Archive for October, 2018

Auction | Pierre Bergé’s Mega-Artist: Bernard Buffet

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Autoportrait sur
fond noir
, 1956

Oil on canvas.
Estimate €100,000 >
150,000



Pierre Bergé
From One Home to Another
Sotheby’s
Paris | France
Exhibition + Sale
29 > 31 October 2018



Boeuf écorché, 1954
Oil on canvas.
Estimate €200,000 >
400,000



A dozen paintings by French artist Bernard Buffet will be exhibited and sold in a charity auction in Paris next week. Redolent of the pair’s intense, shared history during the 1950s, and also perhaps the turbulence of their later relationship, they were collected by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent, and are among 1000 items from Bergé’s homes in Paris, Normandy, Provence and Morocco included in Sotheby’s sale.

In 1974, in France, where painter, lithographer, and etcher Buffet’s work was as instantly recognisable as an Yves Saint Laurent (1936 > 2008) trouser suit, he was voted the public’s favourite post-war artist. Born in Paris in 1928, tellingly, growing up during the Nazi occupation, he was only 16-years-old when he enrolled in art classes, afterwards progressing to the École des Beaux-Arts, where his prolific output was first noted. Having found a sponsor and adopted an expressionist approach, his work was exhibited in a mixed show in 1946 that immediately gained him public attention. When the magazine Connaissance des arts named the 10 best post-war artists of 1958, Buffet, aged 30, was at the top of the list. That same year, the first retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie Charpentier. Buffet was a founder-member of the short-lived anti-abstraction L’Homme Témoin (Witness) group, which argued passionately in favour of representational art. In spite of his popular recognition, and perhaps to some extent in envious reaction against it, his bold rejection of abstraction – at the time, the dominating trend – earned him the scorn of many of his contemporaries. Once hailed as the artistic successor to Picasso, he would later experience more general derision.

According to Nicholas Foulkes’ 2016 biography, Bernard Buffet: The Invention of the Mega-Artist: ‘He was a bisexual, an alcoholic recluse and a socialite [who] quickly became a part of the same pack of young, successful artists that included Françoise Sagan, Yves Saint Laurent, Roger Vadim and Brigitte Bardot… He bought a castle, a Rolls-Royce, a boat and an island by age 30, all from the proceeds of his painting. Postwar European society did not appreciate such a display of wealth.’ He would fall into near oblivion, his work reviled as vulgar: the epitome of bad taste.

Jaguar 1955, 1984
Oil on canvas.
Estimate €50,000 >
70,000



Tête de Bretonne, 1955
Oil on canvas.
Estimate €30,000 >
40,000



Nature morte
à la sole
, 1952

Oil on canvas.
Estimate €100,000 >
150,000



Over the course of a career lasting more than 50 years, which ended with his tragic suicide in 1999 – after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease – Buffet created more than 8,000 paintings and a large number of prints and was inducted into the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Revolving around concepts related to art history, religion, death, sexuality, popular culture, and politics, his work is invariably graphic, often figurative, is atmospherically melancholic, and always rendered in a sombre palette. It forms part of the collections in many prominent international museums, including those of Tate Modern, London, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and of the dedicated Bernard Buffet Museum in Japan (inaugurated, 1973).

L’atelier, 1956
Oil on canvas.
Estimate €80,000 >
120,000



Astute businessman, Pierre Bergé (1930 > 2017), who evidently continued to purchase Bernard Buffet’s work, even after its popularity had plummeted, would no doubt have been delighted that having undergone a reappraisal, and been the subject a 2016 retrospective exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the average compound annual return for the artist in 2018 is 9.9%, with 85.2% of works increasing in value, which bodes very well for Pierre Bergé: From One Home to Another at Sotheby’s Paris.

