Tobias Frere-Jones

December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Figure 1 - Portrait of Tobias Frere-Jones by Clymer, A.

Figure 1 - Portrait of Tobias Frere-Jones by Clymer, A.

Tobias Frere-Jones (Figure 1) was born in New York in 1970. He was an artist from his young age. He was exhibiting sculptures, photographs and paintings in New York since he was 14. As a son of an advertising copywriter and print buyer he was surrounded with all forms of letterforms all his childhood. That was no surprise that he studied the Rhode Island School of Design. As is stated by Macmillan (2006, p.86) “An exceptional student there, he drew the attention of Matthew Carter, who directed him, after graduation in 1992, to Font Bureau in Boston.”

He spent seven years at the Bureau and he learnt his craft under the experienced eye of David Berlow. During that time at Bureau he created a successful typeface based on US highway signs called Interstate family (Figure 2). That was a successful font of 1990s. Also he created most of typefaces that are best known from Bureau like including Interstate and Poynter Oldstyle & Gothic. As is stadted by (Hoefler & Frere-Jones,2010) “He joined the faculty of the Yale School of Art in 1996, where he continues to teach typeface design on the graduate level.”

Figure 2 - Interstate family font face created by Tobias Frere-Jones

Figure 2 - Interstate family font face created by Tobias Frere-Jones

In 1999 he left Font Bureau and Frere-Jones joined his friend Jonathan Hoefler to his company. They met in 1989 while there were individually working. They renamed Hoefler’s company to a Hoefler & Frere-Jones Typography. The company creates a custom type font faces to satisfy all customers needs. They have clients from all fields like newspapers and magazines: The New York Times, The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, Esquire, GQ (Figure 3), Harper’s Bazaar, Newsweek, Premiere, Wired; Technology companies: Apple, IBM, HP, Kodak, Sony etc. They also work for Nike, Gucci and even for a President Barack Obama.

Figure 3 - Cover of GQ magazine

Figure 3 - Cover of GQ magazine

When Barack Obama started his campaign for a presidential election in 2008. All the signs and all the materials were using Gotham font designed by Tobias Frere-Jones in 2000. As is stated by Garfield (2010, p. 211) “Gotham replaced the Obama’s team original choice Gill Sans, which was discarded as too staid and inflexible.” The point of this sans serif typeface is that is solid and looks promising and trustworthy and everything what is written with this font is reliable. The choice of Gotham worked on signs “YES WE CAN” (Figure 4) or “CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN”. These quotes written in Gotham helped Obama to become a president of United States.

Figure 4 - Usage of Gotham font in Obama's campaign

Figure 4 - Usage of Gotham font in Obama's campaign

Try to imagine these quotes written in different typefaces. (Figure 5) They really don’t fit for the purpose of the message to “CHANGE”. In Comics sans it looks childish and funny, in Times New Roman it looks too official, in Futura it looks unstable, but in Gotham you can feel the strength of the message. The Gotham typeface was firstly designed for a magazine GQ, but later the company let it to buy through their website.

Figure 5 - Word CHANGE written in Times New Roman, Comic Sans, Futura, Gotham

Figure 5 - Word CHANGE written in Times New Roman, Comic Sans, Futura, Gotham

The great thing about Tobias Frere-Jones is that he is creating modern typefaces, which are successfully competing with traditional types designed at least fifty years ago such as Helvetica, Univers and Gill Sans, etc. There is not much successful typeface designers who could achieve to be respected and also their font would be popular and used in creative work today. One of them can be a Christian Schwartz who designed Amplitude and Neutraface. I like how these modern (Accessed: 7 December 2010). Successfully trying to create a new typeface, which always bring a fresh air and new possibilities for designers. He recently launched a new typeface called Vitesse (Figure 6) its a slab serif typeface of 21st century.

Figure 6 - Usage of Vitesse typeface designed by Hoefler & Frere-Jones

Figure 6 - Usage of Vitesse typeface designed by Hoefler & Frere-Jones

The font works, Frere-Jones explains, by “taking the unique feature of [each] letter—its essence, the thing that makes it this letter and not something else—and turning it up as loud as it can go.” (The Atlantic, 2008)

Due to (Hoefler & Frere-Jones, 2010) Tobias Frere-Jones is the first American who received te Gerrit Noordzij Prize, presented by the royal Avademy of The Hague in honor of his unique contributions on type design, typography, and type education.

References

Garfield, S. (2010) Just My Type. London: Profile Books.

Macmillan, N. (2006) An A-Z of Type Designers. Yale: Yale University Press.

Images

Figure 1
Clymer, A. (2010) Portrait of Tobias Frere-Jones [Online]. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/arts/11iht-design11.html?_r=1 (Accessed: 7 December 2010).

