Mirror of Life (1946), like many of Henry Koerner’s paintings, reveals the artist’s preoccupation with his experiences during World War II. Born in Vienna to Jewish parents, Koerner (1915 – 1991) escaped Austria following Hitler’s1938 invasion, fleeing first to Italy and subsequently to the United States. Soon after, he was drafted by the US military and stationed in Europe, where he was assigned to sketch the proceedings of the Nuremberg trials, the military tribunals in which leaders of Nazi Germany were tried for war crimes. Koerner returned to Vienna in 1946 only to learn that his parents, who’d stayed in Austria, had died in concentration camps during the war. Mirror of Life emerges from this context of conflict and loss. Disorienting juxtapositions — night and day, biblical events and present-day life, ordinary pastimes and bizarre phenomena — present a chaotic and disjunctive reflection of reality. The shirtless man leaning out of his window seems to be a stand-in for the artist. Home, for him, is not only the place where one resides but also a vantage point to witness all that has been lost.
Created in the aftermath of World War II, Painting (1946) is likely a veiled portrait of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who often carried an umbrella and has gone down in history for his policy of accommodation of the Nazi regime. His dark suit is punctuated by a bright yellow boutonniere, yet his bared teeth and concealed gaze suggest brutality. This sense of menace is accentuated by the cow carcasses suspended behind him. The drawn window shades evoke those found in a widely circulated photograph of Hitler’s bunker, an image that Francis Bacon included in mulipleworks. Bacon claimed that this work was an accident; he had originally set out to paint a bird descending onto a field.
This modern and affordable dining-room chair was designed by the American husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames. Built after an exhaustive period of testing, the different parts of the chair were fabricated using heat and pressure to bend the plywood. The DCW Side Chair (1946) was lauded for being both ergonomic and comfortable
The Eames‘ pioneering use of new materials and technologies transformed the way people decorated their homes, introducing functional, affordable, and often highly sculptural objects and furnishings to so many middle-class Americans.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Norman Lewis (1909 – 1979), began his art career as a figurative painter, focusing on life in Harlem. In 1946, he announced that he wanted to create art that broke away from what he called “its stagnation in too much tradition.” Inspired by the writings and art of the Russian painter Vasily Kandinsky, one of the first artists to create abstract paintings, Lewis abandoned representation in favor of the “conceptual expression” of ideas. Like other Abstract Expressionists working in New York, Lewis was deeply interested in music, and especially jazz, which influenced the painting of Phantasy II (1946). In an automatic process, he made a linear composition with boldly colored lines and forms akin to the improvisational structure of jazz.
Designed by Benjamin Bowden (1907 – 1998) the aluminum prototype for this futuristic Spacelander bicycle was handmade by the MG Auto Company in England in 1946. The original design incorporated an ingenious dynamo that stored the downhill energy and released it on uphill runs.
Manufacturing the bike to-spec for consumer use turned out be prohibitively expensive, but in 1960, Bowden contracted with Bomard Industries in Michigan to produce this more mechanically conventional, one-speed version of the dynamic, organic design fiberglass, a new design material.
Ultimately, the endeavor was too costly for Bomard Industries as well, and the firm went out of business after manufacturing only 522 examples.
Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum’s Visible Storage Archive.
The Below Images of a White Spacelander Bike, Photographed at the Museum of Modern Art, Were Added to This Post on April 6th, 2019.
Who drummer Keith Moon was born on this day, August 23rd, in 1946. The photo above was taken on the occasion of Keith’s 21st Birthday in 1967. Legend has it that Moon’s birthday party celebration got wildly out of control and, in an trying to avoid the police, Keith climbed into a Lincoln Continental Limousine (the exact car model is up for debate) and attempted to make a getaway. Unfortunately, in his intoxicated state he released the handbrake, and began rolling towards the pool. Moon simply sat back and waited, as the car crashed through the fence around the pool and into the water. RIP, Keith, you are still missed.
On This Date, January 6th, in 1975: Pink Floyd entered London’s Abbey Road Studios to begin recording its seventh studio album, Wish You Were Here. Like much of Pink Floyd’s material, the album’s two-part song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” is a tribute to the band’s former singer and guitarist Syd Barrett, whose drug-induced breakdown had forced him to leave the band several years earlier. Syd would also have celebrated his birthday today (Born 1/6/1946), if he had not passed away in July of 2006 at the age of 60. Shine on you crazy diamond.