Archive for December, 2017

Photography | The High Life & The Horror

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Serge Lifar, 1935,
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



Madame d’Ora.
Make Me Beautiful!
Museum für Kunst
& Gewerbe Hamburg
Hamburg | Germany
21 December 2017
> 18 March 2018



Separated Calf’s Head,
before 1958, from the
Slaughterhouse series,
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



Having your portrait photographed by Madame d’Ora underpinned your claim to a place in the world of the beautiful, the well educated and the famous. But then the world changed. Madame d’Ora (1881 > 1963), who from 1910 had dedicated her work exclusively to Viennese and Parisian fashionable society was Jewish and, as the Germans advanced, was forced to flee the French capital.

Born into a wealthy family – her father was a lawyer at the Viennese palace court – Dora Philippine Kalmus would adopt Madame d’Ora as her professional pseudonym. Having trained as a photographer in Berlin, she established a photography studio with Arthur Benda in Vienna in 1907. The two operated a summer studio from 1921 until 1926 in Karlsbad, Germany, and set up an atelier in Paris in 1925. In the 1920s, she courted the rapidly evolving illustrated press, where her images would appear in upmarket magazines such as Die Dame, Madame, and L’Officiel de la Couture et de la Mode.

Fashion designer
Emilie Flöge
wearing a dress with
Kolo-Moser-Motifs, 1908,
Atelier d’Ora
Gelatin silver print



Woman supporting an
ailing man, 1945/46,
from the Refugees series,
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



She photographed fashion for the Wiener Werkstätte, and the long list of those who sat for Madame d’Ora included the clothing designer, businesswoman and lifelong companion of Gustav Klimt, Emilie Flöge. She produced portraits of Coco Chanel, Colette, Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and Tamara de Lempicka. Aristocrats like Comtesse Heléne Costa de Beauregard and the modernist patron Marie-Laure de Noailles, Vicomtesse de Noailles, became her clients. However, her camera wasn’t reserved for women; considered the chief architect of modern French ballet, Serge Lifar sat for her, as did Picasso and Maurice Chevalier. In the 1920s Madame d’Ora had photographed flamboyant Jazz-Age entertainer, Josephine Baker, who – by now a French citizen – when war came, joined the Resistance.

Tamara de Lempicka
with a hat by Rose
Descat, 1933,*
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



Skinned Rabbit Body,
before 1958, from the
Slaughterhouse series,
Madame d‘Ora
Gelatin silver print



By 1945 d’Ora, incensed and appalled by the cruelty of the Nazis, had adopted a tough-edged, no-frills photographic style that she used to document the fate of refugees in the area around Vienna. Returning to Paris and to the glamorous world of portraiture, her personal artistic response to the horrors of war would nevertheless reach its apotheosis in two haunting photographic series of 1950 and 1958 depicting the bloody, dismembered remains of dead animals in the city’s slaughterhouses.

The exhibition Madame d’Ora. Make Me Beautiful! at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg (MKG) presents the first-ever survey of d’Ora’s work and features some 250 photographs spanning her career from the 1910s to 1950s.

All photographs courtesy Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg.
All photographs © Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, except (*) from a private collection in Vienna


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Design | Haute-Tech: Brainy, Fashionable Furniture

Friday, December 8th, 2017

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance,
unique Ammonite shelf, 2012
Two-tone patinated steel.
Executed by Stefano Ronchetti
for Meta, London.
Collection of Hana Soukupová
& Drew Aaron
Estimate $1,000 > 15,000



Important Design
Sotheby’s New York
New York City | USA
Exhibition 9 > 12 December 2017
Sale 13 December 2017



Michel Boyer,
sideboard, c1970
Stainless steel with
mahogany interior.

Estimate $18,000 > 24,000



Confirming fashion’s current infatuation with technology, Dutch designer, Joris Laarman has been described by W Magazine as producing an ‘haute-cerebral brand of futurism’. The 37-year-old’s pioneering work is at the intersection of design, art, and science. His aim is to abolish the traditional distinctions between the decorative and the functional, the natural and the machine-made world. Creators of 3D-printed bridges, tables constructed with the aid of industrial robots, and chairs that can be downloaded from the internet, his company’s work is currently the subject of Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in New York. Sitting alongside rare pieces by an array of international, celebrated 20th and 21st-century artists, architects and designers, Laarman’s Bone armchair, below, produced in 2007, is one of the star lots inspired by technological innovation in Sotheby’s forthcoming design sale.

In the 1960s French designer, Michel Boyer (1935 > 2011), became sought after for his ability to combine glass, steel and rare woods to create functional luxury furniture. He oversaw and designed the interior of Baron Elie de Rothschild’s personal office in the de Rothschild Frères bank’s Paris headquarters, in which his unique sideboard, above, (commissioned 1970) with its machine-like finish, was installed. During the 1970s, Boyer gained a worldwide reputation for prestigious commissions such as the French embassies in Washington DC and in Brazil.

Joris Laarman,
Bone armchair, 2007
Carrara marble powder
and casting resin.
Produced by Joris
Laarman Lab, Amsterdam,
The Netherlands.

