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Article

John F. Pile

(b Resistencia, June 1943).

American architect, industrial designer and museum curator of Argentine birth. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree in architecture from Princeton University, NJ, and then taught at Princeton, at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh and at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, Germany. From 1969 to 1976 he was Curator of Design for the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. In 1972 he produced the exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape and a related book for MOMA. The exhibition offered historical background and a presentation of contemporary Italian avant-garde work and theory. His architectural works include the Lucille Halsell Conservatory at San Antonio, TX (1987); Banque Bruxelles Lambert offices in Milan (1981), Lausanne (1983) and New York (1984); and offices for the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company in New York (1986), for which he won the International Interior Design Award. An innovative designer, Ambasz sought to reinterpret the poetic aspects of Modernism and the relationship between architecture and the landscape. As an industrial designer, he developed furniture, lighting, a diesel engine, and packaging and graphic designs. His work has won many honours and awards....

Article

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

After the closure in 1933 of the Bauhaus in Berlin, its staff and students dispersed. Many found their way to the USA, where they became highly influential teachers as well as artists and architects. The pedagogical methods developed at the school, particularly in the preliminary course, became commonplace in all levels of art education, as the former centrality in America of life drawing to instruction in the visual arts was now challenged by experimentation with abstract principles of composition and the qualities of individual materials.

Josef and Anni Albers family were the first Bauhäusler to immigrate to the USA. They arrived in 1933 and quickly took up positions at Black Mountain College, NC. In 1950 Josef became chair of the department of design at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from which he retired in 1958. His increasingly rigorous investigations into geometry and colour culminated in a series of paintings entitled ...

Article

Arthur J. Pulos

(b Adrian, MI, April 27, 1893; d New York, May 9, 1958).

American designer and writer. He studied at the Cleveland School of Art, OH, and the Art Institute of Chicago, and by 1914 he had established a reputation as an illustrator, making portraits of operatic luminaries for the New York Times. After producing plays in Los Angeles (1917), he joined the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1918) and became a leading stage designer; he invented the high-wattage spotlight and developed modern theatrical productions that blended the play, its lighting, its performers, and their costumes into a cohesive whole. He gained international attention for his stage set (1921; unexecuted) for Dante’s Divine Comedy, which revolutionized theatrical and operatic productions; it was conceived as a single, massive set with lighting coming first from below, signifying Hades, and then, as the play progressed, from high above, signifying Paradise. This led Max Reinhardt, the distinguished German producer, to commission him to design the settings for a production of ...

Article

Hans Frei

(b Winterthur, Dec 22, 1908; d Zurich, Dec 9, 1994).

Swiss architect, sculptor, painter, industrial designer, graphic designer and writer. He attended silversmithing classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich from 1924 to 1927. Then, inspired by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), Paris, by the works of Le Corbusier and by a competition entry (1927) for the Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer (1894–1952), he decided to become an architect and enrolled in the Bauhaus, Dessau, in 1927. He studied there for two years as a pupil of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky, mainly in the field of ‘free art’. In 1929 he returned to Zurich. After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, he built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg; although this adheres to the principles of the new architecture, it retains echoes of the traditional, for example in the gently sloping saddle roof....

Article

Monique D. J. M. Teunissen

(b Amsterdam, July 12, 1893; d Amsterdam, May 11, 1949).

Dutch interior designer, furniture designer and writer. He was the son of a furniture dealer and was involved with the profession from an early age. He took lessons with the architect J. L. van Ishoven (1870–1931) and gained work experience in Germany. After operating independently for a few years he became the leading designer of the Amsterdam firm Metz & Co. His work displayed a rational concept of form and became well known through exhibitions and publications. At the firm of Hendrik Pander & Zonen in The Hague, where he was employed from 1924 to 1933, he specialized in using different types of wood that gave his taut, functional, batch-produced furniture a distinctive decorative character. On account of their plastic shapes his designs were considered to be related to those of the Amsterdam school architects. For Bromberg functionalism in interiors was a vital starting-point. He created various model rooms and homes in order to illustrate new ideas about the arrangement of domestic interiors. He also taught and wrote manuals, children’s books and many articles in periodicals and trade journals promoting contemporary applied art. He was particularly active within the Dutch Association of Trade and Industrial Art and the ...

Article

Hélène Bocard

(b Fareins, Ain, April 1, 1828; d Paris, 1906).

