of expressing the history of science.

We highly recommend visiting the Huntington Library in Pasadena to see a wonderful permanent exhibition focusing on the magnificence of scientific discovery. The Beautiful Science: Ideas that Changed the World exhibit examines ideas from the history of science with respect to astronomy, natural history, medicine, and light. Through books, manuscripts, and objects, the exhibit highlights numerous ground breaking discoveries. For example, viewers will find Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands, a publication which illustrates his observations of animals and plants in their natural environment in the eighteenth century. Similarly, Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium is also on display, which documented many tropical species from Suriname for the first time in the late seventeenth century. These are two of several examples on display in this exhibit which demonstrate the exciting Age of Discovery.

Arader Galleries is not only pleased to offer selections from both of the influential and groundbreaking works by Catesby and Merian, but many other significant artists who also sought to understand and organize the living world. Our material visually illustrates how the wonder, curiosity, and discovery of artists like Catesby and Merian enriched the understanding of the natural world for contemporary as well as current audiences.

We encourage you to stop by the gallery at 435 Jackson Street to experience the beauty of these exceptional and historically important works of art. Please visit or call 415.788.5115 for more information.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Superb Engravings from Risso & Poiteau’s Histoire Naturelle des Orangers

The magnificence Pierre Joseph Redouté brought to the art of rose and lily illustration was equaled by his pupil, Pierre Antoine Poiteau, in the splendid engravings of oranges, lemons and grapefruit presented in the Histoire Naturelle des Orangers. This spectacular publication has long been admired by botanical art connoisseurs and was singled out by Wilfrid Blunt for providing “a Hesperidean holiday among the orange and citrus groves.” He went on to state that this beautiful and inspiring work is in no way inferior to Redouté’s Les Liliacées or Les Roses and given the opportunity Poiteau might have enjoyed the same renown as his master.

However, among those who studied under Redouté, Poiteau is perhaps one of the most successful. Born at Ambleny, near Soissons, his skill in botanical illustration was undoubtedly helped by an apprenticeship at the Paris Jardin des Plantes where he was singled out by Thouin and trained as a botanist. He went on to found the Bergerac botanical garden and later traveled to San Domingo to collect plant specimens.

Poiteau’s watercolor technique was learned from Redouté and it is likely that the master also influenced the choice of stipple engraving in the production of the plates for the Histoire Naturelle des Orangers. Redouté used this process in the creation of his own Les Liliacées and Les Roses and was thus able to give his illustrations a softness and graduation of tone previously unachievable in botanical engraving and also witnessed in Poiteau’s images.

Orangeries began to appear in European gardens during the seventeenth century and their popularity continued for several centuries. They quickly became a favorite area for strolling no doubt due to the plants exotic and sweet-smelling aroma. However, the orangeries were also the location for the creation of new citrus cultivars and Poiteau’s text beautifully illustrates not only the wide selection of strangely shaped fruits from around the world, but also new citrus varieties. The foliage, exterior and interior of each fruit is exquisitely displayed and each golden orb glows upon the sheet. The images are testaments to the amazing advances in scientific investigation and yet also provide the observer with aesthetically beautiful and accomplished depictions.

The Histoire Naturelle des Orangers was dedicated to the Duchesse de Berry and its vibrant illustrations can be considered glowing masterpieces of French botanical illustration, completed during the period in which France excelled in the field.

These extraordinary hand-colored stipple engravings are currently on display at Arader Galleries' 435 Jackson Street, San Francisco location. For more information, please visit or call 415.788.5115.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Magnificent Etching of a Roman Column by Piranesi

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) and Francesco Piranesi (1758-1810)
Veduta del Prospetto principale della Colonna Antonina (Front view of the column of Marcus Aurelius)
From Trofeo o Sia Magnifica Colonna Coclide or The Trophy or Magnificent Spiral Column of Marble
Rome: 1774-79
Etching, mounted on 20th century wove paper
112 ½" x 26 ½"

Giovanni Battista Piranesi was an Italian etcher, draughtsman and architect best known for his monumental volume Vedute di Roma. A lifelong champion of Rome, Piranesi published more than a thousand etchings depicting the 18th century city and ancient Roman monuments. Piranesi’s images were thought to be so magnificent that travelers visiting Rome on their grand tours were left disappointed by the actual city.

This engraving, printed on six sheets, is from the series Trofeo o Sia Magnifica Colonna Coclide, dedicated solely to the illustration of Trajan’s column and the column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome. This series is thought to be from the last phase of Piranesi’s career, when a number of works in progress were finished with assistance from his son, Francesco. The column depicts the story of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ Danubian wars, waged by him from 166 to his death, and the column itself is thought to date to the year 193.

