Archive for the ‘sculpture’ Category

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.



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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



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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



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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

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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.


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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


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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



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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

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Art | Erwin Wurm in Sixty Seconds

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

One Minute Sculpture, 1997
C-print

Courtesy Centre Pompidou, Paris
and FRAC Limousin, Limoges



Erwin Wurm:
One Minute Sculptures

Städel Museum
Frankfurt am Mein | Germany
7th May > 13 July 2014

How many minutes have passed since the instant in 1997 when Austrian artist Erwin Wurm (1954 >) began producing the works in this series? The mind boggles… Seven years ago he was probably wondering himself how long the idea of inviting gallery / museum visitors to become sculptures themselves, albeit for only 60 seconds – that’s 840 seconds (14 minutes) less than Andy Warhol allegedly promised us all that we could be famous for – would endure. But, like Christian Marclay’s audiovisual work, The Clock, lasting 24 hours – on view at Paris’s Centre Pompidou from 17th May > 2nd July, where it was first shown in 2011 – Wurm’s concept has remained fresh and stood the test of time.


Fat Car (Convertible), 2005
Polystyrene / styrofoam and polyester


Of course, audience partition in art isn’t new. It was an integral part of Futurism (key dates 1909 > 1944) which both celebrated and derided the crowd as a force for the future and as representative of the primitive past. In 1920, at the reading of the Dadaist manifestos by, among others, Francis Picabia, André Breton and Tristan Tzara, which ended in uproar – exactly as they intended – the audience pelted the stage with rubbish. Yves Klein in France and Yoko Ono in New York City were pioneers of performance based art, and part of a broad movement originating in the 1950s and 60s, when artists began pushing the boundaries of contemporary art, sometimes combining elements of music, dance and sculpture in their attempts to create new forms of artistic expression, for which audience participation was often integral. While Wurm’s creations are nowhere near as epic as the cast of thousands, human nude art installations that New York based photographer Spencer Tunick has been creating all over the world for the past 20 years. As an artist he is no less serious, questioning the role of galleries / museums in contemporary society, his work no less sophisticated for appearing – at least superficially – fun and sometimes funny.


One Minute Sculptures, 1997
C-prints

Courtesy Centre Pompidou,
Paris and FRAC Limousin, Limoges


From his early minimalist clothing sculptures that he began producing in the 1980s, throughout his many exhibitions at a range of international venues that include the Vitra Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, Dallas Contemporary, USA, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France, and the Albertina in Vienna, Austria, through the ephemeral One Minute Sculptures to the grotesquely bloated objects such as Fat Car (2000 / 2001) and Fat House (2003), Wurm has concentrated consistently on expanding the concept of what a sculpture, when it is no longer cast in bronze or chiselled from marble, could be.

The main thrust of Erwin Wurm: One Minute Sculptures at the Städel Museum is built on the dynamic between the artist and the audience. Visitors to previous One Minute Sculpture events have been invited, by means of the artist’s sketches suggesting nothing more than a hint or starting point, among other things, to balance their bodies on oranges, to insert a range of desktop items into every orifice in their heads, and to create a sculpture using only their own bodies and a folding sunbed, but always only for one minute.

In addition to the living sculptures with which the visitors can interact and temporarily become part of the Städel collection, some twenty selected photographs and films from the series will also be on show.

All images except* © Studio Wurm / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2014


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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




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Auction | Architect-Built Furniture

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Ettore Sottsass
Bookcase, 1994

Plastic-laminated wood.
Produced by Galerie
Mourmans, the Netherlands.
Estimate £6,000 > 8,000



The Architect
Phillips
Exhibition 23rd > 29th April 2014
Sale 29th April 2014
London | UK

Some 400 works designed by an august pantheon of international architects – among them, Michael Thonet, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Eliel Saarinen, Gerrit Rietveld, Poul Henningsen, Arne Jacobsen, Gio Ponti, Oscar Niemeyer, I M Pei, Buckminster Fuller, Ettore Sottsass, Richard Meier, Zaha Hadid and Shiguru Ban – encompassing items from the mid-19th century up to the 21st, will be auctioned next week in London.

For this inaugural event, uncompromisingly entitled The Architect, the auction house Phillips chose architect Lee F Mindel FAIA, of the New York-based multi-award-winning Sheldon, Mindel & Associates Inc, as curator. SM&A, who, since establishing their company in 1978, have designed numerous lofts and private homes – including one for musician Sting and his actress/producer wife Trudie Styler – were also responsible for the interior of the gallery/sales office for Herzog & deMeuron’s prestigious 56 Leonard Street development of luxury condominiums. The company have designed furniture and lighting as well as interiors for ocean liners and at least one Gulf Stream jet. They believe that ‘Simplicity is the most complicated thing to pursue, but when all elements synthesise, they transcend mere enclosure and become an art form.’ The latter is a quote from the magazine Architectural Digest, which has recognised SM&A as one of the top 100 design firms of the last century. On Phillips’ website Mindel himself quotes American architect Louis Kahn as having said: ‘Design is not making beauty. Beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.’ But, enough of this high-minded proselytising and sentimental stuff – so clearly intended for the unconverted. Let’s take a look at a selection of the inspiring array of objects on offer, which, hopefully, speak for themselves.