Figure 2
MyFonts (2010) Interstate family [Online]. Available at: http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/fontbureau/interstate/gallery.html (Accessed: 7 December 2010).

Figure 3
GQ Magazine (2009) Cover of September 2009 [Online]. Available at: http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/magazine/2009/september (Accessed: 7 December 2010).

Figure 4
Hepworth, K. (2010) Varied but consistent campaign placards at a rally in Sumter, South Carolina. [Online] Available at: http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=352 (Accessed: 7 December 2010).

Figure 6
The New York Times (2010) Vitesse typeface [Online]. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/arts/11iht-design11.html?_r=1 (Accessed: 7 December 2010).

Resources

The Atlantic (2008) Playing to type. Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/01/playing-to-type/6570/2/ (Accessed: 7 December 2010).

Hoefler & Frere-Jones (2010) Biographies. Available at: http://www.typography.com/about/biographies.php (Accessed: 7 December 2010).

swissdot (2008) Gotham: Barack Obama’s favorite font. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow6ajKO0XsM (Accessed: 7 December 2010).

BrianASoto (2008) Jonathan Hoefler & Tobias Frere-Jones [Online] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gd9zW5EuMtE&feature=related (Accessed: 7 December 2010).


Lászlo Moholy-Nagy

November 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Figure 1 - Portrait of Lászlo Moholy-Nagy

Figure 1 - Portrait of Lászlo Moholy-Nagy

Lászlo Moholy-Nagy (Figure 1) was an influential artist of Bauhaus. He was a film maker, designer, painter, writer, educator and photographer. He was born in Bacsbarsod, Hungary July 20, 1895. As a kid he was publishing poetry in native little magazines. When he was 18 he studied law at the University of Budapest. He was a good student but he had to stop the studies because the first World War started.

In the year 1915 Moholy joined army as a artillery officer. That was the time when he really started painting. He created about four hundred drawings on a letters from his correspondence during the war (Figure 2). In one of the fights during the war in 1917 he got shot and he was sent back to Budapest where he was recovering from the injury. After he recovered from the injury he was thinking to become the artist and his friend Ivan Hevesy supported him in his artistic development.

Figure 2 - Drawing of Jolan Simon by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Figure 2 - Drawing of Jolan Simon by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

In 1918 Moholy signed up to a evening classes on a art school of Robert Bereny and there he had his first exhibitions. He was interested in a photography. Big credit comes to Moholy’s girlfriend who was a photographer and introduced Moholy this area. He moved to Berlin and from 1921 as is stated by Naylor (1968, p. 78) he worked there as an editor of avant-garde Hungarian art journal MA. There he met Russian artists El Lissitzky, Ilya Ehrenburg and later Gabo. He was impressed of their work and in 1922 he attended the Constructivism conference in Weimar.

As is stated by Vincent (1997, p. 320) “in 1922 Herwarth Walden sponsored his first Berlin exhibition. Intrigued by Moholy’s work, Walter Gropius invited him to the Bauhaus. For five years (1923– 1928) he coedited the school’s publications, directed its metal workshop, and, when Johannes Itten departed, taught its preparatory course. When the Bauhaus relocated to Dessau in 1925, he helped design its new facilities (Figure 3).” The Bauhaus was an institution, which was very influential for its time.

Figure 3 - Bauhaus balconies. Photo by Moholy-Nagy

Figure 3 - Bauhaus balconies. Photo by Moholy-Nagy

Moholy-Nagy joined the Bauhaus in Weimar as a professor in 1923. He was put in charge of the Metal Workshop. His teaching helped school to lean more to a modernism style, which Moholy supported. He also wanted artists to be involved in more fields like a typography, photography, painting and industrial design. For me this variety looks like a great think to have complex knowledge about the designed item. Because every designer has to think about all these things, to produce a great piece.

Figure 4 - Geometrical painting. Oil on canvas

Figure 4 - Geometrical painting. Oil on canvas by Lászlo Moholy-Nagy

He was experimenting a lot with the light. He was interested in photograms (Figure 5). That means that he was placing objects onto a light sensitive paper in a various compositions. After he exposed the paper for a short time he developed the paper and the photogram was done. I like his feeling for choosing new materials for his creative work. He was one of the first persons who were using plexiglas and other translucent objects in a photography. But for me the shapes of of his pictograms looks like little chaotic compare to his geometrical paintings which were influenced by constructivism.

Figure 4 - Photogram by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Figure 5 - Photogram by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

He had a passion for a new materials how is written by Naylor (1968, p.109) “Moholy, who believed that ‘mathematically harmonious shapes, executed precisely, are filled with emotional quality and represent the perfect balance between feeling and intellect’ was fascinated by interplay of light and space, positive and negative, colour, transparency and the juxtaposition of textures.”

