The predominant hue of this sentimental postcard composition is an intense azure blue, typical of skies on the French Riviera, overlaid with bright greens, pinks, reds, yellows, whites and lines of black. The transparency of the two figures makes literal what Francis Picabia (1879 – 1953) described as the “empty” character of Cannes high society. They have no substance to speak of, their bodies merging with the surrounding landscape in a painted version of superimposition, a technique more commonly associated with avant-garde photography and film. Idyll (1925 – 27) is displayed in its original goatskin frame, built by the frame-maker and bookbinder Pierre Legrain. The frame highlights Picabia’s abiding interest in the decorative, a category often considered antithetical to “serious” art.
Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC as Part of the Exhibit, Francis Picabia: Our Heads Are Round So Our Thoughts Can Change Direction, Up Through March 19th, 2017
Dubbed the Prince of Plastic by the New York Times, Neal Small (b. 1937) lead a craze in the late 1960s for sculptural lighting and furniture made from plastic and acrylic. “I like to think of it as all part of the new permissiveness,” he commented. ‘I Know that I am being more permissive with myself and the designs I allow myself to make — making fuller, more sensuous things. People are permitting themselves in every area, whether it’s music, with the Beatles and the Stones, architecture or clothes. They are allowing themselves things that please them personally. You don’t have to invest in things forever anymore. Lighting is getting to be an art form”
Area Lamp (model 1112), 1966 -67 was Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
Mushrooms, oysters, tongues, and tulips are some of the iconic shapes French designer Pierre Paulin (1927 – 2009) was best known for creating. Having trained under Parisian designer Marcel Gascion, Paulin was influenced by the Scandinavian aesthetic as well as American pre-fabricated designs by Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Knoll.
Inspired to develop his own brand of accessible luxury, Paulin began designing and manufacturing seats made of molded wood lined with foam padding and fashioned with a stretch elastic jersey fabric for Thonet-France. Paulin’s forward-looking, innovative designs for affordable chairs, divans, and sofas in an array of bright and vivid colors, most notably the Mushroom, Tongue and Ribbon chair, among others, can be found in contemporary art and design collections around the world.
Tongue Chairs and Ribbon Chair (Rear)
Paulin designed his Ribbon Chair (model 582) in 1966, for manufacture in 1967 by Artifort in the Netherlands. It involves a tubular steel frame, latex foam, stretch fabric and a painted wood base.
Primarily known as a painter and architect, Roberto Matta (1911 – 2002) designed his Malitte Lounge Furniture in 1966. This colorful collection of polyurethane foam shapes (manufactured by Gavina, Italy) could be stacked into a rectangular wall or used as individual pieces of seating. The round, center piece serves as a table. The design is playful and flexible, Its interlocking organic shapes reflect Mattas training as an architect in his native Chile, as well as his Surrealist painting practice, which developed after his move to Paris.
Side View Mirror (1965) by Allan D’Arcangelo (1930 – 1998) consist of a color screenprint printed on Plexiglas, set into round chrome side-view mirror, and mounted on a black Plexiglas base.
As a readymade /sculpture, Side View Mirror is part of a multiple artist collaboration, Seven Objects in a Box (Published 1965-66), which consisted of a stenciled wooden box, containing one artwork each by artists Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Dine, George Segal, and D’Arcangelo (see photo below). Part of the permanent collection at MOMA, all pieces are displayed as stand-alone works.
French Impressionist Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) painted dancers for roughly half of his career, and the above pastel drawing is only one of dozens of his images depicting a dancer in a pink outfit. I saw this one, Danseuse Rose (1896) at MOMA in New York over the summer.
Dorothea Tanning (August 25, 1910 – January 31, 2012) was an American painter, printmaker, sculptor, writer and poet. Her early work was influenced by Surrealism, and she was the 4th and final wife of famous German surrealist Max Ernst (1891 – 1976).
In her own words Tanning noted the following about On Time Off Time:
“What I remember most about this picture is the support. It was a piece of wonderful linen that I stretched and prepared myself. It was the only time I ever did any such thing. And then, of course, when it was done, I felt I had to make some rare precious picture on it, and I think the words I used were the key to the enigmatic quality that I wanted.” Other than that, not much is known about this painting’s meaning.
Dorothea Tanning died at her home Manhattan in 2012, home at age 101 – wow!
Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.