This magnificent engraving is currently on display at our new location at 432 Jackson St., San Francisco and is available for purchase. Please contact Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115 for additional information.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The International Year of Astrology

Andreas Cellarius
From Harmonia Macrocosmica
Amsterdam: 1708

This year commemorates the 400th anniversary of Galileo's use of a telescope to study the skies and Kepler's publication of Astronomia Nova. With the quadricentennial of modern astronomy upon us, Arader Galleries celebrates the numerous astronomical and scientific milestones by highlighting a particular celestial cartographer or work of art each month. Indeed, the history of astronomy can be traced through its imagery—particularly through the development of celestial maps. This month, we highlight the extraordinary work of Andreas Cellarius.

Science and art come together in celestial maps to an effort to shape a rational image of the heavens. Andreas Cellarius’s Atlas Coelestis seu Harmonia Macrocosmica, published in Amsterdam in 1708, in one of the most historically and artistically important manifestations of such an effort. Certainly, in addition to their lavish aesthetic appeal, the celestial charts of Andreas Cellarius comprise the most sweeping, ambitious project in the history of celestial cartography, one which also illustrates the historical tensions of the time. In his distinctive visual language, Cellarius portrayed the often conflicting theories that prevailed. In addition to the relatively obscure notions of Tycho Brahe and Schiller, Cellarius’s charts track the theories of Ptolemy, dating from the 2nd century AD, and Copernicus’s 16th-century challenge to the venerable ancient astronomer.

Cellarius’ project was not devoid of political motivation. Up to his time of artistic activity, the Netherlands had been the unquestioned center of scientific discovery, and Dutch mapmakers had reigned supreme above all others. In the early 18th century, Louis XV of France sought to bring his country to the forefront of science, and by association, to imply political dominance. His efforts led to a great competition between France and the Netherlands, and Cellarius’ sweeping project was an attempt to thwart French attempts completely. In some cases, Cellarius incorporated French elements into his maps, like acanthus leaves which can be seen often on French furniture of the period. By attempting to use French visual elements more skillfully than they themselves could, Cellarius implied the Netherlands’ artistic superiority. Consequently, Cellarius’ work remains a landmark of the Golden Age of Exploration, combining great artistic beauty with scientific documentation. The vibrant hues, spanning the color spectrum, give amazing animation to the images, and the skies appear to come alive with bright figures.

Of all the sciences, the history of astronomy is the most resonant with a sense of mystery and intellectual excitement. We believe that maps and other images of the heavens succeed in some degree in conveying that resonance. We invite you to stop by the gallery at 432 Jackson Street to see our magnificent collection of Celarius prints or call 415.788.5115 to request a catalog.

Please check back next month as Arader Galleries will be presenting the extraordinary masterpiece Uranometria by Johann Bayer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Distribution of Watercolors by Pierre-Joseph Redoute

Plate 170 - Stoloniferous Golden Winter-Star
Original watercolor on vellum for Les Liliacées

Art is commonly understood to denote skill used to produce aesthetic result. Applying this definition to the work of Pierre-Joseph Redoute, reveals an artist who has produced the highest quality of art. Indeed, Redoute’s Les Liliacees displays his mastery of both technical and artistic skill. Les Liliacees challenges limitation and delicately captures the infinite beauty of nature.

Les Liliacees was Redoute’s largest and most ambitious work, for he carefully recorded the anatomical details of blossom and bulb that allow a scientist to classify the plant according to the Linnean System. Produced under the patronage of Empress Josephine at Malmaison, these watercolors have been legendary for over 200 years.

Arader Galleries is pleased to invite you to join us on Saturday, April 25th, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. in New York City at our 1016 Madison Avenue gallery for the distribution of 100 of the original watercolors on vellum. Painted by Pierre-Joseph Redoute for the Empress Josephine between 1802 and 1814, these 100 watercolors are from his iconic masterpiece Les Liliacees. 50 shares are available and each share will contain 2 watercolors.

Arader Galleries San Francisco currently has a selection of Redoute watercolors available for viewing that will be included in the syndication. The exquisiteness of these watercolors cannot be represented in a photograph and must be viewed in person! We would be happy to bring these watercolors to your home should a visit to the gallery not be convenient for you.

Don’t miss this opportunity to own an original watercolor by the artist considered to be the greatest flower painter! For more information, or to reserve your share in the syndication, please call Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115.