Picasso Tableau to Highlight Modern Art Sale

Sotheby’s London forthcoming Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on Tuesday 5th February 2013 will be led by a monumental 1932 portrait of Picasso’s ‘golden muse’ Marie-Therese Walter (est. 25-35£ million).

Featuring an exceptional group of works from eminent collections, the sale will also offer Claude Monet’s monumental Nympheas avec reflets de HautesHerbes of 1914-17 (est. £12-18 million) from the artist’s most celebrated series of works, and an outstanding example of Miro’s important post-war paintings, Femme revant de l’evasion of 1945 (est. £8-12 million) that comes to auction for the first time in 50 years from the Wallach Collection, ArtDaily said.

One of the most important group of works on paper by EgonSchiele to come to auction will be offered from the Leopold Museum in Vienna (combined est. £9-12 million), and further highlights include a selection of works from a rare English collection of Impressionist art, the Collection of the Late Earl of Jersey, two remarkable pastels by Edgar Degas and a strong offering of German Expressionist Art.

The sale is estimated to fetch in excess of £103 million. Helena Newman, Chairman of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department Europe, said, “We are delighted to present a sale this February that includes such important and hugely appealing works that span right across the Impressionist & Modern Art field, spearheaded by Picasso’s 1932 work Femme assisepresd’unefenetre. In recent years in particular we have witnessed the remarkable allure of Picasso’s portraits of Marie-Therese to collectors, with La Lecture selling for £25 million - double its pre-sale estimate - in Sotheby’s February 2011 sale, and Nature morte aux tulipes selling in Sotheby’s November 2012 sale for $41.5 million. This particular portrait is a striking and notably modern-looking work from one of the artist’s most celebrated periods."


Source : Iran Daily

Oscar nominee ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ tops weekend box office

Oscar contender “Zero Dark Thirty” won the top spot at the box office this past weekend with a $24 million haul, beating out “A Haunted House” and “Gangster Squad.” The Kathryn Bigelow film won Jessica Chastain a Golden Globe evening for her performance as a CIA operative at the helm of the manhunt for Osama bin Laden. More awards could be on the horizon for the film, which received several Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Actress.



Russian diamonds are best friends of girls around the world

Experts say that China and India will become the main consumers of diamonds by 2020 and that they will outstrip the USA, today’s current leader. The reason for this is that the American tradition to wear jewelry with diamonds is becoming very popular there.

Russia that is one of the leaders on the world market of diamond raw materials is not subject to this tendency. Practically, all Russian diamonds go abroad.

The USA, traditionally, remains the largest consumer of diamonds. There is a tradition among Americans to give their fiancées diamond engagement rings and to frequent the society in all brilliance of their diamonds. However, as a result of the financial crisis, the sales of diamonds have dropped.

There is a reverse tendency in China and India, where jewelry with diamonds is in great demand. It can be explained by the fact that people are becoming more prosperous there and also thanks to the growing popularity of the Western culture, an analyst with the Invest cafe Agency, Andrei Shenk, says.

"Regarding China and India, we can say that the two countries’ economies are developing dynamically. The people’s real incomes are rapidly growing as well. Besides, they are becoming more financially solvent. That is why it is quite logical that these two countries will outstrip the USA in the consumption of diamonds by 2020."

Russia ranks among the leaders in the volume of extraction of natural diamonds, and it is determined to keep its high positions on the diamond market in the future too. The Russian diamond mining companies have solid diamond reserves that are confirmed as of today. For example, the Russian Alrosa Company extracts diamond raw materials in the volume of approximately 35 million carats annually, and its confirmed resources exceed 970 million carats, which means that it will last some 25 to 30 years. Alrosa supplies only about 25 per cent of diamonds to the home market while all the rest is meant for export. Cartier, Tiffany and many other world luxury brands use Russian diamonds.

Regarding domestic demand, we should say that it is at a low level. As compared with the USA, India, China, and Japan, there is no tradition in Russia to wear diamond jewelry, Chief of the Examination Department at the Lomonosov Moscow State University Yuri Shelementiyev says:

"In the 20th century it became clear that these traditions had emerged thanks to the efforts of the diamond mining companies – such as De Beers and many others, which by means of their advertising created stable traditions of diamond consumption."

Partly, a low demand on diamond jewelry in Russia can be explained by the fact that Russian women remain committed to European culture. In Europe diamond jewelry is mainly meant to be worn during parties, not in the daytime. Simple gold and silver jewelry is more popular in Russia.

Despite that, more than 90 per cent of Russian women have jewelry with diamonds. Mainly, such are presents made on the occasion of their birthday and wedding anniversary, or some other significant event. Thus, diamonds are regarded as the best friends of Russian girls.

Source: Voice of Russia



Citizens of poorest countries are happiest in the world

 The American Institute of Public Opinion, conducted a study to find out which country had the happiest citizens. The survey results were striking as it was discovered that citizens of the poorest countries were the happiest. The list of the happiest countries was topped by El Salvador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Trinidad and Tobago. What is the secret of Hispanic happiness?
Specialists of the Gallup Institute released data from a study conducted back in 2011. Experts conducted a survey in 148 countries around the world to find out in which countries people were more likely to experience positive emotions. People were interviewed in person and on the phone, and each person was asked five questions, all about the ways they spent the previous day.

Social scientists asked whether the respondents felt joy, whether they felt rested, and how often they laughed and smiled. In addition, the researchers asked whether their interviewees felt respected by their peers, as well as whether they learned something new the day before.

According to the Gallup, the happiest people on the planet were the citizens of El Salvador, Panama and Paraguay. These three countries were the "happiest". The top ten included 7 countries in Latin America - in addition to the above, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guatemala and Costa Rica made the list.

First place in the ranking was occupied by a small equatorial country in Latin America - Panama, whose population is only 3.4 million people (according to 2010 census). However, despite the relatively small size of the country and small population, the standard of living in the country is relatively high. According to the studies, the birth rate in the country is 20 per thousand - 96th place among other countries. The mortality rate is low at about 4.5 people per 1000.

Panama's mortality rate is among the lowest -196th. The average life expectancy is impressive as Panamanian men live on average 74 years, women - 80. In Panama, the vast majority of the population lives in urban areas - 73 percent. The country earns its income exploiting the Panama Canal, as well as tourism, insurance, and banking. Two-thirds of the population is employed in these sectors. According to UN statistics, the per capita GDP in 2009 was nearly 12 thousand dollars, which is not bad for a small country whose level of production was only 18 per cent of annual GDP.

World analysts note that Panama is a country where people can be quite happy with their living conditions. UN experts believe that the standard of living in the country is comparable to that of North America - the United States and Canada, only the price of goods and services is several times lower. For example, a meal at an upscale restaurant is only 50 U.S. dollars, and a taxi ride anywhere in the capital is $2.

The level of health care in the country is also high, noted the experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Hospitals and clinics boast state of the art equipment and doctors are highly skilled, which is key to the high level of health care in the country. Incidentally, nearly all of Panama's qualified doctors have been trained in the U.S. The cost of health insurance in the country does not exceed $800 dollars, and the price of medical services is two times lower than in the United States.  

Of course, the Gallup experts noted that the infrastructure of the country and high quality of life were not the only factors that influenced the extent to which its citizens were happy. The country's favorable climate plays a significant role. The temperatures remain virtually unchanged all year round at the level of 25-28C degrees in the afternoon. Panamanians never see snow, which is not surprising, as the country is located near the equator. Dry and rainy seasons do happen on the country's territory.

In 2005, Panama won the first place in the global index of the most comfortable countries in the world. Retirees tend to move to Panama because it has one of the most developed pension systems in the world. According to the American Association of Retired Persons and the organization "International Living", the United States recognized Panama as one of the four of the world's best countries to live outside the U.S.  

The results surprised the researchers from the Gallup Institute as it turned out that the happiest people live in poor countries of Latin America. If the standard of living in Panama is comparable to that of developed European countries, residents of such countries as El Salvador, Uruguay, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago cannot boast similar conditions. Scientists explain this by historically formed mentality of these people who see happiness in things other than material goods. According to them, people in poor countries can find joy in the moral satisfaction that often is not available to citizens of the developed countries.

Some of the world's media cited an example of two attitudes - a successful and wealthy businessman from Singapore and a poor woman who sells tea in the streets of Paraguay. "We keep working and don't get paid enough," complained the 33-year Singaporean Richard Lowe. "Wealth does not bring happiness, but only problems. Life is too short, and there is no place for sadness," said Maria Solis of Paraguay.

Sergei Vasilenkov


Has the Queen treated Prince William and Kate Middleton to a new house?

Kate Middleton and Prince William are to be given a country mansion by The Queen as the couple prepare for the arrival of their first child.

According to reports, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been gifted the picturesque Anmer Hall on the royal Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

The Grade II-listed Georgian property has 10 bedrooms and rolling grounds and it's thought that Prince William spent time there as a child.

And as pregnant Kate Middleton stays out of the spotlight more and more, royal sources say the country pile has been 'earmarked' for the Duke and Duchess when the current tenant leaves.

A source said, "The house has been earmarked for William and Kate."

However a Buckingham Palace spokesman said, "We would not comment on private properties on the Queen's private estates."

Prince William and Kate Middleton currently live between their remote home in Anglesey, where Prince William works as an RAF search and rescue pilot, and a cottage in the gardens of Kensington Palace, which they have been using while their new quarters is renovated.

It's thought the couple will move in to 1A in Kensington Palace this summer, a five-bedroom apartment once home to Princess Margaret.

According to reports, the home has undergone extensive refurbishments ahead of the royal couples move later this year.