Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Lalique Coquilles Bowl-Piece of the Week

Lalique always did simple design well.
Here is a version of a bowl that is often overlooked by Lalique collectors because its not the rarest or the most expensive.
For that reason its a really good way to start off a collection.
Expect to pay a couple of hundred pounds for a small  frosted version and about £3-400 for an opalescent version. 

René Jules Lalique

René Jules Lalique was born in Ay, Marne, France on April 6, 1860, and died May 5, 1945.
He was a glass designer, renowned for his stunning creations of perfume
In 1882 he became a freelance designer for several top jewelry houses in Paris and four years later established his own jewelry workshop. By 1890, Lalique was recognized as one of France's foremost Art Nouveau jewelry designers; creating innovative pieces for Samuel Bing's new Paris shop, La Maison de l'Art Nouveau. He went on to be one of the most famous in his field, his name synonymous with creativity and quality.

In the 1920s he also became famous for his work in the Art Deco style. Among other things he was responsible for the walls of lighted glass and the elegant glass columns which filled the dining room and grand salon of the SS Normandie.

René Lalique is buried in Le Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

Recognised as one of the world's greatest glass makers and jewellery designers of the art Nouveau and art Deco periods, Rene Jules Lalique was an imaginative and creative artist in all his work. Lalique's early life was spent in many different types of artistic businesses, acting as apprentice and assistant. This heavily influenced the designs he used in his later life, including his emphasis on glass. He used the most modern and innovative manufacturing techniques and equipment available, allowing more than one glass piece to be made at a time while still looking hand made, which meant his quality jewellery was available to the general public.

Rene Jules Lalique's early life was spent learning the methods of design and art he would use in his later life. He was born on the 6th of April, 1860, in the town of Ay, France. At the age of two his family moved to a suburb of Paris due to his fathers work, but travelled to Ay for summer holidays. These trips to Ay influenced Lalique's later naturalistic glasswork. When he was twelve, he entered the Collège Turgot where he started drawing and sketching. With the death of his father two years later, Lalique began working as an apprentice to the goldsmith Louis Aucoq in Paris, and attending evening classes at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs. He worked here for two years and then moved to London to attend the Sydenham Art College for two years. At the Sydenham art college, his skills for graphic design were improved, and his naturalistic approach to art was further developed. When he returned from England, he worked as a freelance artist, designing pieces of jewellery for French jewellers. Following this, he opened a business in 1885, and designed and made his own jewellery and other glass pieces for the rest of his life.

Many things influenced Lalique's work, including the natural environment, and the art Nouveau and art Deco periods.. The summer holidays Lalique spent at Ay, in France, and the time he spent at the Sydenham college of Art in London, heavily influenced Lalique's naturalistic work. As a result, many of his jewellery pieces and vases showcase plants, flowers and flowing lines.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Arthur Dooley Bull-Piece of the Week.

 I used to think Arthur Dooley was a bad sculptor......that was until I saw this piece that I had to buy and strong it is.
I then wrote up his biography in simple form and in doing so I began to understand him more.
Born in Liverpool in 1929, Dooley worked as a welder on the Ark Royal.

He was working, tirelessly, around Liverpool, right up until his death in 1994. He was a boxer and once came to blows in the Everyman with Arthur Ballard an art teacher who had taught Stewart Sutcliffe.

He created numerous religious figures in polished bronze using unorthodox techniques and unusual interpretations. The Black Christ on Princes Avenue being one, that went down like a lead balloon.

He buttonholed Hesseltine after the Toxteth Riots and pleaded with him “Don’t let them knock down the Albert Dock”.

His first sculpture was made in an army prison in Egypt where he served a sentence for going AWOL. Conflicting reports, one saying he tried to join the PLO.

Upon his unceremonious return from the army, he joined a drawing class at the Whitechapel gallery in London.

He was then employed as a janitor. His job included clearing up after the sculptors and setting up materials, then he began to make his own work...using scraps of metal left over.

His lead cast piece of a crucified Jesus received a good response around the college. From these humble beginnings, in 1962 he exhibited at St Martins Gallery, a stones throw from the college where he had worked. Cast a bronze bull for London weekend’s south bank building. He met the great art critic Greenberg and made several appearances on the "Tonight" programme. I saw an interview he made with Bill Shankly. He dubbed the new Cathedral Paddy’s Wigwam. He was featured on This is Your Life.

When Henry Moore, overworked turned down the Stations of the Cross at the Benedictine Community of Ampleforth Monastery Dooley took up the commission.

Later he would say the shipyard was really my art school.

Deeply concerned about social problems of his day. He was a member of the communist party. He was always an outspoken and immensely religious letting the materials he worked with speak. His workshop 34-36 Seel Street is intact. It needs preserving.

He was a active member of the Liverpool Academy.
He campaigned to have the right for Liverpool artists to show their wares outside the Bluecoat. He is slowly being recognised as an important man active in town planning not afraid to have his say.

Remember Him.

His work has been going up at an amazing now seems he is trendy something he would have hated I think. It is now not being afforded by the people who deserve his work.
 I also think that some of those buying his work driving his prices up are more likely to be investors who would not know a good sculpture from a bad sculpture. It should not be that someone owns a Dooley, but do they have a good one, because there are many not so good ones out there.
His work can be confused with Brian(I am now a native American Indian) Burges and Sean Rice.
 If you study his work you can feel his influences.
His pupil Stephen Broadbent has mad a fortune churning out Dooley inspired works to undescerning patrons with more money than sense.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Thonet Rocking Chair. Piece of the Week.

The Thonet Rocking Chair. Its hard to think this design has been around since 1862. No-one seems to know who designed it. It was probably one of the first flat packs of its day, made up of simple bentwood elements that can be easily transported.
This is the first one I have bought and is in excellent condition having been recovered probably in the 1960's. Its not as simple as the later Joseph Hoffman designs but it is simple to equate this method of construction with the way furniture was to be designed by all, with cost of production and ease of assembly in mind.
Mies Van Der Rohe owes a debt of gratitude to Thonet and their pioneering use of beech. Van Deh Rohe would employ the use of simple shapes and use he strength of steel to design cantilevered shapes.

Beech is a tight grained timber that allowed the steaming of the wood and the immediate bending into shapes, that must have astounded when first retailed.
Or maybe they were criticised taking away the skill of the cabinet makers art. But what is in no doubt is that it helped make furniture affordable for the mass market.