“Typography must be clear communication in its most vivid form. Clarity must be especial stressed, for clarity is the essence of modern printing. Therefore first of all: absolute clarity in all typographycal work… A new typography language must be created combining elasticity, variety and a fresh approach to teh materials of printing, a language whose logic depends on the appropriate application of the processes of printing.” Naylor (1968, p.127)

When in the year 1928 Gropius resigned as a director of Bauhaus, Moholy also left the school due to the rising political pressure and returned back to a Berlin. He worked there as a successful freelancer by designing a stage sets for a Berlin theaters. He was interested in a commercial design by designing posters (Figure 6) and book covers.

Figure 5 - Commercial poster - Quickly Away, Thanks To Pneumatic Doors

Figure 6 - Commercial poster - Quickly Away, Thanks To Pneumatic Doors

His further life is described by Vincent (1997, p. 321) “In 1934 he left Germany and, after working in industrial design in Holland and England, moved to the United States in 1937.” It was a good decision to move to United States where he had more freedom for his work. Because in Germany and all Europe the political pressure was enormous and everything had to be under the control of Nazi’s.

He was a co-founder of the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937 but it had to be closed after a year due to a financial difficulties. Due to Kostelanetz (1970, p. xvii) “In 1938 opened his own School of design at 247 East Ontario Street, Chicago, with much of the New Bauhaus staff. In 1939 he began work as a designer and advisor for Spiegel, Inc., the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the Parker Pen Co., and others.”

Bauhaus was a progressive movement in the design history. But unfortunately it was two times stopped by the wars. And the Bauhaus in Germany ended in 1933 when Nazis closed the school in Berlin. And the New Bauhaus in Chicago was slowed down due to a great depression after the war. Who knows what Moholy-Nagy and his friends could develop if there was no war.

Lászlo Moholy-Nagy died of leukemia in Chicago on November 24 1946. At the time of his death he was a president of the Institute of Design.

References

Kostelanetz, R. (ed.) (1970) Moholy-Nagy Documentary Monographs in Modern Art. New York: Praeger Publishers, Inc..

Naylor, G. (1968) the bauhaus. London: Studio Vista Limited.

Vincent, C. Paul (19997) Historical Dictionary of Germany’s Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Images

Figure 1
The Museum of Modern Art (1926) Untitled. Lucia Moholy [Online] Available at: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A6922&page_number=1&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (Accessed: 30 November 2010).

Figure 2
The Museum of Modern Art (1919-1920) Jolan Simon. Lucia Moholy [Online] Available at: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4048&page_number=5&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (Accessed: 30 November 2010).

Figure 3
Moholy-Nagy, L. (1926) Bauhaus Balconies. [Online] Available at: http://www.geh.org/fm/amico99/htmlsrc2/m198121630007_ful.html#topofimage (Accessed: 30 November 2010).

Figure 4
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1924) A II. Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection [Online] Available at: http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/show-full/piece/?search=László%20Moholy-Nagy&page=1&f=People&cr=1 (Accessed: 30 November 2010).

Figure 5
Moholy-Nagy, L. (1939) Photogram. [Online] Available at: http://www.geh.org/fm/amico99/htmlsrc2/m198121630013_ful.html#topofimage (Accessed: 30 November 2010).

Figure 6

The Museum of Modern Art (1937) Quickly Away, Thanks To Pneumatic Doors. Moholy-Nagy, L. [Online] Available at: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4048&page_number=91&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (Accessed: 30 November 2010).

Resources

camaradeniebla (2009) Laszlo Moholy Nagy Ein Lichtspiel Schwarz Weiss Grau. Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymrJLhSeIlk (Accessed: 30 November 2010).

Peter Behrens

November 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

Figure 1 - Portrait of Peter Behrens

Figure 1 - Portrait of Peter Behrens

Peter Behrens (Figure 1) was born 14 April 1868 in Hamburg and died in Berlin 27 February 1940. He was a founder of modern objective industrial architecture and modern industrial design. But before he became an architect he was a painter in his youth and Art Nouveau designer of decorative and graphic art. He inherited considerable wealth so was able to afford to study between the years 1886 until 1891 at art schools in Karlsruhe, Dusseldorf and Munich. Year after his studies he became one of the founders of a new wave formed in Munich called Munich Secession. From 1890 he worked as a painter and graphic artist in Munich.

In 1893 Behrens is one of the founding members of Munich Secession. Behrens was the founder of the Vereinigten Werkstatten (United Workshops) in 1897. As stated by Schmutzler (1962, p. 205) “his earliest works in Jugendstil are ornament drawings like the delicate sketch of butterflies alighting on lily pads framed by rushes (Figure 2), and in this design his affinity with Japanese art is obvious.”

Figrue 2 - Butterflies on Water Lilies

Figure 2 - Butterflies on Water Lilies

The Jugendstil movement is described in (Art Nouveau, 1975, p. 83). Typical of a Jugendstil artists of Munich, which had become the center of the movement, was the tendency to restrict every form to a two-dimensional plane, reducing even the human figure to nothing but an ornament design.

