SPEAKING OF PICTURES: A VINTAGE GRAPHICS BLOG

ROSE ET NOIR (UPBEAT AND DOWNBEAT)

rose-et-noir-ombre-liberte L’Ombre de la Liberte (1931)Paul Iribe;12  ½” x 10”;litho I of IX from Rose et Noir

In 1931, the Nicolas Paris-based wine store chain, produced a deluxe lithographic project , titled, Rose et Noir. This effort was a bid to offset the surge of interest in cocktails, derived from American jazz-age culture. In addition to a cynical little script, covering the banter of an alcoholic modern couple in Paris, there are 9 full-page illustrations by graphic design master, Paul Iribe (1883-1935), evoking , in exquisite art deco air-brush vignettes the presumed toxicity of imbibing high-alcohol-content beverages. Continue reading

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PATRIZIA MOROSO—BRINGING MYSTERY INTO FURNITURE

03-IMG_4490At first glance you might find this an unremarkable glimpse of modern chairs at a design show. But look again, at the details of these two chairs. In the foreground, the chair’s coloration traces (from left to right) an ebbing of its color statement. In the background, the grey seating appears to be laced with wire! In both cases the deficit proves illusory, providing a superb comfort and a playful “crisis,” derived from that highway of infinite physical possibilities coinciding with the intent of mustering comfortable seating. Continue reading

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PIERRE BONNARD—A COLORIST THRILLED BY WORLDS LACKING COLOR

bonnard-couverture-de-lalbum-56A plaza at sunset, and the starlings fill the skies with their inventive motions. The populace discovers a Paris few of us know.
Bonnard’s subdued lithograph intends to be savored for a long time. Don’t rush away, or you’ll miss some surprising, quiet thrills. Continue reading

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MODERN ART AND THE HUMAN COMPONENT OF DYNAMICS

I think it’s worth revisiting the Guggenheim/Art Gallery of Ontario “Great Upheaval” show, to more closely consider the trajectory of its presentation of a world becoming unglued. There is, in a painting like the one shown here, by Kazimir Malevich, who would soon confine his work to geometric forms adrift upon an abyss, an embrace of the amazing realism effectively hidden for millennia under a scramble of mundane chores. A composition like this seeks to ignite in the viewer layers of mystery surprisingly accessible to a reflective pause such as that induced by a well-prepared exhibition. Continue reading
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LET’S GET AWAY FROM IT ALL—APPROACHES TO TRAVEL GRAPHICS

There are many ways to induce travel dreams, and graphic designers in the poster and other visual areas have to hit upon the one that most effectively meets the client’s needs (and at the same time satisfying the artist’s comprehensive motives). In the 1950′s and 1960′s, the Danish artist, Otto Nielsen, seems to have come upon the right stuff to increase passenger figures on Scandinavian Airlines.    Continue reading

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FERNET-BRANCA AND THE GLORIOUS RANGE OF GRAPHIC DESIGN

Fernet-Branca (c.1895) ?Leopoldo Metlicovitz ; 73″ x 48″

This stunning and very unusual litho promoting (at the end of the nineteenth century) the Italian bitters which compose the product, Fernet-Branca, can carry us into an array of exciting considerations.  Continue reading

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Dylan Thomas, James Herriot, and the Spirit of Christmas

christmas-kitten-1

You might think that having the likes of Dylan Thomas (he of, “Do not go gentle into that good night”) drop by at Christmas would be tantamount to exclusively broaching Scrooge’s Christmas Eves prior to that special one. Just in case our unlikely courier of charm might, to some, fixedly and unwelcomely portend a variation of The Nightmare before Christmas, we also have in our sack the sure-fire James Herriot and his just-right reminiscence about The Christmas Day Kitten. I’ll keep my enthusing, about Thomas’ visit, to a minimum, whereupon there is the YouTube of the author’s 1952 reading; and, then, to some hints about Herriot’s doing so much more than damage control. Continue reading

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THE GREAT UPHEAVAL: ART PICTURING EARTHQUAKES

Over the past few years, there have been several exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario which excitingly provided close-ups of a plunge into a massive, disturbing and thrilling change in orientation from that of a longstanding mainstream rationality. Efforts ranging from Picasso to David Bowie have staged for us a perhaps very puzzling eschewal of embracing the ambitions of discrete figures joining with other such bounded players in order to cannily foster understanding and well-being. There we saw, by contrast, a cadre of those outsiders engaged by uncanny possibilities which seem to have little chance of meaningfully connecting to generally understood respectable ways and means.Another show, called “Surreal Things,” sought to indicate how the worlds of fashion and industrial and graphic design had become noticeably infiltrated by such initiatives. But the tenor was such as to allow for an easy assumption that only well-heeled neurotics were taking that path. However, with the current show, “The Great Upheaval,” put together by the Guggenheim Museum in New York, from out of a bravado spate of acquisitions by industrialist, Solomon R. Guggenheim, in the early years of the twentieth century, the focus has been very much sharpened in order to, as it were, give us an X-ray of processes generally eclipsed by everyday chores and pleasures.In the work above, “The Smokers” (1911-1912), by Fernand Leger, the mundane pastime becomes engulfed by the neighborhood’s own drift.   Continue reading

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ANNIE CLARK (ST. VINCENT) AND THE SLIPPERY ROAD TO THE NEXT THING

Sometimes we learn more from what disappoints us than from what excites us. For instance, there is a pop music phenomenon, recently lauded by the Smithsonian Magazine (and awarded, by them, an America Ingenuity recognition, in Performance Arts), who calls herself St. Vincent and fetchingly distributes a melange of lush melody and abrasive, often cornball jingles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9prpAv6kvo    Continue reading

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IT’S HERE—A SEASON OF JOIE DE VIVRE!

Joy to the world! Let’s explore the joys of Christmas as mustered by some of our most vivid graphics. The great pochoir shown here is about a city girl in love—not the least of which, with the holiday season. From the olive-toned bell to her little scarlet heels, the color harmonies here are superb at a level as only a labor of love could convey. Nonchalance as befits her being in tune with this time for lovers.  Continue reading
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