All works by Bernard Buffet, images courtesy Sotheby’s


Tell us what you think
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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Art | Call of the Wild

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Ana Mendieta, Bird
Transformation
, 1972

Colour photograph,
Vintage print.
Louisiana Museum
of Modern Art,
Denmark. © Estate
of Ana
Mendieta
Collection, LLC.
Courtesy Galerie
Lelong & Co New York.
Photo Poul Buchard /
Brøndum & Co



Wilderness
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
1 November 2018 >
3 February 2019



Thomas Struth,
Paradise 21
Yuquehy/Brazil, 2001
© Thomas Struth



Should the haze now suddenly clear, the figure gazing out into the abyss in Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (c1818) might well be met with, not the sublime wilderness he has been seeking, but a conservation area. Devoid of industry, the vista, would very likely be marred by pylons and old quarry workings, and crisscrossed by access roads; there might be a dam with an enormous lake behind it; hikers in brightly-coloured jackets threading their way along a track far below, while buzzing around overhead, an inquisitive drone records every detail of the valley.



Gerhard Richter,
Tiger, 1965
Oil on canvas.
Museum Morsbroich.
© Gerhard Richter 2018



Georgia O’Keeffe,
From the Plains ll, 1954
Oil on canvas.
Museo Thyssen-
Bornemisza



Heinz Mack during
shooting of the film
Tele-Mack, in the
Tunisian desert, 1968.
Photo E Braun /
Archiv Mack



Wildernesses, in the original, geographical sense – locations that deny human access and in which raw nature is left to its own devices – have become rare and are becoming rarer. But, as a western, cultural concept, wilderness is also representative of the ethos of the free spirit, of an alternative philosophical model at odds with accepted values of culture, domestication and civilisation. In the spirit of the Romantic period, and following Friedrich and others’ lead, artists have continued to explore wilderness from both these perspectives.



Lin May Saeed,
The Liberation of
Animals from
their Cages XVII /
Olifant Gate, 2016
Tool steel and
lacquer. Courtesy
Jacky Strenz, Nicolas
Krupp, the artist.
Photo Wolfgang Günzel



Tracing the connections between wilderness and art, the exhibition Wilderness at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt brings together over 100 20th and 21st century paintings, photographs, graphics, video and sound works, sculptures, and installations by some 35 international artists, including Julian Charrière, Ian Cheng, Marcus Coates, Tacita Dean, Mark Dion, Jean Dubuffet, Max Ernst, Camille Henrot, Asger Jorn, Per Kirkeby, Joachim Koester, Ana Mendieta, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gerhard Richter, Henri Rousseau, and Carleton E Watkins.

All images courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt


Tell us what you think
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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Design | Everything Ponti

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Pirelli Tower,
Milan,
1960
© DR



Tutto Ponti,
Gio Ponti Archi-Designer
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Paris | France
19 October 2018 >
10 February 2019



Living Room at Villa
Planchart, Caracas, 1957
Photo Antoine Baralhe.
Fondation Anala
et Armando Planchart



In Italian, Gio Ponti’s surname, means, appropriately, ‘bridges’. Over the course of a career that spanned more than 50 years, during which time he became the most important and influential designer/architect in Italy, his talents traversed everything from glassware design to ceramics; he created chairs, lighting, fabrics and cutlery, screenplays for cinema, as well as stage sets and costumes for La Scala. He established his architecture practice in 1921 and built private villas in Paris (1926), Eindhoven and Caracas (Villa Planchart 1953 > 1957), company headquarters, such as Milan’s landmark Pirelli Tower (1957) – at 127 metres, Europe’s tallest building at the time, that was a symbol of Italy’s post-war ‘miracolo’ reconstruction period – and public buildings, including Taranto cathedral (1970) in southern Italy and the Denver Art Museum (1974).

La Cornuta coffee
machine for Pavoni, 1948
© Photo Gio Ponti
Archives, Milan



Glass lamp 0024, 1933
© Photo Gio Ponti
Archives, Milan



Superleggera 699,
for Cassina, 1957
© Photo Gio Ponti
Archives, Milan



Drawing his earliest influences from the Venetian villas of Andrea Palladio, Ponti celebrated the machine but, unlike many 20th century modernists, never rejected classicism and craftsmanship. In collaboration with his protogeé, Piero Fornasetti, he took pleasure in creating decorated furniture designs flouting modernist conventions that dictated the abolition of applied ornament. An enemy of dogma, whose work never conformed to any particular ‘ism’, Ponti’s tenet was that styles corrupt and [if we conform to them] our ideas become corrupt themselves.

His design and architecture became synonymous with Italian ‘cool’ of the 1950s and 1960s. He was the designer behind Pavoni’s iconic La Cornuta coffee machine (1948) that would dominate the bars of cafés throughout Italy, in London and in New York, where customers might also find themselves sitting on one of his Superleggera – ‘super-light’ – chairs (1957).

Taranto cathedral,
1964 > 1970
Photo Luca Massari



While Gio Ponti’s work is admired today by enlightened design enthusiasts and highly coveted by collectors it remains little known in France. Despite the big Gio Ponti exhibition held at London’s Design Museum in 2002, the situation in the UK is similar. Including some 400 items, as its title suggests, Tutto Ponti, Gio Ponti Archi-Designer at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, is a major retrospective exhibition, bridging every aspect of Ponti’s multi-faceted career, with the aim of introducing the wider public to the work of this creative genius of the Italian design scene.

All images courtesy Musée des Arts Décoratifs


Tell us what you think
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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Exhibitions| Café Pop Revisited

Friday, October 5th, 2018

Snack bar at the
Spiegel Cafeteria
Verner Panton was
commissioned to
design in 1968.

Photo Bernhardi /
Spiegel Verlag, 2011



68. Pop and Protest
Museum für Kunst
& Gewerbe Hamburg
Hamburg | Germany
18 October > 17 March 2019



1968. Soviet tanks roll into Prague, Martin Luther King Jnr and Robert Kennedy are assassinated, riots explode on the streets of Paris. As Anti-Vietnam war protests burgeon in the US and civil unrest ushers in a state of emergency in Northern Ireland, Der Spiegel, the German weekly news magazine – one of Europe’s largest and most influential publications with a moral authority based on many years of vigorous investigative journalism – commissions a Pop Art cafeteria.

Fifty years on, in 2018, we’re in the midst of another era of tremendous political upheaval and uncertainty in which the central aspects of our liberal and democratic way of life – freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to democratic participation, gender and racial equality – are under threat. But whereas, currently, any prospect of hope seems absent, 1968 overflowed with it.

Colour Proof –
Red Flag, 1968,
Gerd Conradt (b 1941)
16mm film still.
© Gerd Conradt,
Mandala Vision



Twiggy, 1966,
by Ronald Traeger
© Tessa Traeger



Donna UP5 armchair
with Bambino UP6
(prototype), 1969,
designed by
Gaetano
Pesce (b 1939)

Photo © manufacturer,
Cassina & Busnelli



In the late 1960s, international protests gave impetus to emerging revolutionary ideas that it was generally felt – especially amongst the young – were capable of changing the world for the better. Critical discourse and public debate flourished and imaginative ways of rising up against conservative, authoritarian structures were developed that promoted sexual freedom and demanded equality for all. Avant-garde forms of expression in all artistic disciplines – progressive music, unconventional fashion and uninhibited design, controversial theatre, and socially critical cinema – blossomed and were all utilised as non-violent methods of bringing about change.

Che Guevara, 1968,
Gert Wiescher (b 1944)
Offset print.
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn



Orange dining room,
Spiegel Canteen,
1969, designed
by Verner Panton

Photo Bernhardi /
Spiegel Verlag, 2011



It was in this spirit of optimism and willingness to challenge accepted norms that in 1968 the Der Spiegel publishing house decided to react against the strict rigidity of the Bauhaus-style architecture of its then headquarters building by commissioning Danish designer, Verner Panton (1926 >1998), to create what turned out to be one of the most radical and unconventional interiors Germany had ever seen. The cafeteria was only part of a bigger story – though none of these survived Der Spiegel’s move to a brand new building in 2011 – Panton also designed the building’s entrance area with its courtyard and lobby, employees’ swimming pool in the basement, the editorial conference rooms and lounges, as well as the colour schemes for the hallways of the administration areas.

This year, however, having been dismantled and installed at the Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg in 2014, Panton’s wildly-colourful cafeteria, with its harmonious geometric forms and flowing, atmospheric transitions, where world events and political scandals were mulled over, discussed and debated for almost five decades, is the centre-piece of the forthcoming exhibition 68. Pop and Protest.

All images from the exhibition, 68. Pop and Protest, courtesy Museum für Kunst & Gewerbe Hamburg


Tell us what you think
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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin