Category Archives: Details

Bottle Service – An Artist’s Dwelling (7)

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Giorgio Morandi (July 20, 1890 – June 18, 1964) was an Italian painter, etcher, and printmaker who specialized in the form of still life. His paintings are all within a similar tonal subtlety. His entire career was dedicated to depicting apparently simple subjects, which were limited mainly to vases, bottles, bowls, flowers, and landscapes – all found within his own studio. Often Morandi would paint the same arrangements of bottles and accoutrement several times from various angles. Familiar forms and shapes repeat within his work constantly – thus creating a world in which the viewer feels accustomed to the repeating items in Morandi’s life. A few times Morandi delved into the world of portrait or landscape, but most of his some 1350 oil paintings were still life repetitions of objects. He explained: “Nothing is more abstract than reality”.

All images above – © Serena Mignani – Imago Orbis  / A close-up of part of  some of the objects left in Morandi’s studio after his death,  found HERE.

Giorgio Morandi, Nature morte, huile sur toile, 1929, 390 x 52,7 mm, private collection.

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1961, 10 x 12 inches

Giorgio Morandi, Natura Morta, 1962, Bildgröße 31 x 36 cm, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2007, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1940, 16 x19 inches

Giorgio Morandi, Still Life, 1949, 14 x 18 inches

Giorgio Mordani, Still Life, 1954, 10 x 28 inches

Giorgio Morandi (Italian, 1890-1964). Still Life, 1947. Oil on canvas. 8 1/6 x 10 13/16 in. (20.7 x 27.5 cm). The Cartin Collection, © 2008 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Herbert List, Giorgio Morandi in his studio, Bologna 1953 © Herbert List Estate, Magnum Photos

Seeing a pattern here? 

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The Meadow

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Tucked within the patchwork of cobblestone streets in the West Village neighborhood of New York City lies The Meadow. The store is the self touted ultimate source for gourmet salt, rimming salt, curing salt, finishing salt, sea salt, and artisan salts from around the world. The shop also carries chocolates, bitters, and fresh flowers. In short, it is a savory haven filled to the brim with saliva-producing tastes and smells. The space is postage-stamp sized, highly personal, and quaint. In the summer the shop even offers homemade ice cream sandwiches topped with sea salts and chilis! ARTISANAL! YES. Get thee to The Meadow for a dose of inspiration, stat.

If you have not heard about it, or usually do not partake in the world of nonfiction history through food (Cod, Splendid Exchange, The Big Oyster, et. al.), I highly suggest you pick up (and subsequently read) Salt. This mineral has a long and trying tale – a substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions.  Next time you reach your hand across the dining room table or spin the lazy-susan, think about the surprising importance of this commodity. In the end, we’re talking about an EDIBLE ROCK.

Himalayan Salt Blocks are truly the perfect pink color. Shave away!

The store not only smells fantastic (and I really do have a visceral reaction to how well planned and tactile it all is), it is also designed to fully appreciate the arts. This is my cathedral of gustatory meets visual – where lush flowers intermingle with charcoal smoked salts, where finely framed gouaches match the colors of paper-covered bottles of bitters. Sensual – to the truest sense of the term.

Japanese Salt Set – 1.2 oz Jars – A set of five gourmet Japanese Sea Salts: Amabito No Moshio, Iburi Jio Cherry smoked salt, Shinkai Deep Sea Salt, Takesumi Bamboo and Cherry Plum. Photo by The Meadow.

Mark Bitterman, one of the founders of this shop and second half of the married duo, also wrote a book extolling the wonders of salt. It seems it is easy to write a book about an item that is older than civilization itself! Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral with Recipes should probably line the wall’s of every kitchen’s cookbook shelf. “From the elegant fleur de sel and flake salts to 500 million year old Himalayan salt slabs that resemble pink quartz, Bitterman explains the history and science of salt production. The book profiles over 150 salts, and includes 50 recipes that showcase this versatile and marvelous ingredient.” If your kitchen scares you, or if like I used to, you live in a 500 sq. foot apartment wherein your kitchen touches your bathroom which touches your bed – buy this book just for its glorious photos.

As always, my favorite storefronts are directly inspired by the visual arts, “Before founding The Meadow, Jennifer Turner Bitterman (other half of the duo) worked as an art historian at The Metropolitan Museum and The Frick Collection in New York, The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Musee du Chateau de Versailles in Paris. Jennifer’s passion for cooking, eating, and reading and writing poetry have guided her travels and inspired her belief in running a business that above all honors the intimate connections between producers, merchants, and customers.”

Would it be too weird to begin using these salt blocks as legs for tables? Or as bookends? Salt should be the next frontier in interior design. 

Your eyes doth deceive you!  Michel Cluizel Milk Chocolate Sardines – 5 pc Tin – Sardines En Chocolat Au Lait – Fine chocolate doesn’t have to be serious. These five milk chocolate sardines from Michel Cluizel are still made of the highest quality ingredients, but with an added element of fun.

I have actually had dreams that feature a wall of chocolate like this.

To show you that I am not crazy and that salt CAN actually be used as design inspiration, check out these Epsom Salt Luminaries, above. Photo and a how-to from Crafts by Amanda, HERE.

The shop’s name was chosen because Jennifer wanted to create a place that felt like coming home, where personal connections and sensual pleasures welcome you. I suggest you visit and spend time amidst beautiful fresh cut flowers, taste strange and enticing foods, and explore the astonishing depth of the elemental ingredients.

