Posts Tagged ‘Design’

Ceramics | Made by Hand: Modernist by Nature

Friday, December 7th, 2018

Bernard Leach,
Charger with banded
decoration, St Ives,
England, c 1960s
Estimate $500 > 700



Design
Freeman’s
Philadelphia |
PA | USA
Exhibition > 10 December 2018
Sale 10 December 2018



Lucie Rie,
Handled dish,
London, late 1950s
Estimate $1,000 > 1,500



The British studio pottery illustrated alongside this piece and shortly to be sold at auction, dates from between the late 1950s and the early 1970s, when Brutalist architecture – much of which has since been demolished – flourished, however, each item was lovingly produced by hand and with the greatest sensitivity to materials.

During this period, even the elderly Bernard Leach (1887 > 1979), often referred to as the father of British studio pottery, who co-founded The Leach Pottery in remote Cornwall in 1920 and had been extremely influential, who adopted the folk-tradition approach espoused in the 19th century by William Morris, was producing pieces, such as his Charger with banded decoration, top, that would have looked very much at home against raw concrete, brutalist interiors.

Hans Coper
Composite form with
v
ertical impression,
Frome, 1970
Estimate $6,000 > 8,000



At a time when many of his peers were abandoning city life and heading for the country, it was significant that Ian Godfrey (1942 > 1992), like his mentor, Lucie Rie, chose to set up his pottery in urban central London in the 1960s. Godfrey made highly individual mythological and fantasy-based, decorative pieces, inspired by predynastic Mediterranean and Chinese bronze forms. His King & Queen in Court and Bowl with wheel design, are both included, alongside other examples of his work in this sale. Born in Austria, Rie (1902-1995) had established herself as a ceramicist in Vienna, where she came under the influence of the Secessionist, Josef Hoffman. She is, however, better known for the work she produced after fleeing the Nazis and relocating to London in 1938. Developing a style stimulated by contemporary architecture and design, which flew in the face of Leach’s philosophy, Rie, who is represented by a single, modest item in this auction, see above, was responsible for raising British studio pottery to the level of an art form that would stand alongside any other and for giving it a Modernist edge. She taught at the Camberwell School of Art from 1960 to 1971, where Godfrey was her star student, and received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in 1969.



Ian Godfrey,
King & Queen in Court,
London, c 1965
Estimate $800 > 1,200



Ian Godfrey,
Bowl with wheel design,
London, c 1965
Estimate $200 > 300



Rie’s fellow emigré, the German, Hans Coper (1920-1981) had turned up, penniless, at her workshop in 1946 looking for work but with no previous experience in a pottery studio. With her encouragement, he went on to become one of Britain’s most celebrated craftsmen. Coper also taught at Camberwell – where he also taught Ian Godfrey – and at the Royal College of Art. His pieces, such as Composite form with vertical impression, above, were often made up of individual, separately thrown shapes that he manipulated and joined to create abstract sculptural forms.

Joanna Constantinidis,
Untitled envelope form,
Essex, England 1970
Estimate $400 > 600



The early work of Joanna Constantinidis (1927 > 2000), born in York, who trained at Sheffield before moving to Essex, owed much to Leach. Singularly independent, however, having seen work by Rie and Coper, by the 1960s she had adjusted her approach and developed spare Modernist forms, like the one above, that drew inspiration from ancient Greece, medieval pottery, Staffordshire slipware and salt glaze.

Although they might well have been, the items shown were not excavated from a site where a British brutalist building once stood but have been languishing, far away from their place of origin, in important US collections in Washington DC, San Francisco, New York and Pennsylvania. Along with further items of British studio pottery items that extend the genre’s story into the 21st century, the forthcoming Design sale at Freeman’s includes some 130 lots and offers a varied selection of master American studio artisans.

All images courtesy Freeman’s


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

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Design | Art You Can Sit On?

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Wendell Castle (b 1932).
Chair with Sport Coat, 1978
Carved cherry,
Estimate $12,000 > 18,000




Design
Christie’s | Rockefeller Center
New York City | USA
Exhibition > 6 June 2017
Sale 7 June  2017



Marc Newson (b 1963).
A Diode Lamp (large),
Designed 2006

Lacquered steel, carbon
fibre, aluminium,
moulded glass bulb.
Estimate $10,000 > $15,000



The Marc Newson-designed Diode Lamp (above) is produced by the world-renowned Gagosian Gallery and bears a tag inscribed with the designer’s signature and an indication that it is number 3 in an edition of 10. It begs the question: is the art world appropriating design, or is design infiltrating the art world?

The crossover between art and design is nothing new. Late 19th century artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec regularly produced theatre posters in order to provide an income that would allow them to continue to paint. Harry Bertoia, most famous for his Diamond Chair (1952) design, made over 50 commissioned public sculptures, as well as countless Sonambient sound sculptures that he used to create music with, but which were clearly conceived as art pieces. Marc Newson, one of the most influential designers of his generation, has designed furniture and useful household objects such as a mass-produced kettle and a toaster, as well as yachts, and private and commercial aircraft. He also produces handmade functional furniture, such as his Pod of Drawers (1987), for private clients. Perhaps objects such as the latter could fall under the banner of crafts, but surely not of art.

Ivan da Silva-Bruhns (1881 > 1980).
Carpet from the palace of the Maharaja of Indore, c 1930
Hand-knotted wool pile.
Estimate $300,000 > $500,000



Paul Evans (1931-1987).
A Cityscape console table, c 1974
Burl walnut, chrome-plated
steel, later glass top.
Estimate $12,000 > $18,000



In an evidently unsuccessful attempt to clarify the distinction between design and art, shortly before his death in 1994, Donald Judd, who famously made furniture that looked like art, and art that looked like furniture, wrote: ‘The configuration and the scale of art cannot be transposed into furniture… The intent of art is different from that of the latter, which must be functional. If a chair… is not functional, if it appears to be only art, it is ridiculous.’

Harry Bertoia (1915-1978).
A Willow sculpture, 1968
Stainless steel, retrofitted with
stainless steel stand.
Estimate $80,000 > $100,000



It might easily have, but none of Judd’s work features in Christie’s Design sale of over 100 items that prominently includes Wendell Castle’s Magritte-inspired, Chair with Sport Coat, 1978 (top), which, at a push you could sit on. Somewhat confusingly, in his Wikipedia profile, Castle is described as an American furniture artist.

All images courtesy Christie’s


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

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


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Design | Georges Jouve – Mid-Century Master Potter

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Calice vase, circa 1955
Black and white glazed ceramic
Estimate €4,000 > 6,000



Design
Sotheby’s
Paris | France
Exhibition 19 > 21 + 23 May 2016
Sale 24 May 2016



Three Boule vases, circa 1955
Ceramic, glazed in orange,
red and green
Estimate €15,000 > 20,000



You can see it in the simple, sculptural forms of Serge Mouille’s lighting designs of those few years, and in Charlotte Perriand’s Free form table, 1956. It was as if, suddenly, in the mid-1950s, all the avant-garde French designers agreed to adopt a different kind of modernism. The mood swing, however, could be attributed to a growing international interest in the elegant forms emerging in the new and popular kinetic art and the effect of technologies developed during World War II that had been taken up by designers such Charles and Ray Eames, who had experimented with fibreglass, plastic resin and wire, to produce new types of furniture and home accessories that were stronger, but lighter in feel than anything that had existed before.

The new products had a knock-on effect to interior design, and, so as not to look incongruous in the new settings, ceramics would have to change, too. All of the examples of work shown here are by the prominent French ceramicist Georges Jouve (1910 > 1964) and were created in or around 1955.

Occasional table, circa 1955
Metal, black and white glazed
ceramic and cement
Estimate €8,000 > 12,000



Banane bowl, circa 1955
Yellow glazed ceramic
Estimate € 8,000 > 12,000



In the 1940s Jouve, who had trained as a sculptor at Paris’s prestigious École Boulle, and who, having escaped from a German prison camp, learnt local potter’s techniques in the South of France, began producing rustic semi-figurative, decorative work inspired by the religious figurines of the locality. Back in Paris, in 1944, he was producing robust pottery, often demonstrating an ironic humour; his Vase femme a nichons – literally translated as Woman with tits vase – of which he produced many versions, is a bust of a voluptuous woman with large breasts squeezed onto a pedestal base.

Table lamp, circa 1955
Red glazed ceramic
Estimate €3,000 > 4,000



Cylindre vase, circa 1955
White and black glazed ceramic
Estimate €4,000 > 6,000



Toward the end of the Forties, the influence of cubism and African art was discernible in his latest pieces, and was destined to remain as Jouve started to pare down and to simplify his vases and pitchers, on which in the early 1950s he would sometimes scrawl Picasso-esque line drawings. As the decade’s mid-point approached the surface decoration diminished and all but disappeared, the shapes became more defined, refined, and often more delicate; the potter’s former, murky palette was replaced with a fresh one restricted to strong reds, oranges, yellow, apple green, black, white and grey. Much imitated during the 1960s, the stripped-down tiled-surfaced, rectangular tables illustrated with brash, colourful abstract designs that Jouve had introduced in 1950 would become a fixture of his repertoire, but by 1955 all extraneous structural detail had been abolished, the tile pattern reduced to linear monochrome designs. Each piece retained its handmade qualities and all were signed by the hand that made them.

Jouve’s jokey Banane bowl is a clear indication that he never lost his talent to amuse, and it’s clear in his Calice vase design (both shown above) that while he developed a new style, which was appropriate to the period, he did not make a total departure from his earlier, more solid way of working: he sometimes simply streamlined it a little, which had a similar effect to putting a generously-proportioned lady into a more flatteringly-cut dress.

The forthcoming Design sale at Sotheby’s in Paris includes forty works by Georges Jouve, spanning his entire career.

All items designed by George Jouve
Photos Sotheby’s / Art Digital Studio


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

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


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Hotel Gio Ponti

Friday, April 1st, 2011


Parco dei Principi
Sorrento, Italy

A few years ago, on a writing and photographic assignment for The Condé Nast Traveller, the magazine had booked me into the Parco dei Principi in Sorrento on the Bay of Naples. I had never stayed in any other hotel where each of the plants and exotic collection of trees in the garden were labelled in Latin. The hotel had more surprises – the biggest being that it was/is a 1962 design classic by legendary Italian creative genius, Gio Ponti. Like a latter-day Philippe Starck, while Ponti was the architect, he was also responsible for the design of every item of furniture, the ceramic floor tiles in the many rooms – each has a different variation on the same blue and white theme – the shell and pebble murals and the white, angular, animalesque diving platform that juts out over the angular, blue swimming pool.

Between treks off to photograph gardens on Capri, Ischia and at Ravello above the Amalfi coast, I took a few snapshots around the hotel. The opening piece in the Traveller’s current, April issue, Where to stay section, is illustrated by one of my Parco dei Principe images. A print was made for them, while the others above are a selection of unretouched, scanned contact prints.

Visited the hotel?
Anything interesting to say about Gio Ponti?
Any impressions of the many gardens in this area?

Please post a comment

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Architography

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Filip Dujardin

Despite a friend’s reassurances, I remained dubious when I received the link he sent me to the I Love Belgium blog. Forming part of the site’s logo, the black ink-blot thing, which I think is supposed to represent the very unmemorable shape of the country and is yet another reference to Milton Glaser’s iconic INY, seemed to me to say it all. However, the post of 27th June 2010 that my friend had suggested I look at, called Filip Dujardin – Fictions, is really great. His surname sounds fictitious but Dujardin is a talented architecture photographer who creates compelling, bizarre but somehow totally believable photomontaged images – the original photography and the subsequent retouching are beautifully done –  of contemporary buildings, domestic and commercial.

Filip, I discovered, also likes to shoot sheds. These images, on his own site, remind me somewhat of the austere work of the German, heavyweight photographer/artists Bernd and Hilda Becher, who produce deadpan ‘portraits’ in the form of extensive series of among other seemingly banal subjects: workers’ houses, gasometers and water towers, almost exclusively in black and white. They and Dujardin would appear to share the same sort of bleak, mainland North European tradition. The latter’s images are in colour but deadpan, too, however, whereas the Bechers are deadly serious, his are more artful than fine art; one knows instinctively that Dujardin walks around with his tongue stuck very firmly in his cheek.

What do you think of Fiilp Dujardin’s work? Please post a comment

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The Business

Saturday, January 8th, 2011


Bloomberg Businessweek, Year in review

There wasn’t much on the road. There was a lot of snow around but the sky was clear. This was the second time we’d stopped on our drive north to spend Christmas with family. The magazine racks in the service station shop were piled high with Christmas specials in every conceivable combination of red, white and gold. Smaller than the rest, Bloomberg Businessweek, Year in Review had on its cover a stark, rainbow-coloured, 3D pie chart against a solid silver field with some lilliputian figures dancing around below it. My interest in business goes no further than my regular Monday to Thursday viewing of Sky TV’s 30-minute-long Jeff Randall Live, nor am I prone to impulse purchases. There was only one copy left. The cover was a little wrinkled. I snatched it, opened it up and couldn’t put it down…

Clearly, Creative director, Richard Turley and Design director, Cynthia Hoffman deserve credit for coming up with the visual concept and putting the package together, as well as commissioning Jennifer Daniel, who is credited as the illustrator, but just one glance at her website is enough for anyone to recognise that she’s much more than that.

Did anyone else see it? Please post a comment

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A Little P’zaz

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Less and More – The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams
Design Museum, London, 18 November – 07 March 2010

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.

On their way up the stairs to the exhibition, visitors cannot avoid coming face to face with Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Good Design – they are pasted up in perfect alignment across the wall of the landing. I struggled to get through the group of exotically-clad, extravagently-quaffed, British art students diligently copying them down.

I’m a fan of Rams’ work and believe him to be one of the best and and most influential designers of the last 50 years. I have owned several of his beautifully-designed products and enjoyed looking around the show.

Maybe it was the cold weather outside, or some emotional reaction to the harsh economic climate but, on leaving, I found myself yearning for brash colours, spontaneity and a little p’zaz.

Please post a comment.

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