Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Inspiration of Home

Mr. and Mrs. Marc Chagall, photographed by Derry Moore, circa 1980

A sunny window overlooking the garden, heavily-laden bookshelves, an Art Nouveau vase, love and an Eames chair... perhaps the most perfect study ever. From this very private glimpse into the artist's home, it isn't hard to deduct why his works focused so consistently on themes of marriage, fidelity, joy and appreciation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Save Room for Design

Build-Your-Own 3D Clock, £25.00
Inspired by imagery on a 19th century-earthenware tile by A.W.N. Pugin, a ready-to-assemble, battery-operated clock kit made from recyclable polypropylene.

In conjunction with the opening of the new V&A shop last year and to celebrate the link between the museum's collections and the contemporary designs they continue to inspire, the V&A founded the Cherry on the Cake collection and commissioned eighteen artists to each contribute a design. The project brought together designers, curators and merchandisers, resulting in a group of special-edition artworks, from clothing and jewelry designs, to objects for the home.

Swarowski Chandelier Necklace, £125.00
Tatty Devine's necklace was inspired by a circa 1765 English chandelier made of leaded glass. Devine's design incorporates mirrored-and-laser etched acrylic, Swarovski crystals and sterling silver.

Limited Edition Embroidered Canvas, £300.00
A screen-printed canvas, with embroidered-and-painted details, by Laura McCafferty, who spent hours studying V&A visitors as they entered the famous rotunda of the museum.

Lace Coffee Cup, £35.00
The textured pattern of a porcelain coffee cup designed by Charlie Atkin was inspired by the intricate design of a late-19th century lace collar from Vienna.

Looking Glass Mirror, £600.00
Silhouettes of 23 period looking glasses from the V&A collection served as the inspiration for this unusual mirror designed by Graphic Thought Facility. Included in the design are a Dutch silver filigree mirror, c.1700, an English hand mirror made of pear wood, 1901, and an Italian silver-gilt frame mirror from the 18th Century. The mirror is hand silvered on bevelled glass and hangs from a chain. But its heavy. Specialist installation is suggested.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Art of Healing

Premiere Oncology, a cancer treatment and research center in Santa Monica, California, has very recently taken a bold and exciting step to improve the care of its patients.

Michael David, Red Jackie (Sixth State)
Mixed media on aluminum
88 x 44 in.

The cutting edge, privatized facility has partnered with nearby Lowe Gallery to bring in over 30 paintings by contemporary artists to help realize the clinic's philosophy that healing comes through treating the body, mind and soul. The desire to join "comprehensive and holistic clinical care with the therapeutic components of emotionally charged, powerfully articulated works of art" has resulted in a tremendously well thought out and beautifully-curated installation.

Sabine Tress, Outside
Acrylic on canvas
51 x 55 in.

Curators from the gallery selected artworks with "a visceral, emotional quality with deep metaphysical yearnings that are articulated by process and imagery which is strongly psychospiritual in nature." The paintings function as much to the benefit of patients (a large, intricately detailed, mixed-media work by Andrew Saftel placed in the blood-draw area acts as a distraction from the needle) as they do for the nurses and doctors on staff, who readily express the positive change that has come over the clinic.

Andrew Saftel, Sun and Water
Acrylic and mixed media on panel
24 x 24 in.

The hope is that patients will connect with the works and give back by buying and donating them to the clinic. What doctors and curators probably could not foresee, was the effect that this project would have on all who enter the space, not just the patients. At a recent unveiling of the works, doctors from other practices could be heard talking about beginning similar projects. Good begets good. Its so easy.

Other artists exhibited include Ethel Lebenkoff, Dusty Griffith, Ton Schulter and Maggie Hasbrouck. Images shown here are from the collection at Lowe Gallery and are representative of the works on view at Premiere Oncology. For more information visit and

Monday, May 21, 2007

Waste Not, Want Not

A pair of modern brass mounted two tier tables, the tops inset with panels of late 18th century Chinese black and gold lacquer decorated with pheasants resting in flowering branches, the lower shelves with gold bordered black lacquer panels.

As a follow-up to the January post, Mallett goes Modern, herewith are several images from the new furnishings produced by Mallett with the help of the London-based restoration firm H.J. Hatfield & Sons. Together they've begun creating new pieces from old by mounting what are presumably bits of objects that were damaged, or in some way unsalable, with modern frames. The resulting tables are one-of-a-kind and a beautiful means of giving new life to things previously destined for the bin.

A large panel of 19th century Coromandel lacquer, with incised polychrome decoration of vases of flowers, branches of blossom and a variety of artefacts, all arranged in two columns and on a black background, now mounted as a low table on modern base of Cobham leg design painted in sea green.

An unusual late 18th century printed bed coverlet made in India for the export market, the cotton ground elegantly decorated in reds and greens with a densely filled basket of flowers with sprigs, alongside a tree trunk and scrolling foliage.

A very unusual pair of 1860 eglomisé floor tiles decorated with polychrome floral ornament within a shaped cartouche with butterflies and flowers in the corners. Now mounted as end tables in gilt craquelle.

Past-Perfect Pixels

From paper to jpegs... Seems everyone is transitioning their archives to the Web. Over the last few years, governments, book and magazine publishers, the NBA and museums have all been gradually making the change. Even the Los Angeles Times has just sold off its photographic archive, having digitized the entire collection. Its the modern means of preservation and it certainly makes historical information more accessible than ever.

Want to see images of palaces where the kings and queens of England lived? Find out about clothing fashions in the Middle East during the 19th century? Find inspiration for a creative project? Or perhaps you'd just like to find some unusual prints to decorate your home? Then the librarians at the New York Public Library have developed the site for you: the NYPL Digital Gallery.

Armenian Lady (At Home)
The oriental album: twenty illustrations, in oil colors, of the people and scenery of Turkey, with an explanatory and descriptive text. By Rev. Henry J. Van Lennep. (published 1862)
Van-Lennep, Henry J., 1815-1889: Artist; Parsons, C.: Lithographer; W. Endicott & Co.: Printer Of Plates

Drapery for three windows.
The practical cabinet-maker, upholsterer, and complete decorator. With numerous illustrative engravings. (published 1826)

In March 2005 the NYPL began digitizing their rare and special collections, establishing the NYPL Digital Gallery as a premiere online pictorial database. The website now offers over 550,000 images, all available for study, commercial use and even purchase. For about $100 any image in the database can be ordered, cropped any way you’d like, and even custom framed. With a few clicks, anyone can access images of materials from the middle ages to the 1950s.

Fall dress, September 1810
Costume of the ladies of England 1810-1823.

Patterns.... upon gold grounds for pillar decorations.
Polychromatic decoration as applied to buildings in the mediaeval styles. Thirty-six plates in colours and gold with introductory and descriptive text. By W. & G. Audsley ... (published 1882)
Firmin-Didot -- Printer Of Plates

The Pheasantry.
Designs for the pavillon at Brighton : humbly inscribed to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales / by H. Repton with the assistance of his sons, John Adey Repton & G. S. Repton. (published [1808])
Stadler, Joseph Constantine -- Engraver

The Art & Architecture Collection of books, the basis of the digitization project, was largely founded on the gift of numerous volumes from the private library of Thomas Hastings, of Carrère and Hastings, architects of the NYPL’s landmark Fifth Avenue building. The collection grew extensively during the second half of the twentieth century and is now formally known as the Art and Architecture Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, after millions of dollars in funding were given by the philanthropist couple. Highlights of the Digital Gallery include images from books on period costumes, pattern and ornament studies, textile studies, furniture design, decorative objects, and architecture.

Les fleurs et leurs applications decoratives (published [1902])
Séguy, E. A. -- Artist

The Queen's Gallery - Kensington Palace.
The History of the Royal residences of Windsor Castle, St. James's Palace, Carlton House, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, Buckhingham House, and Frogmore. (published 1819)

Three portrait medallions in jasper. (Maria I, Queen of Portugal, left and center, Catherine II, Empress of Russia, right)
Old Wedgwood, the decorative or artistic ceramic work, in colour and relief, invented and produced by Josiah Wedgwood, at Etruria, in Staffordshire, 1760-1794; with sixty-seven full page illustrations in the colour of originals, and smaller wood-blocks; biographical and descriptive chapters, a list of marks used at Etruria, and explanatory text to each object illustrated by Frederick Rathbone. (published 1898)

Art persan : tapis.
In: L'ornement polychrome...motifs de tous les styles, art ancien et asiatique, Moyen Age, Renaissance, XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles... / A. Racinet. (published [188-?])
Racinet, A. (Auguste), 1825-1893 -- unknown role; Durin, F. -- Lithographer; Grivell -- Artist

Searching through the project's monumental (though easily navigatable) database is tremendously inspirational, a dream resource for anyone interested in the history of design.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pop Goes the Archive

In honor of the 60th anniversary of the launch of Emilio Pucci, the company is producing a limited reissue of four mid-1960s designs from the Pucci archives as part of its 2007 collections.