And now, for a pun, you’ve officially been A-SALT-ED (assaulted? get it? ….crickets).

P.S. All photos taken by me unless otherwise noted. 

An Artist’s Dwelling (5)

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I recently visited a show at the Andrew Krep Gallery, in Chelsea, titled, “‘Interiors’: Pierre Bonnard, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, William Copley, Édouard Vuillard”  The show juxtaposed several styles and decades of art history by exploring the evolution of personal space, decorative wallpaper, and intimacy. The press release from the gallery explains, “The show highlights the rich optical and visual layers and patterning consistent in each of the artists’ work, depicting interior spaces full of feeling, psychological depth and a sense of remembrance – a domestic hedonism, or meditations on the nature of time, perception and memory. ” The exhibition included some surrealist details, some impressionist strokes, and a lot of rooms. Often everyday objects in our home accumulate into accidental still lifes – these interior spaces show a psychological snapshot of both an artist and his/her life. Above all, the show allows the viewer to realize it is OK to mix centuries – the 19th century can converse with the year 2012 easily. French windows and ikea furniture can match.

InteriorsPierre Bonnard Marc Camille Chaimowicz, William Copley, Édouard Vuillard, Installation View, Image Courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery

Pierre Bonnard, The Breakfast Room, 1925, Oil on canvas, 25 3/4 x 42 1/2 in (65.4 x 108 cm) & (wallpaper), Marc Camille Chaimowicz, 2011, Non-woven paper, Image Courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery

Interiors, Pierre Bonnard Marc Camille Chaimowicz, William Copley, Édouard Vuillard, Installation View, Image Courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery

In my humble opinion, no artist understand the importance of monotonous interior life quite like Jean-Édouard Vuillard (perhaps also Giorgio Morandi, but we can save his obsessive bottle painting for another post). Vuillard (November 11, 1868 – June 21, 1940) was a French painter and printmaker associated with the artist collective called The Nabis. This avant-garde group was named for the Hebrew word for “prophet”. They believed they could revitalize modern art much like the prophets inspired people from the biblical days. The group did not just work with canvas, they often extolled and designed wall decoration, and also produced posters, prints, book illustration, textiles, and furniture.

Édouard Vuillard, Interieur, 1902, Oil on Cardboard, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Meadows Foundation Incorporated

Édouard Vuillard, Interieur a la Table à Ouvrage, 1893

In his paintings Vuillard depicted mostly interiors, intricate patterns, streets, and gardens.  The patterns of a tablecloth, of a woman’s dress, and of wall coverings intermingled to create a beautifully layered piece. He lived at home with his mother (a dressmaker and Parisian corset maker) and had siblings who visited – most notably his sister. Often my inspiration comes from the outside – wandering streets, stopping into boutiques, and traveling. Yet, Vuillard did not need to leave his home to understand the aesthetics of beauty and to find his animus.

Vuillard was best known for intimate, indoor looks at the private lives of his subjects. These domestic scenes feel “very claustrophobic,” explains the curator of The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Kimberly Jones. She continues. “You can almost feel the walls closing in in some cases and that’s very much intentional. This is the world behind closed doors, an intimate private world that we live but we don’t get to see. So we become a voyeur.”

Édouard Vuillard. Mother and Sister of the Artist. c. 1893. Oil on canvas. 18 1/4 x 22 1/4″ (46.3 x 56.5 cm). Gift of Mrs. Saidie A. May. © 2005 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. (Can’t you just smell the mothballs?)

Vuillard’s interiors are often described as richly patterned, dizzying, and highly feminine. We are surrounded by bold fabrics, blurred walls, and quiet Sunday scenes. Vuillard, the artist himself one remarked, “I don’t paint portraits,” he said. “I paint people at home.” His heavily decorated rooms define a person, his stokes create a soothing rhythm for the eye (even though sometimes they are depicting SHARP geometric designs), and his understanding of fashion (both interior and physical) as a psychological delinieation,  is why I believe his interiors are so powerful.

Vuillard’s Room at the Château des Clayes, c. 1932, Distemper on paper, mounted on canvas, 30 5/8 x 39 7/16 in. (77.8 x 100.2 cm), Signed, l.r.: “E. Vuillard”, Gift of Mary and Leigh Block, 1973.337, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Edouard Vuillard (French, 1868-1940), printed by Auguste Clot (French, 1858-1936), published by Ambroise Vollard (French, 1867-1939), Interior with Pink Wallpaper I, plate five from Landscapes and Interiors, 1899, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

After reading this blog post you have now become familiar with “Intimism”! Bravo! Yippee! This is a variety of late 19th- and early 20th-century painting which intensely explores domestic interiors as subject matter.

 Clashing patterns = matching patterns.  A richly patterned and layered room ala Vuillard. Found via Better Homes & Gardens, HERE.

Un Bisou Collection Wallpaper. Feminine and delicate. Here, actually used as a neutral “paint” color. Don’t be afraid of pattern and layering! Image found HERE.

Eijffinger wallaper – perfect for your afternoon tea service! Hello pastel table. Image found HERE.

Grand Gala Wallpaper. Although this room is not nearly cluttered enough to be a Vuillard. Image found HERE.

Living with patterns is as easy as finding one common color in all of your fabrics. Here it is a light, almost Robin’s Egg Blue with accented grey tones. Image found HERE.

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