Sunday, February 18, 2018

your turn #5

 Frank Lloyd Wright's Little House, Minnesota (1912-1915) an example of Arts & Crafts in America

here are the themes: pictorialism, Caldecott, comics, Puck, Gibson girls, Thomas Nast, Pyle, the Prerraphaelites, and its critical reception, Victorian aesthetics and finally the Arts and Crafts and its heroes: Morris, Ruskin, Selywn Image (check my Morris dictionary here).  

Go ahead,

Thursday, February 15, 2018

art for art's sake


a term oscar wild made famous: l'art pour l'art. 

a view known as aestheticism, which is synonymous with symbolism or decadence (decadentismo in italy). the movement happens from around 1870-1901. it's generally considered to have ended with the trial of oscar wilde.

William Pickering's "The Elements of Euclid"

William Pickering's cover from The Elements of Euclid (1847). Pickering’s most notable publications include Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in 1822, Decameron (with Stothard engravings) in 1825, William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, amongst others. Pickering was a prolific publisher in England in the early 1800s, publishing prose, as well as archelogical publications. 

Here a detailed explanation of the book's importance in modern graphic design.

letter and imagery contribute to create a decorative composition typical of colonialism


the design has a bit of populous, business-like, direct, local. below, scary. people got the message.

visualizing complexity: charts


first, the chart had to be created by a math geek, the idea being to render a number as a curve. nothing better than the original design of william playfair (1759-1823), a political economist and a product of the scottish enlightenment, and johann heinrich lambert (1728-1777).  together, they more or less popularized the idea that data could be presented to a mass audience.



a great history of charts here

the "nouveau" touch of Eugène Grasset


Eugène Grasset (1845-1917) was an admirer of Egyptian motifs and Japanese art, both of which influenced his creative designs. Grasset worked as a painter and sculptor in Lausanne snf moved to Paris in 1871 where he designed furniture fabrics and tapestries as well as ceramics and jewelry. His fine art decorative pieces were crafted from ivory, gold and other precious materials in unique combinations and his creations are considered a cornerstone of Art Nouveau motifs and patterns. He turned to graphic design in 1877, producing income-generating products such as postcards and eventually postage stamps for both France and Switzerland. However, it was poster art that quickly became his forté.(Above, Grasset's exhibition poster for Salon des Cent, 1894).

advertising was the first specialty to become fully established

By late 19th century when the advertising agency of N.W. Ayer & Son was founded. Ayer and Son offered to plan, create, and execute complete advertising campaigns for its customers. By 1900 the advertising agency had become the focal point of creative planning, and advertising was firmly established as a profession. Around the same time, in France, Charles-Louis Havas extended the services of his news agency, Havas to include advertisement brokerage, making it the first French group to organize. At first, agencies were brokers for advertisement space in newspapers. N. W. Ayer & Son was the first full-service agency to assume responsibility for advertising content. N.W. Ayer opened in 1869, and was located in Philadelphia.

Selwyn Image, The Century Guild Hobby Horse (1886)


Artist Selwyn Image along with writer Herbert Horne and other founding members of the Century Guild, used the Hobby Horse to represent an idea of integrated graphic design and the fine arts.

1- The Hobby Horse was a quarterly Victorian periodical in England published by the Century Guild of Artists. The magazine ran from 1884–1894 and spanned a total of seven volumes and 28 issues. It featured various articles not only on arts and design but other subjects including literature and social issues as well.




2- The Century Guild Hobby Horse was one of the last versions of the literature and art journal, a genre born with the Pre-Raphaelite Germ in 1850.
3- Unlike The Yellow Book and The Savoy, The Hobby Horse was not solely committed to an elite aestheticism.

after Morris, movements took up the challenge of social design

Morris' design is far removed from Victorian aesthetics
what do we see here? honesty = beauty!

William Morris: the quintessential Pre-Raphaelite


Morris' The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (1896)

William Morris was deeply influenced by the writings of John Ruskin (on the social and moral basis of architecture, particularly the chapter "On the Nature of Gothic" in The Stones of Venice, that came to Morris "with the force of a revelation"). After taking his degree in 1856, he entered the Oxford office of the Gothic Revivalist architect G.E. Street. In the same year he financed the first 12 monthly issues of The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, where many of those poems appeared that, two years later, were reprinted in his remarkable first published work, The Defense of Guenevere and Other Poems. He visited Belgium and France, with fellow Burne-Jones, where he first saw the 15th-century paintings of Hans Memling and the Van Eyck brothers and the cathedrals of Amiens, Chartres, and Rouen. It all confirmed his passion for medieval art. At this time that he came under the powerful influence of the Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who persuaded him to give up architecture for painting and enrolled him among the band of friends who were decorating the walls of the Oxford Union with scenes from Arthurian legend based on Le Morte D'Arthur by the 15th-century English writer Sir Thomas Malory. Only one easel painting by Morris survives: "La Belle Iseult," or "Queen Guenevere" (Tate Gallery, London). 

His Master's Voice 1900

 RCA Victor'sHis Master's Voice 1900


On September 15, 1899, the Gramophone Company offered Mark Barraud £100 for a painting depictring his dog listening to a gramophone. The painting was purchased, and by the time of his death on August 29, 1924, Barraud had been commissioned by the Gramophone and Victor companies to make 24 copies of his painting. This made "Nipper" the dog the most famous dog in the world.

many poster artists saw their work as a democratic art form


the product's name is discreetly added as lettering on millais bar of soap, but it was the titling type to which the soap bubble seemed to attach that placed the image squarely on a commercial frame. some of millais contemporaries thought he had degraded himself through this association. competing advertisers were keen to find images that would promote the same recognition for their own products. so, a tension arose over the distinction between fine art and graphic art. it was argued that a moral or spiritual purpose belonged to the former, while crass commercial motives drove the latter. this sentimental use of the image of a child making fragile soap bubbles linked pears' to purity, innocence and gentleness, which appealed to females consumers.

Science for everyone

Designed by Aldo Mazza, (1880-1964)

"The illustrator of this striking cover takes full advantage of the image of a chic eye catching young woman to set off the effect of scientific perspective that is far more arresting. While we see her body, we also see right through it, to her bones. The promise of science as superior knowledge is given a clear graphic form. This is how graphic design extends the realm of knowledge by visual means" (GDHCG).

graphic skills became more specialized and professionalized


Charles Dickens's objections to Millais's style

Dickens circa 1851
can you believe this dickensian tirade?
You behold the interior of a carpenter's shop. In the foreground of that carpenter's shop is a hideous, wry-necked, blubbering, red-headed boy, in a bed-gown; who appears to have received a poke in the hand, from the stick of another boy with whom he has been playing in an adjacent gutter, and to be holding it up for the contemplation of a kneeling woman, so horrible in her ugliness, that (supposing it were possible for any human creature to exist for a moment with that dislocated throat) she would stand out from the rest of the company as a Monster, in the vilest cabaret in France, or the lowest gin-shop in England. Two almost naked carpenters, master and journeyman, worthy companions of this agreeable female, are working at their trade; a boy, with some small flavor of humanity in him, is entering with a vessel of water; and nobody is paying any attention to a snuffy old woman who seems to have mistaken that shop for the tobacconist's next door, and to be hopelessly waiting at the counter to be served with half an ounce of her favourite mixture. Wherever it is possible to express ugliness of feature, limb, or attitude, you have it expressed. Such men as the carpenters might be undressed in any hospital where dirty drunkards, in a high state of varicose veins are received. Their very toes have walked out of Saint Giles's.- Charles Dickens, commenting Millais' Christ in the House of His Parents below.*
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*The Pre-Raphaelite Body: Fear and Desire in Painting, Poetry, and Criticism, (Clarendon Press: 1998). p. 16.