In Behrens’s woodcuts the illustration is surrounded the border. The theme of the border is always connected with the illustration in the middle. For example in his woodcut The Kiss (Figure 3) the hair of two women are twisted together and transformed into the frame.

Figure 3 - The Kiss

Figure 3 - The Kiss

As is stated by (Art Nouveau, 1975, p. 83) “the transformation of objects is characteristic of Art Nouveau and another instance is found in Peter Behrens’s title page for O.J. Bierdaums’s Den Bunte Vogel (Figure 4) of 1899 in which the tail of a peacock changes into a border for the type on the page. The Art Nouveau artist was able to do this without destroying the unity of the composition, by rendering typographical border and illustration with the same strong linear rhythms.”

Figure 4 - Title page for Der Bunte Vogel. 1899

Figure 4 - Title page for Der Bunte Vogel. 1899

He produced handmade utilitarian objects. In 1898 he collaborated on designing the Berlin journal “Pan”. Which was his first experience of designing furniture. In 1899 Behrens joined Darmstadt colony, where he designed his own house complete with all its furniture. He created porcelain tableware (Figure 5) which pattern on the plates was similar to the one on the dining room ceiling. Also the front door (Figure 6) is decorated in the style of the whole house.

Figure 5 - Plate designed by Peter Behrens 1901

Figure 5 - Plate designed by Peter Behrens 1901

Figure 6 - Front door of Peter Behrens house

Figure 6 - Front door of Peter Behrens house

His feeling for simple geometrical shapes with basic lines, circles, triangles and squares was repetitively appearing in his later works. That is why he became the lead person of a reformative group at the Dusseldorf Kunstgewerbeschule where he was teaching from 1901-1902. The next year he became a director at this school until 1907. He was also a founding member of a group called Werkbung. This group was a progressive in their ideas of developing German artistic work and later they wanted to raise the esthetical quality of manufactured products in Germany.

As is stated by Vincent (1997, p. 30) “in 1907 Paul Jordan, AEG’s managing director, invited Behrens to become chief designer for the Berlin-based electric company. He started working on advertising posters for this big German company. Also he was working on designs of daily used electrical products. Which design was mostly copying the artistic pieces by their shape and the artistic historical decoration. Behrens was there to chance it to a modern product.” He started by designing a new logo for an AEG (Figure 7), all new graphic identity for a company and he also designed the shapes of a new selected products. He achieved as a first German and also European citizen to create first complex corporate identity. That was the first step by connecting art and industry how we know it today.

Figure 7 - New logo for AEG designed by Peter Behrens in 1907

Figure 7 - New logo for AEG by Peter Behrens in 1907 and other Behrens's posters

Behrens was also designing factories for AEG. The most famous one is in Berlin called The AEG high-tension factory (Figure 8), which was built in 1910. The design of the factory is based on rectangular and circular forms. The big windows provided daylight to the whole factory and the clear façade is designed for the purpose of its use. This factory is still used and there are no indications that this would change in next decades.

Figure 8 - AEG Turbine Halle 1910

Figure 8 - AEG Turbine Halle 1910

Behrens became the first industrial designer and he influenced his coworkers, which became lately well know. The names are Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and probably the most know Le Corbusier.

In the year 1002 Peter Behrens designed a Behrens typeface. He had to work well with type in the advertisements for AEG. According to James-Chakraborty (2000, p. 123) Behrens designed the lettering “Dem Deutschen Volk” (Figure 9) on the entrance portal of Reichstag in Berlin in the year 1916 as a populist move during the World War I.

Figure 9 - The lettering on the Reichstag in Berlin

Figure 9 - The lettering on the Reichstag in Berlin

As is written by Killen (2006, p. 24) Peter Behrens noted: “Our age has been seized by a haste that leaves no time for absorption in details. When we race at high speed through the metropolis, we can no longer see the details of buildings. Just as the images of the city seen from an express train passing by at high speed can only have an impact through their silhouettes, individual buildings can no longer speak for themselves. Such a way of seeing has already become a habit for us.”

References

No author credited (1975) Art Nouveau. New York: The Museum of Modern Art.

James-Chakraborty, K. (2000) German Architecture for a Mass Audience. eBrary [Online]. Available at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/pcollege/Doc?id=10070460 (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Killen, A. (2006) Berlin Electropolis: Shock, Nerves, and German Modernity. eBrary [Online]. Available at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/pcollege/Doc?id=10088443 (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Schmutzler, R. (1962) Art Nouveau. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc..

