Monday, March 31, 2014

Modern Print Monday: Gustav Klimt

Gustav Klimt, Vienna
Swatch of printed fabric with imagery recalling The Kiss.
Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) and Emilie Flöge,
his long-time companion, about 1905.

Gustav Klimt is best known today for his 1908-9
painting "The Kiss," a very decorative and romantic

His Tree of Life from 1909 has inspired numerous
textile designers in recent years...

Klimt designed his own repeat pattern but very little evidence of this survives. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a small collection of swatches, printed by the Wiener Werkstatte (Viennese  Workshop.) The catalog says these are from about 1920 but Klimt was dead by then, a victim of the 1918 influenza epidemic. I'd guess they were more likely from about 1910.

Because they are relatively small samples of a large repeat we
 get no idea of the overall design.

The collection appears to be four prints in different colorways.

See the Metropolitan Museum's collection of works by Klimt by clicking here:

The rare samples were a gift from Joanne F. du Pont and John F. Pleasants, in memory of Enos Rogers Pleasants, III, 1984

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Prints As Propaganda

Dress made of Arnold Lever's Victory Fabric, 1945,
picturing the flags of the Allies in World War II.

London Walls print By Arnold Lever for a scarf for Jacqmar, which
did a series of English patriotic/propaganda scarves
during World War II.

Uncut kimono fabric,
Japan, early 1940s

Propaganda seems a harsh word. We feel most comfortable using it to describe ideas we don't care for rather than values we hold dear. 

Another Lever/Jacqmar collaboration

Perspective rests on a sliding scale between Patriotic and Propaganda and each viewer has to decide where to situate herself as she views the imagery.

These images of Japanese kimono from World War II
are from
Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in 
Japan, Britain, and the United States, 1931-1945

Printed yardage V For Victory from the collection
of the Victoria and Albert Museum

At least two V for Victory American prints have been documented.

Feedsack print from the Rick Rack Rag
Both use Morse code for V

Percy Kent's 1942 feedsack print
Cloth of the United Nations must have been a good seller,
based on the number of surviving examples.

To the die-hard modernist, however, any use of art for the sake of the state was an unwelcome return to the past.

Read more about prints as propaganda in Jacqueline Atkins's catalog Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain, and the United States, 1931-1945

See pictures from the exhibit:

See also Beauty as Duty (2011)  by Alexandra Huff and Frederic Sharf, catalog to an exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts:

Read more about the Jacqmar scarves:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Modern Print Monday: Jean-Denis Malclès

“Déjeuner sur l’herbe” by
Jean-Denis Malclès for Pierre Frey, 1944,

Jean-Denis Malclès (1912-2002)

Book Illustration for Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant, 194

Malcles was primarily a set designer for theater, film, ballet and opera from the 1940s until the end of the 20th century, but he also painted designs for Pierre Frey.

Malclès's mid-century patterns are in the same style as Cecil Beaton's
painterly prints. Splashes of color, sketchy lines and few defining outlines---

Gouache painting for fabric

but Malcles's are as French and frothy as a Maurice Chevalier movie,

which were probably inspired by Malcles's vision for set design.

Paris Streets, circa 1950,
features street signs

You can still buy Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe (or Fruits)
Click here to see the Pierre Frey catalog.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Modern/Not Modern? Art for Propaganda's Sake

Soviet textile
celebrating communal agriculture

Despite the modernist prohibition against art to glorify king and country, designers in the new Soviet Union combined modernism with imagery celebrating the revolution.

Varvara Stepanova
Initially Soviet artists like Stepanova confined the revolution to 
innovative geometries.

But as the totalitarian government dictated
that communist principles invade all aspects of life,
 fabric artists incorporated industry, agriculture and
the five-year plan into cotton prints.

Gouache design for fabric by 
Sergei Burylin  (1876-1942)

Sergei Burylin's repeat patterns
combine art deco modernism and propaganda.

Sergei Burylin 

Sergei Burylin 
Here the USSR's symbol, the Hammer and Sickle, is
the figure in what looks like an old-fashioned
shirting print.

Liubov Popova, painting for as print (gouache)

Unknown designer

Sarra Buntis, 1931

V.I. Maslov, 1925

These textiles were featured in a 2006-7 
exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Soviet Textiles: Designing the Modern Utopia
By Pamela Jill Kachurin 

Another publication: I. Yasinkaya, Soviet Textile Design of the Revolutionary Period.

Do a web search for images and the words Soviet Textile to see a display of print design.
Read more about prints as propaganda in Jacqueline Atkins's catalog Wearing Propaganda: Textiles on the Home Front in Japan, Britain, and the United States, 1931-1945

See pictures from the exhibit:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Modern Print Monday: Mila Schön

Print by Mila Schön

Mila Schön (1915-2008)

Once well-to-do,  Schön supported her family after a divorce by opening a fashion house in the late 1950s.
This print is probably one of a series Schön did
that was influenced by color field painter Kenneth Noland

Kenneth Noland, Lovely Rosa, 1983

 Schön's prints and patchwork clothing will
be featured in an exhibit
The Glamour of Italian Fashion at the 
Victoria and Albert Museum
in London from
April 5 through July 27, 2014

Mila Schön  in 2012

The Mila Schön house continues to follow her ideas: