Archive for the ‘sculpture’ Category

Photography | Edward Weston: The Master Set

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Sotheby’s
Photographs
Exhibition 26th > 29th September 2014
Auction 30th September 2014
New York City | USA

What an exciting day it will be for photography buffs, fans and collectors next Tuesday at Sotheby’s, New York. The morning auction session starts at 10 am with lots 1 > 107, and resumes at 2pm, when lots 109 > 236 will go under the hammer. What about the missing lot 108, you may ask?

These two sessions include work by many masters of the medium, and will be especially strong in 20th Century modernist images. Alexander Rodchenko’s Steps (1929), and Imogen Cunningham’s Amphitheatre (Mills College) (c1928), along with Lewis Hine’s Mechanic at Steam Pump in Electric Power House (1925), together with examples of Ansel Adams, El Lissitzky, and Edward Steichen’s work, and that of many other important photographers, are on view during the pre-auction exhibition beginning today. But these sessions shrink to mere sideshows when compared to the extraordinary sale of lot 108, which falls between them, and must represent the most fabulous single lot in a photography auction, ever.

Lot 108 consists of a job lot of 548 photographs, many of them rare and unseen, by the great American photographer Edward Weston (1886 > 1958), printed by his son Cole Weston mostly between 1958 and 1988, and is likely to become legendary. Mounted, 536 stamped and signed by Cole Weston, 12 with the Cole Weston Trust stamp, signed by (Edward’s granddaughter) Cara Weston, and nearly all with title, date, and negative number, spanning the entire range of the photographer’s career, and called The Master Set, they are expected to sell for an estimated $2,000,000 > 3,000,000 (£1,220,500 > 1,830,700).

Please accept our apologies for the lack of individual details for each image; on this occasion, Sotheby’s was unable to grant our request to provide any.

Edward Weston Photographs courtesy Sotheby’s, New York


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

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


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Exhibition | Saul ‘The New Yorker’ Steinberg

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Chest of Drawers Cityscape, 1950
Gelatin silver print


Saul Steinberg
100th Anniversary Exhibition
Pace + Pace / MacGill Gallery
New York City | USA
Until 18th October 2014


What is a cartoonist? What is an illustrator? Where does one draw the line between illustration and fine art? What happens when you mix illustration with photography; is the end product an illustration or a still life photograph? If you draw something on a 3D object and photograph it; is the result an illustration, or a photograph? And, what if the person who did the drawing, wasn’t the photographer? Whose work is the final image? Does any of these questions matter? Certainly not to Saul Steinberg whose unique creations, equally at home on the pages of magazines and on gallery walls, can’t be confined to a single category or movement, nor did he allow his palette to be bound by any restrictions. His art, if that is how we choose to refer to it, informed by cubism, surrealism, dadaism and pop – indeed he fraternised with many key figures across all areas of the arts, including Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, Vladimir Nabakov, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul-Satre, to name but a few – is both catholic and democratic, his influences from high art as well as from low, his subject areas from Wall Street to the gutter.


Girl in Tub, 1949
Gelatin silver print


I first came across Steinberg’s View of the World from 9th Avenue, 1976, reproduced as a poster, hung on the kitchen wall of some illustrator friends, at the Royal College of Art halls of residence in London, in 1977. They’d just returned from New York – which I was yet to visit – bringing the poster back as a souvenir. Having up to that point only ever seen the city in photographs or films, its colossal architecture dominating everything else, leaving me daunted at the thought of ever going there, I was struck by the simplistic, friendly Steinberg depiction of New York as a place in which the people at street level just carried on as they might in any European city – going to work, shopping, wandering around the broad pavements of Manhattan, oblivious to events elsewhere in their country, and beyond. And later, when I’d seen a few Woody Allen films, it occurred to me that here were some life-size characters, who might have been the miniature people that populated Steinberg’s illustration.

Even so, I didn’t consciously go looking for Steinberg’s work – as I had done for that of Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast, the Push Pin Studios design and illustration heroes of my early college years. And when I started working for a living, I knew that behind the cover of the The New Yorker – which a few of my journalist colleagues at The Sunday Times Magazine studiously read, toting the latest issue around the office as symbols of their literary status and aspirations – there were great swathes of words, which to me, as a ‘visual journalist’, held little appeal. So, although I was certainly aware of his fame and that he was held in high regard, I never knew, until now, that over six decades, Steinberg’s work featured on the cover of The New Yorker no less than 90 times and appeared 1,200 times on its inside pages, before he ended his collaboration with the magazine in 1987 (recommenced, 1993), or that his View of the World from 9th Avenue is regarded by connoisseurs as one of his most notable creations for the magazine – ripped off, adapted, its text changed to suit many major cities across the country, his lawyers were constantly in pursuit of the perpetrators.