Vincent, C. P. (1997) Historical Dictionary of Germany’s Weimar Republic. eBrary [Online]. Available at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/pcollege/Doc?id=10004892 (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Images

Figure 1
NNDB (2010) Portrait of Peter Behrens. [Online] Available at: http://www.nndb.com/people/144/000100841/ (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Figure 2
Schmutzler, R. (1962) Art Nouveau. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., p.295, illus.

Figure 3
The Museum of Modern Art (1898) The Kiss. Peter Behrens [Online] Available at: http://moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A438&page_number=2&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Figure 4
No author credited (1975) Art Nouveau New York: The Museum of Modern Art, p. 36, illus.

Figure 5
The Museum of Modern Art (1898) Plate. Peter Behrens [Online] Available at: http://moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A438&page_number=5&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Figure 6
Cathlinargb (2009) Peter Behrens’ Front Door. Flickr [Online]. Available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cargb/3744261235/in/photostream/ (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Figure 7
Nathalle (2007) Deutsche Werkbund Peter Behrens 1907 08 Gesamkultur. Flickr [Online]. Available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathalle/538225674/in/photostream/ (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Figure 8
The New York Times Company (2010) The AEG Turbine Hall 1928 [Online]. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/arts/19iht-turbine.html?_r=1&ref=arts&pagewanted=all (Accessed: 21 November 2010).

Figure 9
Končal, P. (2010) Lettering on the Reichstag entrance.

Bernard C. Maybeck

November 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

“A Gothic man in the 20th Century”

Charles Keeler,  (Keeler, 2006)

Figure 1 - Portrait of Bernard C. Maybeck

Figure 1 - Portrait of Bernard C. Maybeck

Bernard C. Maybeck (Figure 1) was born February 7, 1862 in the New York City and died in Berkeley in 1957 according to Woodbridge (San Francisco Bay Area Arts & Crafts Movement: Bernard Maybeck, 2005). He was a prominent architect in an Arts and Craft movement. To achieve this title he had to study a lot. His father worked as a cabinetmaker at a Staten Island. There his father learned the crafting method and later on he opened a shop near Broadway. He was crafting custom made furniture. Bernard C. Maybeck lived in a house with his father’s brother who also had a family. In this culturally mixed environment he expanded his horizons beyond typical American boy. While his friends were playing sports games he was painting and developing his art style. His father was teaching him about art during Sundays.

After he finished high school he attended College of the City of New York. But he left the College before graduating because as he said he did not wanted to memorizing, formulas in order to pass mandatory course of chemistry according to Woodbridge (2006, p. 19). Later he went to France to France to study at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris according to Smith (1996, p.276). In Paris he discovered the beauty of churches. He liked how they are lightened inside by stained glass according to Woodbridge (2006, p. 18).

After school he moved back to United States and through New York headed west to California. He seemed a lot of opportunities to work on in California. There he lived in Berkeley where he became a professor on the University of California Berkeley. He was one of the mentors of the whole generation of Californian architects. He worked in many styles: Mission style, Gothic revival, Arts and crafts and Beaux style. In his work there were reflected cultures from all over the world into a strange connection. He mixed medieval European style, Japanese style and Celtic. The effect of this mixture was magical and never seen before.

Maybeck worked on his own house (Figure 2) in odd times between his other projects. His house looked as a Swiss chalet. He designed for himself all the furniture at his home. He created his handmade home by himself.

Figure 2 - Maybeck's house

Figure 2 - Maybeck's house

He incorporates new material and technologies in his buildings. He really liked to work with wood. Especially in California in the Bay area he used a lot of redwood. The most special effect was that all the elements were handcrafted. All the details, which are underlining the overall effect of his style. Colours were a big issue in his style. He used them as another element and the bold lines helped him to break the “white” space on facades. In the interior he liked to create patterns from small simple details. He played a lot with squares and made simple objects from them.

His wife which he met while he was in a Kansas, Annie White (Figure 3) according to Woodbridge (2006, p. 20) helped Bernard to manage all his things in the company. So he had time to focus on his creative work of designing buildings and interior. All his family was living in the cabin in the Forest Hill of Bay area. Sometimes the whole family dressed into European medieval costumes. The bay area was still not developed when he was living there.

Figure 3 - Anne Maybeck and Bernard Maybeck

Figure 3 - Anne Maybeck and Bernard Maybeck

Maybeck once said his theory about the design of the building to his first client for who he was designing a home: “A house should fit into the landscape as if it were a part of it,” he declared, and then added: “It should also be an expression of the life and spirit which is to be lived with that it. “Back of all this,” he continued, “is the simplicity, the sincerity and the naturalness of the expression.” (Keeler, 2006)

When he finished his first house for a friend. The friend told him: “It’s effect will become completely ruined when others come and build stupid white-painted boxes all about us”. So later on Maybeck designed other four houses in the community. And the whole neighborhood adopted his principles in architecture.

As Maybeck worked on more buildings he had to face of the strange talking about his style of creating houses and people talked about them like about the funny houses. But over time his reputation got better and people would appreciate his style and the speech died away.

The homes which Maybeck built were the first homes in the block and he set a style how the near by neighborhood would look in the future. Maybeck’s houses did not stand out from the others they are set into the existing community. But they are very different from the rest of the houses in the street. Most of the other houses are built out to the path walk to the end of the property to maximize the house living space. Maybeck’s houses have just the entry and smaller lower elements are closer to the street but the main space is set back of the buildings perimeter (Figure 4).

Figure 5 - Here you can see how Maybeck's house looks from the street view.

Figure 4 - Here you can see how Maybeck's house looks from the street view.

One of the most famous buildings, which Maybeck had created, is The First Church of Christ (Figure 5), Scientist, in Berkeley, California, is an aggregation of many aedicules. It was built in 1910. According to Unwin (1997, p. 83)

Figure 6 - Interior view of Christian Scientist Church by Bernard R. Maybeck.

Figure 5 - Interior view of Christian Scientist Church by Bernard R. Maybeck.

When you see Maybec’s building you would not be amazed for the first time. The building would evoke you to explore it more into the smallest details. After that you have only two choices. You would love his style or hate it.

Every building has its own style. But the think, which is common in all his projects, is the asymmetrical composition. He is putting the pieces of building together (Figure 6). For example one room looks like a cottage but from different angle you can see the rest of the house. He is helping to break the symmetrical composition by using different sizes of the windows. He was using bold moldings. Every element of the house is representing a separate building. The complex of these small buildings is the final house which he imagined he would built.

Figure 6 - Goslinski house

Figure 6 - Goslinski house

The houses, which he had designed are living in the own world of the style. Each home has perfectly positioned the rooms for its need of light. The asymmetrical shapes gave Maybeck the possibility to add porches and surround the house by the open garden space. His houses and very livable and I think addicted to live in. He designed the houses for the specific needs of the person who would live in.

He also designed a Palace of Fine Arts (Figure 7) for a Panana-Pacific International Exhibition in 1915.

Figure 7 - Palace of Fine Arts in Berkeley

Figure 7 - Palace of Fine Arts in Berkeley

The buildings are now over hundred years old and they can still tell us that they are innovative in the way how the perfect house should look. That the attention to the every single room in the building is important in the way how would they be used and how would they look from the outside. He also knew which parts of building should be protected from the street life and which should be open for light and living.

“You and I are molded by the land, the trees, the sky and all that surrounds us, the streets, the houses…. Our hearts are shaped by the plaster walls that cover us and we reflect plaster wall ideals…. When I make a vase, a cup, or saucer, they will be my expression and they will tell you who I am and what I am.” Bernard Maybeck (Coleman, p. 101)

Reference list

Coleman, C. (ed.) and Interior Design Magazine. (2001) Interior Design Handbook of Professional. eBrary [Online]. Available at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/pcollege/Doc?id=10041417 (Accessed: 5 November 2010).

Keeler, C. (2006) Bernard Maybeck: A Gothic Man- by Charles Keeler. eBrary [Online]. Available at: http://www.oregoncoast.net/maybeckgothicman.html (Accessed: 5 November 2010).

Smith, G. E. Kidder. (1996) Source Book of American Architecture. eBrary [Online]. New York: Princeton Architectural Press Available at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/pcollege/Doc?id=2004753 (Accessed: 5 November 2010).

Unwin, S. (1997) Analysing Architecture. eBrary [Online]. London: Routledge Available at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/pcollege/Doc?id=10057283 (Accessed: 5 November 2010).

Woodbridge, S. B. and Barnet, R. (2006) Bernard Maybeck: Visionary Architect. New York: Abbeville Press.

Images

Figure 1
California Digital Library (1912) Maybeck Portrait. Bernard Maybeck Collection, I. Personal Papers [Online]. Available at http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf0x0n98jc/?layout=metadata&brand=oac4 (Accessed: 5 November 2010).

Figure 2
California Digital Library (1980) Maybeck House at 957 Peralta. Albany Library Historical Photograph Collection [Online]. Available at: http://imgzoom.cdlib.org/Fullscreen.ics?ark=ark:/13030/kt5d5nb9qh/z1&&brand=calisphere# (Accessed: 16 November 2010).

Figure 3
Charles E. Steinheimer (1948) Bernard R. Maybeck [& Wife] [Online]. Available at: http://www.life.com/image/50448727 (Accessed at: 9 November 2010).

Figure 4
California Digital Library (1950) Roos House, San Francisco: [exterior, general view]. Roy Flamm Photographs of Buildings Designed by Bernard Maybeck [Online]. Available at: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf3g5008sf/?query=maybeck&brand=calisphere (Accessed at: 16 November 2010).

