japonisme: 12/7/08 - 12/14/08

12 December 2008

it was all going on all at once

"We [poster artists] were young and swimming in the same socio-political milieu that produced the rock bands, the drug culture & the sexual revolution. All this was going on in a very small part of the world, and it was all going on all at once."

so continues david goines: "The most important poster event of the ‘60s, was a 1965 show of Jugendstil posters at the University of California Art Museum, organized and curated by Herschel Chipp.

"This exhibition was seen by all of the people in San Francisco who were doing posters for the rock ‘n’ roll events of the time, and the very next posters were all but direct imitations of those of the Jugendstil, particularly reflecting the lettering of Ferdinand Andrei (President of the Vienna Secession 1905), and Leopold Forstner of the Wiener Werkstätte, which you will recall as letters all made to fit into a square, or some other shape, and almost illegible."

every one of the earlier posters shown here (and most of them here) were at that exhibition.

more from david goines: "Some of the poster producers were: Berkeley Buonaparte, The Print Mint, The Family Dog, The Food, and Bill Graham. Important designers of that time were: Stanley Mouse and Kelly, of Mouse Studios, Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, David Singer, Rick Griffin and Bob Fried.

"More than anything else, the psychedelic poster era, brief as it was, created an audience for posters that had not existed since the turn of the century. The psychedelic and rock poster was not an art reproduction of a poster about a far away event, as was the then-ubiquitous Spanish bullfight poster. They were real advertisements for real events of immediate interest. The posters had a commemorative value as well as being something neat to put on the wall.

"The general acceptance and enthusiasm that greeted the poster designers of the late 60s and early 70s can be attributed to the Fillmore and Avalon posters that preceded them."

when seen in context with what had been going on around the world, the mucha exhibition in london in 1963 and the beardsley in 1966, the influence became vast and intoxicating.

perhaps direct correspondences are harder to find here than in a previous post, but the worm in the bottle is obvious; with squiggley lines, and blowing hair, and the mad swirls of toorop and the decorative elements, the liberties taken with reality, and the general breaking up of our very air, the artists of the secession were in much the same milieu as the stoners 50 years later.

once vision is al- tered, can it ever return?

reference: jugendstil & expressionism in german posters, 1965, herschel b chipp and brenda richardson; regents of the university of california.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 December 2008

a rebirth timeline

edward c moore became head designer of tiffany's silver department, and began utilizing japan-inspired designs as early as 1871.

to put some of this into a perspective, note the dates when studies, books and exhibitions occurred, according to art nouveau: a research guide for design reform by gabriel weisberg and elizabeth menon (and elsewhere).

1943 henry r hope -- sources of art nouveau -- first phd dissertation on the subject

1950 toulouse-lautrec exhibition -- musée d'albi, france

1951 henry f lenning -- the art nouveau -- first book on the subject for over thirty years

1952 first art nouveau exhibition in nearly forty years -- v&a, london

• thomas howarth -- charles rennie mackintosh; book

1955 jugendstil exhibition -- museum für kunsthandwerk, frankfurt

• louis comfort tiffany exhibition -- morse museum, florida

1956 stephan tschudi madsen -- sources of art nouveau; book

1957 robert koch -- louis comfort tiffany; dissertation

posters usa exhibition -- zurich

1958 art nouveau exhibition -- haus der kunst, munich

louis comfort tiffany exhibition -- museum of contemporary crafts, new york

1960 art nouveau exhibition -- museum of modern arts, new york (guimard's widow offered his collection to french museums who were not interest. the moma and the met were.)

robert schmutzler -- art nouveau; book

1963 alfonse mucha exhibition -- victoria & albert museum, london

1966 aubrey beardsley exhibition -- victoria & albert museum, london

• and in 1966 herschel b chipp mounted an exhibition at the university of california art museum at berkeley. it was called jugendstil & expressionism in german posters, and next we'll look again at some of the profound effects it had.

this list isn't as comprehensive as i'd like, but i think it makes the point well; collections lead to exhibitions lead to popularity. what more could you want?

Labels: , , , ,

07 December 2008

the king is dead long live the king

it's beginning to come clear that the rebirth of the tiffany obsession (well-deserved, imho) fueled the entire art nouveau renaissance in the middle of the twentieth century.

Early scholar of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Robert Koch was born to Millard and Ella Heidelberg (Koch). He gained his bachelor's degree from Harvard and a master's degree from New York University. During World War II, he served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1945. Koch, received his Ph.D., in art history from Yale in 1957. The following year he curated an exhibition of Louis Comfort Tiffany's work for the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York. The exhibition is credited with reviving the interest in Tiffany Art Nouveau objects. He was a professor at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. He published his Ph.D thesis in a revised form as "Louis Comfort Tiffany, Rebel in Glass," in 1964. In 1972 Koch discovered a very early, and very rare, Tiffany, one that had probably been made by the designer personally. In 2002 Koch donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1


“Let those who arrogantly despise their parents’ tastes beware. Let those who ruthlessly sweep out their attics pay heed. Not only is the fickleness of taste inevitable, but so is the phenomenon of conscientious revivals. A case in point is Louis Comfort Tiffany, zigzagging from a position where he was at the peak of chic around 1900 to the gutter of deri- sion around 1920–1930 and then gradu- ally, deliberately being rediscovered.”

When Aline Saarinen wrote this in 1955, she was witnessing the changing tide in the taste for Tiffany’s glassware and decorative objects. Now, almost a half-century later, Tiffany and the work of Tiffany Studios has secured the recognition of museum curators and private collectors, achieving widespread public appreciation.

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) was an artist and entrepreneur of remarkable talent, breadth, and innovation. His accomplishments as a painter, interior designer, and artist in stained glass, blown glass, metalwork, ceramics, and jewelry were enhanced by his role as a businessman and his appreciation of modern technology. The popularity of the different media in which Tiffany worked varied among patrons, and Tiffany himself had disparate opinions of his craft. In particular, Tiffany did not feel that his distinctive and colorful lamps were preeminent among his creations. Contrary to Tiffany’s personal opinion, however, Tiffany lamps witnessed immense popularity when introduced, demonstrated by the quantity made by Tiffany Studios from the turn of the century until the company went bankrupt in 1932.

In 1970, Dr. Egon Neustadt published his collection in The Lamps of Tiffany. Dr. Neustadt, an orthodontist who was born in Vienna, began collecting Tiffany lamps with his wife, Hildegard, in 1935. Neustadt noted that when he brought his first lamp home and placed it on his desk, “Our friends didn’t like it.” Undaunted, Neustadt’s interest in the leaded glass shades and bases became all-consuming, making him the earliest serious enthusiast of Tiffany lamps, assembling an encyclopedic collection. Beginning approximately twenty years ahead of other major Tiffany lamp collectors, including Walter Chrysler, Jr., Lillian Nasseau, and Hank Helfand, he brought credibility to the field. 2


Jeannette Genius McKean (1909- 1989) founded the Morse Museum of American Art as the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins College campus, naming it in honor her industrialist grand- father who retired from Chicago to make Winter Park his final home.

As a child, she visited Winter Park and had fond memories of her grandfather and Osceola Lodge on Lake Osceola, the craftsman-style home he remodeled. It stands today a few blocks from the Morse Museum exactly as it was when she visited in the early 1900s.

Jeannette McKean grew up in the gracious Kenwood section of Chicago in the Richardson Romanesque-style mansion her grandfather had built and later gave to her parents as a wedding gift. The home was richly detailed with stained-glass windows and carved mahogany cabinetry, and her artistic mother, Elizabeth Morse Genius, bought American Impressionist paintings, many of which are in the Morse collection today, to hang on the walls. As with many wealthy families of the period, the Geniuses also collected Tiffany glass.

In 1942 she founded the Morse Gallery on campus and named Hugh F. Mc- Kean, then a Rollins art professor, as its director. In 1945, Hugh and Jeann- ette were married.

Thirteen years after she founded the Morse Gallery, Jeannette McKean staged an exhibition, "Works of Art by Louis Comfort Tiffany," that was the first serious showing of Tiffany work since the turn of the century. For decades Tiffany's work had fallen from favor, but Jeannette McKean, remembering the satiny, iridescent glass in her family home, still thought his work exceptionally elegant.

In 1957 when the McKeans received word from one of Tiffany's twin daughters that his estate, Laurelton Hall, had burned, it was Jeannette McKean who made the decision to rescue the Tiffany 'treasures' then considered not worth saving. Her husband remembered her exact words at the scene of the devastation: "Let's buy everything that is left and try to save it." With that decision she created the nucleus of a collection that would grow into the most comprehensive collection of the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany in the world. 3

whether it was the flood of interest in getting something for nothing that collectors brought to news of tiffany's death, or a passion more in depth or earnest than that that was catalyst for a revival, or whether it was merely generational change, in which the generation that loved it begat the generation that hated it begat... etc. as a culture that enjoys assigning reasons, art historians (like everyone else) will guess and quarrel and surmise, and all that's really left for us to do is to sit back and thoroughly enjoy.

Labels: , , , ,

newer posts older posts