Gerrit Thomas Rietveld
Maquette, for the ‘Danish’ chair,
circa 1950>1956
Cardboard.
Estimate £4,000 > 5,000

Oscar Niemeyer
Pair of ‘Aran’ lounge chairs,
circa 1975
Leather, stainless steel.
Made by Aran Line, Italy.
Estimate £15,000 > 20,000

Arne Jakobsen
Designed for the American
Scandinavian Foundation,
New York, 1952

Leather, chromium-plated
steel, ebony, painted wood.
Made by cabinetmakers
Rud Rasmussen A/S, Denmark.
Estimate £40,000 > 60,000

I M Pei
Double-sided clock, from
the John Hancock Building,
Boston, circa 1976
Steel, acrylic
Estimate £6,000 > 8,000

Zaha Hadid
Ordrupgaard bench,
model no PP995
for the Ordrupgaard
Museum extension,
Charlottenlund, Denmark,
circa 2006.
Ash. Produced by
PP Mobler,
Denmark
Estimate £35,000 > 45,000

All images courtesy of Phillips


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Design | Italy in Paris

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Osvaldo Borsani
Model at16 coatstand
in leather, brass and walnut
Produced by Tecno, 1961
Est €6,000 > 8,000



Italian Design
PIASA Rive Gauche
Paris | France
Exhibition: 10th April > 14th April 2014
Sale: 15th April 2014

In the 1980s London fell in love with design. It was cool to kit out your home with slick and beautifully made contemporary Italian furniture and lighting from Zeev Aram and newly-established shops, such as Atrium, and The London Lighting Company. From its launch in 1983, the names of architects and designers Vico Magistretti, Achille Castiglioni, as well as that of Ettore Sotsass, figured regularly and prominently in the British magazine Blueprint. At about the same time, and although I and other like-minded Londoners spoke no Italian, we began subscribing to, and each month poring over, great-looking Italian architecture and design magazines. Domus was one, Abitare another – the latter art directed and edited by the legendary Italo Lupi (former art director of Domus) in which the work of the designers mentioned above would also feature, alongside that of Carlo Mollino, Gio Ponti (Domus’s founder) and Piero Fornasetti – each still relevant but more representative of an earlier era. However the list of lots in PIASA Rive Gauche’s forthcoming auction, reveals other important Italian figures, who are perhaps less familiar, or were lost in translation, and also includes anonymous pieces.

After training as an architect and designer, Osvaldo Borsani (1911 >1985), see image top, joined the family furniture-making business Atelier Varedo (later Arredamento Borsani). Very prolific as a designer of storage furniture and seating, in 1953 with his brother Fulgencio, Osvaldo founded the technology based company, Tecno, which still exists and is a well-known producer of innovative furniture for offices and public buildings.

Unknown designer
Sofa in wool and brass, c 1950
Est €18,000 > 25,000

Ico Parisi
Suite of six chairs
in painted wood
and leatherette
c 1955
Est €6,000 > 9,000

Ico Parisi’s (1916 > 1996) style epitomised the modern Italian look of the 1950s. Trained as architect, he spent time in the 1930s as a film-maker and went on to design everything from interiors to jewellery, sometimes working with his wife, Luisa, a former student of Gio Ponti.

Pucci de Rossi
Rocking chair
in steel, prototype, 2001
Est €10,000 > 15,000

Born in Verona, Italy, artist, sculptor and designer, de Rossi (1947 > 2013) lived and worked in Paris from 1979. Post-modern by nature, rather than producing useful functional objects and furniture, he sought to imbue his creations with imagination, humour and irony.

BBPR
Trolley in metal and wood
One-off piece, designed for a
Milanese apartment, 1959
Est €4,000 > 6,000

Set up in Milan in 1932, BBPR was a studio of modern movement architects, planners and designers, composed of Gian Luigi Banfi, Ludovico Barbiato di Belgiojoso, Enrico Peressutti and Ernesto Nathan Rogers, who were responsible for the post World War II reconstruction of the city. They produced chair designs for Arflex – now back in production – and BBPR’s Olivetti showroom on Fifth Avenue, New York City (1954), is regarded as among the most innovative small-scale projects of the period.

