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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Blog!

Lately the weather has been changing a lot, almost too much; one minute it’s freezing cold and the next it’s broiling outside. Luckily for us, we know that this is Mother Nature’s way of making positive changes in order to welcome summer back into our lives. Well, just as the weather has been indecisive and somewhat unclear, so has our blog. We have been working hard this past month to bring you—our devoted readers—a better publication. A publication that not only can inform you about various artists but can also foster reader interaction and encourage growth in the arts. We are proud to officially launch our new blog at and hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
You can find our new blog at:
Please visit our new site and be sure to sign up for a subscription!
Thank you for reading.

George Rickey

While you patiently wait for our new blog site to be fully up and running, please enjoy this article about renowned artist, George Rickey-written and researched by one of our appraisers, Margaret Smilowitz.

George Rickey blended many styles to create his kinetic sculpture. Like his predecessor, Alexander Calder, Rickey was interested in the possibility of movement in sculpture and like his contemporaries, such as Sol Lewitt or David Smith, Rickey created minimalist works which examined the beauty of individual shapes. Rickey’s combination of movement, and minimalism created dynamic sculptures that are able to totally change and rearrange the environment they inhabit and truly capture their audience.

Rickey was born in 1907 in Southbend, Indiana. He spent the first part of his life studying art at various art schools in the United States and in Paris. After receiving his art education, Rickey taught art at many Midwestern schools, including Know College, the University of Indiana and Olivet College. In this part of his career, Rickey was a painter. Inspired by artist in the Workers Progress Administration (WPA) Rickey’s early work was influenced by Social Realism. However, after his years in the army during WWII and after he studied at the Bauhaus Rickey’s art began to change.

In the late 1940’s Rickey began his work with moving geometry. He started to attach simple forms like rectangles and metal spears to podiums and stands. The shapes would be secured by an intricate system of bearings which would allow the shapes to shift or sway from movement. These works exemplified the beauty of possibility. The chance that the shapes might move creates a type of suspense for the sculptor’s viewer. The sculpture has the possibility to change each time it is looked upon and it is this dynamism which makes Rickey’s sculpture so unforgettable.

Rickey continued to make sculpture until he died in 2002. He created several public art works, installing his work in many places all over the globe, including his 57 foot sculpture at the Hyogo Museum in Japan. His work remains in museums, private collections and at the universities he taught at. Rickey’s work will be remembered for its ability to blend the styles from many periods to make unique sculpture which combined geometry with action.

Works sited:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coming soon...

Hello to our loyal followers, and to our new readers as well!

In an effort to improve our blog, we are in the process of making some changes:

  • First of all, our blog is under new "management"!
  • Secondly, we are transferring our blog platform from Blogger to Word Press. (You will be able to reach our new blog through this site for a limited amount of time.)
  • When our new site is ready to launch I will post the new address, please be sure to visit & subscribe!
  • We are also looking at some content & format changes.
We are very interested to hear your thoughts and comments on these changes. Feel free to leave a comment attached to this posting or e-mail

~Caitlin Luetger

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpès

Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Merpes (1880-1958) was a Belgium artist from Brussels who spent his early artistic career traveling the world, painting the things he had seen. In 1932, however, he landed in Bali and found a place so beautiful he could paint it for the rest of his life. He once explained, "I am an impressionist. There are three things in life that I love: beauty, sunlight, and silence. Now could you tell me where to find these in a more perfect state than in Bali?" Le Mayeur's passion for Bali, its beauty and its people can certainly be felt in his work. His broad brush strokes, use of light and color, and depiction of the female form give his paintings a pristine and mythical beauty that provides the viewer a glimpse of a forgotten world.

Le Mayeur spent his time in Bali painting in a garden paradise. After a few years and some successful exhibits, he built a house on the beach at Sanar and married his longtime model, Ni Pollok. Ni Pollock remained Le Mayeur’s muse and appeared in most of his paintings. Together they created works which showcased the beauty of the environment around them; works like Women Making Offerings at Sacred Pond (1958) depict a group of women in traditional Balinese costume, framed by blossoming flowers and littered with glittering light. The nymph- like figures dance around the frame and tend to an illustrious garden pond. Ultimately, it is Le Mayeur’s ability to create this type of mythical mirage from another time and place that make his paintings so successful and sought after. [To the right, Le Mayeur and his wife Ni Pollock; Attribution: Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)]

Le Mayeur continued to paint in Bali until his death in 1958. During the Japanese Occupation of Bali from 1942-45, Le Mayeur was on house arrest. Sequestered off in his house without access to art supplies, Le Mayeur painted on wood scraps and rice sacks in order to continue his work. After his death, Ni Polok continued to live in their house at Sanar. Upon her death and according to her husband’s wishes, the house was left to the Indonesian government and remains a National Museum in Bali. To this day, Le Mayeur’s work continues to serve as a testament to the beauty of Bali.

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.

Principal Appraiser: Farhad Radfar, ISA AM
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601

(312) 814-8510

Researched and Written by: Margaret Smilowitz

Edited by: Caitlin Luetger

Works cited:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wojciech Adalbert Kossak

Known for his paintings depicting scenes of Polish patriotism and battle, Polish artist Wojciech Adalbert Kossak is unique in his loyalty to the same nationally beloved subjects throughout his career, even as his contemporaries embraced fluctuations of styles between Western Europe and traditional Polish art. Kossak was born in Paris in 1857 to famous Polish artist Juliusz Kossak. Wjciech Kossak first studied drawing under his father before entering Krakow’s School of Fine Arts in 1871, he then moved to the Munich Academy of Fine Arts four years later. Kossak returned to Krakow in 1876 to serve in the Krakow Cavalry Regiment for a short period of time before focusing on his art career

Kossak’s father, Juliusz, greatly influenced his career and popularity as a painter of historic themes and battle, especially cavalry. Juliusz worked mostly in watercolor, painting the lifestyles of members of the gentry and nobility to whose estates he was invited to visit and observe. In addition to some portraiture, Juliusz was particularly passionate about horses and painted many riding, racing, and hunting scenes. Wjciech Kossak immediately embraced his father’s style and favorite subject matters, beginning with his return to Krakow in 1876.

In addition to his father’s influence on his work, Kossak was inspired even further by his time in the Cavalry Regiment and would flourish in the coming decade after he returned to Paris in 1887 to study at the École des Beaux Arts under Alexandre Cabanel and Leon Bonnat. In 1884, Kossak moved back to Krakow and began to work on large scale oil and watercolor paintings of historic themes, including the Napoleonic Wars and famous Polish battles and uprisings against foreign invaders. Kossak also did some portraiture, painting family members, nobility, military figures, and occasionally himself.

At the end of the 19th century, Polish artists began to merge these popular themes with Impressionism. At the arrival of WWI, artists moved back to historic themes, but after the war they embraced cubism, abstractionism, and expressionism. Perhaps as can be expected, as the horrors of WWII played out in Poland, Polish artists once again focused on patriotic scenes. Despite the constant changing of artistic styles in Poland, Kossak continued to paint only the popular battle and historic themes he was known for. Patrons of Kossak were especially fond of his depictions of horses in cavalry scenes and occasional hunting scenes. Kossak painted some works of contemporary events such as WWI and the 1920 military campaign, but he mostly stuck with events like the Polish uprising against Russia.

The majority of Kossak’s well known paintings depict famous Polish battles. Inspired by revered Polish artists Jan Matejko and Wojciech Gerson, Kossak and a few other choice painters of his time painted a massive circular oil panorama in honor of the 100th anniversary of the victorious Battle of Raclawice, celebrating Poland’s bravery in defense of Polish independence. Kossak also painted panoramas of the Battle of Berezyna and the Battle of the Pyramids.

After a long career devoted to celebrating Polish patriotism and defense against international oppression, Kossak died in Krakow in 1942. His work hangs in many private collections in addition to the National Museum in Warsaw. He will continue to be known for his loyalty to traditional Polish styles and themes within his art, despite the often-changing directions of his contemporaries.

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.
Principal Appraiser: Farhad Radfar, ISA AM
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-8510

Works Cited:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Karl Buehr

German-American artist Karl Buehr is credited as one of the first Chicago artists to adopt Impressionism, bringing his colorful paintings back to the United States after a very influential twelve years in France at the height of the Impressionist movement. Buehr is known for his brilliantly colored landscape and figure paintings, particularly paintings of women surrounded by lush green backgrounds and an abundance of flowers. Buehr brought back to Chicago the beauty of Giverny, painting alongside contemporaries such as Monet and many other American expats.

Born in Germany in 1866, Buehr was one of seven children born to wealthy vineyard owners. Shortly after his birth, the Buehr family immigrated to Chicago in 1868. Karl wasted no time in pursuing a career in art and began working in the shipping department of a lithograph firm near the Art Institute of Chicago at the age of 14. Buehr began to visit the museum regularly and landed a part-time job, allowing him to enroll in night classes at the school. By 1888, Buehr was working at the Institute as a night watchman where he had a unique introduction to the masters by being able to observe and study them as he worked, most significantly Impressionist works.

Buehr completed his education at the Art Institute in 1897, graduating with honors and considered one of their most outstanding students. After school, Buehr briefly enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War, only to resume his studies in 1899 under artist Frank Duveneck. Buehr gained international recognition as a painting of his was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1900. He stayed in Paris for two years to study at Académie Julian under Raphael Collin. After winning the bronze medal at the St. Louis Universal Exposition in 1904, Buehr and his family moved to France permanently the next year thanks to a generous patron. From there, Buehr traveled to Sicily and painted his surroundings for a year, moved to England to study at the London Art School for two years, and finally returned to Paris in 1908.