Estimate $250,000 > 350,000



Zaha Hadid,
Serif 4 shelf, from the
Seamless series, 2006
Polyurethane-lacquered
polyester resin.
Produced by Established
& Sons, London.
Estimate $15,000 > 20,000



Sculptural and intriguing, the spiraling Ammonite shelf (2012), top, inspired by technology as much as by nature, is by contemporary furniture and interior designer, and author, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance (b 1974), also French, whose career took off in 2002 after he served as artistic director for the London restaurant Sketch. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance’s recent projects have included a private dining room for Chateau d’Yquem in the Parisian hotel, Le Meurice; he has designed a candelabra for Baccarat, as well as a scent bottle in the shape of a gold bar for Paco Rabanne. In collaboration with Brand Image, he created the visual and architectural identity of the Air France business class lounges and has developed retail concepts for clients, such as Yves Saint Laurent. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance furniture creations include, among others, the Corvo and Chiara chairs for American brand Bernhardt Design, and various products for Ligne Roset.

Mathieu Mategot,
magazine rack, circa 1955
Lacquered metal.
Collection of Hana
Soukupová & Drew Aaron
Estimate $2,000 > 3,000



Hungarian, Mathieu Matégot, (1919 > 2001), having spent time in America and Italy, settled in Paris in 1931 and began working as a set designer for the Folies Bergère and window-dresser for the Galerie Lafayette department store, where he also created dresses and tapestries. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, Matégot became involved in furniture design. Exploring a variety of materials, including metal, glass, Formica, wood, textiles, and leather, he would later become famous for innovative furniture and accessories incorporating metal tubing and perforated sheet metal, such as the magazine rack, above.

Uncompromising and elegant – although at first sight its function may only be guessed at – the limited edition, Serif 4 shelf (2006), above, by Pritzker Prize- and Sterling prize-winner, Iraqi-British architect, Zaha Hadid (1950 > 2016), who had been practising her own haute-cerebral brand of futurism since the 1980s, is also included in Important Design at Sotheby’s New York. The sale features a total of 165 items, many of which derive from renowned, international collections.

All images courtesy Sotheby’s


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Auction | One Man’s Vicarious Visions of America

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Elizabeth Heyert (1951 >)
Death portraits, from
the series ‘The Travelers’ 6

£2300 > 3800
$3000 > 5000



The Producer’s Pix
Photographs from the
Collection
of Bruce Berman
Bonhams
Los Angeles | California | USA
Exhibition 9 December > 14 December
Sale 14 December 2017



Manuel Alvarez Bravo
(1902 > 2002)
La Operacion Hospital,
Juarez, Mexico

£1500 > 2300
$2000 > 3000



Presumed Innocent, New Jack City, The Client, GoodFellas, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Malcolm X, The Bodyguard, JFK, The Matrix trilogy, Ocean’s Eleven, Mystic River, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Logo Movie are just a few of more than 100 major Hollywood films that Bruce Berman has been passionately involved in producing since 1984. Berman also has another passion: photography.

Steven Soderbergh, who directed some of those movies, was asked to write an introduction to the catalogue for this forthcoming sale of a portion of Berman’s collection of photographs. In it he explains that a great photograph is a story. A great collection also tells a story about its collector.

William Christenberry
(1936 >)
House in Summertime,
Greensboro, Alabama

£1500 > 2300
$2000 > 3000



Andrew Moore
(1957 >)
War of 1812 Mural,
Building 125, Governors
Island, New York

£3000 > 4500
$4000 > 6000



Berman’s advice to someone who wants to start a collection is ‘to go with what strikes them, with whatever hits that button in them.’ His own taste in photography was formed by his early experiences. Having been given a Kodak Brownie camera for his eighth birthday, he immediately began taking pictures. In his teens he graduated to an SLR and while at college – inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On The Road novel – made epic road trips across America, stopping at the roadside to photograph whatever caught his eye.

Christian Patterson
(1972 >)
No Nothing, from
‘RedHeaded Peckerwood’

£600 > 900
$800 > 1200



As his career progressed, he began buying work he liked by photographers such as Diane Arbus and William Eggleston. And when, in 1988, after a decade in the film business, he was earning enough to pay photographers to travel around the country producing their own work on his behalf, he dispatched them to the Midwest, to Minnesota and Wisconsin, or to the South. Revelling in his vicarious wanderings and describing himself as ‘totally addicted’ to collecting, by 2007, Berman, aided by his wife, Nancy, had amassed 2,600 photos. He donated many to the Getty Center in Los Angeles, which that year mounted the exhibition, Where We Live: Photographs of America from the Berman Collection. By focussing on one particular genre, and, via his commissioning and discovery of new talent, having made a direct contribution to the formulation of the genre itself, Bruce Berman had justly earned a place in the history of American photography.

The film mogul currently owns a mere 700 prints. Having accepted that he is now at a different phase in his life, he says that he no longer gets sad when he sells or donates his a photographs.

Dorothea Lange
(1895-1965)
Funeral Cortege,
End of an Era in a
Small Valley Town

£11000 > 19000
$15000 > 25000



Sheron Rupp
(1943 >)
Shawnee; and Utica, Ohio 2
£750 > 1100
$1000 > 1500



Elsewhere in the catalogue, The Getty’s Judith Keller and Anna Lacoste describe Berman’s personal collection as ‘an archive of late twentieth-century American life’. If one presumes that the images being offered in this auction are a representative selection from the work he accumulated, it might be fair to conclude, however, that in avoiding extremes – of poverty, of wealth, of depravity, of political, environmental, racial, and sexual issues – despite the pioneering spirit on which it was founded and pursued, the richness and quality of its content and Berman’s enthusiasm for photography, his story of life in the USA during the period in which these photographs were created is a fascinating, offbeat, but ultimately sentimental and nostalgic journey.

The Producer’s Pix: Photographs from the Collection of Bruce Berman at Bonhams includes 170 lots by, among others, Stephen Shore, whose work is the subject of a major retrospective currently on show at MoMA in New York.

All images courtesy Bonhams


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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, gardens and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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