Figure 5
California Digital Library (1950) First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berkeley: [interior, view of sanctuary down nave]. Roy Flamm Photographs of Buildings Designed by Bernard Maybeck [Online]. Available at: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf2q2nb4d4/?query=maybeck&brand=calisphere (Accessed at: 16 November 2010).

Figure 6
California Digital Library (1950) Goslinski house, San Francisco: [exterior, general view]. Roy Flamm Photographs of Buildings Designed by Bernard Maybeck [Online]. Available at: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf467nb5t5/?layout=metadata&brand=calisphere (Accessed at: 16 November 2010).

Figure 7
California Digital Library (1950) Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco: [rotunda, colannade, and pond]. Roy Flamm Photographs of Buildings Designed by Bernard Maybeck [Online]. Available at: http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf3b69p1d2/?layout=metadata&brand=calisphere (Accessed at: 16 November 2010).

Resources

Blakesley, R.P. (2006) Arts and Crafts Movement. London: Phaidon.

Hitchcock, H.R. (1963) Architecture – Nineteenth and twentieth Centuries. Second edition. Great Britain: Penguin Books Professional Publishing.

San Francisco Bay Area Arts & Crafts Movement (2005) [Online]. Available at: http://webspace.webring.com/people/kj/jwheelr_2000/bmaybeck.html (Accessed: 5 November 2010).


Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

November 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Figure 1 - Portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Figure 1 - Portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (Figure 1) was born at Albi in the night of November 24, 1864 into an aristocratic family so that causes many problems in his life. The biggest problem was that he inherited a weakness of bones. He had two major leg injuries in his youth and he stopped growing and was crippled for life. According to Visani (1970, p. 3) his parents were first cousins, Count Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec Monfa and Adele Tapie de Celeyran, whose titles of nobility can be traced to the time of Charlemagne. He spent his childhood at his mother’s chateaux of Bosc and Celeyran with numerous cousins. His parents passion for hunting did not touched him that much so his father lost interest in him because he was not able to led the life he imagined he would have. However his mother supported him and gave him her love and constant support. Due to his sickness and mental problems in 1874 his mother withdrew him from the school in Paris where they moved two years ago and he had a private lessons back in Albi.

But the painting of horses (Figure 2), which he liked, was his gate to the artistic field. He had always a great imagination so it was easier for him to transfer his thoughts to a “paper”. In 1882 his mother sent him to the studio of René Princetau the animal painter form Bordeaux. “Later, when Princetau saw that he could not teach his pupil adequately, he introduced him to Léon Bonnat, a successful but boring painter.” according to Visani (1970, p. 6) so Henry had moved to a new atelier closer to the Montmarter hill. But three months later Bonnat’s studio closed so he moved with other pupils to the studio of Fernand Cormond on the slopes of Montmartre. Henry was happier in his studio that in Bonnat’s because he had here more freedom in new styles and with a group of friends they had more entertainment and did some pranks. “In art, Lautrec found a reason for living, as he did in his circle of lively and fun-loving friends, who were always eager to respond to the stimuli of novelty and eccentricity.” according to Visani (1970, pp. 6-7) When Henri left Cormon’s studio in 1884 he got a place to live in at the house of Grenier.

Figure 2 - Two horses and an ordonnance 1880

Figure 2 - Two horses and an ordonnance 1880

The major turn point in Lautrec’s career was that he met Aristide Bruant. The composer and performer of songs. “Lautrec was fascinated by his anarchism, his sudden bursts of ingenuous affection, and his show of culture coloured by verbal vulgarity.” according to Visani (1970, p. 8 ) Henri has created some of his best posters for Bruant. (Figure 3) Because he knew Bruant he got a connection to a bohemian underworld for whom he was doing his posters.

Figure 3 - Ambassadeurs: Aristide bruant - 1892

Figure 3 - Ambassadeurs: Aristide bruant - 1892

Montmartre was always a place where artist lived for centuries and also a small district of Paris where normal Parisians people did not wanted to go, because of the strange smell of farms and the dark streets were the place were robbers and murders settled their accounts with enemies. Over time when all the cabarets were built Montmartre changed so did the atmosphere in that place. And Lautrec found there the right place for his daily inspiration. And over time it showed up that he was the most influenced by red head cabaret dancers and their lives.

Henri was not always happy with his life but when he got into the brothels he liked very much he was in his world. He was the heart of Montmartre for so many people. Due to the need for alcohol he had always a lot of friends around him and of course mostly women. Sometimes he went to live with them into the brothel for few weeks straight. They took him as a part of their “family”. And Henry was obsessed with them and he loved the shapes of women’s body. From this time when eh was living with all the prostitutes one of the most famous paintings was created by him. Its called “At Rue des Moulins, 1894” (Figure 4). And that is right that he lived with them because it seems to me as a great way how to know them and give extra emotion to their faces which he could studied over time. Henry liked to express the subjects feelings by showing the face expression on the paint.

