Exposition Internationale Coloniale (Antwerp) 1930;Anonymous; 16″ x 23″
The notion of the “modern” in creative output became compelling near the end of the nineteenth century. At that time industrialization and its drastic reconfiguration of urban socioeconomic life had reached proportions carrying inescapable consequences to the inhabitants of cities. This change in the air launched a long and variegated march of envisioning life as marked by audacious departures from guileless ways. Consequently, Europeans and North Americans were inundated by a rapid succession of new trends in architecture, and also industrial design and fine art. This was the zone of intense movements of taste like Art Nouveau, Constructivism, Cubism, Dada, De Stijl, Futurism, Bauhaus and Surrealism, to name major players. It was also a time of tempering the cutting edges of those thrusts in terms of attention to a sleek and salubrious possibility of deploying such inventive and innovative choices of the look and feel of daily life. What was often called Moderne (and in retrospect seen as Art Deco) opened hitherto unthinkable harmonics of chic and adventure to those who could afford their deluxe materials. After World War II, this premium upon clean lines and breezy moods became democratized. It is this more modest sense of the modern that we want to explore today.
Jazz c.1940; J. Rassiat; 21 ½” x 16”; A, P
Whereas there is a rather la-di-da displacement of the agrarian part of the world envisioned by the vintage art deco promotion in image one (no less dismissive for its enthusiasm about the sexiness of primitives), the modernist design-pop of more recent times counts the thinness of the optical forces as a form of magic comparable to that of the earlier overachievers.
Radio Melodie c.1940; Gino Boccasile; 12″x 9 1/4″; A-,L
Easy-going, to some extent, but mooting the wartime dislocation when a radio broadcast reaches out to those enlisted in harsh, dangerous work.
Mein Neues Schneider-Buch;c. 1945; Donald Brun;23 ¼”x 16 ½”
Far from avant-guardist self-importance, a delivery of simple delight in learning more about the excitements of being alive.
Ocean Beach Bicentennial 1976;Alex Redein (hand-signed);21 ½” x 15 ½”
Scattered, abbreviated composition, paying homage to moments of desolation not without haunting charm.
Montreal c.1965; Laycox; 28” x 22”;A-, L
Definitely de trop (too much). But this overloaded good time well captures the terrain from out of which fateful lives sense something (simply and quietly) more.
SAS South America c. 1960; Otto Nielsen;39 ½” x 24 ½”; A-, P
The attenuation (thinning out) of the features here represents an unexpected marvel about a place (Rio’s Ipanema Beach, with Sugar Loaf in the distance) anticipated as an untrammelled ecstasy.
Canada Vacations Unlimited c.1955 ;G. W. Goss;24” x 18”; A-,L
Sensible fun, verging on the stuff of dreams!
Arizona Go Greyhound c. 1950;Anonymous;40” x 30”; A-, P
They took the bus. But they find they’ve taken a flyer on deep space. The round-trip ticket offers its own engrossing mystery.