Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Design | Everything Ponti

Friday, October 12th, 2018

Pirelli Tower,
Milan,
1960
© DR



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



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



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

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



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



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



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

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

Taranto cathedral,
1964 > 1970
Photo Luca Massari



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

All images courtesy Musée des Arts Décoratifs


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Auction | Lights, Camera, Fashion!

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Jean Cocteau and Jean
Marais on the set of
Jean-Pierre Melville’s film,
Les Enfants Terrible, 1950

Vintage silver print
Estimate €200 > 400



Photographs Mode Cinema
Drouot-Richelieu
Paris | France
Exhibition 28 February /
1 + 2 March 2018.
Sale 2 March 2018



Fashion’s influence on film – and vice versa – is as enduring as the simple black sheath Gabrielle Chanel created in 1926, which Hubert de Givenchy paid homage to with the little black dress he designed for Audrey Hepburn to wear in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) that became thereafter an essential item in every modern woman’s wardrobe.

It shouldn’t be ignored, however, that fashion-conscious men such as the distinguished French writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker, Chanel’s friend Jean Cocteau whom she first met and for whose ballet she designed costumes in 1917, exerted a significant, if somewhat more subtle impact on the development of 20th-century, and even 21st-century male style.

Jean Marais in Jean
Cocteau’s film Orphée, 1950

Vintage silver print
Estimate €200 > 450



Jean Cocteau on the
set of his film, Le
Testament d’Orphée
, 1956

Vintage silver print
Estimate €300 > 500



The self-portraits Cocteau produced throughout his life tend to concentrate on his head. Lacking conventionally handsome looks, clothes hung well on his slim, angular frame and, from the start, the painters and afterwards the photographers, who chose to immortalise him pulled back to show what he was wearing. As concerned about his own look as about that of his lover Jean Marais, in 1937, Cocteau asked Chanel to dress Marais for his film Oedipus Rex.


Jean Cocteau and
Charlie Chaplin,
Saint-Jean-Cap-
Ferrat, c 1950

Vintage silver print
Estimate €300 > 500



The dozen, or so, photographs of Jean Cocteau to be found among the diverse collection of 386 lots in the forthcoming auction Photographs Mode Cinema at Drouot in Paris, curated by photography expert Viviane Esders, reveal that by always dressing well and looking as good in front of the camera as he did while directing the actors who appeared in his films, he set an impeccably stylish example for others to follow.


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Photography | The High Life & The Horror

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

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



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



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



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

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

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



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



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

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



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



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

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

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


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Photography | Albert Renger-Patzsch: Beautiful World

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Kauper, Hochofenwerk,
[Kauper, blast furnaces]
,
Herrenwyk, Lübeck, 1927
Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv /
Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde,
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich



Albert Renger-Patzsch
Things
Jeu de Paume
Paris | France
16 October 2017
> 21 January 2018



Hände [Hands], 1926 > 1927
Collection Ann und Jürgen Wilde



Eminent photo-historian, the late Bruce Bernard’s Photodiscovery book (1980) contains useful, sometimes lengthy potted histories of the photographers whose work he decided to include. He was dogged and persistent in his research, so, as the German photographer’s entry is severely limited, it is safe to presume that when Bernard was gathering the material together almost forty years ago, little information was available on Albert Renger-Patzsch (1897 > 1966), whose work is the subject of a forthcoming retrospective at Jeu de Paume. During the intervening years, which have seen a revival of interest in the 1920s German Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) group that included George Grosz, Otto Dix and Max Beckmann, with which Renger-Patzsch was associated, and fuelled by the popularity of the work of later and contemporary photographers such as Bernd and Hilla Becher, Martin Parr and William Eggleston – who it might be said followed in the same tradition – knowledge about him has grown and examples of his oeuvre have become more accessible.