Up until I first visited New York in 1997, some nineteen years after seeing the poster, despite what had become my almost daily contact with photographers and sometimes with illustrators based there and elsewhere in the United States, the city remained for me remote, beyond my horizon. And a few more years would pass before I stumbled across a fascinating little book called Saul Steinberg Masquerade (Viking Press, 2000, a reprint, or perhaps re-design of the original Steinberg: The Mask, 1966). It contained The Mask series, an inspired collaboration by Steinberg and the photographer, Inge Morath, between 1959 and 1963, in which Steinberg’s friends posed anonymously in group and individual photographs, having donned paper bags drawn with plain or fantastic faces. Morath had become fascinated by Steinberg and his ‘Steinbergian universe’, whilst living in Vienna in the 1940s, long before she came into contact with him; it wasn’t until she joined Magnum and moved to Paris, where she met Henri Cartier-Bresson, who had taken a portrait of Steinberg, that she even knew what he looked like. Cartier-Bresson described him as ‘un homme délicieux, d’une si grande intelligence’. Irving Penn, too, would create a studio portrait of Steinberg wearing one of his nose masks, in 1966 – during his long career, he sat for many famous photographers, including Arnold Newman and Lee Miller.


Untitled, c 1950
Gelatin silver print


Saul Steinberg (1914 > 1999) was a Jewish Romania-born American. He studied philosophy and literature at the University of Bucharest, and trained as a draughtsman during the 1930s, in Milan. Fleeing Italy’s new anti-semitic laws, in 1941, he arrived in the United States the following year, and had his first one-man show there a year later. He married the only prominent abstract expressionist artist, Hedda Sterne, in 1951, but left her and took up with a German photography and design student in 1960. His work has been the subject of dozens of exhibitions around the globe and produced numerous publications. Saul Steinberg 100th Anniversary Exhibition at Pace + Pace / MacGill Gallery includes work from five decades of Steinberg’s career, exploring the man who himself explored the world and adapted his medium to suit whatever he found in it. Saul Steinberg: A Biography by Deirdre Blair was published by Nan A Talese / Doubleday in 2012. The Musees Strasbourg website has a useful and succinct Steinberg biography in list form.

The Saul Steinberg Foundation is a nonprofit organisation established as a result of the artist’s will. His collection of his own works was divided between the Foundation and Yale University, which also received Steinberg’s archives. The Foundation holds the copyrights to Steinberg’s artworks and writings.

While Steinberg remains for many ‘The man who did that poster’, The New York Times called him ‘a veritable Leonardo of graphic drollery,’ in 2006. On the Magnum Photos site, in the credit for an Inge Morath portrait of him, shot as part of the Mask series, it might have amused him to see himself still quaintly referred to as a ‘draughtsman’, which is perhaps as good a description as any.

All images by Saul Steinberg, © The Saul Steinberg Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, USA. Courtesy Pace and Pace / MacGill Gallery, New York, USA


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

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


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Design | Swiss Design Bank

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Blattmann Metallwarenfabrik AG, MEWA, Kettle TECA, 1949 /
Alfred Roth, Aluminium Chair, 1933 / Wilhelm Kienzle, Cactus Watering Can
Photo FX Jaggy + U Romito


100 Years of Swiss Design
Museum für Gestaltung – Schaudepot
Zürich | Switzerland
27th September 2014 > 8th February 2015


It’s somehow unsurprising to find that, safe in its vaults, Switzerland has the largest collection of Swiss design in the world. While the vast majority of the 800 items in 100 Years of Swiss Design, a new exhibition opening this month at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, are drawn from the bank of 500,000 pieces the museum has built up over its 140-year history, a few items are on loan from elsewhere.

This exhibition will be the first at the Schaudepot (Open Collections) – in the New Toni-Areal, a recently converted former milk processing plant – where the museum’s poster, design, applied arts and graphics archives – previously distributed in separate locations around the Zürich – have come together under one roof. But it’s not only the location which is new. With a total of 26% additional space, the core of the assembled archive is a free-standing, high bay, storage facility – a six-metre-high shelving system – housing chairs, lamps, posters, cupboards and ceramics, which is being opened to the public for daily tours on specific themes, and where they can examine items in the collection at close quarters, for the first time. The museum’s globally-important assets have also been made accessible via the eMuseum site, where the pictures in the database are reproduced as a digital catalogue, exclusively illustrating the collection stock – and the service has been made available free of charge.

While Switzerland is renowned as an expensive country to visit, until the end of September when prices are set to rise, the adult entrance fee at the Museum is only 12 Swiss Francs (CHF) / just under £8, and an annual pass is available for 50 CHF / £33, which is a pretty good deal. There’s no entry fee for children under 12 years.