Pierre Cardin
Table lamp in metal and glass
Produced by Venini c1970
Est €3,000 > 4,000

Significantly, because the Italian approach to production of furniture and lighting has always been crafts-based – which attracted designers from around the world to produce work for or with Italian companies – the PIASA Rive Gauche Italian Design sale features pieces by non-Italians, including, appropriately – it taking place in Paris – Frenchman Pierre Cardin (1922 >), who happens to have been born in Italy.


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Auction | Late Century Modern

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Cubo Di Teo
light sculpture by
James Riviere, 1960s
Auction estimate
£800 > £1,200 /
$1,330 > $1,996


Les Trois Garçons
Christie’s
South Kensington | London | UK
Exhibition 1st > 4th March 2014
Sale 5th March 2014

They have no rules. They just go for what they like, no matter the price: ‘It’s more about the aesthetic rather than the value.’ Their businesses are an extension of their lifestyle, say Michel Lasserre, Hassan Abdullah, and Stefan Karlsson – owners of East London’s Les Trois Garçons restaurant, neighbouring cocktail bar Loungelover, café-shop Maison Trois Garçons, and the Château de la Goujonnerie, France. The three boys also run an interior design practice, L3GC Design, that recently launched its own Charlotte Perriand-influenced furniture collection in collaboration with Portuguese furniture manufacturer De Pau.

The list of lots for the forthcoming Les Trois Garçons sale at Christie’s South Kensington bears witness to the trio’s utterly eclectic tastes; every item, within its particular genre, is of the best quality and workmanship. For those for whom a Claude Lalanne chandelier with monkeys or a toilet in the shape of a fly might not be their idea of the holy grail, but also for those who may crave a diversion from the mid-century-modern pieces, so in vogue at the moment, we’ve sifted through and picked out a selection of interesting and surprising, relatively simple, late 20th century furniture and accessories.

James Riviere (aka Vincenzo Teora Rivière) is a prominent Italian jewellery designer and sculptor, who also produced exceptional lighting and glassware from the 1960s to the 1990s. It’s worth noting that a similar piece to his 1960s ‘Cubo Di Teo’ light sculpture, above, sold for $10,000 / £6,000 at Phillips in New York in 2007. A pair of these in green comprise another single lot in Christie’s sale, which, at an estimated price of only £2,000 >£3,000 / $3,326 > $4,989, must be a bargain.

Hemispherical
lounge chair by
Christian Daninos, 1968

Auction estimate
£5,000 > £8,000 /
$8,315 > $13,304


The cushions in the picture above are not included with the lot and indeed are incorrect for this elegant Christian Daninos piece, designed to come with a large leather, cotton, or canvas geometrically-shaped pad in pink, white, or black.



Molecular table
lamp, left, by
Robert Haussmann,
20th century (2nd half).
Gaetano Sciolari
table lamp

Auction estimate
for combined lot
£600 > £900 /
$998 > $1,497


Hexagonal revolving
dentist’s cabinet,
1970s > 80s

Auction estimate
£800 > £1,200 /
$1,330 > $1,996
Pair of Fase
table lamps, 1960s
Auction estimate
£700 > £1,000 /
$1,164 > $1,663


Fase lamps – as seen on desks in Mad Men, in Indiana Jones, and especially in the movies of Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar – were produced by one of Spain and Europe’s eponymously-named leading lighting manufactures from the 1950s to the 1970s.


Corner cabinet
Eugene C, 1980s

Auction estimate
£1,500 > £2,500 /
$2,495 > $4,158

Geometric chandelier,
attributed to
Gaetano Sciolari,
20th century (2nd half )

Auction estimate
£700 > 1,000 /
$1,167 > $1,667

Photos © Christie’s Images Limited, 2014


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Art | Prune Nourry’s Terra Cotta Daughters

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Terracotta Daughter #1, 2013
Terracotta Daughter #2, 2013
Terracotta Daughter #3, 2013
Terracotta Daughter #4, 2013
Terracotta Daughter #5, 2013
Terracotta Daughter #6, 2013
Terracotta Daughter #7, 2013
Terracotta Daughter #8, 2013


Terracotta Daughter #1–#8, Prune Nourry, 2013
Lithographs, 50 x 70 cm
Edition of 80 + 12 AP
€400.00 each + packing + shipping
More information: info@prunenourry.com

Making its debut last week on a 6.4m / 21ft screen at Art Basel – Miami Beach, Terracotta Daughters, which traces the course of multi-disciplinary French artist Prune Nourry’s latest project, is a full-length feature documentary. The large-scale finished work itself, the Terracotta Daughter Army, presented for the first time at Magda Danysz Gallery in Shanghai in September, 2013, comprises 108 unique, life-size sculptures, produced in collaboration with local Chinese craftsmen, and is the artist’s reflection, through the appropriation of the unearthed Xi’an two-thousand-two-hundred-year-old Terracotta Warrior army, upon the issue of gender imbalance in China. It has been extended into the edition of eight prints shown above.

