One of the enduring legacies of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was her elevation of costume jewelry to high fashion. Maison Gripoix, a house that has serviced the couture industry since its founding in 1869, was among her earliest and most frequent collaborators. The company’s specialized pate de verre (glass paste) technique was developed by the founder, Augustine Gripoix, and passed down generationally. Instead of the kiln method employed by other manufacturers, the house pours molten glass directly into the sophisticated metal settings that frame its designs. This meticulous an costly process allows for greater freedom of coloration and form, and lends a subtle effervescence to the floating glass components. This wreath of graduated translucent flower heads (circa 1938) was produced by Gripoix for Chanel and reflects the late 1930s vogue for romantic nature-based motifs.
Photographed as part of the exhibit In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection, on view through May 17th, 2020 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Surrealism was identified by its proponents as a way of reuniting the conscious and unconscious realms of experience so that the world of dream and fantasy could be joined to the everyday rational world — or what one critic called “an absolute reality, a surreality.” René Magritte accomplished this by merging dreamlike imagery and naturalistic detail, as in his iconic canvas Time Transfixed (1938). He also worked carefully on his titles, and he was ultimately unhappy with the English translation of the title of this painting. The original French, La Durée Poignardée, literally means “ongoing time stabbed by a dagger.” Magritte hoped that when his patron Edward James purchased this painting, he would install it at the bottom of his staircase so that the train would “stab” guests on their way to James‘ ballroom. In an ironic twist, he hung it over his fireplace, to Magritte’s great dissatisfaction.
The Landi Chair (1938) was among the examples of international design in the exhibition Die Gute Form (Good Form), which the designer Max Bill curated on behalf of the Swiss Werkbund — an organization established in 1913 to promote good design — and which travelled to venues in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and The Netherlands from 1941–51.
Landi Chair was designed by Hans Corey and manufacured from bent and pressed aluminum.
Landi Chair Installation View With Kitchen Clock (1953) and Sun Lamp By Max Bill (1951)
“We’ve tried in this exhibition to dispense as much as possible with ‘appearance’ and focus instead on what is modest, true [and] even good,” Bill wrote in the exhibition catalogue.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, The Value of Good Design, on View at The Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
Grant Wood designed this Lounge Chair and Ottoman in 1938 for his own living room. Henry R. Lubben, a Cedar Rapids furniture maker, manufactured the design in a variety of fabrics, with or without tasseled fringe, and sold it in department stores throughthe Midwest as the Grant Wood Lounge Chair.
In 1939, Riverdale Fabrics commissioned Wood to create a textile for them based on his 1932 painting Spring Plowing (textile design seen framed, top image). Wood died before this design went into production and the fabric was never made.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, on View Through June 10th, 2018 at The Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District, NYC.
Strangler’s drummer Jet Black (Born Brian John Duffy) was born on this day, August 26th, in…wait for it…1938! Holy Cow! Rock on Jet Black, and have an excellent Birthday. Favorite Strangler’s Song: “All Roads Lead To Rome.”