Some Super Mid-Century Mod Designs

Standard

So, Wright auction house in Chicago, Illinois, takes great pride in their specialization of modern and contemporary design. After a look at the items available in their upcoming June 10, 2015 auction, it’s easy to understand why. Rather than give details for each lot (i.e. starting bid amounts, etc.) this post will mainly focus on the items themselves. There’s some really rare and marvy examples of mid-century design to appreciate. All images can be viewed in larger format by clicking the pic. (If you are interested in any of the items, click on the name of the piece and you’ll get to the listing at Invaluable online.)

First, a look at a couple sofas and one daybed:

Helge Vestergaard Jensen adjustable (backrest) sofa, model 701 - Denmark, 1961

Helge Vestergaard Jensen adjustable (backrest) sofa model 701 (Denmark, 1961)Minimalistic but very stylish

Taichiro Nakai rare and important sofa, Japan, 1954.

Taichiro Nakai rare and important sofa (Japan, 1954)
This rare sofa successfully combines the dynamic formal qualities of postwar design with the restraint and elegance of Japanese aesthetics. The design was an award-winning entry for the 1955 Concorso internazionale del Mobile, Cantu. The jury for the competition included Alvar Aalto, Finn Juhl, Gio Ponti and Carlo de Carli.

Osvaldo Borsani L77 daybedOsvaldo Borsani L77 daybed (reclining)

Above is the Osvaldo Borsani L77 daybed (Italy, 1956) – shown in the flat position and the reclining position. The enameled steel mechanism design of the frame and legs gives it a very industrial look. It’s a look that remains modern and would fit in well with today’s contemporary loft apartment designs.

Below are some super mid-century chair designs:

Gio Ponti Distex lounge chair, model 807 (Italy 1953).

Gio Ponti Distex lounge chair, model 807 (Italy, 1953) – A personal favorite – an agelessly fab design. Model 807 is covered with high quality skai material – a faux leather that is indistinguishable from the real thing. This particular chair has some staining – fortunately, there are some very good skai treatments on the market today.

Class and Style: Hans Wegner rare Bear chair and ottoman (Denmark, 1950/1969)

Class and Style: Hans Wegner rare Bear chair and ottoman (Denmark, 1950/1969) – Few examples of the Bear chair were produced. This rare example featuring original leather was acquired from Johannes Hansen by the present owner.

Pierre Guariche G10 lounge chairs (France, 1954)

Pierre Guariche G10 lounge chairs (France, 1954) – Plywood was a very popular material with mid-century modern designers. The wood armrest version of the G10 lounge chairs was produced for only two years before it was replaced by an entirely upholstered version.

George Nelson & Associates Coconut chairs (USA 1956) - a classic.

George Nelson & Associates Coconut chairs (USA 1956) – a classic made with plastic body molding, enameled and chrome plated steel legs, and…naugahyde seat covering.

A bit of side trivia:

Nauga
The iconic creature above is a Nauga – the rare and exotic animals who lived in Sumatra and shed their hide each year…resulting in Naugahyde. The product manufacturers of this new material (polyvinyl chloride, AKA vinyl, leatherette, sponge leather, and PVC), Uniroyal, were more than willing to allow for the Nauga’s notoriety. When Johnny Carson had a Nauga as guest on The Tonight Show in 1966, the creatures hit stardom like never before.

Back to one more chair:

Frank Lloyd Wright rare Executive Office chair (USA 1956)Frank Lloyd Wright rare Executive Offoice chair (USA 1956)

Shown above is a quasi-spaceage marvel – the very rare Frank Lloyd Wright Executive Office chair (USA 1956). Due to their complex construction, few of these Executive Office chairs were produced. This is one of three known examples; one example remains in the Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville, Oklahoma and the other sold at Wright in March of 2005.

A few lighting designs:

Charlotte Perriand wall lights (France, 1950)

Charlotte Perriand wall lights (France, 1950) – Classy, colorful and fun, and made of enameled steel.

Gio Ponti – nuff said.

Vladimir Kagan Cygnet floor lamp, model 2080 (USA, 1957)

Vladimir Kagan Cygnet floor lamp, model 2080 (USA, 1957) – A somewhat conservative design but with a flair of modernism.

And we’ll end this post with a couple decorative objects:

The two sculptures above are examples of Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient creations. Bertoia was already a world-renowned designer and sculptor when he, by accident, discovered an interest in the sounds of two or more metal rods striking each other. He began to design sound sculptures like the ones above. Through the years he created numerous types of various shapes and sizes. He also recorded eleven vinyl albums featuring the abstract sounds with titles like Space Voyage and Sounds Beyond. The Washington Post has a great online story about Harry Bertoia and his fascinating works – click here to read more about that.

Harry Bertoia's Sonambient LP reissue. (image courtesy of Beverly Twitchell via Dwell)

Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient LP reissue. (image courtesy of Beverly Twitchell via Dwell)

Leo Amino Untitled (USA, c. 1955) - A most excellent Amino abstract (carved mahogany, brass wire, and aluminum).

Leo Amino Untitled (USA, c. 1955) – A most excellent Amino abstract sculpture (carved mahogany, brass wire, and aluminum).

And this:

Isamu Noguchi Measured Time clock and kitchen timer (USA, 1932)

Isamu Noguchi Measured Time clock and kitchen timer (USA, 1932) – This early work marks Noguchi’s first industrial design for commercial manufacture. White Bakelite examples of this form are extremely rare.

Some really great stuffs. Not just fascinating design, but also wonderful historic gems.