Sigg AG, Hot Water Bottle with Stopper 1925 + 1968
Photo FX Jaggy + U Romito

Willy Guhl, Beach Chair, 1954
Photo FX Jaggy

Oskar Zieta, Plopp, 2007 / Frédéric Dedelley, Melancholic Diamond, 2007
Photo U Romito

Wisa-Gloria AG, Three Wheeler, 1970,
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Design Collection

Photo FX Jaggy + U Romito


In 1949, the multi-talented Swiss architect, artist, painter, typeface designer, industrial designer and graphic designer, who at one time, served on the Zürich City Council, and was later elected to the Swiss National Parliament, Max Bill (1908 > 1994), singled out the Feller company’s light switch, ubiquitous throughout Switzerland, as ‘perhaps the ultimate form for a light switch.’ An image of the switch is being used on the publicity material for the exhibition, overlaid by a photograph of Willy Guhl’s classic Beach chair, for Eternit, 1954. Manufactured by companies like Therma, Embru, Langenthal, Horgen-Glarus, Sigg and Mammut, many more examples of often everyday products, typifying the high quality, functionality and charm of Swiss design, such as Hans Coray’s Landi chair and the USM Haller system are included in the 100 Years of Swiss Design exhibition.

Swiss book design is also one of country’s greatest assets, and later this month, or in early October (German edition. English language edition, probably December) the inimitable Lars Müller Publishers are bringing out 100 Years of Swiss Design, edited by the Müseum für Gestaltung Zürich, Christian Brändle, Renate Menzi and Arthur Rüegg. With 700 pictures and featuring 100 key works from the Museum’s collection, it presents the cream of the country’s design in chronological order – from their regional roots, at the beginning of the 20th century, to those dreamed up and produced for today’s global market. Also from Lars Müller Publishers, 100 Years of Swiss Graphic Design, a companion to the above, is already out in Europe (German and English editions), and will be available in the US and Canada at the end of September, 2014.


Heller drittel, Max Bill,1959 > 69
Auction estimate CHF 25,000 > 30,000 / £16,500 > 20,000


Max Bill, who was a student at the Bauhaus in Dessau between (1927 > 1928) worked closely with masters Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy- Nagy and Oskar Schlemmer, as well as his fellow Swiss, Paul Klee. Eminently bankable, his paintings and sculptures are well-represented in Christie’s 30th Swiss Art Auction in Zürich on September 22nd. It was László Moholy-Nagy, who had introduced Bill to the work of the De Stijl group, especially that of Mondrian, whom Bill visited in Paris, but the work of other De Stijl members, Georges Vantongerloo and Theo Doesburg were to make a greater impression upon him. Similarly based on geometric composition, Fritz Glarner, whose work is also included in the sale, owes much to influences drawn from De Stijl.

All products illustrated, except Will Guhl Beach Chair, from Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Design Collection. All photos © ZHdK.
Painting image courtesy of Christie’s


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

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


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

All Categories | The Blog Will Return Next Week

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Untitled #1, Norfolk, UK

Untitled #2, Norfolk, UK

Untitled #3, Norfolk, UK

Photographs by Pedro Silmon, 2014




Tell us what you think.

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

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




Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Art | Daniel Buren in Situ

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Above and below
20 Diamonds for the Façade: work in situ
,
2014
Transparent vinyl, white opaque (blue, green, red, yellow)



Daniel Buren
Catch as catch can: works in situ
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art
Gateshead | UK
Until 12th October, 2014




Thirty metres high, and extending to the full height of the glazed section of the Baltic’s west elevation, Daniel Buren’s 20 Diamonds for the Façade: work in situ – a series of giant transparent diamond shapes – transforms the exterior of the one time flour mill building, on the Gateshead side of the river Tyne, into a giant stained glass windowed, modern cathedral. Inside, the lift well, stairs and passageways saturated in richly coloured light, the effect comes close to spiritual; a welcome sanctuary on a typically rainy mid-summer’s day on Tyneside.

Not exactly a strong signal, more a constant peripheral blip, Daniel Buren has been on my radar since wandering around Paris on another rainy day in late 1986, I first stumbled across – Les Deux Plateaux, known colloquially as the Colonnes de Buren – the English translation ‘Buren’s Columns’ sounds unexciting, but they are anything but – at the Palais-Royal. Although I knew then that it was one of François Mitterand’s Grand Projects, I wouldn’t discover the title of the work until I began researching this post.

14 Rising Cubes Bas-relief (yellow), situated work 2014
paint, plywood and black tape



2 Rising Cubes Bas-relief (paprika), situated work 2014
paint, plywood and black tape



Notwithstanding his longevity as an artist, it comes as a surprise to read in the Baltic’s press release for their exhibition, Daniel Buren, Catch as catch can: works in situ, that he is ‘ widely considered to be France’s greatest living artist, and one of the most influential and important figures in contemporary art for the last 50 years’. Having exhibited work in some of the world’s major galleries and museums – The Solomon R Guggenheim in New York in 2005, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 2002 – as well as representing France 10 times at the Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Golden Lion in 1986, having realised public interventions in Tokyo and Berlin, and most recently at Monumenta 2012 at Paris’s Grand Palais, the artist nevertheless lacks the omnipresence of close American contemporaries like James Turrell and the late Dan Flavin. And what about French installation artist, Christian Boltanski, isn’t he just as prominent as Buren in the global art world? That is not to say, as this exhibition amply demonstrates, that Buren isn’t worthy of, and is less deserving of fame than Turrell, or Flavin, or indeed Boltanski. His public profile is just somehow less pronounced, his works less familiar.

Catch as catch can: work in situ, 2014
10 mirrors framed with white opaque vinyl, transparent vinyl
(7 colours) on skylights



Graduating as a painter from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Métiers d’Art in Paris in 1960, Daniel Buren (born 1938) soon became involved in conceptual art, creating works that drew attention to the indoor, or later outdoor, context in which they were installed. At an early stage, 8.7 centimetre wide vertical stripes, colour or black alternated with white, became his obsession and were to become his signature. Appropriately for the era when neo-classicism took hold among architects in the 1980s, the stripes appeared on the simplified, classical columns that made up Les Deux Plateaux, but although time and architecture have moved on, Buren doggedly persists in including them on or in almost everything he produces.

There’s a rare chance to see a selection of Buren’s reliefs, paintings and sculpture from the past seven years in the Baltic’s Level 3 gallery, which includes the striped, luminous fibre-optic works of his Electric Light series, 2011, as well as a number of astonishingly powerful, geometric, bas-relief wall pieces that bring to mind something of Donald Judd’s work with the square and cube. However, due to the persistence of the stripes, (2 x 8.7cm) in this instance, running up the narrow edges of each piece, these fall short of being truly minimal statements.

Que La Lumiére Soit (Let there be light), situated work 2011
Woven fibre optic, LED (white, green), metal box



It’s a brave man who conjures with North East England’s perpetually changing weather and light conditions, but Buren enjoys the challenge of producing site specific pieces, and has worked with the architecture of the Baltic’s huge Level 4 gallery to realise a single, large scale installation, commissioned specially for and after which the exhibition is titled: Catch as catch can: works in situ. Here, a series of large, square and rectangular, framed mirrors set at an angle to the floor, capture the natural light entering through existing windows set into the roof that Buren has covered in a rectangular pattern made up of coloured vinyl that constantly alter how and where the light falls within the gallery, and the way in which it is reflected in the mirrors, creating an animated, immersive space. Stripes extend along each vertical edge of the mirrors and are reduced to squares on the top and bottom edges, in my opinion, an anachronistic affectation, adding unnecessary clutter.

All images are photo-souvenirs of the exhibition event by Daniel Buren
Photos John McKenzie © DB-ADAGP Paris, courtesy Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art



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

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



Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

All Categories | The Blog Team is on Holiday

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Kielder Water from below the Kielder Observatory, Northumberland, UK

Kielder Observatory, by Charles Barclay Architects, completed 2008

Photographs by Pedro Silmon, 2014




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

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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Art | Blue Riders & The Bridge

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Alexej von Jawlensky Helle Erscheinung, 1916
Oil and pencil on paper laid down on the artist’s board.
Estimate £180,000 > 250,000



Impressionist
& Modern Art Day Sale

Sotheby’s
London | UK
Exhibition 18th > 23rd June 2014
Sale 24th June 2014

August Macke & Franz Marc.
An Artistic Freindship

Lehnbachhaus
Munich | Germany
Exhibition 24th June > 21st July 2014



A German expressionist portrait personified, Renate Rosenthal, fiery editor-in-chief of German ELLE , red in the face, emerald green contact lenses flashing: ‘Macke! You don’t know him?’ she asked in heavily-German-accented English, regarding me querulously, evidently asking herself what sort of an uneducated moron her new English art direktor was.

In terms of art, there was a huge amount of activity in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, of which I came to realise I had scant knowledge prior to moving to Munich, where I stayed for over six years, in the second half of the 1990s and into the new millenium. I had never visited the Courtauld Institute of Art, which has an important collection of German expressionist paintings on long term loan I only discovered on my eventual return to London. They are to be found in the remotest corner, on the top floor, as far as it’s possible to be from the lift and stairs. Works by August Macke and Max Pechstein are on show and the gallery has sixteen paintings and works on paper by Wassily Kandinsky, whose fellow emigré Alexej Jawlensky is represented by six works. Kandinky’s lover, Gabriele Münter’s oeuvre was the subject of an exhibition at the Courtauld in 2005, about which the Independent newspaper said at the time ‘…this small jewel-like exhibition is, in its quiet unobtrusive way, one of the best shows in London.’



Wassily Kandinsky, Ohne Titel, Spring 1916
Brush and ink and wash on paper
Estimate £35,000 > 45,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Franz Marc, Abstraktes Aquarell I, 1913 > 14
Watercolour and pencil on paper
Estimate £7,000 >10,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Though they lived in a particularly innovative time for German art, it’s not surprising that some of the German and Germany-based painters of the period aren’t as well-known outside of the country as they might have been. August Macke (1887 > 1914) was one of a number of German artists who died while relatively young in World War 1.

In 1905 the artists’ association ‘Die Brücke‘ (The Bridge) was founded in Dresden by four architecture students – Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff; Max Pechstein, Emil Nolde and Otto Mueller would also become members. Die Brücke’s  aim was to find new ways of artistic expression and to free themselves from the entrenched, traditional academic style of the time. Collectively, they created a style which became known as expressionism that would provide a lasting legacy to 20th century art and artists. Marked by the social and political upheaval which would culminate in the First World War, violence and unpredictability characterized the era, and were potent influences on expressionist artists.



Max Pechstein
Kind auf Dorfstrasse, c 1923
Oil on canvas
Estimate £300,000 > 400,000
Property from a private German collection



In 1910, through his friendship with Franz Marc (1880 >1916) – another highly-talented and influential artist, who also died in the Great War – Macke had met Kandinsky and for a while shared the aesthetic and symbolic interests of their Munich-based Blaue Reiter (Blue Rider) group, which was experimenting with the idea of fusing together fauvist, cubist and expressionist influences.

In 1911, all the members of Die Brücke moved to Berlin, where, the following year Lyonel Feininger, the German/American painter, who was to become a leading exponent of expressionism, was working, and where by then August Macke had also gravitated. The Macke drawing (shown here) in Sotheby’s forthcoming and wide-ranging Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale, however, was executed after a later meeting with Robert Delauney in Paris, after which his work took another direction.

Both Feininger and Emil Nolde exhibited with the Blaue Reiter in 1912, but Nolde, having difficult relationships with any of the groups he became associated with, didn’t linger. In the 1920s, having achieved fame, he was a supporter of the Nazi party. Expressing negative remarks about Jewish artists, he considered expressionist art to be a distinctively Germanic style. However, when Hitler, in 1937, in his infamous radio speech said ‘works of art which cannot be understood in themselves, but need some pretentious instruction book to justify their existence, will never again find their way to the German people’, and rejected all forms of modernist art as ‘degenerate’, 1052 of Nolde’s works were removed from museums throughout Germany. After 1941, he was totally barred from painting. Nolde was only one of many who whose life and work were subjected to the same treatment and worse.



August Macke
Abstrakte Formen XIV, 1913
Coloured wax crayons on paper
Estimate £4,000 > 5,000
Property from the estate of Jan Krugier



Emil Nolde
Weisse Lilien und Dahlien, 1930
Watercolour on paper
Estimate £50,000 > 70,000



Much of the art branded as ‘degenerate’ had been claimed to be the product of Jews and Bolsheviks, but only six of the 112 artists featured in the Nazis’ notorious Entartete Kunst / Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, later in 1937, were actually Jewish. The show was seen by around 15 million visitors. Afterwards, many of the works and others that had been confiscated were burned or simply disappeared. Last year, however, an enormous cache of early 20th century German modernist art miraculously came to light, when it was discovered that art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt, having been given the task of selling them for the Nazis, had acquired a large number of ‘degenerate’ drawings and paintings in the 1930s and 40s. After his father’s death, his son, Cornelius Gurlitt, now 81 years old, had secretly kept around 1,400 works at his apartment in Munich, and a further 60 items were discovered recently in a flat he owned in the Austrian city of Salzburg.

In a moment of calm, Renate kindly suggested I pay a visit to the best place in the world to see Blaue Reiter work, Munich’s jewel-like Lehnbachhaus museum, a late 19th century villa built for Franz von Lenbach (1836 – 1904), a central protagonist in the establishment of Munich as a the major centre of the arts – despite, and maybe because of its turbulent past – it remains today. On her eightieth birthday in 1957, Gabrielle Münter gave over a thousand works by Blaue Reiter artists to the Lenbachhaus, including ninety oil paintings by Kandinsky, as well as around 330 of his watercolors and drawings, his sketchbooks, reverse glass paintings, and his printed work. The gift also included more than twenty-five paintings and numerous works on paper by Münter herself, and works by other prominent artists: Alexej Jawlensky, Paul Klee, August Macke and Franz Marc. In 2013, the Lenbachhaus underwent a general renovation and acquired a new extension based on designs by British architects, Foster + Partners.



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

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



Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Sculpture | A Glimpse of Michel Deverne

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Etoile éclatée, 1968
Lacquered stainless steel panel
€8,000 > 12,000


Michel Deverne
Wood, Metal, Paper
PIASA Rive Gauche
Paris | France
Exhibition 19th June > 25th June 2014
Sale 25th June 2014



French artist, Michel Deverne’s giant-size sculpture Les Miroirs (1981) at La Défense – also known as La Grande Mosaïque – formed by ten giant cylinders, at 2.3 m², is considered the largest work, ever produced using the mosaic technique.