French photographer, caricaturist, and writer. He was trained as an industrial designer, then, like Nadar, he embarked on a career as a caricaturist. He was passionately fond of the theatre and published a series of lithographs, Le Théâtre à la ville, in Paris in 1854. He founded literary reviews, among which was Le Boulevard (1861), which established his reputation. After an apprenticeship in 1858 with Pierre Petit, he began to photograph artistic, literary, and political personalities with whom he was associated politically, including the composer Gioacchino Rossini (pubd 1877; e.g. in Rochester, NY, Int. Mus. Phot.) and Emile Zola (pubd 1877; e.g. in Rochester, NY, Int. Mus. Phot.). He also photographed actors, including Sarah Bernhardt and the mime artist Charles Deburau on stage. Some friends, including Gustave Courbet (e.g. pubd 1878; Rochester, NY, Int. Mus. Phot.), were the object of a series of photographs. He was also the accredited photographer of ...

Article

Richard Humphreys

[Sauser, Frédéric Louis]

(b La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, Sept 1, 1887; d Paris, Jan 21, 1961).

Swiss writer, active in France. He attended schools in Naples, Basle and Neuchâtel and worked in St Petersburg for a watchmaker from 1904 to 1907, when he began studying philosophy and medicine. He lived on a farm in France, worked as a comedian in Brussels and visited New York in 1912 before moving in the same year to Paris. There he published his first major collection of poems, Les Pâques (Paris, 1912), under a pseudonym based on an elaborate series of puns on braise (embers), cendres (ashes), art and arson. He was acquainted with many members of the Parisian literary and artistic avant-garde including Chagall, Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, Max Jacob, Apollinaire, Cocteau and Sonia and Robert Delaunay. Cendrars also wrote an article on the Douanier Rousseau and translated Apollinaire’s ‘Méditations esthétiques’ for the German review Der Sturm. He founded a magazine, Les Hommes nouveaux, using the name also for a publishing house, which made available his first long poems, including the remarkable ...

Article

Elizabeth Bonython

[pseud. Summerly, Felix]

(b Bath, July 15, 1808; d London, April 18, 1882).

English art administrator, industrial designer and museum director. His art education began at the age of 15, when he learnt watercolour technique from David Cox and perspective drawing from Charles Wild (1781–1835). In 1826 Cole met the philosopher John Stuart Mill, under whose influence he became a lifelong Benthamite; Cole’s reform of English design was determined by his commitment to Utilitarianism.

In 1823 Cole began working for the Public Record Office. His complaints about its inefficiency led to the reform of the Record Commission, of which he became Assistant Keeper in 1838. In the same year he was involved in the introduction of the Penny Post. In 1843 he commissioned John Callcott Horsley to design the first commercial Christmas card. He also wrote children’s books and tourist guides under the name Felix Summerly, a pseudonym he had already used for articles and pamphlets.

In 1846 Cole designed the Felix Summerly Tea Service, produced by ...

Article

Kirk Marlow

(Fraser)

(b Cramond, nr. Edinburgh, Jul 22, 1900; d Ottawa, Jul 5, 1994).

Canadian painter, draftsman, teacher, museum director, and writer of Scottish birth. In 1912 he emigrated to Winnipeg, where he was apprenticed in the commercial art studio of Fred Brigden (1871–1956). He also attended the Winnipeg School of Art (1916–1918) and continued to work at Brigden’s until 1922. In that year he studied at the Art Students League, New York, and in 1925 he moved to Toronto, working until 1929 for the Toronto branch of Brigden’s and then for the commercial design firm Rapid, Grip & Batten. While in Toronto he became friends with several members of the Group of Seven. In 1931, with Will Ogilvie (1901–1989) and Harold Ayres (1894–?1977), he formed his own commercial studio. The muted colors, schematic compositions, and smooth surfaces of his paintings from the late 1920s show evidence of his design background. In his best-known painting, Tadoussac...

Article

Sarah Medlam

(fl 1839; d Paris, c. 1889).

French publisher and furniture designer. He was an important disseminator of historical and contemporary designs in 19th-century France. After 1839 he published a constant stream of lithograph designs for furniture, both his own designs and illustrations of the products of commercial firms, which provide an important source for the study of furniture of the period. His chief work was the journal Le Garde-meuble ancien et moderne, which he edited from 1844 to 1882. After 1846 he also published a supplement, L’Ameublement et l’utilité, which soon merged with the parent publication: lithographic designs of seat furniture, case furniture and hangings were reproduced, aimed at both tradesmen and clients. The plates also include general views of interiors and plans of furniture layouts, which give a comprehensive view of the development of styles. Guilmard produced albums recording the furniture shown at the Expositions Universelles of 1844, 1849 and 1855 in Paris and a long series of albums showing designs for particular types of furniture, woodwork fittings or upholstery. He was an important figure in the developing study of historical ornament and design: as early as ...

Article

Sherban Cantacuzino

(b Lyon, 1867; d New York, May 20, 1942).

