Thursday, December 29

degas & the nude + the new mfa

hello lovelies!  so tuesday was a trip to the museum of fine arts in boston, to see for myself both the degas exhibition & the new arts of the americas wing.  and it was certainly worth the trip.  

Edgar Degas, La Toilette, 1884-86. Pastel over monotype laid down on board. Private Collection.
Courtesy of Private Collection.
the degas exhibition {Degas and the Nude} focused on the development of the nude figure within the famous impressionist artist's oeuvre, including not only painting, but also within prints {pastel on monograph}, drawing & sculpture.  overall, his use of the nude in developing what we now know as a 'modernist' style or approach was fascinating, as was the graphic and often violent quality of some of the works, particularly the monograph studies of women in brothels.  as you may expect, i greatly prefer degas' ballet scenes, but i also feel that it is important to consider the whole of an artist's work in developing an understanding of the spirit of his work & the exhibition rightly emphasized the importance of an anatomical understanding of the unclothed human body to any figurative painter.  as would in any selection of degas' works, his mastery of color in pastel and his unique 'voyeur' perspective, as if spying in on a private moment, shone through.  the mfa exhibition generally offered a foil to the tremendously popular 'Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement' at the royal academy in london, which closed on december 11th.  

Edgar Degas, The Tub, 1886. Pastel. Paris, Musée d'Orsay, bequest of comte Issac de Camondo, 1911.
© Photo Musée d'Orsay.
Edgar Degas, After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck, 1895-98. Pastel on wove paper.
Paris, Musée d'Orsay, bequest of comte Isaac de Camondo, 1911. © Photo Musée d'Orsay.
Edgar Degas, Dancers, Nude Study, about 1899. Charcoal and pastel on wove paper. Photo Credit: Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Art Museum, Partial and promised gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer in honor of James Cuno, 2002.303.  
Edgar Degas, Dancer Looking at the Sole of her Right Foot, modeled between 1896–1911, cast between 1921–31. Bronze. Paris, Musée d'Orsay.

a trip to the museum also gave the me opportunity to explore the new arts of the americas wing, opened last year, as well as the great courtyard which links it to the original part of the museum.  described as 'a jewel box,' the courtyard holds tables on which new american fare is served & would be a lovely space for an important event or party.  the arts of the americas wing focuses not only on art from the united states, but through north and south america as well, and i believe that this gives it a slight edge over other museums; exposed constantly through my work to american decorative arts, i was delighted to see specimens of furniture from not only 18th century america, but south american countries & the caribbean.  the wing is organized thematically, with the lower ground floor holding a native american art collection, the ground floor with colonial, revolutionary & federal objects, the second floor with 19th century objects, with highlights from the museum's important copley and sergeant holdings, and finally, the third floor with 20th century, more contemporary american art, including a stella & an o'keefe.

Shapiro Family Courtyard, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Designed by Foster + Partners.
  all in all, i would encourage you to go to the museum & attend the degas exhibition {set to close february 5th} keeping in mind that those looking for his iconic scenes of belle epoque parisian ballet might be disappointed {sigh}.  i genuinely hope all of you in london went & enjoyed the show at the RA immensely!  i hope you are having the most lovely holiday week.  xx hillary

Tuesday, December 27

sweet winter treat: {fresh mint} hot chocolate

hello cheries!  just a quick recipe for those of you looking to fill this holiday week with indulgences before the inevitable dietary austerity of the first weeks of the new year.  

image via {pinterest}
i adore the flavor of mint with chocolate.. peppermint patties, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and so on.  i also love the idea of mint hot chocolate,  the mint cutting through some of that richness, but dislike the artificial mint taste.  solution: make hot chocolate from scratch, flavored using fresh mint.  
{not at all as tricky as it sounds.}  

for about four servings, heat six cups milk {2% for best results} until nearly boiling.  take it off the heat and add fresh mint sprigs, and let it steep for ten minutes.  then remove the mint and return the milk to the heat, adding 12 oz milk chocolate {i used a bag of ghirardelli milk chocolate chips & it worked beautifully}.  stir until the chocolate is melted & then warm over medium heat until it reaches a suitable serving temperature {piping hot for me!}.  top with homemade whipped cream {beat a bit of heavy cream in a large bowl with a whisk, adding a spoonful of confectioner's sugar and a drop of vanilla extract} and, perhaps, some chocolate shavings.  enjoy the perfection & bon soir.  xx hillary

Monday, December 26

playful & elegant: natalie portman for miss doir cherie

hello lovelies!  my sincerest apologies for having essentially completely dropped the ball on christmas..  so many happy changes over the past month and not nearly enough attention to blogging.  but now that winter has arrived & the holidays are nearly gone, its time to refocus on blogging and keeping things cheery&bright&magical&romantic through the bleakest days.  

i am not entirely sure how often many of you see perfume commercials on television, but i seem to view them constantly while in new york cabs.  normally, after the tenth time, i grow a bit tired with these short mini-stories, but not with miss doir cherie.  it is utterly captivating, elegant, beautiful, full of romance & a perfect amount of delicacy, all of my ideals rolled into one.  i probably also am particularly taken by it because it features natalie portman, to whom i bare a slight resemblance.  i know i will be going back to it on those days that it seems winter will never end, and i hope that you enjoy too.  it's also a lovely minute-long escape to the holiday chaos which still lingers.  so here's to little black dresses & bowties & bouquets of roses & a secret garden avec swan...

p.s. this is what dior says about the scent:

"An Eau de Parfum Miss Dior fragrance created for an 'elegant and spirited young woman in love.'

Romantic by nature, Miss Dior inspires an intense and playful love, for which she is also searching.  She personifies the spontaneous joie de vivre of today's young woman, representing a particular type of freedom and seduction.  The fragrance is characterized by an instant and captivating charm.  

Miss Dior is a chypre that develops step by step.  It glides from the sharp charm of a fresh, fruity citrus prelude into blossoming floral notes, then on to the noble elegance of patchouli, before finally concluding with musk, the last trace of memory... 

With veritable riches concealed in her heart, Miss Dior develops in the most intense and astonishing way."

mmm parfait. 

Thursday, December 8

let it snow

finally, the weather in new york has taken a turn for the cold. today was wonderfully crisp, make-your-cheeks-rosey weather: perfectly december.  now all that is needed is a frosting of snowfall to make the season complete.  there's nothing as graceful as snowflakes swirling, floating gently, as peaceful as that white blanket of purity & innocence, or as romantic as sharing its ethereal magic.  don't you agree?  

xx hillary

how very new york.
& bon soir . . . 

Sunday, December 4

english rose of autumn: rosamund pike graces town&country

it's a bit dated now, but i have been obsessing over the rosamund pike photos in november's town&country.  i have adored her since she was the most perfect jane in pride&prejudice {kiera knightly version} and here she is an exquisite english beauty, so beautifully dressed.  

do enjoy.  xx hillary

christmas time in the city

hello lovelies!  goodness, i have been just terrible about blogging lately.  so so busy working away, but finally a few minutes of repose.  above is an image of rockefeller center's christmas display & iconic tree, which, luckily, stands just across from christie's.  christmas time in the city has been so lovely & festive, and i felt myself getting into the spirit even before thanksgiving.  lights & trees are all around & the most beautiful window displays.  and yesterday was the debut of elizabeth taylor's jewelry & couture collection, set to be auctioned beginning next week.  so happy to begin sharing christmas gift, cooking & decorating ideas!  bonne nuit, lovelies!  xx hillary

p.s. came across this recipe for barley salad with squash and broccoli today. what an amazing lunch!