Advertisements

Go Kommie Kidz, Go

Standard

Unique footage you’ve probably never seen – in the midst of the fight against the corrupting influence of the West. The Lev Golovanov Moiseyev Dance Co/Ballet jivin’ to the Moses Ensemble. (Video via Olga BSP)

Lev Golovanov Vintage Moiseyev Dance Co/Ballet Photo

Soloists Tamara Golovanova and Lev Golovanov of the famed Moiseyev Dance Company in ‘Roch ‘n Roll,’ which created a sensation at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, 1962. (Photo via Selina Moore)

Lev Golovanov would go on to become a Professor of Dance and a Choreographer Assistant at the Igor Moiseyev State Academic Ensemble of Folk Dance. He received a Russian government culture prize from Russia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev in 2014.

The Textbook World Of René Bresson

A Corner In The City
Standard

Le Français par l'image [The French In Images] (c. 1964)

Le Français par l’image [The French In Images] (c. 1964)

Le Français par l’image is an elementary schoolbook published in France c. 1964. The illustrations are the work of French artist René Bresson. Bresson’s recognizable creations were found in numerous French textbooks in the 1950s and ’60s. The ageless charm of his works are found in their innocence and simplicity. Below are some examples of Bresson’s textbook world as seen in Le Français par l’image. If you would like to view some more visit patrcia m’s flickr page by clicking here.

The Return - the pictorial begins in the schoolyard where the parents gather their children for the first day of a new school year.

The Return – the pictorial begins in the schoolyard where the parents gather their children for the first day of a new school year.

Bresson’s illustrations of the four seasons:

The wind and rain of Autumn.

The wind and rain of Autumn.

The winter snow.

The winter snow.

The Spring Garden

The Spring Garden

The Summer Beach

The Summer Beach

Bresson’s illustrations of social gathering places:

The Hairdresser and Barber Shop

The Hairdresser and Barber Shop

The Post Office

The Post Office

The Department Store

The Department Store

The Village

The Village

Bresson’s transportation illustrations:

The Train Station

The Train Station

The Airport

The Airport – notice the classic Lockheed Constellation aircraft on the runway right-center.

The Shipping Port

The Shipping Port

On The Open Road

On The Open Road and In The Friendly Skies

And the last few for this post, Bresson’s family gathering illustrations. The most idyll of them all:

The Dinner Table

The Dinner Table – notice that sis and dad are the only ones waiting for mom to sit down to eat.

The Evening Ritual

The Evening Ritual – when the only electrics were lighting and the radio.

Yule - the toy aircraft are pretty cool.

Yule – the toy aircraft and Citroën-like toy car are pretty cool.

A lazy day at the river.

And to wind it all up, a lazy day at the river.

The Obscure Art Of Early-To-Mid 20th-Century Informational Booklets (Part 3)

Standard

This is the last of a three part series featuring some obscure info booklet cover art from the first half of the 20th-century. All of the images in these posts are via ephemeraSTUDIES.org. The first post of this series gives some info on the organization and its curator, Saul Zalesch. If you’re at all interested in American history of the period and/or a collector of ephemera check it out.

The Obscure Art Of Early-To-Mid 20th-Century Informational Booklets: Part 1 Part 2

Part 3 covers the 1940s and 1950s. Click on the captions for more information and comments about their significance at emphemeraSTUDIES.org.

The image below is saved for last as it is particularly odd. Saul Zalesch captioned it, Child’s Worst Nightmare? His comment:

This bizarre image, signed Shirley Kite, appears in The Wonderful Lunch Boxes, a 1925 booklet distributed by the Educational Department of Postum Cereal Co. In the story, the heads represent kernels of grain. No one I have shown it to has any idea what it was supposed to mean or accomplish.

What do you think?

The Obscure Art Of Early-To-Mid 20th-Century Informational Booklets (Part 2)

Cover Image - 1936
Standard

This is Part 2 of a little series featuring the art of info booklets from the 20th-Century. In Part 1 some works from the early 1900s through the 1920s were covered. In this post you’ll see a few choice samples from the 1930s.

If you’re interested in more info and commentary about any of the booklets click the caption and you’ll be taken to emphemeraSTUDIES.org for more. If you’re interested in seeing Part 1 you can click here.

*One point in reference to the above illustration: Saul Zalesch (curator of emphemeraSTUDIES.org) wrote a very provocative comment regarding an aspect of this image. I felt compelled to answer it with a rather detailed comment of my own. If you visit via the link, I would encourage you to read both, not just Zalesch’s – he completely misrepresents the meaning and the works of the individuals involved with what is known today as ‘retro-futurism.’

The Obscure Art Of Early-To-Mid 20th-Century Informational Booklets (Part 1)

Wolverine Furnace
Standard

Informational booklets can provide nice little snapshots of life and culture in the U.S.. They can also have some really nice art works. Saul Zalesch at Louisiana Tech University sees ephemera of all kinds as a valuable resource for anyone interested in studying pre-1960 America. The images and posted below are via ephemeraSTUDIES.org – Zalesch is curator for this fun and interesting library of obscure art and literature. He notes that one would be hard pressed to find other libraries interested in these cultural/historical gems and encourages others to use them in their studies. He is also interested in donations from collectors who would like to contribute to this fine resource.

If you click on the caption of each image you’ll be taken to the site where a description of the booklet’s content, as well as Zalesch’s insight into its historical relevance, can be found.

When Darling Gertie The Dinosaur Ushered In The Character Cartoon Age

Video

Gertie the Dinosaur is a 1914 American animated short film by Winsor McCay. Although not the first animated film, as is sometimes thought, it was the first cartoon to feature a character with an appealing personality. The appearance of a true character distinguished it from earlier animated “trick films”, such as those of Blackton and Cohl, and makes it the predecessor to later popular cartoons such as those by Walt Disney. The film was also the first to be created using keyframe animation. The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, and was named #6 of The 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time in a 1994 survey of animators and cartoon historians by Jerry Beck.

The Public Domain Review