Shortly after moving back to France, Buehr began to paint at Giverny, the subject of many of Monet’s most famous works. In 1912, Buehr took up permanent residence in the village. While there, Buehr developed friendships with fellow expats such as Richard Miller, Theodore Earl Butler, Lawton Parker, and formed an especially strong friendship with American Impressionist Frederick Frieseke. It is also claimed by Buerh’s son that his sister was a playmate of Monet’s granddaughter.

Giverny was the source of inspiration for Buehr’s notably colorful and lush backgrounds and landscapes, clearly reflecting his plein-air practices. Many of his paintings depict porch scenes with both groups of women and many with a single woman, though Buehr also did some interior paintings as well. His subjects were most often women sitting or standing around a table of some sort in thier feminine, floral dresses enjoying the colorful atmosphere surrounding them or soft skies above them. The women in Buerh’s works depicting a single woman were often painted with serious expressions, many times staring directly at the viewer. One of his most famous paintings, News From Home, was painted at Giverny and exhibited at the French Salon in 1913 and later at the Art Institute of Chicago. As the popularity of Impressionism declined, Buehr’s work essentially stayed within the Impressionist style but executed with wider brushstrokes. His subject matters and identifiably vibrant and expressive colors remained the same.

After a successful and influential nine years in Europe, Buehr returned to Chicago in 1914 and taught at the Art Institute until his death in 1952.


Researched and written by Alexandra Nilles.

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.
Principal Appraiser: Farhad Radfar, ISA AM
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-8510

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc., is located just steps from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center; please do give us a ring to set up an appointment for a verbal evaluation of your most prized works of art.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Francis Coates Jones

American artist Francis Coates Jones stands out from his fellow American artists of the late-19th to early-20th century by his response to and embrace of classical art instruction, and the influence it had on his later work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, such as Albert Krehbiel and Victor Higgins, Jones embraced his classical education at the most prestigious art schools in France and other European countries, and ultimately ignored the modern trends surrounding him. In comparison, his contemporaries were exposed to the modern works and artists of Paris and immediately rejected them, deciding America needed her own style of art.

Born in Baltimore in 1857, Jones made his name as a figure painter and was famous for his elaborate interior scenes that exuded absolute luxury. He was known for his consistent interest in costume and decorative objects and use of rich paint handling, encouraged and strengthened by his studies abroad.

Jones first became interested in art after visiting Edwin Austine Abbey with his brother H. Bolton Jones (who would become a successful landscape painter) in 1876. In 1887 the two brothers traveled to Paris where Francis studied antiques at École des Beaux-Arts under Henri Lehmann. Jones spent five years abroad, touring France, Italy, Switzerland, and England. In the winter of 1879-1880, Jones lived in London and painted panoramas of military subjects. He then returned to France to continue his formal education. His art reflected that of his teachers and classical education under well-known academicians Jules Joseph Lefebvre and William Adolphe Bouguereau. His studies were present in his work throughout his entire career, particularly his attention to precision and detail, which were especially influential in his richly furnished interiors and costumes.

Before returning home, Jones also spent time at the artist colony in Pont-Aven in Brittany alongside fellow artists Robert Wylie and Thomas Hovenden. Pont-Aven was especially famous for being a painting site of Paul Gauguin.

As previously mentioned, unlike his fellow contemporary American artists, Jones had embraced, not rejected, his formal art education. Upon his return to the United States, the artist illustrated a series of historical houses in Washington, D.C. for Scribner’s in October 1893. In 1895 Jones began teaching at the National Academy of Design. At this point in his career, the artist began mural painting and spent summers painting landscapes in Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. Applying his talent for detail and rich colors, many of his landscapes and outdoor scenes almost look like photographs at first glance.

Jones took advantage of his studies at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts; he did not look upon the modern work of Paris and decide that America needed “its own style.” Instead, Jones painted what he knew and what he loved, and eventually adopted Impressionism. His fellow American artists who initially rejected Modernism returned to the U.S. only to adopt abstraction and cubism themselves. Jones died free of hypocrisy in 1932 and is now known for the decadence and detail he expressed in paintings of all subjects from the very beginning of his career.

Works cited:

Researched and written by Alexandra Nilles.

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc.
Principal Appraiser: Farhad Radfar, ISA AM
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 814-8510

MIR Appraisal Services, Inc., is located just steps from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center; please do give us a ring to set up an appointment for a verbal evaluation of your most prized works of art.

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    Chicago, Illinois, United States
    Welcome to our blog site! MIR Appraisal Services, Inc. is a fine art and personal property appraisal company dedicated to serving clients throughout the United States and abroad since our incorporation in Chicago in 1994. We specialize in the multi-faceted field of appraising fine art, jewelry, antiques, and decorative items. We also provide professional fine art restoration and conservation treatment for various media, including but not limited to, artworks on canvas, board, masonite, and paper. We offer professional and precise appraisal services carried out by our team of accredited appraisers for the purposes of insurance coverage and claims, charitable donations, estate planning and probate, equitable distribution and fair-market value. We started our art commentary blog site as a venue for colleagues and fellow art enthusiasts to share their experiences within the art community.