Prune Nourry, born in 1985, New York-based, where she is currently resident artist at the Invisible Dog Center, Brooklyn, presented her project Genesis – a demure pole dance, in which a model in skin-coloured leotard performs to a slow classical piece by Vivaldi – for the first time at the historic Casino Venier in conjunction with the 2013 Venice Biennale.

In 2010, as part of a 3-year project based around gender imbalance in India, drawing parallels between the cow – sacred animal and symbol of fertility – and her observance of the undervalued condition of India’s women, Nourry created life-like figurative sculptures, the Holy Daughters, that were part sacred cow, part girl, in resin, placing them in the streets of New Delhi before stepping back to film the reactions of local men. Bronze sculptures of the same design were included in exhibitions in 2011, in Berlin and Paris. She has taken part in many international group shows since 2004, as a performance artist as well as contributing installations, and had her first solo show in 2011.

After Shanghai, the Terracotta Daughter Army goes on a world tour, stopping first in Paris at the Centquatre Art Centre and Magda Danysz Gallery, and visiting Switzerland and the USA, before returning to China in 2015, where it is to be buried – the event no doubt, documented on film – until 2030.

Photos Anne-Gloria Lefevre
Courtesy Prune Nourry


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Photography | Steichen & Chevallier

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Marlene Dietrich, Edward Steichen, 1931
Courtesy of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Gift of Richard and Jackie Hollander in memory of Ellyn Hollander 2012.234
Steichen/Vanity Fair ©Condé Nast

Marlène Dietrich
, Anthony Armstrong Jones, London, c 1955
Signed with the dedication ‘J’ai toujours su que tu es le plus grand mais
depuis que j’ai envahi ton métier je suis à genoux, Marlènou’
Auction estimate €200-300




Collection Maurice Chevalier
Hôtel Drouot Richelieu – Salle 5
Paris, France
Exhibition: 7th & 8th December, 2013
Sale: 9th December, 2013

Edward Steichen in the 1920s and 1930s:
A Recent Acquisition

Witney Museum of American Art
New York City, USA
Exhibition: 6th December, 2013
– 23rd February, 2014

Two very different portraits (above) of the same woman, Marlène Dietrich – the first taken in 1931 by pioneering American photographer Edward Steichen (1879-1973) – the second about twenty-four years later, c 1955, by Anthony Armstrong Jones (later, Lord Snowdon) – feature in two very different events, the first starting at the end of this week, the other taking place at the beginning of next.


Paul Robeson as the Emperor Jones, Edward Steichen, 1933
Courtesy of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Gift of Richard and Jackie Hollander in memory of Ellyn Hollander 2012.234
Steichen/Vanity Fair ©Condé Nast


Steichen shot the beguiling and beautiful, young German-born actress/singer Dietrich, ten years into her career, exclusively for Vanity Fair magazine. It is one of approximately forty-five works, including celebrity portraits, of among others, Winston Churchill, Paul Robeson, Eugene O’Neill, and fashion photographs he created during his 1923 to 1937 stint as chief photographer for Condé Nast Publications Vanity Fair and Vogue. Together with photographs he shot for advertising campaigns, and a selection of images that illustrate Steichen’s obsession with flowers, they comprise The Witney’s exhibition Edward Steichen in the 1920s and 1930s: A Recent Acquisition.


Photographs above from top
Portrait of Maurice Chevalier, New York, Irving Penn, 1948
Auction estimate €3,000-5,000

Audrey Hepburn in religious costume
Dedicated ‘To Maurice and ‘Papa’ with love and great admiration, Audrey’
Auction estimate €150-200

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, 1946, Dorothy Welding
Signed ‘Wallis Windsor et Edward Duke of Windsor’
Auction estimate €100-150



The Snowdon picture is one of eight portraits of Dietrich, each signed with a variety of sometimes cryptic dedications, for example: ‘Pour Maurice, de sa viel(le) ami(e) Marlène’ – scrawled over a picture of her in rather masculine attire – that over the course of both their careers, she presented to French entertainer Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972). And these are just a small sample of the 547 items, including many more signed and dedicated celebrity photographs – from the likes of Charlie Chaplin, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, to Brigitte Bardot, and Elvis Presley – as well as signed and collectible books, keepsakes, his signature hats and canes, furniture, wines, rugs, pianos, and even Chevalier’s 1967 Mercedes Benz 250 S, that will go under the hammer at one of Paris’s premier auction houses, in the Collection Maurice Chevalier sale at Hôtel Drouot, on Monday.


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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

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