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19th Century

June 13, 2010 | By Jori Finkel, Los Angeles Times
"The Snake Charmer": A Twisted History 1880: In his studio in Paris, Jean-Léon Gérôme paints this image of a naked figure, presumably a boy, uncoiling his snake before a small crowd in a palatial setting. Scholars today say he fabricated the scene from multiple sources, including a photograph of tile work in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Later that year, Adolphe Goupil, his dealer/publisher and also his father-in-law, sells the painting for 75,000 francs to New York collector Albert Spencer.
June 6, 2010 | By Samantha Page, Los Angeles Times
Two hundred years ago, Dutch merchants opened shipments of porcelain from Japan to find the packing material was delicate rice paper, printed with brightly colored scenes of Japanese life. When the prints arrived, it didn't take long for some of the artists behind them to be recognized as masters. Mass-produced from carved woodblocks, the images were known as ukiyo-e . Today, the "images of the floating world" continue to be appreciated as more than so many little bits of paper.
April 26, 2010 | By Susan Salter Reynolds, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Parrot & Olivier in America A Novel Peter Carey Alfred A. Knopf: 386 pp., $26.95 Come to think of it, America is one long picaresque novel. It takes an Australian-born novelist to remind us of this, mired as we are in the great project, democracy. Imagine a time when a French nobleman, Olivier-Jean-Baptiste de Clarel de Barfleur, and his not-so-trusty sidekick, John Larrit, known to loved ones as Parrot, might sail from Le Havre, fleeing the aftershocks of the French Revolution, and land in this bewildering caldron of possibility.
April 22, 2010 | By Mary MacVean, Los Angeles Times
With just about a gazillion pictures of food on blogs and websites, accessible at the touch of a BlackBerry button, it might seem a little ho-hum to stage a museum show of food photography. But an exhibition at the Getty Museum called "In Focus: Tasteful Pictures" is anything but boring. In just one room, the exhibition, drawn from the museum's permanent collection, traces food photography over 150 years, from the mid-19 t h century to today. It includes meticulously staged still lifes, a performance art photogram and an enormous jumble of contraband food.
February 14, 2010 | By Karen Wada
Whimsy? Satire? Superheroes? An exhibit opening Thursday at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena looks at how Pakistani artists are vibrantly re-imagining the venerable genre of South Asian miniature painting. From roughly the 16th to 19th centuries, court painters crafted jewel-toned book and album illustrations that depicted hunts, battles and powerful people. In recent decades, a new miniature movement has flourished, one that uses past stylistic conventions and themes as a launch pad for modern commentary and flights of fancy.
February 5, 2010 | By Lauren Beale
Update: Actor James Franco , who plays Allen Ginsberg in the 2010 film "Howl," has sold his Sunset Strip-area compound for $3.3 million, the Multiple Listing Service shows. The Spanish-style villa, built in 1923, has three bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms in 4,000 square feet. There are vaulted and beamed ceilings, city views and a master bedroom suite with a 19th century marble bathtub. The walled and gated property includes a swimming pool and a guest casita. Franco, 31, starred in "Pineapple Express" (2008)
January 22, 2010 | By Paula L. Woods
Today, most people understand that animals can become extinct, whether as a consequence of a giant asteroid or because of our own pattern of habitat destruction, climate change and pollution that have endangered hundreds more. But just 200 years ago, the word "paleontology" hadn't been invented and Britain's Geology Society was just a few years old, its very existence a careful negotiation between science and religion, where some believed that Earth was formed on a specific date (Oct. 23, 4000 BC)
December 12, 2009 | By Sam Watters
In 1887 along the San Gabriel Mountains, the community of Altadena launched with great promise to compete against mighty Pasadena to the south. Some wood and shingle houses by local architects went up, planted with showy flower gardens, but the hamlet stayed a countryside stop for year-end holiday visitors. Winter blossoms, orchards and poppy fields -- what more did a tourist need? Town founders John and Frederick Woodbury were from a pioneer Iowa family. In 1883 on a 400-acre ranch bordered by Marengo and Lake avenues, Altadena Drive and Woodbury Road, Fred built a white clapboard mansion.
December 10, 2009 | By Harriet Ryan
As Roman Polanski enters his second week under house arrest at his Swiss chalet today, his American legal team is scheduled to face off with the prosecutors seeking his extradition in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. The issue before a state appellate court predates Polanski's September arrest in Zurich and concerns the nuances of a 19th-century legal doctrine. But if the three-judge panel sides with Polanski, the ruling could set the stage for the possible dismissal of the director's 1977 case and his release from detention.
September 6, 2009 | Donna Seaman
The Bride's Farewell A Novel Meg Rosoff Viking: 214 pp., $24.95 Meg Rosoff, a London-based American, writes harrowing, psychologically complex novels for young adults. In "How I Live Now," 15-year-old Daisy leaves the United States for England to spend the summer with her cousin, and ends up on a perilous journey in the midst of war. An international bestseller, it was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and took the Printz Award and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.
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