Robin Day’s prizewinning design for the Royal Festival Hall chair, created for entry into MoMA’s 1948 International Low-Cost Furniture Competition, helped to launch his career as an industrial designer. Day enjoyed a long-term consultancy with Hille, the chair’s manufacturer, as well as the establishment of a studio with his future wife, Lucienne.
Epitomizing the contemporary style and technological innovation of the 1951 Festival of Britain, the chair was featured in the couple’s Home and Gardens pavilion as well as in the lounge of the new Royal Festival. The chair also appeared in that year’s Milan Triennale and was soon put into production for an international market
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, The Value of Good Design, on View at The Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
This painting depicts a St. John’s Day eve in the Brazilian town of Ouro Preto, whose central plaza is illuminated with colored lanterns to mark the end of the winter solstice. Lincoln Kirstein commissioned Guignard to make the painting after seeing a drawing of the same subject. His description of the artist’s work — “tight and detailed’– characterizes much of the art that Kirstein favored. Guignard’s meticulous craftsmanship and attention to particulars are visible in this works finely rendered architectural features, tiny revelers, and distinctive indigenous flora.
Ouro Preto: St. John’s Eve (1942) by Alberto da Veiga Guignard was photographed as part of the exhibit Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern, on View at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
In a series of pastels made in the fall of 1934, Joan Miró pursued what he called “aggressiveness” through color. Rendered in acidic, highly saturated and dissonant hues of thickly applied pastel, the isolated figure of Woman (Opera Singer) appears to protrude from the paper’s surface, Her asymmetrical head, twisted open mouth, overinflated genitalia, and single toenail resist the corporeal ideals embraced by the various fascist parties that were gaining power across Europe at the time.
Photographed as part of the Exhibit Joan Miró, Birth of the World, on View at The Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
Composed of Vinylite and manufactured by a chemical company (Gallowhur Chemical Corp. of Windsor, VT) this Inflatable Chair (1944) typifies the application of innovative materials and production techniques — heightened during wartime — to domestic products. Designer William H. Miller was an employee of Gallowhur Chemical.
During World War II, Miller collaborated with a cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt to design a pocket-sized water-desalination device that became standard equipment for Army and Navy Fliers.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit The Value of Good Design, On View Through June 15th, 2019 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
“Slinky was once just a little old everyday spring on a ship,” read a brochure describing the origins of the popular toy. Speaking about inventory Richard James, it continued, “One day Dick took it home to show his family. His little boy, Tommy, surprised everybody by making the spring walk down the stairs — all by itself! That gave Dick the idea to make this little old spring into a toy. His wife, Betty, named it Slinky!” What started as a chance discovery went on to become an international bestseller that has helped generations of children ponder the principles of gravity and tension.
Richard James, who began his career as a naval engineer, spent a few years perfecting his design before bringing it to market in 1945. It was Betty James, his wife, who brought Slinky its international success, marketing the cleverly named toy with a catchy jingle and playful television ads. When she died in 2008, The New York Times estimated that the number of Slinkys sold since the 1940s could circle the globe 150 times.
This Slinky was Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, The Value of Good Design, on View at The Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
After 1952, dripping and pouring paint were no longer the primary means of expression for Jackson Pollack.The totemic forms at the left and right in Easter and The Totem (1953) reflect his renewed interest in using a brush to paint quasi-figurative images. The bright colors and expansive spaces anchored by large swaths of black suggest the influence of Henri Matisse, who was the subject of a large retrospective that Pollack would have seen at MoMA the previous year. The push and pull between abstraction and figuration is a thread that weaves through Pollack’s entire career. As he said in the last year of his life, “I am very representational some of the time and a little al of the time.”
He Did What He Wanted (1927) was included in Yves Tanguy’s first solo show at the Galerie Surréaliste, Paris, in 1927. Before the exhibition opened, Tanguy and Surrealist leader André Breton invented titles for the paintings based on a 1922 book called Treaty of Metapsychics by Charles Richet, a Nobel Prize winner for medicine, which explored mysterious forms of cognition — a subject that resonated with the Surrealist interest in the unconscious and in dream states. The title of this work refers to a phenomenon Richet describes in which hypnotized subjects refuse to obey external commands. In early works, such as this one, Tanguy defined his signature style: a vaguely geological, otherworldly terrain strewn with symbols and enigmatic creatures. His biomorphic forms, rendered with a painterly treatment of surface that approaches abstraction, had a profound impact on postwar painters such as Matta and Arshile Gorky.