Information on Deverne, however, is elusive. An initial trawl of the internet brings little reward – a few images of him in his later years, a couple of pictures of his bass-relief works and some rather dull shots of the aforementioned mosaic sculpture. Wallpaper* ran an obituary just after his death, aged 84 in February 2012, that refers to an interview they did with him in 2011. Unwilling to simply plagiarise the magazine’s articles, or repeat the scant text of the auction house’s press release, I resolved to continue my search elsewhere.

On their site, Paris’s Centre Pomidou, where Deverne’s works have been exhibited, gives only the dates of his birth and death. The city’s Grande Palais, where the artist has also been exhibited, on my having entered his name and clicked the search button on their site, rewarded me with the following advice: ‘Check if your spelling is correct. Remove quotes around phrases to search for each word individually: bike shed will often show more results than “bike shed”. Consider loosening your query with OR. bike OR shed will often show more results than bike shed.’ So I tried Michel OR Deverne and predictably, got nowhere.



Nuage
Draft of sculpture for a stretch of water, 1982

Cardboard
€2,000 > 3,000



Obelisque no 6
Study for Togo’s Monument of Independence, 1976

Cardboard
€2,000 > 3,000



Table, 1970
Pine wood and stainless steel
€3,000 > 4,000



Deverne’s sculptures have been installed in many public places in France and also around the world – in cities like Rotterdam and Tel Aviv, as well as in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Canada, Senegal, Belgium, Cameroon and the United States – but a search via New York’s MoMA site brought zero results, as did another at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tate Modern’s site has nothing on him.

Aware that Deverne drew much of his artistic inspiration from architecture and the city, I thought London’s Design Museum might have something. Nothing. The Vitra Museum perhaps? – No. Deverne was French, but I thought the Royal Institute of British Architecture, could be worth trying, but again, zero results.

Michel Deverne became a Professor at the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1977 – I drew a blank on their website, too – and was awarded a silver medal in Arts Plastiques by France’s Académie d’Architecture in 1983. Here I struck lucky – 20 articles in which he is mentioned – Wow! – but they were only available in French, and sadly, I don’t speak French. Should you be equally handicapped but want to learn more about Deverne go to the Wallpaper* link. There, amongst a lot of very interesting detail about his life and his remarkable creations you’ll find a link to the Paris gallery, RCM, which, when the feature was created, apparently represented him. However, Deverne’s name, if it ever did, doesn’t appear on their list of artists.

Michel Deverne: Wood, Metal, Paper, PIASA’s final sale of the season at the Espace Rive Gauche will be held on June 25, when sixty works will be sold. The company’s design department will be staging a dialogue between the works of Michel Deverne and Paul Kingma – another French artist inspired by architecture – in a setting created by Dorothée Meilichzon.

All object images © PIASA
Portrait by Christophe Rouffio



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

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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Design | The Fine Art of Sun Worship

Friday, May 30th, 2014

AGAY, c 1930. Roger Broders (1883-1953)
Estimate £6,000 > 8,000





The Art of Travel
Christie’s,
London, UK
18th June 2014

Villa America. It sounds like the title of a film. Was it one of those shown in the 2014 Cannes Film Festival that ended last week? No. But if the villa and its inhabitants had never existed, then the festival might never have been established at all in this area of the South of France, and to have a tan may never have become fashionable.

By the late 19th century rail networks were so widespread that the French Riviera / Côte d’Azur had become an accessible and attractive destination for wealthy northern Europeans – Russians, the English – seeking a winter escape. To accommodate them, all along the coast luxury hotels were established. Casinos flourished. From spring to autumn, everything closed. But then Gerald and Sara Murphy, a well-to-do American couple, who had escaped their families’ mutual dissatisfaction with their marriage and become the toast of avant garde Paris, holidayed on the Riviera in the summer of 1921. Promising to return the following year, they convinced the grand Hotel du Cap in Antibes to remain open so that their friends could come to see them and have somewhere to stay.


MONACO, 1932. Robert Falcucci (1900-1989)
Estimate £15,000 > 20,000


ANTIBES, c 1928. Roger Broders (1883-1953)
Estimate £6,000 >8,000


COTE d’AZUR,1931. A M Cassandre (1901-1968)
Estimate £10,000 > 15,000


THE FRENCH RIVIERA FOR PERPETUAL SUNSHINE, 1930.
Roger Broders (1883-1953)
Estimate: £4,000 > 6,000


Far from ordinary friends, the Murphy’s friends were extraordinary writers and artists, among them Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Fernand Léger, Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Cole Porter and Dorothy Parker. Significantly, two others were F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Although the Murphys themselves and some of their friends recognised much more of F Scott and Zelda in the characters, it is widely accepted that the Murphys were later to become the models for Nicole and Dick Diver in Fitzgerald’s book Tender is the Night (1934).

