'The Kiss' and other Rodin bronzes up for auction in Paris

PARIS Five small bronze statues by French 19th century sculptor Auguste Rodin will be auctioned in Paris next week, including a cast of his celebrated "The Kiss", which is estimated at 1.5 to 2 million euros ($1.70-2.27 million). The five statues, to be sold by auction house Drouot on Tuesday, come from the collection of late French art dealer Jean de Ruaz, who bought them from the Rodin Museum in the 1940s.The main piece is an 85 cm (33.5 inch) high cast of "The Kiss", produced in 1927, 10 years after Rodin's death, by the same Alexis Rudier foundry that had cast many of Rodin's pieces. First exhibited in 1887, the sculpture portrays Paolo and Francesca, two characters from Dante's Divine Comedy, but became known as "Le Baiser". It is one of Rodin's best known works, along with "The Thinker" and "The Burghers of Calais". Auctioneer Alexandre Giquello said some 40 to 50 casts of the work were made after Rodin's death but only about 10 to 15 are of high quality and undisputed provenance. De Ruaz had lent the work to New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1963, he said.During Rodin's life only about seven casts were made and those had been sold at auctions for 6 to 7 million euros. "We expect the statue will sell for more than 1.5 million euros," Giquello said, adding that it will be the first public sale of a cast of "The Kiss" made after Rodin's death. The white marble version of the work housed in Paris' newly renovated Rodin Museum is nearly 2 meters high, but miniaturized bronze casts are highly popular with collectors.The other pieces Drouot will auction next week include "Eternal Spring", another medium-size bronze of a kissing couple, cast between 1935 and 1945 and estimated at 300,000 to 400,000 euros. Three small statuettes, also cast after Rodin's death, are estimated at between 30,000 and 100,000 euros. Rodin's work has been widely forged, notably by convicted forger Guy Hain, who in the 1990s produced thousands of fake bronze Rodins, often using original Rodin plaster casts and the Rudier stamp.The five statues in the auction will be exhibited at Drouot on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Paul Taylor) Read more

Kanye West's new album and fashion show draw 20 million viewers

LOS ANGELES More than 20 million viewers watched rapper and fashion designer Kanye West put his own twist on a New York Fashion Week runway show on Thursday as he debuted a new album and clothing collection at famed music venue Madison Square Garden. West, his reality star wife Kim Kardashian and her family, including former NBA basketball player Lamar Odom, entered the Manhattan venue to cheers from the audience. It is the first time Odom, the estranged husband of Khloe Kardashian, has been seen in public since he fell into a coma after using cocaine at a brothel last October and was hospitalized. The was streamed for free online via subscription music streaming service Tidal, garnering around 20 million viewers according to the platform. Tidal, which touts hi-fidelity streaming, is co-owned by a group of music's top artists including West, Jay Z, Rihanna and Beyonce. As West played new tracks for his upcoming "The Life of Pablo" album, dozens of models were unveiled standing on raised platforms in the center of the arena, wearing the new Yeezy Season 3 that West designed for sports brand Adidas. The collection, launched on the first day of the city's fashion week, featured West's penchant for neutral tones but included bright pops of pink, red and orange across the collection of leotards, tops, leggings and parkas worn by a diverse group of models. West also announced an upcoming video game called "Only Once," which he said was about his late mother Donda West's journey to the gates of heaven.The show quickly became a top social media trend, as fans tweeted about the collection and the music. One particular explicit lyric regarding Taylor Swift on new track "Famous" garnered a strong response from fans as West rapped that he had made the pop star famous, referring to the their infamous 2009 MTV Video Music Awards incident where West interrupted Swift's acceptance speech on stage. Swift and West had since buried the hatchet, but fans speculated the new lyrics could incite a feud between the two music stars. Also getting in on the action, former drug executive Martin Shkreli tweeted out a letter addressed to West offering to buy "The Life of Pablo" for $10 million so that it would be released solely to him, and kept from the public. Shkreli is currently being sued over his Wu-Tang album "Once Upon A Time in Shaolin," the sole copy of which he bought for $2 million. West has yet to respond to Shkreli. (Story refiles to add dropped word "streaming" in paragraph 4) (Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Andrew Hay) Read more

Morris-Goodwin scuffle makes defeat worse for Suns

The Phoenix Suns' season took another fractious turn on Wednesday when team mates Markieff Morris and Archie Goodwin got into a shoving match during the team’s loss to the Golden State Warriors. A heated conversation turned physical between the two players during a first-quarter timeout as Morris stood over a seated Goodwin who then leapt up from the bench. The huddled Phoenix bench quickly broke up the dust-up, but they could do little to halt their freefall. The Suns (14-40) lost to the Warriors 112-104 for their ninth straight defeat as they sank further down the Western Conference. Phoenix fired coach Jeff Hornacek last week and promoted assistant Earl Watson to interim head coach. Wednesday’s incident is not the first internal conflict for Morris who was suspended two games in December for throwing a towel at Hornacek. (Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Chakraborty) Read more

Wild elephant rampage in Indian village caught on video

A wild elephant went on a rampage in a village in West Bengal on Wednesday, damaging around 100 structures, villagers said.Video taken in the village of Ektiasal showed the beast wandering around and knocking over flimsy huts.The elephant strayed into the village early in the morning and woke up villagers with its roaring. "The elephant entered from a nearby forest area. It has destroyed many houses and people are scared and helpless," villager Milan Saha said.No injuries were reported. Attacks by elephants have been on the rise in eastern India. Wildlife experts say the destruction of animal habitats in the country is one of the main reasons for the increase in encounters between wild animals and villagers in rural areas of India. (Reporting by Reuters television; Writing by Jeremy Gaunt; Editing by Andrew Heavens) Read more

Judge dismisses Pennsylvania woman's lawsuit against Bill Cosby

A U.S. federal judge on Thursday dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by a Pennsylvania woman against Bill Cosby, which contended the comedian smeared her character when he accused her of lying in claiming he had sexually assaulted her in the 1980s.Renita Hill, 48, had claimed she was defamed her when the comedian and his representatives called her a liar and extortionist as he defended himself after she went public in 2014 with allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct.Hill, a Pittsburgh resident, sued in October over three comments made by Cosby and his representatives. The three statements in question "do not support a claim for defamation as defined by Pennsylvania law," U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab said in his dismissal ruling, court documents showed.Hill's attorneys have said Cosby mentored her when she was a young woman, and paid for her education at Temple University and Spelman College. They said he also arranged meetings in Atlantic City, New York and Denver, where he sexually assaulted her. Hill's first public accusation of sexual assault came in a 2014 interview with a Pittsburgh TV station. Her lawsuit concerned statements Cosby and his representatives made in response to that interview. Schwab said the remarks were protected under free speech rights, and that Hill did not prove the comments harmed her. More than 50 women have come forward to accuse Cosby, 78, of sexual assault. The allegations date back as far as the 1960s, making most of them too old for criminal prosecution. Hill and several other women have sued Cosby.Cosby's attorneys welcomed the judge's decision in a statement and said they hoped it would influence the outcome of other pending lawsuits. "The Court found opinionated speech by a defendant's attorney is protected and not actionable as defamatory," the attorneys said. "It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner."The drumbeat of accusations has toppled Cosby from his cultural status as one of America's most-admired comedians. He built his career on family-friendly humor and was best known as the loving but often befuddled father in the 1980s television hit, "The Cosby Show."The only criminal charges against Cosby were filed last month, over the alleged sexual assault of Andrea Constand in 2004.Cosby, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, is free on $1 million bail. His lawyer has said he is not guilty and will not consider a plea bargain. (Editing by Scott Malone, Frances Kerry and David Gregorio) Read more

Older Post