Monday, June 21, 2010

Panneau décoratif

This incredible panel is from the collection at the Musée Des Arts Decoratif, in Paris. Wow!

Maybe some day I'll get a chance to paint something like this. The scale and proportion of each element is perfect; so hard to find these days. Here's an unfinished panel (below) that I started to paint. Unfortunately, unless there's someone waving a check at the finish line, I find it hard to spend the time to complete. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chinoiserie Panel

Maison Jansen

The apartment of Pierre Delbée, the President of Jansen, was home to five incredible inlaid doors. Made of ebony and ivory, each was a surrealistic take on an architectural theme and displayed the incredible artistry of the Jansen atelier. They took three artisans over twenty months to complete.

The original doors were sold at Christie's Monaco in 1999, so I was asked to replicate them. Unfortunately this project never got beyond the design stage. These images are from the book Jansen, published by Acanthus Press. I posted images of all five doors on my Flickr page.

Here is the drawing I did of a section of the door above, and a sample showing the ebony and ivory inlay, with silver areas (yet to be leafed) left light blue.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nicolas Lancret

Lancret will always play second fiddle to his peer, Watteau. In fact, he only really became popular after Watteau died, being the last man standing for this kind of work.

Anyway, I like him better than Watteau because he was kicked out of the Academie Royale in 1708 for bad behaviour. Imagining all those powdered prigs behaving badly is hilarious, until you realize they'd run you through with a sword for using the wrong fork.

Though he painted more than seven hundred works, these gorgeous paintings of Chinoiserie-inflected frames (with typical fête galante scenes) are difficult to find. I love them mostly for the frames, and have referred to these several times in my own work. I hope you find them useful too.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A House Painter's Guide, from 1840

All Illustrations this article from the book by Henry William Arrowsmith (published 1840), called The house decorator and painter's guide; containing a series of designs for decorating apartments, suited to the various styles of architecture. 

I posted a complete set of illustrations from this volume on my Flickr page, here.

These wonderful illustrations make me smile. I can't imagine the economic system that existed where it was conceivable even to publish a book such as this. I mean, who's house is this that they're supposed to be painting? Not mine! It reminds me of this funny article from The Onion:

Report: Nation's Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization

"According to a report released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, the recent influx of exceedingly affluent powder-wigged aristocrats into the nation's gentrified urban areas is pushing out young white professionals, some of whom have lived in these neighborhoods for as many as seven years.

"When you have a bejeweled, buckle-shoed duke willing to pay 11 or 12 times the asking price for a block of renovated brownstones—and usually up front with satchels of solid gold guineas—hardworking white-collar people who only make a few hundred thousand dollars a year simply cannot compete," Kennedy said. "If this trend continues, these exclusive, vibrant communities with their sidewalk cafés and faux dive bars will soon be a thing of the past."

"Around here, you used to be able to get a Fair-Trade latte and a chocolate-chip croissant for only eight bucks," said Getz, who is planning to move back in with his parents after being forced out of the lease on his organic grocery store by a harpsichord purveyor. "Now it's all tearooms and private salon gatherings catered with champagne and suckling pig. Who can afford that?"

"It's just a terrible shame," Getz continued. "There was this great little shop right across the street from my duplex apartment where I bought my baby daughter a Ramones onesie a couple of years ago, just after she was born. That whole block is an opera house now."

"These accusations are pure, slanderous rubbish," said Lord Nathan Dunkirk III, the owner of a prodigious manor house that, along with its steeplechase course and topiary garden, sits on what was once the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. "If anything, the layabouts and wastrels have been afforded a veritable glut of new and felicitous opportunities as bootblacks and scullery maids."

Other aristocrats have echoed Dunkirk and have additionally deflected blame onto regification, a process by which they say they were priced out of their vast rural holdings by kings who wished to consolidate property and develop monumental palatial estates."