Natterkopf [Snake's head], 1925
Berinson Gallery, Berlin



Landstraße bei Essen
[Country road
near Essen], 1929
Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv /
Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde,
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich



Renger-Patzsch took his first photographs, aged twelve, in Würzberg, Bavaria. His first job was as a chemist, then he did a stint as a photography archivist before becoming a freelance documentary and press photographer in 1925. As with the somewhat older German photographer, Karl Blossfeldt (1865 > 1932), whose work would not achieve public attention until 1928 when his book Urformen der Kunst [Art Forms in Nature] was published, Renger-Patzsch’s scientific background exerted a strong influence on his photography. In his own very influential book Die Welt ist schön [The World is Beautiful], which appeared that same year, Renger-Patzsch displayed images from both nature and industry; all shot in a clear, uncluttered style closely related to the detached and literal renderings of reality espoused by the Neue Sachlichkeit painters, whose approach reflected the resignation and cynicism of the post-World War I period in Germany.

Stapelia variegata,
Asclepiadaceae, 1923
Albert Renger-Patzsch Archiv /
Stiftung Ann und Jürgen Wilde,
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich



Jenaer Glas (Zylindrische
Gläser) [Jena Glassworks
(Cylindrical beakers)], 1934
Museum Folkwang, Essen



The development of the photographic process itself had been the result of in-depth scientific research. Some 19th century artists would take advantage of the medium’s capacity to record details that they could employ as reference for their paintings, and a few photographers would use it for its documentary potential, but it was generally viewed as a method of creating images that resembled paintings and executed in a style that intentionally distanced it from reality and was referred to as pictorialism. In his strong belief that his subjects did not require any enhancement Renger-Patzsch rejected pictorialism and forgoing painterly techniques, such as soft focus, recorded the exact, detailed appearance of his subjects, in an attempt to discover beauty in everyday things and places, in the ordinary and the mundane. Some of his contemporaries who were working in similar areas at the time and whose approach, like Renger-Patzch’s eschewed the emotional and the spiritual in favour of the rational and sometimes political, and whose photography was a response to the rapid industrialisation of Europe and America, included Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, August Sander and Edward Weston.

From the early 1930s Renger-Patzsch taught photography, and afterwards, while working as a freelance photographer, focused on personal projects. As with his early work, his later subjects were natural and industrial: Eisen und Stahl [Iron and Steel], 1930, Bäume [Trees], 1962), and Gestein [Stones], 1966.

Albert Renger-Patzsch: Things, at Jeu de Paume, including over 150 prints, is an overview of the themes and directions, which marked the photographers’ career.

All images by Albert Renger-Patzsch, courtesy Jeu de Paume
© Albert Renger-Patzsch / Archiv Ann und Jürgen Wilde, Zülpich / ADAGP, Paris 2017


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Art | Figuring Out French Painting 1900 > 1950

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Serge Ivanoff, Portrait de femme
Oil on canvas
Estimate €7,000 > €10,000



Another 20th Century:
Arts of Figuration 1900 > 1950
Christie’s
Paris | France
Exhibition 15 > 19 September 2017
Sale 19 September 2017



André Devambez, La place publique
Gouache on cardboard
Estimate €2,000 > €3,000



During the first half of the 20th century, representational painting was for the most part sidelined in favour of the ‘modern’ abstract art that came to dominate France and the rest of the world. In Paris, which since the 19th century had been the epi-centre of the global art scene, aside from the surrealists and a few notable exceptions, such as Balthus and André Derain, the work of figurative artists disappeared almost entirely from view. It would be a serious oversight, however – as the work coming up for sale in this forthcoming auction amply demonstrates – to believe that representational portraits, still life and landscape painting had ceased to be produced.

Henri Deluermoz,
Homme retenant un cheval
Oil on canvas
Estimate €7,000 > €12,000



Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau,
Champ de coquelicots
Oil on canvas
Estimate €8,000 > €10,000



Even when, in the 1980s, international interest in figurative art was reignited, the majority of these earlier artists remained obscure. Many of the most talented and foremost among these, such as André Devambez, Henri Deluermoz, Raphaël Delorme, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau, and Russian emigré Serge Ivanoff, are still largely unknown outside of France, so much so that Christie’s have not gone to the trouble of issuing an English-language version of the catalogue. Nevertheless, their work is worthy of international interest.

Well-known in France as a children’s book illustrator, André Devambez (1867 > 1944) was a professor at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. He was appointed as an official painter for the French Air Ministry in 1929; plunging views and wild perspectives of scenes swarming with Lilliputian figures, are typical characteristics of his work.

