Tuesday 24 June 2014

Around 1914: Design in a New Age Decorative Arts Symposium

WMSC member Karen Stanley attended this symposium in support of the ROM's new exhibit, which you can read more about here. And here's what Karen had to say!

The Royal Ontario Museum hosted a symposium on April 10-11, 2014. The ROM first opened in 1914 during a time of change that was accelerated by industrialization and new modes of manufacture. The opening guest speaker was supposed to have been Margaret Macmillan but was unavailable. She was replaced by Rosalind Pepall, former Senior Curator of Decorative Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Her keynote remarks were regarding Soaring Ambition and Design Before the War. She was a very good speaker and talked about the period as a time of bold experimentation and questioning regarding tradition that rejected conventional ornamentation and historical precedents. It laid the foundation of the movement to “modern” and a new concept called “industrial design”. The time was moving from Arts and Crafts to Art and Industry.

The following day a series of international scholars spoke about designers and crafts people who were responding to the ideological and social challenges of the period through art, architecture and design.

On April 11 Dr. Paul Stirton, Professor Bard Graduate Centre, Decorative Arts, Design History Material Culture, New York opened the morning session and spoke about the Arts and Crafts in the UK before the first World War. He spoke about crafts people such as Charles Robert Ashbee and Liberty’s of London.

Dr. Pamela Robertson, Senior Curator and Professor of Mackitosh Studies The Hunterian, University of Glasgow followed. She spoke of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Architecture. At the time Mackintosh’s designs were considered controversial and innovative.

Dr. Martin Eidelberg, Professor of Art History at Rutgers University gave a lecture on The Rise and Fall of Tiffany Studios.

Etienne Tornier, Institut National de l’Histoire de l”Art, Paris gave a presentation of Art Nouveau, Siegfried Bing and America.

Dr. Christian Witt-Dorring, Curator MAK Vienna and the Neue Galerie, New York gave an interactive presentation on Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann-Two ways to Modernism in Vienna 1900.

The symposium ended with Peter Behrens, Painter, Architect, Industrial Designer, given by Dr. Stanford Anderson, Professor of History and Architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During the day participants were encouraged to view the ROM’s exhibition that accompanied the symposium. The ROM had pieces on display of Charles Robert Ashbee, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Hosef Hoffman, Hacob and Josef Kohn, and Peter Behrens, to name a few.

Image from the ROM's website: Chair designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Scottish, 1868-1928) Probably made by Francis Smith and Son Oak, stained dark, horsehair fabric cover Glasgow, Scotland Designed c. 1898-1900, made c. 1898-1900.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Finally... Doctor Who, Brad Pitt and Selfies make an Appearance on the Blog!

I'm not going to let the blog lag like I did last month... so here we go with more news from Twitter and elsewhere.

~ Here's a stunning new offering from the Folio Society. It's a reproduction of Morris's The Odes of Horace. At $795.00 CDN, it's not in everyone's budget, but if it is - wow, what a gift for yourself or someone you really love!

~ Martin Stott (@divinity65) will be hosting his first William Morris Society (UK) event as president. The lecture by Bill Peterson is titled Virtual partner; Emery Walker & the Kelmscott Press. It's this Saturday at 2:15 p.m. in case you happen to be in London! And attention printing geeks! Our mother-ship organization has charmingly created these Albion Press "selfie" cards.They're available for purchase from the society. Visit their website, under "SHOP."

~ The Victorian Society's (@thevicsoc) new magazine issue is out now. It features Morris on the cover and Fiona MacCarthy on Morris and Ayla Lepine (@heartchitecture) on Watts & Co.The magazine gets sent out three times a year to members of the VS.

~ And it's not every day we mention Doctor Who and Brad Pitt on here, but - well, okay, we never have, but here it is: both actors have stepped up to support the fund-raising campaign to help restore the fire-damaged, Mackintosh-designed Glasgow School of Art by becoming trustees of the appeal. We here at WMSC knew Brad Pitt was a keen fan of architecture, and now we know that native Glaswegian Peter (Doctor Who) Capaldi studied at GSoA and has sent a delightful video message. Read the GSoA's blog post, complete with video and background on the actors and their interest in the building here.

Keep sending in your  news! Thanks everyone.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

A Bit of Everything

We're just a bit behind here, but there's much to catch up on!

First off, news related to the man himself:

~ Kelmscott Manor unvelied its new website... right... here!

~ The National Portrait Gallery in London will hold an exhbition this fall: Anarchy & Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy, 1860 - 1960. This sounds unmissable. Any WMSC members going over? Let us know if you are!

~ On May 28, at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, Darren Hayman recorded his arrangements of Morris's Chants for Socialists, with an amateur choir. Let's hope we get to hear the results soon!

~ Holly Cecil, as part of an undergraduate research project at the University of Victoria, B.C., has created four documentary shorts exploring Morris's life and work. Fantastic work, Holly! You can watch all four here!

~ Check out the University of Maryland's William Morris Collection of books and papers here.

~ William Morris was included in an 1873 book of cartoons of leading 19th-century figures. You can see the cartoon here.

~ The society was so saddened to hear of the passing of former president and long-time member Jean Johnson on May 27, at the age of 90. Read this lovely tribute here on OCAD's site. A very moving funeral service was attended by many members. It was lovely to spend time with them all after, and with Jean's many friends and her delightful daughter Anne. There will be a celebration of Jean's life at a future time.

~ A lot of our members will have attended Elaine Waisglass's photography exhibition at First Canadian Place, either at the opening (May 7, which four of the usual suspects attended and are photographed above), or at a special viewing on Saturday May 24, when Elaine also graciously hosted a wonderful garden party at her home. Members were able to revel in the beautiful plants that feature so strikingly in Elaine's photographs. You can see some of those photographs by visiting Elaine's website here.

~ On May 26 we attended an excellent architectural tour of University College led by Sharon Vattay. Thanks to Susan Pekilis for the photograph!

~ We were all holding our breath in horror when news of the terrible fire at Glasgow School of Art broke out. This amazing Rennie Mackintosh-designed building sustained damage, particularly to the library, but much was saved and efforts are underway to restore this architectural gem, which has meant so much to generations of artists, students and visitors.

~ You may have heard of the Delaware Art Museum's decision to sell some of their art to pay off construction debts and to replenish their endowment. The news that Holman Hunt's Isabella and the Pot of Basil was to be sold had art lovers around the world reeling. Today the painting was sold as part of a larger group at Christies. Today, on the Christies website, the result was described thusly: The [catalogue] cover lot, Isabella and the Pot of Basil, a masterpiece by Holman Hunt, sold for £2,882,500, a record for the artist at auction, surpassing the previous record of £1.8 million set in 1994. Unfortunately this comes quite a bit lower than expected and Pre-Raphaelite fans around the world will wait in dread to see what lot goes up for sale next. The Delaware Art Museum, a favourite on WMSC tours, houses the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in North America.

That's all for now folks!