Monday 7 December 2015

Penguin Village Life

Life In An English Village 
Sixteen Lithographs by Edward Bawden 
Introductory Essay by Noel Carrington 
A King Penguin Book 
Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1949

The Vicar

The Methodist Chapel

The Junior School

The Child Welfare Clinic

Sunday Evening

The Cabinet Maker

The Bell

The Butcher

The Tailor

The Saddler's Shop
"All illustrations made by the artist directly onto zinc lithographic plates. They are therefore originals and not reproductions of drawings made on paper."

Monday 5 October 2015

The Horror at the Museum

Old and Modern Master Watercolours and Drawings from the Personal collection of Vincent Price 
Aldis Browne Fine Arts
USA, 1988

When we hear the name Vincent Price, we immediately think 'master of horror', and recall his great performances in films such as The Fly, The Masque of the Red Death, Theatre of Blood, Dr Phibes, Witchfinder General and many others. 

Fewer people know that he was something of a gourmand and was an accomplished cook and food writer.

Fewer people still recognise that he was a noted art collector. Well, I didn't, until I recently chanced upon a small catalogue featuring works on paper from his collection. It's all fairly dull stuff I'm afraid, his tastes having been molded in the stuffy surroundings of Yale and the Courtauld Institute where he studied art history, but I thought I'd show a sample of what a 'man of culture' from his generation hung around his Californian (presumably) pseudo-Gothic mansion.

Vincent was a generous chap and donated much of his collection to establish his own art museum. If you really want to see more, check it out here:

Personally, I'll stick to his films.

Odilon Redon, The Sacred Heart, c.1895

John Waterhouse, Studies of a Young Woman's Head.

Gustav Klimt, Study for the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, c.1903

Henri Matisse, Self-portrait, c.1905

Pablo Picasso, Harlequin and Nude with Mirror, 1917

Edie Nadelman, Dancer, c.1917

Amadeo Modigliani, Portrait of Schultz Solar.

Oskar Kokoschka, Studies of Trudi Wearing a Cap, 1931

Mark Tobey, Prehistoric Playground, 1953

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Bass Styles

Tile designs by Saul Bass, as featured in Motif, issue 8, 1961.

"In considering the problem of how to approach a surface, there
seem to be several key elements involved. One is colour, another
is pattern or decoration, and still another is the use of the sculptured
or raised surface. When I was asked by Pomona Tile Company
to participate in their design programme, it was this latter
possibility, the sculptural approach, that seemed to demand exploration in relation to tiles.

What resulted is a group of designs that present the possibilities
of treating the tile wall in contemporary terms as a bas-relief.
Since the forms of these tiles are described and delineated by
light, one of the qualities that emerged was that they appeared to
change, as the direction and intensity of the light changed.

The designs have many possibilities in application ranging from
individual tiles sprinkled on a wall; massing in sections; complete
walls; to exterior as well as interior use in areas not normally
considered tile areas. It was my intention that all of these possibilities would occur as a result of a group of designs that would be simple, and yet permissive of a high level of individuality in each of its varied applications."


Tuesday 22 September 2015

The Sixties: Getaway People
(UK, Channel 4, 1982) 

Interesting (alright, mostly dull) documentary about the rise of car culture in Britain during the 1960s. Simple but effective title sequence, which finishes with 'The Sixties' in the same typeface as The Avengers tv series. Plenty of provincial town planners tempered with good archive footage. Well, it passes the time.

Particularly pleasing to see Reyner Banham in full ghetto-pimp clobber at 08:00, and adverts for Robochef and Ian Carmichael shilling for Paul Masson's California Carafes at the end of part one. Ah, memories!

Friday 26 June 2015

A Zed and Two Noughts

The Zoo
Needlecraft for young children
Barbara Snook
London, Batsford, 1975

Friday 29 May 2015

Whitechapel Posters

The Graphic Century 
Hannah Vaughn (ed.)
Whitechapel Gallery
London, 2009.

I've been to a lot of shows at the Whitechapel over the years, many good, a few indifferent, none that I remember being poor. Perhaps any bad ones are best forgotten. 

This book collects posters promoting their exhibitions, graphic designs trying to capture the artistic aesthetic or spirit of each show.
Here is a selection mostly from my favourite period from the early 1950s to the late 70s.

Thursday 30 April 2015

Me So Hornsey

The Hornsey Affair 
Students and Staff of Hornsey College of Art 
Penguin, Middx, 1969

Everyone knows about the soixante-huitards, the French student revolution of May '68, the birth of Situationism and the beach beneath the pavement, right? Worn as a badge of honour by Parisians of a certain age, they certainly made their mark on social history despite being flattened by the Gaullist authorities when total revolution seemed within their grasp.

Less well known are the events that occurred simultaneously on the other side of La Manche, in a leafy corner of North London. The students at Hornsey College of Art were browned off with the authorities and decided the answer was a 'sit-in' (it was the 60s) and three days of rambling debates between themselves and the college staff. 

The film I posted the other day gives a more immediate impression of the events than this little paperback can muster, but the text gives a more complex flavour of the way both sides articulated their thoughts. Plus some nice student illustrations. The counter-culture may have been crushed but the ideals remain.