Henri Deluermoz (1876 > 1943?) was a much-respected and highly gifted animal painter, who exhibited at the Salon from 1909, and also produced tapestries and illustration, while portraitist, Serge Ivanoff (1893 > 1983) left his native Russia for Paris in 1922 and, from 1930, travelled the world working for the French weekly newspaper, L’illustration.

Raphaël Delorme, Répétition
Oil on canvas
Estimate €15,000 > €20,000



It’s obvious from looking at his paintings that Raphaël Delorme (1890 > 1962) had a strong connection with the theatre. Trained as a set designer in Bordeaux, his interest in architecture and enhanced perspectives is instantly apparent in his orderly, and skilfully constructed neo-classicist paintings that, nevertheless emote an underlying humour and have a distinctive, modern edge.

A later associate of Edgar Degas, Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau (1864 > 1930) had formed a friendship with Paul Gaugin at Pont Aven, and afterwards concentrated on transcribing the effects of nocturnal artificial lighting: from candles to fireworks, to lanterns. After a stay in Venice in 1904 > 1905, he devoted himself to the radiations of the sun and the moon and the luminous effects of colour.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel,
Les Rochers
Oil on canvas
Estimate €8,000 > €10,000



Ardent traveller and dandy, Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881 > 1949), exhibited as early as 1903 in the main French Salons, before settling in Fez (Morocco) in 1917, where, from his terrace, he painted numerous views of the city rendered as compositions of rigorous geometric shapes. He was in New York at the time of the 1929 stock market crash, where he had been making a living as a society portraitist, but, when the commissions dried up, took to painting the skyscrapers of Manhattan, in abstract compositions as well as photographic realism. Produced around 1922, Les Rochers, which features in Another 20th Century: Arts of Figuration 1900 > 1950 at Christie’s, is a study of the Adrar des Ifoghas and was used to illustrate the book The First Crossing of the Sahara (1923).

All images Christie’s Images Limited 2017, courtesy Christie’s


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Art | Derain, Balthus, Giacometti: A Reality Check

Friday, July 28th, 2017

King of the Cats, 1935, Balthus
Oil on canvas.
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts
de Lausanne, Suisse.
Gift of la Fondation Balthus
Klossowski de Rola, 2016.
© Balthus © Nora Rupp,
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts
de Lausanne, Suisse



Derain, Balthus, Giacometti:
An Artistic Friendship
Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
Paris | France
Until 29 October 2017



Self-portrait, 1920,
Alberto Giacometti

Oil on canvas.
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel.
Photo Robert Bayer / Beyeler Collection,
© Succession Alberto Giacometti
(Fondation Alberto et Annette
Giacometti, Paris & ADAGP, Paris), 2017



It’s really worthwhile travelling to mainland European cities to see exhibitions such as this one. They don’t usually travel, and at first sight, they might appear parochial but they provide an insight into the lesser-known aspects of the development of modern art, and are of enormous significance when looked at in a broader context.

The rather benign title belies the fascinating story of how much more than ‘friendship’ bound, André Derain (1880 > 1954), Balthus (1908 > 2001) and Alberto Giacometti (1901 > 1966) together. Having developed their talents independently, as artists in 1930s Paris they discovered a shared passion for the realism of the present, but also for figurative tradition, that would inform the work they produced throughout their careers and exert a long-lasting influence on artists outside of France from the 30s right up to the present.

André Derain, born near Paris and the eldest of the trio, is reputed to have been involved with Henri Matisse and Maurice Vlaminck, in the development of Fauvism. Having seen the Negro Sculpture exhibition in London in 1920, Derain was one of the first artists to begin collecting African tribal art and probably inspired Picasso and Braque to introduce primitive elements to Cubism. By the 1920s, however, he had put aside his own pre-war experimentation and, working in a style that reflected his admiration for the Old Masters, was bent on trying to depict modern life more realistically, while imbuing it with symbolic meaning, by using voluptuous colour, poetic allusions and visual wit. In the process, he drew respect from a younger generation of artists that would include Balthus, who he first met in 1933, and Giacometti.