Figure 4 - At Rue des Moulins, 1894

Figure 4 - At Rue des Moulins, 1894

I like the thing how Lautrec was bringing drawing skills into the painting and this novelty turned into a new style the post-impressionism. He made quick sketches at the place where he saw same interesting subject a after that he worked on the final piece at his studio slowly.

From my point of view Henri was a true founder of the commercial design and the whole way, which he gone through to the final point of creating a posters is a inspiration for me. I do not think I would have the same objects of inspiration as he had. But his life showed me how you can be easily influenced by the objects which you are surrounded with.

Lautrec looks to me as a brave person that is not bothered by his physical problems. (Maybe he was hiding it with the alcohol). But he was always happy and surrounded with his friends. He expressed his emotions in the painting of women he loved or somehow amazed him. He was painting the same subject repetitively after few years so you could see their change of emotions and how they felt in that period of time when they were painted. He liked to position the model into a emotional unusual pose to give a deeper meaning to the person and try to give them a deeper meaning.

If you look at his poster work it is amazing that he found the main subject and he played and developed the meaning to create it more abstract. As the poster for Simpson chains (Figure 5). Where he shows that one cyclist with Simpson chain is faster than five guys on a bike with a regular chain. I like this kind of hidden meaning in his interpretation of the product.

Figure 5 - Poster for La Chaine Simpson - 1894

Figure 5 - Poster for La Chaine Simpson - 1894

Another example is the poster for Moulin Rouge (Figure 6) which made him literary famous over night. Because there were 3000 posters all over Paris and citizens stole most of the and they hang there at their homes. The poster lives in its own place, in the cabaret. The main subject the dancer is detailed because that is why people are going there. The silhouettes around are know as the wealthy people who have to money to spend in there. The yellow beams of the gas light is creating the atmosphere. So the cabaret dancer is there as the connection between these elements. In this poster Henry told that the high class is enjoying the nights in the cabarets in Moulin Rouge so that means that is a good valuable entertainment also for a others.

Figure 6 - Poster - Moulin rouge : La Goulue 1891

Figure 6 - Poster - Moulin rouge : La Goulue 1891

He was very limited by the printing abilities of that time so he could not use any photographs he had to draw mostly silhouettes even thou he was able to paint the famous persons of that time such as Oscar Wilde who was his good friend and Henry saved him from a trial by drawing his character more often so the public would liked him more.  He often went to London for his commercial work and England was the only country he liked to travel to. “During the 1890s, Lautrec considerably enlarged his subject-matter. He was interested for instance in medicine; he once said that if he had not been a painter he would have become a doctor or surgeon.” According to Sutton (1966, p.19) He went to see a operation and also he sketched a notes of the process of the operation.

Lautrec’s last years were painful. After two years of very intense sickness. His passion for fine cocktails and mysterious Absinth ended his life on 9 September at 2.15 a.m. His body is buried at Verdelais.

References:

Sutton, D. (1966) Lautrec. London: Spring Arts Boks.

Visani, M. C. (1970) Toulouse-Lautrec – The life and work of the artist illustrated with 80 colour plates. London: Thames and Hudson.

Images

Figure 1
Portrait of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec [Online]. Available at: http://www.henri-de-toulouse-lautrec.info/images/portret.jpg (Accessed: 2 November, 2010).

Figure 2
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec : Two horses and an ordonnance [Online]. Available at: http://www.henri-de-toulouse-lautrec.info/detail.php?id=056 (Accessed: 2 November, 2010).

Figure 3
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec : Ambassadeurs : Aristide bruant [Online]. Available at: http://www.henri-de-toulouse-lautrec.info/detail.php?id=A4 (Accessed: 2 November, 2010).

Figure 4
The Waitting Room In The Rue Of The Moulins [Online]. Available at: http://www.toulouse-lautrec-foundation.org/The-Waitting-Room-In-The-Rue-Of-The-Moulins.html (Accessed: 2 November, 2010).

Figure 5
Poster for “La Châine Simpson” | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston [Online]. Available at: http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/poster-for-la-ch-ine-simpson–168462 (Accessed: 2 November, 2010).

Figure 6
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec : Moulin rouge : La Goulue [Online]. Available at: http://www.henri-de-toulouse-lautrec.info/detail.php?id=A1 (Accessed: 2 November, 2010).

Resources

Negoescu, D. (2006) Toulouse Lautrec & Carmen Guedin: Context. Available at: http://blogs.princeton.edu/wri152-3/f05/negoescu/context_1.html [Online] (Accessed: 2 November, 2010).

Toulouse-Lautrec: The Full Story. (2006) Channel 4 [UK], 16 December 2006.

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