Monthly Archives: March 2017

Archival photos from Life Magazine




Goblet with bacchanalia celebration relief of woman playing a drum

Bacchanalia celebration ceramic goblet



Journey of LIFE


Naturally my insatiable art curiosity was piqued when I noticed that the LIFE Magazine archives, pre. 1972, had been made available for viewing.  LIFE was a pioneer in publishing photographs of the documentary style and their collection is extensive. Life’s entire library consists of roughly 10 million photos, and was one of the premier platforms for photojournalists in the 20th century. Google began creating the online photo archive for Life magazine in 2008 and it had slowly gathered momentum. All of the photos of this era were taken with film cameras, most are monochrome and some of the images have been scanned directly off the proof sheet and have never been previously published.
The combination of art with good quality photography is always appealing and even though LIFE only occasionally did art pictorials, there was a trove of beautiful images in the vault. I came across some Picasso pieces I had never seen before and some interesting Roma Bacchanalia reliefs and pottery. There were also fascinating images from the 1939 World Fair and classic African tribal art and Peruvian artifacts. Photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gjon Mili, Margaret Bourke-White, Andreas Feininger, Gordon Parks and Dimitri Kessel are some of the wonderful LIFE photographers that I’ve presented here.
Online curation is not dissimilar to collecting in the real world where exploring archives and searching through a thrift shop has an aligned objective, to discover an object to admire, appreciate and prepare for presentation, whether it be restoration or editing. This foray into the LIFE archives definitely delivered.


Search tip – Add “source:life” to any Google image search and this will take you to only the LIFE photo archive. For example: 1957 source:life



Drummer Gene Kruper playing , photo by Gjon Mili

Gene Krupa , photo Gjon Mili



Jean Arp smoothing a abstract sculpture, photo Gjon Mili

Jean Arp polisihing a sculpture in his garden in Paris



Ringling Brothers acrobat – photo by Nina Leen




The Spy In Black movie poster in Ismalia in Egypt and a man with a dinkey and cart - photo - Margaret-Bourke-White

‘The Spy In Black’ movie poster in Ismalia, Egypt and a man with a donkey and cart –

 Margaret Bourke-White



Henri Cartier-Bresson photo at a museum, in Naples LIFE

‘Museum’ – Henri Cartier-Bresson, Naples



Fashion model Donyale Luna wearing long leather boots on the runway in Sydney

Fashion model Donyale Luna on the runway in Sydney




Cynthia-the-mannequin 1937 by Alfred-Eisenstaedt-

Cynthia the mannequin

Photo Alfred Eisenstaedt



Aiye-African-song and dance-1950-Gjon-Mili

Aiye African dancer – Photo Gjon Mili



Aiye African dancer and drummers – Photo Gjon Mili




Alfred-Eisenstaed photo-of-fountain-sculpture 1939 World Fair

‘Jonas and the Whale’ – Carl Milles

 1939 World Fair

Photo –  Alfred Eisenstaed


henry-moore-with his sculpture - photo by Gjon Mili

Henry Moore – photo Gjon Mili



Pier-Angeli on a busy movie set photo by Allan Grant - 1954

Pier Angeli on a movie set

photo by Allan Grant – 1954



fountain wth a white sculpture of a naked woman on a horse - 1939 World Fair

Carl Milles  1939 World Fair

“Europa and the Bull”

Photo –  Alfred Eisenstaed


An ancient sculpture from the collection of primitive art at Pennsylvania University Museum. – Eliot Elisofon



billboard-depicting-actress-Marlene-Dietrich in NY Photo by Andreas Feininger

Billboard depicting actress Marlene Dietrich in NY

Photo Andreas Feininger, 1944




‘Models of the sculpture Night’ by artist Paul Manship, created for the 1939-1940 World’s Fair.
Margaret Bourke-White





Andreas Feininger, LIFE

‘A technically perfect photo can be the most boring image in the whole world’ – Andreas Feininger



Andreas-Feininger-1954-Peruvian-Art-At-Museum-Of-Modern-Art Metal face madk

Peruvian face mask – Andreas Feininger 1954

Museum Of Modern Art, NY



Primitive African sculpture- photo by Andreas Feininger

Pennsylvania. University Museum.



Carved staue-primitive-African-sculptures-at-Penn.-Univ.-Museum

Primitive African sculpture- photo by Andreas Feininger

Pennsylvania. Univ. Museum.