Of Polish aristocratic descent, Balthasar Klossowski, who became known by his childhood nickname ‘Balthus’ (in later life he preferred to be referred to as the Count de Rola) was born in Paris. Typically uncompromising, in a 1998 interview with Le Figaro, a few years before his death, Balthus, described how ‘False art lovers, speculators, buy what they cannot understand…’ and that, ‘This phenomenon has favoured the emergence of the dictatorship of non-figurative art, to which the no less repulsive Expressionist, Surrealist and Minimalist dictatorships are opposed, all making equal promises of unpleasant rebirths… When I paint,’ he told the newspaper’s readers, ‘I don’t seek to express myself but the world.’

Balthus’s cultured upbringing, between France and Switzerland and travels in Germany, brought him into contact with well-known writers and also with the Symbolist painter Pierre Bonnard, whose paintings, along with those of the Renaissance artists, Piero della Francesca, Ucello and Masaccio that he studied in Italy, would significantly influence the work he would go on to produce himself. The series of paintings of scenes of daily indoor and outdoor life, and portraits that first established his reputation as an artist in Paris, contained elements of the fantastic realism practiced by the German Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) artists George Grosz, Otto Dix and Max Beckman, but also revealed a strong appreciation for the values of the Parisian Forces Nouvelles group, which, like Derain, eschewed abstraction and the surrealist tendencies sweeping through Paris in favour of the revival of draughtsmanship and realism.

The Artist and his Family,
1920-21, André Derain

Oil on canvas.
Collection particulière,
© Ted Dillard.
Photo © ADAGP, Paris 2017



Alberto Giacometti’s father, Giovanni was a respected impressionist painter, however symbolist painting would exert a strong influence on the work Alberto began to produce as an adolescent in Switzerland. Having begun studying in Paris in 1922, he would fall under the influence of Fernand Léger. In 1928, having become enveloped by his interest in African and Oceanic artefacts, he embarked on a series of sculptures of women and flat heads. Inspired by the death of his father – his dramatic Head-Skull of 1934 showed strong African and Oceanic influences.

Derain, Balthus and Giacometti moved in Paris’s Surrealist circles (only Giacometti joined the Surrealist group – in 1931: he was expelled in 1935), rubbing shoulders on the city’s Left Bank with the likes of Jean Cocteau and Albert Camus. In 1933, André Breton visited Balthus’ studio but was disappointed by the naturalism in the work he saw. However, the following year, when Balthus had his first Paris show at Pierre Loeb’s eponymous Galerie Pierre, Breton could not remain indifferent to the power of the erotic scenes that Balthus had painted (La Toilette de Cathy was shown behind a curtain at the rear of the gallery) and, while accepting their differences, recognised the formidable strength of Balthus’s artistic spirit and values. It was a watershed moment. Derain and Giacometti had also attended the show, the success of which, along with the recognition it generated served to cement their friendship with Balthus, and to underscore the trio’s conviction to forge ahead with their exploration of realism. Giacometti was especially affected; his African and Oceanic style was soon displaced by a more traditional and realistic approach that would remain present even in the haunted figures of his post World War II works.

Mainly focused on the years 1930 to 1960, Derain, Balthus, Giacometti: An Artistic Friendship at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris includes 350 works (paintings, sculptures, works on paper and photographs) testifying to the dense criss-crossing of ideas that passed between the three.

All images courtesy Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris


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Photography | Hello Éli Lotar

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Portrait of the Actress
Wanda Vangen
, 1929

Vintage silver gelatin print.
Centre Pompidou collection



Éli Lotar (1905 > 1969)
Jeu de Paume – Concorde
Paris | France
Until 28 May 2017



Untitled, [Journey aboard
the Exir Dallen]
, c 1933

Vintage silver gelatin print.
Gift of M Jean-Pierre Marchand.
Centre Pompidou collection



You may not have heard of Éli Lotar – until the 1990s, when the first major exhibition of the photographer and filmmaker’s work was presented at the Centre Pompidou, he had faded from public awareness. But in Paris, in the 1920s and 30s, Lotar, as this newshow at Jeu de Paume helps to re-establish further, was an important pioneer of modernist photography, respected by such contemporaries as Man Ray and László Moholy-Nagy.

Born in Paris, but brought in Bucharest, Lotar returned to France in 1924, and from 1927 to 1929 served as Germaine Krull’s apprentice. A generous teacher, Krull allowed him to share the use of her equipment. (Incidentally, Krull’s own huge contribution to 20th century photography went largely unrecognised until her 2015 retrospective at the Jeu de Paume.)

Photographing planes, boats, trains and the railways, Éli Lotar was inspired by modernity and often focussed his lens on the urban and industrial landscape of Paris and the Île-de-France. However, he was a keen traveller, too, and made numerous trips around France and the Mediterranean, returning with countless reportage images, particularly of maritime landscapes and port scenes.

Untitled [Lisbon], 1931
Vintage silver gelatin print.
Gift of M Jean-Pierre Marchand.
Centre Pompidou collection



Untitled [Tombros’ hand
with sea urchin]
, 1931

Vintage silver gelatin print.
Gift of M Jean-Pierre Marchand.
Centre Pompidou collection



Hôpital des Quinze-Vingt, 1928
Photomontage, vintage
silver gelatin prints.
Acquired thanks to
the sponsor Yves Rocher,
Former Christian
Bouqueret collection.
Centre Pompidou collection



Although he would never actually join it, he had a close association with the surrealist movement, and some of his most accomplished images, often featuring hands, exude a dream-like quality.

A regular contributor to Vu between 1928 and 1931, his images appeared in leading avant-garde publications of the time such as Jazz, Variétés, L’Art vivant, Documents, and Bifur.

In 1928, Lotar’s photographs were exhibited in Brussels alongside that of Berenice Abbott, André Kertész, Krull, Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Eli Lotar, then in 1929, in the influential Fotografie der Gegenwart show, at Essen’s Museum Folkwang, featuring photography by all the prime modernist movers of the period, among them, Berenice Abbott, Herbert Bayer, André Kertész, Germaine Krull, El Lissitzky, Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Hans Richter, August Sander, Umbo (Otto Umbehr), Lucia Moholy and Karl Blossfeldt, which travelled throughout Germany as well as to Sweden and London.

His work also featured in the 1929 exhibition Internationale Ausstellung des Deutschen Werkbunds Film und Foto (FiFo) in Stuttgart organised by El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Hans Richter, Edward Steichen and Edward Weston that travelled to Switzerland and Austria, and as far as Japan.

Draining of the Zuiderzee,
Netherlands, 1930
Vintage silver gelatin print.
Archives Tériade,
musée départemental Matisse,
Le Cateau-Cambrésis



Passionate about film, in the 1930s, Lotar was hired as a cinematographer for Luis Buñuel, although he continued to produce photography, often on the fringes of film sets. Turning to film direction himself in the 1940s, he was commissioned by the communist mayor of Aubervilliers to show the realities of the harsh living conditions of those who lived in the area under his jurisdiction. The eponymously titled film Aubervilliers (1945) is on show at Jeu de Paume during the exhibition.

Lotar developed close ties with many of the film stars and leading artists of his day. During his close friendship with Alberto Giacometti in the 1960s, he photographed the artist, while Giacometti sculpted Lotar. He was Giacometti’s last male model.

Éli Lotar (1905 > 1969) at Jeu de Paume – Concorde his first retrospective exhibition and features a selection of around 100 vintage prints.

All photographs by Eli Lotar, © Eli Lotar, courtesy Jeu de Paume


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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 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 | Swiss Paris

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Adrian Frutiger
Type study OCR B,
c 1963



Les Suisses de Paris
Grafik und Typografie
Museum für Gestaltung
Zürich | Switzerland
4 November 2016 > 19 March 2017



André Baldinger,
Eiffel-Level 2
Font family, 2005 > 2009

© André Baldinger



Jean Widmer /
Visuel Design
Centre Georges
Pompidou
logo
proof, 1977



In contrast to Switzerland, where an older generation of designers and typographers dominated the limited market, Paris offered a warm welcome to the influx of young Swiss designers who went there to find work in the 1950s. Resting on its diminishing reputation as a centre for the artistic avant garde, in terms of current trends, the city’s home-grown designers lagged a long way behind their Swiss neighbours, many of whom had adopted the elementary principles of Swiss or international style, but whose work also soon reflected the emerging visual art styles of Op art and Pop, who drew influences from iconoclastic French new wave / Nouvelle vague cinema ideas, as well as from America.