In the meantime, the Murphys, who with their glamorous, arty friends would appear to have popularised the fine art of sunbathing, which quickly became fashionable and every summer in succeeding years would draw ever-increasing numbers of sun-seeking visitors to the Côte d’Azur, decided to stay, buying the house at Cap d’Antibes they called Villa America.

The colourful and graphic posters of the era in Christie’s forthcoming sale The Art of Travel, in London, were exhibited throughout the Cannes Film Festival at the JW Marriot Cannes.


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

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


Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Interview | Philippe Garner on Aram on Kuramata

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Solaris, 1977
Set of drawers. Original production by Ishimaru Co Ltd.
Painted wood
with metal base in anodised aluminium.
Estimate €50,000 > 70,000



Mouth to Mouth Interview
Philippe Garner, Christie’s International Head of 20th Century
Decorative Art & Design interviews owner / manager of
the Aram Store, London, UK – established in 1964 –
Zeev Aram OBE




Born in Israel and having relocated to London in 1957 to study design, Zeev Aram opened an office and retail showroom in London’s King’s Road in 1964. It was the first in the UK to sell the work of iconic modern designers including Achille Castiglioni, Marcel Breuer, and Le Corbusier. Aram also holds the worldwide licence for Eileen Gray. Mostly gathered by him in 1981 on the occasion of the first exhibition dedicated to the Japanese designer Shiro Kuramata in Europe, the 19 pieces in the forthcoming sale at Christie’s in Paris come from Aram’s personal collection, where they have remained for more than 30 years

Philippe Garner | This packing list of the Shiro Kuramata pieces shipped from Tokyo to London in 1981 for your exhibition reminds me of how many years ago it was that you connected with him. How did you meet him?

Zeev Aram | I was introduced by a mutual friend, the architect John Pawson, who had been working in Japan. I met Kuramata when he came to London in 1980. Then I went to see him in Tokyo; we spent four days together. He was a wonderful host. We went to Kyoto and all over the place. And I chose whatever we should show; the exhibition was the result.

Was that his first showing in Europe?

Yes.

And what sort of exposure had he already had in Japan?

Quite good but not enormous. People like Isozaki and Issey Miyake – the guys at the top of fashion, design, and architecture – knew of him because he was really exceptional, the way he designed things, especially interiors, the most fantastic interiors, which was unusual. On my visit to Tokyo, we went to a small, perfect sashimi bar he had created. It could only accommodate a very small number of people. It was so pure, a wonderful space.

Kuramata was received there like a God – in the nicest possible way. It was the same in Kyoto, because they don’t give private rooms so easily to people in these very old inns, with the Geishas serving you. So he was known, but within a certain community.

So it was within a relatively small, informed circle. He wasn’t a commercial success at that stage.

No, the bigger recognition came later. I have an invitation to his exhibition at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art in 1996, fifteen years after my show.

So was your exhibition the most extensive exhibition of furniture that he had put on at that stage?

Abroad, certainly. It was anyway the first substantial one.


OBA-Q lamps, 1972
Set of drawers. Original production by Ishimaru Co Ltd.
Painted wood
with metal base in anodised aluminium.
Estimate €50,000 > 70,000

Furniture in irregular forms, side 1, 1970
Set of drawers. Original production by Aoshima Shoten Co Ltd.
Painted birch, Formica and aluminium, mounted on casters
Estimate €50,000 > 70,000


You have kept for over thirty years the majority of the pieces that you showed in 1981. Was it because you found no takers, and would you have staged it anyway, for the furniture’s sake, if you had realised it would not be a commercial success?

Was it a commercial exercise? In a roundabout way, like my initial interest in Eileen Gray. I took my chance, and I said I like it and if I like it, hopefully some people will like it. We re-ordered some pieces from Japan, but I knew that I could not produce these models. I rely on manufacturers and because of the complication of his designs I knew it would be horrendously expensive. Anyway, to give a short answer, my prime interest was in his designs and his products; we sold some, but by no means a significant quantity.

Did you then make the conscious decision that, having tried, enjoyed the experience, realised it wasn’t the right commercial moment, you were just going to put the collection out of sight?

Well, what also happened, unfortunately, is that he died. He died quite young, in 1991. He wrote me the most wonderful letter in 1988 – by then he allowed himself to call me Zeev; before that it was always ‘Dear Mr Aram’ He wrote, ‘In the oriental expression, you dug a well for me. I’m very grateful for your kind collaboration. The exhibition triggered a new book, with an essay by Ettore Sotsass. Interesting. My exhibition was well received.

