31 October 2012

sharing A Visual Life


 a wall in a client's Powder  Room
Charlotte says all the women on these Vogue covers have IT

Charlotte Moss has packed her new book with details from her abundant Visual Life. Her eye is always Seeing-Moving-Editing and this book has captured the energy and pure passion she has for IT All.

 The IT All might not be visible to everyone-in fact-there are few that really- Really- Look at their World and transform IT into more than just Memory-that record IT and create a rich Reservoir of Inspiration.

I'm full of guilt about this-I often feel I am missing IT.

  She says IT's  je ne sais quoi-

It's no surprise-the book has IT, Charlotte Moss has IT and because of that-She's assuaged a little of my guilt  about IT, or lack of- by opening up her Visual Life to me in this book-
&You too.
I have a signed copy saved for you. Don't thank me yet-just one of you-but read on...

Charlotte has filled the book with collages and story boards like this one- 
 (You know it's my favorite color.)

I spent three days with Charlotte in New York last fall and again in LA this Spring- so-I've seen IT first hand. When we talked at length about her last book-Charlotte Moss Decorates, I asked her if she was coming down off the book- or if something else was percolating for the next one.She was already moving on-telling me about what is now a fully realized Charlotte Moss: A Visual Life.

Her office at home-cum Library-cum Sitting Room is a collage come to life. I spent an evening in this cozy dream of a room pouring over her books-collections-and yes- some of the pieces she highlights in the book.

Charlotte is a modern day Diana-her prey in this case is-the beautiful. "I have gone from hunting wildflowers to hunting antiques for a room. Her collages are a perfect manifestation of that hunter.

The book is a Visual record-women like Deborah Needleman-Alexa Hampton-have contributed their own Visual Life to the book and Charlotte has layered her personal Visual Life with the scrapbooks and papers of Jacqueline Kennedy-Evangeline Bruce-Elsie de Wolfe. The photography in the book is equal to all that-and Pieter Estersohn has captured Charlotte's moods-moves- and motivation. With Charlotte's collages and Pieter's photographs, the book easily shelves itself under- ART as well as DESIGN. It's this overlapping that makes the book unique and densely layered. That layering goes right to the heart of Charlotte's doctrine-Life is Art- and Style and Substance are words she uses in conversations and they reverberate in A Visual Life.

This book is fantastic-right? Full of textile samples from the 19th century and ceaselessly inspiring-

Charlotte's Loves are Home, Garden, Travel and Entertaining- and she has arranged the book into these Loves and the book's chapters weave her collages-her design work-her photography-her collections into beautiful pages that will Inspire-to say the least.

Now about that signed copy of Charlotte Moss: A Visual Life
If you want IT-leave a comment, that's IT.
You might just Say- I want IT and You might get IT. 

A winner will be selected randomly at random.org.

all the images abover are used with permission- © CHARLOTTE MOSS: MY SCRAPBOOKS, Rizzoli New York, 2012.

29 October 2012

Inventing the Modern World

Can we begin to imagine the excitement surrounding a visit to the World's Fairs of the day?
It's a difficult leap to make-but imagine-none of the technology-where every day we are tossed to the winds of the net.

 the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations
 the Crystal Palace showed off London's architectural genius as well being host to the first fair.

When the first world's fair opened in London,1851- it dazzled. The newest advances in living and design were showcased and within the pages of  Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs- one can still be dazzled.
I can myself in the moment with the aid of this book and Wonder.

Brainchild of Prince Albert-patron of the arts, the First World's Fair saw over six million visitors enter Joseph Paxton's Crystal Palace triumph made of iron and glass.

Dickinson's comprehensive pictures Scenes from the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Yesterday I went for the second time to the Crystal Palace.

We remained in it about three hours, and I must say I was more struck with it on this occasion than at my first visit. It is a wonderful place – vast, strange, new and impossible to describe. Its grandeur does not consist in one thing, but in the unique assemblage of all things. Whatever human industry has created you find there, from the great compartments filled with railway engines and boilers, with mill machinery in full work, with splendid carriages of all kinds, with harness of every description, to the glass-covered and velvet-spread stands loaded with the most gorgeous work of the goldsmith and silversmith, and the carefully guarded caskets full of real diamonds and pearls worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

It may be called a bazaar or a fair, but it is such a bazaar or fair as Eastern genii might have created. It seems as if only magic could have gathered this mass of wealth from all the ends of the earth – as if none but supernatural hands could have arranged it this, with such a blaze and contrast of colours and marvellous power of effect. 

 The multitude filling the great aisles seems ruled and subdued by some invisible influence. Amongst the thirty thousand souls that peopled it the day I was there not one loud noise was to be heard, not one irregular movement seen; the living tide rolls on quietly, with a deep hum like the sea heard from the distance.-Charlotte Bronte, from The Brontes' Life and Letters, by Clement Shorter (1907)
 (more of what Charlotte saw that day here)

  Jean Valentin Morel Cup made of bloodstone with gold, enamel, emralds, rubies,sapphires and cameos, 1854-55
 attributed to Adrien-Louis-Marie Cavelier for Jean Valentin Morel
 Indianapolis Museum of Art, USA / The Bridgeman Art Library

In 1893, the World's Fair was in Chicago and my great grandfather Toby attended- returning with a doll-imagine that-a doll for his little son-my grandfather Louis. The doll was indeed a whirligig with a shrill whistle for the rowdy boy-but that whirligig was dressed in pink and ivory satin and silk and possessed the most beautiful china face and golden locks of hair ever to behold.

I'm sure Toby walked along the midway-and though the doll was a pittance to the likes of the decorative artistry of Tiffany-that doll held many a mystery for me on visits to my grandfather's house over the years. I have it tucked away upstairs.

the Midway in Chicago, 1983.

 Tiffany Coffeepot, 1893. Silver with enamel, ivory, and jade

Tiffany & Co. United States (New York, NY), 1837–present

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Decorative Arts
Photo: Peter Harholdt

The May 1937 fair was held in Paris at a tenuous time in Europe. Dictators had seized power -at the fair the exhibition pavilions of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were blatant displays of monumentalism and nationalism. As a counterpoint -the Spanish pavilion held Picasso's most brilliant work to date “Guernica,” in protest to war.

the Soviet Union Pavilion, at l., the Spanish Pavilion at r.

Settee, 1937. Josef Hoffmann, silvered wood legs and stylized botanical-wool upholstery is original
Museum of Applied Arts-Contemporary Art, Vienna

 Nothing about the Hoffmann chaise gives it away as a creation dating back over 75 years-it is thoroughly modern and-glamourous.

Because of technology developed by the time of the fair- we can be in Paris for a glimpse.

The Book-captures brightest and best of the world,detailing over 200 objects spanning the most prestigious years of the fair. Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fair is written by Jason T. Busch,curatorial chair for collections and the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at Carnegie Museum of Art and Catherine L. Futter ,the Helen Jane and R. Hugh “Pat” Uhlmann Curator of Decorative Arts at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It's accompanied by an exhibition that was at the Nelson-Atkins this summer and just opened at the Carnegie Museum in New York. In the fall of 2013 the Mint Museum in Charlotte will host the exhibition. I'm sure to see it-but til then this wonderful book will suffice.

the book-available at Rizzoli here

26 October 2012

to Me today is one of those


It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.  ~P.D. James

there is a chill in the air-


an underlying damp


yet it's comforting - a day like today


my favourite season

top to bottom: Cy Twombly, Autumn.John Atkinson Grimshaw, Autumn-Morning. Paul Helleu, Autumn at Versailles. Arcimboldo, Fall Man & Rex Whistler, Autumn.



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