Jean Widmer
Galeries Lafayette,
unpublished
advertising, 1959



Friedrich Schrag
(art director),
Irving Penn
(photographer).

Adam magazine
cover, 1961



During 1950, 60s and 70s many Swiss designers would become established in Paris and come to occupy key positions within the French design industry. Among them, and one of the first to arrive, Jean Widmer came to study then got a job in an advertising agency. Becoming art director at the department store Galeries Lafayette in 1959 he introduced the innovative idea, picked up on a trip to New York, of entertaining the store’s shoppers rather than just selling to them. Moving to the fashion magazine Jardin des Modes, where he began to playfully mix photographic images and typography Widmer became involved in a competition with fellow-Swiss Peter Knapp (Knapp, incidentally, among other things, re-drew the Galleries Lafayette logo, and, revolutionised French television), who was at Elle in Paris, as well as with Henry Wolf at Harper’s Bazaar in New York. ‘It was very stimulating, he told Eye magazine in 1999, ‘you knew all the others were doing interesting things so you really had to prove yourself.’ By the late 60s, Widmer had adopted a simpler, more rational approach, which led to him producing tourism pictograms in the 1970s, and French motorways signs in 1978. In 1977, his company Visuel Design were responsible for the Centre Georges Pompidou logo.


Fred Rawyler,
Fashion show
invitation
for Indreco,
Summer 1967



Of the more recent Swiss designers to take up residence in Paris, André Baldinger, now a renowned designer, typographer and art educator, went there in 1995. His many accolades include the AB Eiffel font for the Eiffel Tower signage project. For forty years Bruno Suter divided his time between Lucerne and Paris, working for luxury brand clients such Hermès, Lanvin, Galéries Lafayette, as well as for Benetton. Fred Rawyler is probably best-known for his Hermés headscarf designs, while Adam men’s magazine art director, Friedrich Schrag commissioned prominent international photographers such as Irving Penn to produce covers.

Adrian Frutiger’s career had taken off in Paris when he moved there the same year as Jean Widmer and became artistic director of the type foundry Deberny & Peignot. In 1961 with 10 years successful work behind him, during which he developed his font family Univers – an immediate, global success – he left and opened a graphics studio with two partners outside Paris, that produced typefaces and created logos and corporate identities. In France, Frutiger designed lettering systems for Paris’s Orly airport and for the Paris Metro as well as a new information system for the Charles de Gaulle air terminal, while he was also commissioned to create fonts and signage for the Swiss highways. From 1963 to 1981, Frutiger was responsible for the design and adaptation of typewriter and composer fonts at the IBM World Fair and his computer type OCR B became a worldwide standard in 1973.

Les Suisses de Paris, Grafik und Typografie, at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich presents the work of 20 Swiss protagonists from the period.

All images courtesy Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
All images from the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich Plakatsammlung, except André Baldinger, Eiffel-Level 2


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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 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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Photography | Le Tour by Sebastião Salgado

Friday, July 1st, 2016




France


Sebastião Salgado
Le Tour de France
Polka Galerie
Paris | France
2 > 30 July 2016



France

The Blog team is away, alas not in France, where the 103rd Tour de France begins this Saturday 2 July. Finishing on Sunday 24 July, this year’s cycling race will be made up of 21 stages and covers a total distance of 3,519 kilometres. In 1986, Brazilian documentary photographer and photojournalist, Sebastião Salgado, now 72 year old and famous the world over for his intensely moving images of human suffering and environmental concern, created a surprisingly sedate and unique set of portraits for the French newspaper Liberation, of those patiently waiting for the cyclists to arrive at their towns along the entire Tour route.France

France

France

Sebastião Salgado: Le Tour de France, including a selection of 18 images is on show at Paris’s Polka Galerie throughout July.

All images: Tour de France, 1986 © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas Images, Courtesy Polka Galerie


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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 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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Art | Zero’s Heinz Mack

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Heinz Mack in his
Düsseldorf studio, 1959

Photo Archive Heinz Mack



Heinz Mack ‘Spectrum’ (1950-2016)
Galerie Perrotin, Paris
Paris | France
23 April > 4 June 2016



Parallelogramm, Heinz Mack, 2016
Stainless steel.
View of the exhibition ‘Spectrum’
at Galerie Perrotin, Paris.
Photo Claire Dorn



Until recent years there was a great big hole in our art education. It is gradually being filled with ZERO – something to celebrate.

The resurgence of interest in the highly-influential European-based ZERO art movement founded in the 1950s, but which by the mid-1970s had all but disappeared, was probably the result of the 2010 sale of the Gerhard and Anna Lenz collection of ZERO art at Sotheby’s in London, in the wake of which major retrospective exhibitions at The Guggenheim in New York, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk, Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, and the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris all followed.

The shows at these prominent institutions, however, as opposed to being about any single artist within the group, have all been mixed. In fact, aside from a solo exhibition this year in Istanbul, and others in equally obscure locations, such as Teheran (2001), ZERO’s visionary founding member, the German Heinz Mack (b 1935), hasn’t had a major one-man show outside of Germany since 1973 – an oversight which this new show at Paris’s prestigious Galerie Perrotin, will go some way to putting right.

Destined to become a significant contributor to the history of 20th century art, having attended the Arts Academy in Düsseldorf, Heinz Mack studied philosophy in Cologne in the mid-1950s and afterwards began to create paintings, reliefs, and sculptures exploring the effects of light, reflections and movement. He first experimented with spatial art through light reliefs and light cubes in polished aluminium in 1958, creating ambiguous works that were difficult to fix mentally or to record photographically.

Mack’s first solo exhibition in 1957 at Galerie Schmela in Düsseldorf, was soon followed by others in Paris, London and, in 1966, New York, where from 1964 > 65 he had briefly lived. However, since the 1966 show, Mack’s work has only appeared in America amongst that of many others in 2001 at MoMA and at Los Angeles County Museum in 2004, as well as, of course, in the 2014, much-belated, first ever, large-scale exhibition in the United States of the group’s work, ZERO – Countdown to tomorrow, 1950-1960s, at The Guggenheim.

Lamellenrelief, Heinz Mack, 1963
Aluminium, wood, perspex.
Photo Pierre Antoine



Lichtgitter-Relief, Heinz Mack, 1984
Varnished steel, brass, wood.
Photo Pierre Antoine



Lichtskulptur, 2001
(Detail – replica of the
lost original model from 1976)
Embossed, anodised,
silver-coloured aluminium,
stainless steel.
Photo Archive Heinz Mack



The apparent American ambivalence toward Mack and ZERO’s work throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s may have its roots in the late 1940s, when, post World War II, for the first time the locus of contemporary art shifted from Paris to New York, where abstract expressionism – often referred to as the first specifically American art movement to achieve international influence – and the work of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning, was the big draw. ZERO formed by Heinz Mack with Otto Piene, later joined by Günther Uecker, which came to number among many others Yves Klein and Jesús Rafael Soto as members, argued that art should be void of colour, emotion and individual expression, thus placing itself in direct opposition to abstract expressionism, and anathema in the USA. Minimalism and pop art, too, had by the end of the 1950s become powerful forces in the United States and would further strengthen New York’s impregnable position as the world’s art capital – a position it would not willingly relinquish and one which, at the time, and for the next couple of decades, it was easily able to defend.

In recognition of his international importance, in 1970, Mack represented Germany at The Venice Bienale, but, despite having created groundbreaking abstract work, and productions – via his numerous excursions to the Sahara and the Arctic – and actions that foreshadowed land art, as well as having anticipated aspects of minimalism and conceptual art was largely ignored in the US. Over time ZERO itself would disintegrate. Heinz Mack has not been idle, however, and at his studios in Mönchengladbach and Ibiza has continued his systematic and sensual exploration of reflection, and the chromatic light spectrum and its perceptive thresholds, areas in which his contemporary artist heirs, such as Olafur Eliasson, are also active.

Heinz Mack ‘Spectrum’ (1950-2016), curated by Matthieu Poirier, at Galerie Perrotin, Paris, exhibits more than 70 works, including some early pieces that have never previously been shown in public.

All images © Heinz MACK / ADAGP, Paris, 2016, courtesy Galerie Perrotin


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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