So you had a good critical response. I love the reference here, ‘On show at Aram Designs is a collection of furniture… in the middle of the great Anglo-Japanese love affair which has been consuming London,’ The Architectural Review, September 1981. Do you have any particular favourites among the collection?

He had a period when he was obsessed with drawers. Then he produced the 49-drawer cabinet and I said, ‘This one is very odd.’ I could see the mathematical progression, because the diagonal is made of squares that change proportion sideways. And he said, ‘That’s the only way I could solve it to make it attractive. Every time we face drawers we decide what to put where, but in this instance the drawer also has a say, because if I want to put in a shirt here, I can’t, but if I want to put the pants, I can put, you know? So the size matters.’ So I say, ‘OK it’s very, very Zen and interesting,’ and we laughed.

But that was a period when he was really obsessed, literally obsessed with containers, drawers, and how we live our life in them. You put things [in them] from your own momentary intimacy, which are sometimes left there for years and it becomes a memory bank, a part of your biography. And we are not doing it consciously. We are just putting things in there and forgetting them.

So he invites the drawers themselves to play a part in the process?

Yes.

Can you recall other interesting comments that he made?

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this – I said, ‘Listen, the Japanese are so well known for joinery joints because of all the houses and beams so beautifully pieced together, almost like a puzzle, and they just put the peg in and the whole thing is held together, so how come the furniture, especially the drawers, [are] made in such an unusual way?’ And he said, ‘What do you mean, unusual?’ And I replied, ‘Well, we don’t do drawers like this, with nails and so on.’ And he asked, ‘Oh, how do you do it? At the exhibition opening, he was accompanied by three gentlemen, and they were the managing directors or the owners of the glassworks, the joinery, and the metalwork companies, respectively. And they came out of respect for him. In the evening when we prepared the layout, each of them had an apron on; they put them on over their beautiful suits, and they were handling the furniture. I said ‘My God, if these were Italians they would be stood a mile away.’ So he said, ‘Do me a favour; please see Mr Aoshima tomorrow.’ And I said ‘OK, “OK, but I’m not a joiner.’ And so we had this quick session the next day, when I went and showed him [Aoshima] how you use dovetails – he didn’t know what a dovetail was – though once I showed him he understood. Or secret dovetails, where you don’t show the ends. When it came to modern furniture they kept absolutely to the design but the details of manufacturing went back almost to model-making.

So what was visible was impeccable?

Perfect.

But I think the story is worth telling, because that’s what distinguishes your pieces from the later production pieces.

Yes, then of course there were the pieces produced by Cappellini, which people I suppose should know. The licensing to Cappellini came later, from 1987, but I don’t think Cappellini is doing it anymore.

Tell me about the 1985 ‘Homage to Hoffman’ chair

It’s very simple, the story is very simple. He considered Thonet to be one of the initiators of modern design and he knew that Joseph Hoffman designed the famous armchair for them. Not the coffee-house chair Model 14, which was the famous model, but this one. So he said, ‘Well, how can I somehow involve the spirit of Hoffman, pay homage to him, and at the same time tell everyone that this was the beginning of the beginning?’ So he took an original Thonet chair, wired it up and he set light to it. He incinerated it. Then he just polished it [the wire], that’s all.. And what remains is the wire, and just a trace of the original.

Where did this happen, where was the event?

In Japan. Also he says that only Issey Miyake and I have this chair. There are only two because he doesn’t want to produce any more.

So presumably, because they’re wrapped in wire in a very spontaneous way, the two chairs will not be identical?

No, they couldn’t be.

So the chair was an artistic happening, a conceptual event.

Let me tell you a story about the wiggle form of the tall drawer cabinet. Apparently Isozaki had two made. And Shiro went to visit him and saw that Isozaki put them symmetrically against the wall, not near the wall but with drawers facing the wall, not facing into the room. And he asked Isozaki why they were facing the wall, did he not want to use the drawers? Isozaki said, ‘Because I want to experience the shape going around it.’ Such a Japanese expression! Just to go around it to experience the shape. Because it was two different shapes, if you go this way or that way.

Had he made a mirror pair?

No, two of the same.

I love Solaris; on those long legs it looks like an alien spaceship that has landed.

Yes, or like an oil-drill platform.

It’s wonderfully illustrative of the over-riding importance to Kuramata of the imaginative, metaphorical, and philosophical dimension of his creations.

Exactly. It was those qualities that made his designs so attractive to me all those years ago; and they have lost nothing of their exceptional character. Shiro Kuramata was a unique figure and I am very, very fortunate to have known and worked with him.


This is an edited version of an interview of 8th January, 2014, published in full in the catalogue Christie’s Design sale, Shiro Kuramata: Collection Zeev Aram, on 20th May, 2014, at their showroom in Paris, France. The pieces can be viewed there until May 20th

All furniture designed by Shiro Kuramata (1934 > 1991)
All images © Christie’s Images Limited 2014



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

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

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin