Picasso Portraits at The National Portrait Gallery

This autumn, London's National Portrait Gallery will stage a major exhibition of portraits by Pablo Picasso (1881 -1973).

The exhibition, named 'Picasso Portraits', will feature over 75 portraits by the Spanish expatriate, ranging from well-known masterpieces to works that have never been shown in Britain before.

The latter include the cubist portrait from 1910 of the German art dealer and early champion of Picasso's work, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, loaned by the Art Institute of Chicago; and from a private collection the exquisite portrait executed in 1938 of Nusch Eluard, acrobat, artist and wife of the Surrealist poet Paul Eluard.

All phases of the artist's career will be represented, from the realist portraits of his boyhood to the more gestural canvases of his old age. It is the first large-scale exhibition devoted to his portraiture since 'Picasso and Portraiture' at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Grand Palais, Paris in 1996.

The exhibition will showcase a group of revealing self-portraits as well as portraits and caricatures of Picasso's lovers, friends, wives and children. Complementing these images of Picasso's intimates are portraits and caricatures inspired by artists of the past – Velázquez and Rembrandt among them – with whom he identified most closely.

"The exhibition gathers together major loans from public and private collections that demonstrate the breadth of Picasso's oeuvre and the extraordinary range of styles he employed across all media and from all periods of his career," said Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery.

'Picasso Portraits', sponsored by Goldman Sachs, and in association with the Museu Picasso, Barcelona, will run from 6 October 2016 - 5 February 2017.

Tickets with donation: Full price £19 / Concessions £17.50
Tickets without donation Full price £17 / Concessions £15.50 (Free for Members and Patrons)
Photo 1: Woman in a Hat, 9 June 1941 by Pablo Picasso, 1941; Musée Picasso, Paris. © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2016 © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée Picasso de Paris) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi © Succession Picasso/DACS London, 2016 

Photo 2:  Woman in a Hat (Olga) by Pablo Picasso, 1935; Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d’art moderne Centre Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d'art moderne / Centre de création industrielle. Legs de M. Georges Salles en 1967 (n° inv. :AM 4393 P) © Succession Picasso/DACS London, 2016 


Poem: The Soul Unto Itself (1863)

The Soul Unto Itself
By: Emily Dickinson (1830- 1886 / USA)

The soul unto itself
Is an imperial friend - 
Or the most agonizing Spy -
An Enemy - could send -

  Secure against its own -          
No treason it can fear -
Itself - its Sovereign - of itself
The Soul should stand in Awe -


Restaurant Le Clarence, Paris

Le Salon Pontac du Restaurant Le Clarence

Monsieur Antoine Pétrus, le Chef Christophe Pelé et le Prince Robert de Luxembourg (Président de Domaine Clarence Dillon) / Restaurant Le Clarence

Housed in a majestic 19th century hôtel particulier (private mansion) and located in the heart of Paris's Golden Triangle you will find Le Clarence.

The French gourmet restaurant was officially opened at the end of last year by Domaine Clarence Dillon, a family company which owns the Château Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and Quintus Bordeaux wine estates, as part of its 80th anniversary celebrations.

'Cultivate tradition, while continuing to innovate': The philosophy of Domaine Clarence Dillon also applies to Le Clarence restaurant, where the cuisine is a blend of contemporary sensibility and the inspiration of the great classics.

The kitchen is run by the talented Michelin-starred chef Christophe Pelé, who previously worked at La Bigarrade, Pierre Gagnaire and the Royal Monceau. Antoine Petrus, winner of the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) Award in 2011, who has worked at El Bulli and Hôtel de Crillon, is the manager of the restaurant and in charge of the wine list.

The bar and Grand Salon are situated on the second floor. Reserved exclusively for clients of the restaurant, it is the ideal spot for a cheerful apéritif or a nightcap with a view out over the city, as a fire crackles in the hearth.

Domaine Clarence Dillon also opened an elegant fine wine boutique, named La Cave du Château. The treasure trove includes not only precious vintages from the vineyards of Domaine Clarence Dillon, but also a hand-picked selection of the finest grand crus and spirits produced in France.

Rouget de petite pêche, cœur d’agneau, jus acide

Turbot, pied de cochon, truffe noire, jus meunière

Closed: Sunday & Monday
Reservations: +33 (0)1 82 82 10 10 

31, avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt
75008 Paris



New Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Guard? Yes please!

Unfortunately, I can't afford one. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming about the hardcore Mercedes-Maybach S 600 Guard. The latest addition to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class family.

The sedan is the safest car in the world, according to the German automaker. Why? Mainly because the S 600 Guard is the first car to be certified VR10. This is the highest ballistic protection level for civilian vehicles. It means the bodywork and windows of the car are able to withstand hardened steel core bullets fired from an assault rifle.

The luxury limo also has an ERV 2010 rating (Explosive Resistant Vehicles). "The test criteria used to determine this rating are not in the public domain. After inspection by Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation, the vehicle was approved without any constraints," Mercedes said in a statement.

The bulletproof windows are coated with polycarbonate on the inside for splinter protection. At the bodyshell stage, protective components of special steel are integrated into the cavities between the body structure and the outer skin.

Most recent specifications:
Price: €470,000 plus VAT ($518,692)
Engine type: V8 Turbo 4.7 Liter, Turbo, Gasoline Direct Injection
Transmission: 7G-TRONIC PLUS 7 Speed Automatic with Manual Mode
Wheelbase: 124.6 inches
Length: 206.5 inches
Width: 74.8 inches
Curb Weight: 4630 lbs.


Marriage contract signed by France's Napoleon and Josephine up for sale

 (Marriage document signed by Napoleon & Josephine)

(Close up of Napoleon and Josephine’s signatures)

Lion Heart Autographs has announced an extraordinary opportunity to acquire the finest marriage document ever signed by Napoleon and Josephine. This rare Valentine's Day opportunity celebrates history's most romantic and often controversial couple – Napoleon & Josephine. The evocative marriage contract is not only signed by the historic couple, but by other French notables, including six of Napoleon's original eighteen marshals (the highest military rank during the Empire).

he Valentine's Day presentation of such a unique, historical document marks the first time Lion Heart Autographs has offered it for sale; it is one of only a handful known to exist in private hands. Lion Heart Autographs will display the document at The Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show at the Palm Beach County Convention Center from February 10-16, 2016, where it will be offered for $20,000.

"I am thrilled to share the evocative nature of this historical document on Valentine's Day. It is assuredly the finest marriage contract signed by Emperor Napoleon and his Empress Josephine available in the world," said David Lowenherz, founder & owner of Lion Heart Autographs in New York, noting, "Napoleon and Josephin's own marriage contract is preserved in National Archives of France."                

Other highlights to be featured by Lion Heart Autographs at The Palm Beach Jewelry, Art & Antique Show include a letter by Albert Einstein on how intellectuals and the working class should work together; doodles by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on White House stationery; a decorative proclamation signed by President Harry Truman declaring the end of WWII; an impressive document signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State about U.S. fishing rights; a very fine art related letter by Henri Matisse; an unpublished handwritten letter by Charles Darwin sending his photograph to a former shipmate aboard the "Beagle;" a charming letter by Mark Twain in which he offers his autograph to a young collector, and much more.

Press Release


Tears (1892) by John Vance Cheney

Solar halo (Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA) / Wing Chi-Poon

by: John Vance Cheney (1848 - 1922 / USA)

Not in the time of pleasure
Hope doth set her bow;
But in the sky of sorrow,
Over the vale of woe.

Through gloom and shadow look we
On beyond the years!
The soul would have no rainbow
Had the eyes no tears.