French architect, furniture designer and writer. After attending the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, in 1885 he entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; he left four years later without a diploma, however, to work for a builder as both architect and site craftsman. The influence of Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc is evident in his early works, particularly the Ecole du Sacré-Coeur (1895), in which the exposed cast-iron structure of V-shaped columns is an adaptation of a drawing taken from Viollet-le-Duc’s Entretiens sur l’architecture (1863–72). These early commissions, built in a picturesque and eclectic manner, culminated in the Castel Béranger block of flats, Paris, where his first use of the Art Nouveau style appeared in its decorative elements. He visited Brussels in 1895, where he met Victor Horta, whose Maison du Peuple was then under construction. After seeing Horta’s work Guimard made changes to the original neo-Gothic decorative elements of the Castel Béranger, introducing a colourful mixture of facing materials and organically derived embellishments, based on his belief that decoration is the more effective for being non-representational. Between ...

Article

Friederike Mehlau-Wiebking

(b Zurich, Jan 25, 1901; d Herrliberg, nr Zurich, June 17, 1976).

Swiss architect, furniture designer and writer. He studied architecture (1919–23) at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zurich, under Karl Moser; one of his fellow students was Rudolf Steiger, his future partner. His student designs show an interest in the formal idiom of Expressionism. After graduating he worked for Otto Bartning in Berlin before returning to Zurich in 1924 to enter the practice of his father, Max Haefeli (1869–1941), and Otto Pfleghard (b 1869). In 1925 he set up on his own and acted until 1927 as Director of the Kollektivgruppe Schweizer Architekten zur Beteiligung an der Werkbundausstellung in Stuttgart, designing furniture and fittings for some of the dwellings on the Weissenhofseidlung (1927), the Deutscher Werkbund’s show housing estate in Stuttgart. His work was by this time thoroughly Modernist, and when CIAM was formed at La Sarraz in 1928 he was a founder-member.

Haefeli’s new approach to design is apparent in the houses he designed (...

Article

Margaret Wagstaff

(b London, Sept 3, 1872; d Knotty Green, Bucks, Nov 15, 1959).

English furniture designer and writer. He was educated at Marlborough College and the Slade School of Art, London, before following an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker from 1890 to 1893, when he joined the family firm, Heal & Son, established in 1810 in London by John Harris Heal (d 1833). By 1897 furniture was produced to his designs; in 1898 he became a partner, and his first catalogue, Plain Oak Furniture, was issued, which, like Simple Bedroom Furniture (1899), contains designs in a simple Arts and Crafts style. Heal exhibited regularly at the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in London. His influence was evident in the catalogues and advertising of the firm (he had an enduring interest in typography), whose design policy he increasingly directed. In 1907 he was appointed Managing Director and in 1913 chairman. His inexpensive, stylish furniture was appropriate to the new garden-city developments, and in ...

Article

Lars Dybdahl

(b Ordrup, Sept 9, 1894; d Hillerød, Jan 31, 1967).

Danish designer, architect and critic. He gained international fame with his development of the ‘PH’ lamp (1925–6), a ‘classic’ of Danish industrial design, which has remained in continuous production. Henningsen’s education was unorthodox but practical: he boarded with a carpenter, then studied mechanical engineering and architecture in Copenhagen, although he never formally qualified in either profession. He painted in a late Impressionist style, but championed Danish Cubism and Expressionism when he became an art critic in 1918.

During the 1920s he was a strong critic of architecture and urban planning, and in 1926 he founded the influential journal Kritisk Revy (‘Critical Review’), which ran for two years and had contributors from other Nordic countries including Uno Åhrén and Alvar Aalto. It became the journal for emerging Danish Functionalism and aligned itself with international movements, but its divergence from the technologically inspired Modernist aesthetic (such as that of the Bauhaus) was typical of Henningsen’s independent approach. He advocated, among other things, that the terraced house should be the democratic residential form of the future and challenged manufacturers and craftsmen with his demand for ‘honest industrial design’ that would reflect modern life....

Article

James Yorke

(d London, ?June 1786).

English furniture designer. Though a household name in the context of late 18th-century furniture, he remains a shadowy figure. Lowndes’s London Directory of 1786 records his business at Redcross Street, Cripplegate, London, and after his death the administration was granted to his widow, Alice, on 27 June 1786. The Public Ledger of 10 October 1786 announced an auction of his stock-in-trade and household furniture. In 1788 his widow published the Cabinet-maker and Upholsterer’s Guide. Its aim was ‘to follow the latest and most prevailing fashion’ and to adhere ‘to such articles only as are of general use’. The intended public included both the cabinetmaker or upholsterer and the client (the ‘mechanic and gentleman’, as Alice Hepplewhite put it). There followed a slightly revised edition in 1789 and an ‘improved’ one in 1794, with an extra plate and revised chair designs. Six engravings bearing Hepplewhite’s name appeared in Thomas Shearer’s Cabinet-makers’ London Book of Prices...

Article

Leland M. Roth and Gordon Campbell

(John)

(b Vienna, Sept 22, 1890; d New York, Dec 27, 1965).

American architect, stage designer, furniture designer and writer of Austrian birth. In 1920 he worked with Adolf Loos in Vienna. He was also in contact with the artists associated with De Stijl and began experimenting with innovative theatre designs. In 1924 he produced the Endless Theatre design. The ‘Endless’ was a double-curved shell of reinforced concrete that could enclose any irregularly traditional divisions into floor, wall, and ceiling but offered the inhabitant an open interior that could be modified at will. For the theatre he adapted the ‘Endless’ by devising a double-spiral stage interconnected by ramps and rings of spectator seats. Kiesler believed that the Endless Theatre, without proscenium or curtain, projecting out into the audience, with perpetually moving walls bathed in light of ever changing colour, would promote greater interaction between actors and audience.

For the celebrated Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925...

Article

Rosamond Allwood

(fl c. 1790–c. 1839).

English furniture designer. In the mid-1830s he described himself as ‘an upholsterer of fourty five years experience’. He produced a series of pattern books containing designs for furniture and upholstery that was widely used by commercial cabinetmakers. The Modern Style of Cabinet Work Exemplified (1829) was reprinted in an improved version in 1835 and was still in demand in the trade as late as 1862, when it was reissued unaltered. King claimed that ‘as far as possible the English style is carefully blended with Parisian taste’ in the 227 designs, but he also included Grecian and Gothic furniture. King’s interpretation of the prevailing French taste is a typically confused mixture of bold Baroque scrolls and lighter Rococo curves. His Designs for Carving and Gilding (1830) contains both Greek and Rococo Revival designs, as does Modern Designs for Household Furniture (n.d.). In 1833 King published a book of full-size designs for makers of cabinets, chairs and sofas, turners and carvers entitled ...

Article

(b Roermond, Aug 25, 1864; d Amsterdam, April 15, 1932).

Dutch architect, theorist, industrial designer, illustrator and teacher. He grew up in the artistic milieu around P. J. H. Cuypers and probably received most of his artistic education in this environment. Between 1880 and 1887 Lauweriks attended various drawing courses including in 1885–7 those at the Rijksnormaalschool voor Teekenonderwijzers in Amsterdam. In 1889 he became decoration draughtsman in Cuypers’s office. In 1891 he became a member of the architectural society Architectura et Amicitia and from 1893 was editor of the society’s journal Architectura. At the same time, together with his friends and colleagues K. P. C. de Bazel and Herman J. M. Walenkamp, he became involved with ethical–anarchist groups and produced illustrations for Licht en waarheid, the journal of the anarchist group Wie Denkt Overwint (Who thinks conquers).

On 31 May 1894, with de Bazel, Lauweriks joined the Theosophical Society. This brought him into strong conflict with Cuypers. He left the latter’s office in ...

Article

Martin Kemp

(b Anchiano, nr Vinci, April 15, 1452; d Amboise, nr Tours, May 2, 1519).

Italian painter, sculptor, architect, designer, theorist, engineer and scientist. He was the founding father of what is called the High Renaissance style and exercised an enormous influence on contemporary and later artists. His writings on art helped establish the ideals of representation and expression that were to dominate European academies for the next 400 years. The standards he set in figure draughtsmanship, handling of space, depiction of light and shade, representation of landscape, evocation of character and techniques of narrative radically transformed the range of art. A number of his inventions in architecture and in various fields of decoration entered the general currency of 16th-century design.

Although he brought relatively few works to completion, and even fewer have survived, Leonardo was responsible for some of the most influential images in the history of art. The ‘Mona Lisa’ (Paris, Louvre) may fairly be described as the world’s most famous painting. When the extent of his writings on many branches of science became increasingly apparent during the 19th century, he appeared to epitomize the idea of the universal genius and was hailed as one of the prophets of the modern era. More recent assessments of his intellectual achievements have recognized the medieval and Classical framework on which his theories were constructed but have done nothing to detract from the awesome range and intensity of his thought....

Article

James Yorke

[Mathias]

(b London, c. 1710; bur London, Dec 22, 1765).

English furniture designer and carver. The earliest record of Matthias Lock is his apprenticeship in London to his father, Matthias, joiner, and to Richard Goldsaddle, carver, in 1724. As the usual age to begin an apprenticeship was 14, he was presumably born c. 1710. He married Mary Lee at St Paul’s, Covent Garden, London, in July 1734. Between 1742 and 1744 he executed work for the 2nd Earl Poulett of Hinton House, Somerset; annotated sketches in his own hand survive from this commission, which include a side-table, pier-glass and candle stands. A pier-glass and table from the Tapestry Room of Hinton House are now at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which also owns a large collection of Lock’s drawings.

Lock is most famous for designing pieces in the Rococo style, with a fluency and grace not hitherto achieved in England. In 1744 he published Six Sconces. There followed Six Tables...