Monday, June 29, 2009

Edouard Benedictus, a true Renaissance man

Recently I attended a small local auction and I fell upon one of the beautiful Edouard Benedictus book :" Nouvelles Variations" (1925). What good fortune!!! I love this artist. Edouard Benedictus was a multi-talented Renaissance man, at the same time a writer, a painter, a textile designer, a book binder and a chemist.

He created wonderful and colorful albums of textile and wallpaper designs in the Art Deco style . His books include "Variations," 1924, "Nouvelles Variations," 1925,and "Relais," 1930.

He was a friend of the French composer Maurice Ravel; both of them joined an avant-garde group of artists, writers and musicians known as the "Apaches" ( with Maurice Delage, Leon-Paul Farges, Manuel de Falla, Igor Stravinsky...).

Edouard Benedictus is the man who discovered safety glass in 1909: he discovered the process of lamination by dropping a flask that had contained nitrocellulose in his laboratory. The shattered glass held together, instead of breaking apart ( REF: SAINT GOBAIN)

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, June 26, 2009

The many facets of Shanghai

I visited Shanghai for the first time 25 years ago. Today one of my daughters lives and works there and the Shanghai she knows has few things to do with the one of the 80's. With the advent of the single child civilization children have become the center of attention in a completely new way.

Look at how these two little girls are primped and gussied up! And look at how eager they are to discover the world!!!

Not only is intellectual acuity encouraged in very young girls but they learn fast to not be pushed around.

The cultural revolution is truly a thing of the past and has almost become a subject of mockery. Maybe it is also a way to dedramatize a very painful time!

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The modernity of the 18th century

The word "new" has such marketing value that it is used all too often. As a matter of fact what we think of as new has often very deep roots in history. The Chinese artist who carved the piece of jade pictured above created a sculpture with a very abstract and refined shape which an artist of the XX century could very well attribute to his own time. This stunning carving was made in China in the 18th century. The vase below was made in Murano, Italy toward the end of the XX century inspired by the beautifully embroidered lace handkerchiefs of the 18th and 19th centuries, it became known as a handkerchief vase. The artists in Murano did not lose sight that lace was first invented in Venice.

Venini Fazzoletto hankerchief vase, Murano, Italy

Lalique Hair Pin , France, early 20th century
The design of the flower is very stylized and abstract.Similar hair pins can be seen at Musée d'Orsay and at the Gulbekian Museum in Lisbon, Portugal. Calouste Sarkis Gulbekian was a loyal Lalique customer

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Dora Maar painting

A painting of Dora Maar (1909-1997) is on sale at Bonhams , London this week. It represents a landscape in the Luberon mountains of Provence. Best known as the muse of Picasso Dora Maar was a painter and a photographer in her own right. She studied painting in Paris with Andre Lhote.

She and Picasso met in 1936 at "Les deux Magots" a famous café at Saint Germain des Pré in Paris. It's said that Picasso was seduced by her deep and large brown eyes.

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tradition triumphs in Burgundy

Comtois Horse working in the Romanée-Conti domain

Domaine de la Romanée Conti make some of the most famous Pinot noir wines in the world. The grapes are grown according to biodynamic principles and organic agriculture. You can see the extent to which they apply these principle as horses are used instead of tractors to reduce the compression of the soil!!! Many domains in Burgundy compete to be the most organic even if some have to chauffeur their horses in trucks to the vineyard!!

Map of Vosne Romanée

Sphere: Related Content
Blog Widget by LinkWithin