Every Friday just before 5:00 p.m. EST, I get an email on my smartphone reminding me that a live session of “Cocktails with a Curator” is about to start at the Frick Collection in New York City. That’s 2:00 p.m. PST, smack in the middle of my usually busy afternoons at our home office.
As I mentioned in my April 28 diary entry, Cocktails with a Curator was born as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Xavier Salomon, Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator at the Frick Collection, had the brilliant idea to bring the Frick into our homes – an invitation to peek into the Frick’s collection – one object at a time. In his wonderful storytelling way, Salomon selects a painting or artistic object and – in segments lasting on average 20 minutes -- shares the story behind the piece, always with fun, unexpected details that have me on the edge of my seat. And with each segment, Salomon selects a themed cocktail, or mocktail, for viewers to imbibe that helps to set the mood.
My reminder email arrived yesterday afternoon as I was helping Louie with a client file. Darn, I’m missing it again. I don’t worry too much, though, because I can always see the YouTube video later -- and I have a lot of video catch-up to do. So, today, in the quiet of the morning, I carried my laptop to the dining room table to listen to at least one, yesterday’s segment.
The selected piece was what looked like a simple little teapot. The story of “Bottger’s Teapot” turned out to be an eye-opening tale about porcelain, which was invented in China. Then came European porcelain. Enter Johann Friedrich Bottger and his journey to find the formula for making porcelain.
This cliff-hanger of a story made me look lovingly at one of my Limoges porcelain pieces in my curio cabinet that’s part of a huge cache of dinnerware that I found at an estate sale many years ago. I had dropped by this sale and didn’t see anything that caught my eye, which I told Louie when I arrived home. “But I did see two really big sets of china – service for 12. The Limoges hand-painted set is $300. Do you think I should go back and get it?” Louie answered a resounding “Yes!”. This time I went back with my wheeled suitcase. The organizer of the sale was so happy to pack it up for me.
My love for porcelain must come from my mother. I remember all the beautiful dishes and glassware that my siblings and I grew up with. Mom had expensive taste that drove Dad crazy. But Mom was all about beautiful things. She had no intention to display her china or gold-leafed drinking glasses. She wanted her children to touch them every day. And we did, completely unaware of Mom’s intentions. Sadly, we broke most of them. After all, we used them every day.
The story of Bottger’s Teapot was just the tale I needed to get lost in for 24 minutes and 24 seconds. I was sad when the segment finished too soon but sat up in my office chair when Salomon announced, “We will meet in the next few weeks and I will talk more about other porcelain objects. I hope you’re all enjoying your Saxon cocktail. Good evening.”
Washing Hands + Wearing a Mask + Social Distancing = Saving Lives