The project, organized by designer Matthew Williamson and Pucci's daughter Laudomia, will include two dresses, a romper and a handbag. The reissues, which will be limited to about 300-pieces each, will feature a special label, "Emilio Pucci - Florence, Itlay." And they didn't stop there. All pieces from this project will be packaged in a specially-designed white box with a fabric lining specific to each garment.

Friday, May 11, 2007

An Affordable Entrée to Collecting Prints

Princess Margaret, photographed by Dorothy Wilding, London, c. 1950
Inscription and stamp verso
9.75 x 8 inches, overall
Provenance: Estate of James Carr

George Glazer's Manhattan gallery offers one of the best selections of antique prints, maps and globes to be found anywhere. Since opening in 1993, he's become a primary resource for collectors, particularly collectors of prints, and his fine and rare prints are priced accordingly. However, for those who love prints but need to be, well, frugal with their collecting, he offers an incredible selection of odd ball, "red tag" prints -- beautiful, original, and thoroughly researched items priced at or below $250. From maps and scientific studies to flora and fauna to costume and music - there's a subject for everyone.

Frederick Polydore Nodder (fl. 1770-1800) (artist and engraver) and George Shaw (1751-1813) (desriptions)
Butterflies, from The Naturalist's Miscellany: Or, Coloured Figures Of Natural Objects; Drawn And Described Immediately From Nature
Nodder & Company, 15 Brewer Street, London: 1789-1813
Engravings hand-colored with watercolor and gouache
5.75 x 10 inches each
From $150 to $450

Louis Vagne
Le Nouveau Clair de la Lune, Imagerie De Pont-A-Mousson
Paris: c. 1900
Photo-lithographs on Paper
16 x 11 Inches

Richard Corbould (1757-1831) (after) and John Chapman (engraver)
Geography, from Encyclopaedia Londiniensis
J. Wilkes, London: November 7, 1807
Black and white aquatint
9 x 7 inches, image
11 x 8.25 inches, overall

P. de Pannemaeker, P. Stroobant, et al. (after), Jean Jules Linden (1817-1898) (publisher), Charles Lemaire (1800-1871) (editor, 1854-1870) and Edouard André (1840-1911) (editor 1870-)
Palm & Tropical Tree Botanical Prints, from L'Illustration Horticole
Revue Mensuelle Des Serres et Des Jardins [Horticulture Illustrated: The Monthly Journal of Greenhouses and Gardens], Ghent, Belgium: 1854-1896
10 x 6.25 inches

C. Burton Barber, R.S. Moseley and various illustrators
Cassell's Illustrated Book of the Dog
Vincent, Brooks, Day & Sons, Lithographers and Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., Lithographers
8 1/2" x 10 1/2"
13 prints available

Jules David (1808-1892), M. Body, J. Bonnard, G. Gonin, A. Nirondeau. E. Cailland (artists and engravers)
Fashion Studies from Le Moniteur de la Mode
Rue de Quatre, Paris: 1877
A. Leroy R des Marais, 66: Paris; Gouboud & Fils, Paris;
H. Lefevre, Paris et al. (publishers and printers)
Hand-colored engravings
11.5 x 9 inches each
From $125 to $250

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

La Vie en Rouge

Hamac Kokoon, €7680

Le Cèdre Rouge du Prince Jardinier is a Paris-based company with shops throughout France (plus one on Martinique) and possibly the most interesting range of garden furniture to be found anywhere. They are known for outdoor furnishings that run the gamut from modernist to whimsical, as well as their designs inspired by famous French gardens.

Fauteuil Peacock, €595

Chaise Luxembourg Mémoire, €295

So highly are their historically-inspired designs regarded that they've been authorized by Didier Wirth, Président du Comité des Parcs et Jardins de France, to reissue furniture and accessories from the gardens at château de Brécy (below), where he lives with his wife, Barbara.