SPEAKING OF PICTURES: A VINTAGE GRAPHICS BLOG

GEORGE BARBIER AND THE NECESSITY OF EXTRAVAGANCE

Paris’ reputation as the center of brilliant elegance was the upshot of a long history of ruthless efforts to, if not obviate a critical mass of rustic obtuseness, at least circumvent it. Versailles and the chateaux of the Loire valley were, to a significant extent a, not very effective, attempt to place a cordon sanitaire between intentions of profane power (the aristocracy) and intentions of more stolid, pious power.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, economic wealth began to foster strivings for a Belle Epoque of increasingly gratifying comfort and excitement. Paris, then, became the scene of inventions to attract those intent on unprecedented wonders of sensual discovery. There, in particular, decorative activities of fashion design and graphic design promotion of such a metier caught fire.
These days, in Toronto, we have, in a ponderous chateau-facsimile, namely, the University of Toronto Robarts Library, an exhibit of the output of a major exponent of that Paris phenomenon. Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Current Events, Illustration Art, Illustrators, Industrial Design, Poster&Graphic Artists | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

NORMAN ROCKWELL AND THE PULSE OF AMERICA


For a number of decades, graphic artist. Norman Rockwell, sent forth a large quantity of illustrations which seemed— to most Americans and most non-Americans— to capture the essence of the Republic. This was a portrayal (to a great extent emanating from the widely-read periodical, The Saturday Evening Post) involving richly observed vignettes of a population of down-to-earth and buoyant folks. Continue reading
Share Button
Posted in Current Events, Illustration Art, Illustrators, Modernist Posters&Graphics, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

NERI AND HU, JOINING WHO’S WHO!


Architects and industrial designers, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, have managed, ever so quietly (in a field not known for its diffidence), to provide us with a fascinating new slant on design’s speaking to questions of innovative cogency. Having been educated and having launched careers in the U.S., they quite recently (9 years ago) decamped back to the Orient, settling in that most historically glamorous and mysterious of Chinese cities, Shanghai.

The factor they decided they could not live without was Shanghai’s legacy of dark, narrow streets and corridors. From a North American standpoint that would seem to be an odd attraction, given the premium here upon expansive, uncluttered configuration. In the photo above, the heaviness of the stairways drags down the lightness of the room’s context. What could they be thinking of?  Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Current Events, Industrial Design | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BELIEVE IT OR NOT:TORONTO’S RIPLEY AQUARIUM PROVIDES DEEP POETRY!

16,000 water-traversing creatures can affect you in surprising ways. There is their out-of-this-world cadence, configuration and color. And there are juxtapositions galore!  Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Current Events, Industrial Design | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM” THE DAVID BOWIE SHOW

The Art Gallery of Ontario, deftly following up on its Surreal Things show, has tapped into London’s Victoria and Albert Museum’s rampage of a show, a wild and wonderful bundle of entities, pertaining to singer/songwriter PLUS, David Bowie (b. 1947). Like stumbling upon a fun house that fights your instincts to concentrate in calm, this friendly assault is more of a challenge than most of us had bargained for.   Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Current Events, Illustration Art, Performance Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A BUTTERFLY STORY!

We found, in a Noel 1933  issue of L’Illustration, a lithographically illustrated article concerning a fabulous German collection of butterflies from around the world. The writer was an expert at Paris’ Museum of Natural History, ensconced in the unforgettable Jardin des Plantes on the Eastern fringes of the City’s core.
As you can see from this introductory page, the issues of color and linear design are activated in an overwhelming and yet subtle way. Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Current Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

KNOWN FOR THEIR CARING—BRITISH VINTAGE GRAPHICS!

This exquisite lithographic poster, by the very accomplished and special, Austin Cooper, is a paradigm of vintage British graphics. There is the love for history, literacy and the land and sea. And there is modelling of persons in such a way as to capture a bountiful solicitude. Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Illustration Art, Illustrators, Modernist Posters&Graphics, Poster&Graphic Art, Poster&Graphic Artists | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HERMES, BEING TOUCHED BY HEAVEN!

For a full week, the Design Exchange was graced by artisans in action and in interaction, from that Centre of the Sublime, Hermes. Continue reading
Share Button
Posted in Current Events, Illustration Art, Industrial Design, Performance Art | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SHEILA AND NICHOLAS PYE: SLEEPLESS NIGHTS AND THEN SOME

Sheila and Nicholas Pye are an art partnership like none other. Married to each other, until a few years ago, they continue to produce videos and photographs that depict difficulties of love. But here we should drop all vestiges of journalism and get a bead on what is happening in their work—so glibly capsulized as “difficulties of love.” The fact that their work brings to us filmed enactments of themselves embodying impasse between a man and a woman does not by any means confine their effort to easy blues.

Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Current Events, Performance Art | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE INIMITABLE L’ILLUSTRATION!

Whereas now we have the internet to put us into a state of dazzlement about the creative energies of the whole wide world, 75 years ago there was L’Illustration, the flagship of the French fleet of vehicles of visual impact.   Continue reading
Share Button
Posted in Art Deco Posters&Graphics, Illustration Art, Illustrators, Industrial Design, Poster&Graphic Art | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment