Local decoupage artist looking to retrieve lost works of art
An Orillia artist who has spent decades perfecting her craft is looking to enlist the public’s help in retrieving some of her lost artwork.
Peggy Little, 83, began her lifelong decoupage hobby nearly 50 years ago, fashioning realistic birds, plants, and natural scenery out of little more than paper, and transforming desks, dinner plates, and more into impressive works of art with influences from around the globe.
For the uninitiated, the art of decoupage involves using paper cutouts, paint, and even gold leaf to transform ordinary objects into artwork – all of which Little has incorporated into her work.
Over the years, Little has created countless pieces, often with great sentimental value. Her living room, for example, is currently adorned with a piece she created out of a relative’s antique desk, and a heron crafted from a photo taken near her home.
Several years ago, however, Little lost a number of pieces that she loved.
When she and her husband were looking to downsize from their Washago home to their current condo in Orillia, Little fell ill and had to be hospitalized.
Although she had planned on downsizing her decoupage collection, as well, Little said auctioneers sold off a large portion of her work during that time without consulting her.
“These are personal things that I’ve worked on for years, and they should have been boxed and brought to me,” she told OrilliaMatters.
Beyond her artwork, Little also lost the Langman family bible that had been in her family for generations.
“It had been in the family for years and years – generations – and it’s gone. Now why would somebody want to buy somebody’s Bible? It should have been returned to me,” she said.
Her hope is that if anyone has a piece of her art that’s missing (most of her artwork is dated and signed, she said), she would be willing to buy it back at the price they paid for it.
“If people had it in their hearts and knew what it meant to me, I would be willing to pay whatever they paid for it and buy it back,” she said. “It’s not like a piece of furniture. When people bought these things, they knew what they were buying.”
Little described decoupaging as a “passion” of hers, and said many of her pieces involve extensive work – the birds she crafts can take several weeks to complete, and other pieces have dozens of layers of varnish, which is then finely sanded, to produce the effect she desires.
“Your heart goes into it. It’s like somebody that does woodworking and finishes things off, and they take great pride in doing that sort of thing,” she said. “The birds and the frames … that takes probably a couple of weeks to do the feathering.”
She has travelled to the United States numerous times to learn new techniques from members of her decoupage guild, and taught numerous classes in Scarborough, Markham, and Maple over the years to anyone looking to learn the craft.
Even today, Little has numerous decoupage projects planned for the summer, and although she has retired from formal teaching, she said she is still open to sharing information about the craft with others.
Some of what Little lost during her hospital stay is as follows:
- A varnished cat, 10 inches high, with pure gold leaf;
- Two music boxes, one with a black background and “oriental” design, and another with a green background and floral design;
- A glass plate designed with flowers in a hexagon frame;
- A fire screen with three panels, with a green background and an oriental design on the front;
- A glass lamp with small red flowers and black paint transitioning to green at the top;
- A tilt top black tea table with a gold top;
- Numerous Fabrege Ostrich and Rhea eggs;
- The Langman family bible; and more
Should anyone have one of Little’s pieces of art, and would like to return it or resell it, OrilliaMatters can put them in contact with Little.
Art collector Myriam Ullens killed outside her home in Belgium, allegedly by her stepson – Art Newspaper
Myriam Ullens, a major collector who, with her husband Guy Ullens, supported and championed Chinese contemporary art, was killed outside the couple’s home in the village of Ohain south of Brussels today (29 March) according to multiple reports in the Belgian press. She was 70 years old. The reports claim she was shot by her stepson Nicolas Ullens, who has been detained by police. Her husband, Guy, reportedly survived the incident.
Myriam and Guy were in their car outside their home around 10am when Nicolas fired on his stepmother, who died at the scene, according to La Libre. Myriam and Nicolas had been in a protracted dispute over issues of inheritance, according to multiple reports.
Myriam and Guy Ullens, who married in 1999, have been important and influential art collectors for decades. They started out collecting classical Chinese scroll paintings, but eventually shifted their attention to contemporary art. In 2007, they opened the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing—considered at the time to be the first contemporary art museum in China—which showed works from their collection of more than 2,000 works. In 2017 they sold the museum, renamed the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, to a group of investors; they continued and broadened their collecting activities under the banner of the Swiss-based Fondation Guy & Myriam Ullens.
In 2004 Myriam, who went by Mimi and was a cancer survivor, founded the Mimi Foundation to create centres within hospitals to provide physical and mental therapy for patients undergoing cancer treatment. In 2013 she co-organised an exhibition and benefit auction during Frieze Week in London to support the Mimi Foundation.
“If many of the artists in this project are Chinese that is because of our long and close relationship with them. This is just the tip of our iceberg—that we are continuing to follow and collect intensively with the new generation,” Myriam told Ocula at the time. “A collection is like a living breathing body. It evolves in an organic manner.”
Myriam was born in Cologne, Germany. Following early success in the food industry, she married Guy, a Belgian businessman and baron, and devoted herself to fashion (launching the brand Maison-Ullens) and philanthropy. The couple’s charitable activities also included opening the Ullens School, an educational facility in Nepal.
Nicolas Ullens, a former Belgian state security agent, is one of four children Guy had with his first wife, Micheline Franckx.
The Ullenses’ foundation did not immediately respond to a request for further information.
Major Collector and Chinese Art Patron Myriam Ullens Has Been Shot Dead Outside Her Home in Belgium – artnet News
Myriam Ullens de Schooten, a preeminent collector and well-known figure in the art world, was shot dead yesterday in front of the house she shared with her husband, Baron Guy Ullens de Schooten. Both are major collectors of Chinese art and respected in the art world as the founders of UCCA in Beijing, China.
The murder occurred at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29. Local media have reported that Ullens suffered four bullets to the head, and had died by the time emergency services arrived to the family home in the Belgian village of Ohain. The stepson of the 70-year-old German baroness is reportedly a prime suspect.
The 50-year-old Nicolas Ullens de Schooten, a former state security agent and one of four children, is suspected of shooting his stepmother while she was in a car with his father, who survived the attack. He has been taken into custody for questioning. According to some Belgian reports, the victim and suspect were in an open dispute over an inheritance issue. Local authorities did not immediately respond to Artnet News’s request for further information.
“The vision and passion of Myriam Ullens—her love for art, belief in cultural exchange, and commitment to helping others—are at the core of UCCA’s history and values,” said Philip Tinari, UCCA’s director, in a statement shared on social media. “We are shocked and saddened by her death, and will remember her strength, style, creativity, and generosity as we carry forward the work of the institution that she and Guy so generously founded and nurtured through its first decade.”
Born in Cologne in 1952, Myriam, known to friends as “Mimi” Ullens was an active philanthropist, who initiated an education program and school in Nepal. A cancer survivor, Ullens also launched The Mimi Foundation, which was active in cancer wards at eight hospitals in Belgium, France, and Switzerland, providing support to patients going through treatment.
Myriam and Guy Ullens married in 1999 and built out an evolving collection focused on art from China, beginning at first with classical Chinese scroll painting before focusing on contemporary art from China. Their “universal” collection, as it is described on their foundation’s website, includes works by prominent Chinese artists including Huang Yong Ping, Wang Jianwei, Xu Zhen, together with Western art stars like Rashid Johnson, Sterling Ruby, and Tracey Emin; another area of focus in their collection was digital art.
They opened the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in 2007 to exhibit their collection that numbers around 2,000 artworks; the institution was one of the first of its kind in China. In 2017, the couple sold the museum to a group of patrons and shareholders and it was renamed the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art. They continued to be involved and served on the foundation council, while actively collecting via their Fondation Guy & Myriam Ullens, based in Switzerland. Myriam was also actively involved in luxury brand Maison Ullens, which she founded in 2011. The family is of Belgian nobility; Guy Ullens is a philanthropist as well as a financial services company executive who has been collecting art since the 1960s.
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Banksy artwork Brace Yourself! sells for over $2m at auction in US – The Guardian
The Banksy artwork Brace Yourself! has sold for $2,032,000 (£1.6m), more than three times its original estimate, during an auction featuring a performance from the band that inspired the piece.
The anonymous artist created the work in 2010 for the British band then known as Exit Through the Gift Shop, who shared the same name he wanted to use for his 2010 documentary film.
To avoid copyright issues, the group agreed to Banksy’s offer to create a painting for them on the condition they changed their name.
The artwork, a large-scale painting of a grim reaper figure riding in a carnival bumper car, was sold to Miguel Garcia Larios, the owner of Rcnstrct Studio in Hollywood, during an event hosted by Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills.
Its original estimate was $600,000 and the sale was preceded by a live performance by Brace Yourself!, fronted by the singer Natalie Zalewska.
Zalewska previously said the sale was about preserving the artwork as a “piece of history”.
The Exit Through the Gift Shop documentary tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a Los Angeles-based Frenchman who videotapes underground art escapades and later finds fame with the moniker Mr Brainwash.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the artwork will go to the music charity MusiCares, which provides health, financial and rehabilitation support to people working in the sector.
Also featured in the auction was an original print of Banksy’s Girl With Balloon, which sold for $195,000, and more than 70 artworks from famous names such as the painter Bob Ross, the actor Jim Carrey and the Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro.
In early March, Brace Yourself! was displayed in the window of the Hard Rock Cafe in Piccadilly Circus, London.
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