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Bonhams held a private viewing of highlights from The Rau Collection at The Cosmos Club Saturday featuring the Jean-Honoré Fragonard portrait of François-Henri duc d’Harcourt, to be offered in London on behalf of UNICEF.
Dr. Gustav Rau decreed that his art collection should be sold on behalf of UNICEF, to continue his lifetime’s work. Bonhams will be donating their services to the auction of his collection this December in London. The auction, expected to raise as much as $30-50 million, may be the most valuable charity auction of artwork ever held on behalf of a non-profit institution.
One of his critically acclaimed 'Fantasy Portraits', the ground-breaking portrait by Jean-Honoré Fragonard of the 5th Duc d’Harcourt (until recently on loan to the Getty Museum) is one of only three of the 'Fantasy Portraits' remaining in private hands. It has a confidential presale estimate of $15 million to $25 million at auction, making it perhaps the most valuable French painting from the 18th century to come for sale.
The Portrait of François-Henri duc d'Harcourt is unusual among Fragonard's fantasy portraits because the subject is identified. Many of the other portraits are personifications of the arts rather than representations of named individuals.
"The Cosmos Club is such a great venue to show Dr. Rau's museum-quality collection including this rare Fragonard which presaged Impressionism with the painters' quick brush strokes," said Dr. Martin Gammon of Bonhams. Prior to the reception, Bonhams hosted a luncheon, an "intentional experiment, a satellite opportunity to bring together 70 area museum collectors."
Also on preview, an important portrait by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, a luminous landscape by Pissarro and courtyard scene by the Spanish master, Joaquin Sorolla, and works by Childe Hassam.
For more information, conctact Dr. Martin Gammon, Vice President of Business Development and Museum Services at Bonhams in Washington, D.C,. at 202.333.1696.
A little over three years ago, Marcos Galvany premiered "Oh My Son," his original operatic tableaux about the life of Jesus at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Each aria is inspired by stories the composer's mother shared with him as a young boy near Valencia as they watched the larger than life figures parading through their town of Crevillente before Easter.
The world premiere was sold out, and since then, this brilliant musician has been performing "Oh My Son" to standing room only crowds in Spain, and plans a very special Vatican performance (postponed from April due to the resignation of Pope Benedict) in Spring of 2014.
Next year, Mr. Galvany will also be performing his opera in other Spanish cities and here in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
The "Oh My Son" CD will be recorded on December 4thand 5th with musicians from the DC National Opera Orchestra and the DC National Orchestra Choir.
Produced by 11-time Grammy Award winner Rafa Sardina, an 11-time Grammy Award winner, this OMS Production CD will be released internationally in March 2014.
For those who would like to help ensure that OMS Productions will be able to continue live performances around the world, a 100% tax deductible donation can be made here.
When you think of a great American winemaker, Rutger de Vink is unlikely the first name that comes to mind. But it should be. This Virginia farmer's ten year journey to producing Bordeaux-style blends in league with the best from Napa and Bordeaux is nothing short of inspiring.
A Holland native, de Vink joined the U.S. Marine Corps while studying business at Colgate University, and following a stint that took him to Mogadishu, spent a few years in the telecom business in the Washington, D.C. metro area before deciding his passion was wine.
In Linden Vineyards’, Jim Law, he found his viticulturist mentor and traveled the world (first stop Bordeaux) in search of the right terroir. Terroir, roughly translated from the French is the soil and land composition where the grapes are grown and its uniqueness should be expressed through the wine.
The perfect spot? “A magical granite hillside” in Delaplane, Virginia. Yes, Delaplane. Call it karma, Delaplane is equidistance from Napa and Bordeaux.
The Angus cow farmer who sold the land to this neophyte felt guilty taking his money, said Joshua Granier, who is now RdV Vineyards' technical director.
De Vink chose Virginia-based architect Andrew Lewis to build him a vineyard that would "pay homage to the traditional American farmer." Lewis did just that, and so much more.
Like Bordeaux, RdV’s 30,000 vines are grown on 16 planted acres on the hillside (in this case, directly above solid granite) with each varietal neatly separated.
On the winery tour, Jenny Marie explained the three basic priciples of great fermentation: time (3-4 weeks), temperature (adjustable), and agitation (stirring the skins and seeds to give the juice complexity).
Oenologist Eric Boissenot, consultant to Château Latour, and viticulturist Jean-Philippe Roby, a professor at the University of Bordeaux are helping de Vink produce an Old World-New World great American wine at the rate of 1,500 cases a year. On RdV's first vintage in 2008, Boissenot paid de Vink the ultimate compliment; that his wine was a "terroir." Terroir, roughly translated is the soil and land composition where the grapes are grown and that uniqueness should be expressed through the wine.
The vineyard, producing for three years now, makes two blends whose percentage of grape varies a bit, depending on yearly weather and soil conditions. Rendezvous is roughly a third Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with a bit of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Explains Eric Boissenot, "On the palate the wine reveals a ripe tanin structure that is both harmonious and flattering ..." Lost Mountain, Cab-driven with a bit of Merlot and Petit Verdot "reveals a complex nose of dense black fruit notes and subtle oak."
A horizontal flight (including the newly released 2010s) on an Autumn afternoon left this taster dazzled. Long in search of a Virginia wine for which excuses did not have to be made. "Pretty good for a Virginia wine, don't you think?" I often had to say to my guests as I quickly resumed my quest. The search is officially over.
Incidentaly, there's also Exsurgo, the RdV blend that is only sold on their website and for which all the proceeds benefit Hope For The Warriors®, an organization helping the families of U.S. servicemen. A fitting tribute by this military man turned world-class winemaker.
RdV Vineyards is open for private tours and tastings.