Art Objects By Paul Feeley 1951 Photographer Bob Gomel

Art Objects By Paul Feeley Photographer Bob Gomel




Nude Descending by Gjon Mili, a photographic rendering of Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2

‘Nude Descending’ by Gjon Mili, a photographic rendering of Marcel Duchamp’s cubist painting – Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2




The Bacchanalia were Roman festivals of Bacchus, based on various ecstatic elements of the Greek Dionysia




Goddess Ioniun who reared Dionysus, under a grape vine

Goddess Ioniun and young Dionysus, , god of wine. rock-cut image is still (Azov 1948) shown near the ancient pinnacle town of Tantalus




alfred-eisenstaedt-photo sculpture-by-joseph-reiner-

Art Deco sculpture by Joseph Reiner – photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

1939 World Fair NY



“American Girl in Italy” – front of Caffè Gilli, Florence, Italy by Ruth Orkin



“American Girl in Italy” – Model Jinx Allen – ‘Staring at Statue’ by Ruth Orkin

In 1951, Life sent her on assignment to Israel. From where she went to Italy, and it was in Florence that she met Jinx Allen (now known as Ninalee Craig), a painter and fellow American.



Photo-by-Gordon-Parks Harlem 1943

A Woman and her Dogs in Harlem – Gordon Parks



Venice-Biennale-Art-1949-Dmitri-Kessel a large mural of a rearing white stallion

XXV Venice Biennale  – Dimitri Kessel



Jean Patchett in art gallery photo by Nina Leen, 1949.

Jean Patchett photo by Nina Leen




XXV Venice Biennale  – photo Dimitri Kessel



XXV Venice Biennale exhibition – photo Dimitri Kessel



XXV Venice Biennale, 1950




Carved African tribal figurine—photo by Eliot Elisofon





Carving of African tribal king—Eliot Elisofon





‘Centaur’ Bronze sculpture by Pablo Picasso

 Photo Gjon Mili, 1948.


Aiye African percussionists - Photo Gjon Mili

Aiye African percussionists – Photo Gjon Mili





Cul Asia Mespot Sumerian Statue of seated man with stone carved script

Gudea, Prince of Lagash, statue dedicated to Ningizzada, Neo-Sumerian, from Telloh, ancient Girsu, c.2130 BC




Minoan pottery with twin handles

Minoan pot with unusual motif





Priest sculptor – photo Alfred Eisenstaedt




Dionysus-Satyr-Naples ceramic vessel

Dionysus and Satyr ceramic vessel, Naples



Dmitri-Kessel photo of outdoor gardens and statues

Photo by Dmitri-Kessel




Pablo Picasso Photo by Gjon Mili



Egyptian street cafe 1940's

Guests on the terrace of Shepheard’s Hotel, Cairo, circa 1940. Photo by Hulton



Fashion model Donyale Luna arching back while modeling backless see-through crocheted floor-length dress

Fashion model Donyale Luna arching back while modeling backless see-through crocheted floor-length dress.

1967, Sydney, Australia

 She is remembered for portraying the witch Oenothea in the 1969  film Fellini Satyricon and being the world’s first black supermodel, and the first to grace a Vogue cover in the mid 60’s



Sculpture Figure, 1935. Picasso Gjon Mili MOMA NY

Figure,  Picasso Photo by Gjon Mili

1935, MOMA NY



Figure of woman holding round object & vase, undated. Bronze sculpture by Pablo Picasso. Gjon Mili 1967

Bronze sculpture – Figure of woman holding round object & vase  by Pablo Picasso. photo Gjon Mili




George-Rodger-naked Sudanese-watering-crops-with-pots

Sudanese watering crops with spherical clay pots – photo George Rodger




Head of a Woman by Picasso - photo by Gjon Mili 1967 Mougins France

‘Head of a Woman’ by Picasso – photo by Gjon Mili

1967 Mougins, France




Henri Matisse sculpting nude female figure while sitting in bed in his apartment -Photographer-Dmitri Kessel

Henri Matisse sculpting nude female figure while sitting in bed in his apartment – Photographer-Dmitri Kessel

Nice, France 1951



Jacques Tati in New York by Joel Yale for LIFE, 1958

Jacques Tati in New York by Joel Yale for LIFE, 1958




Creating James Dean heads in Hollywood photo by Allan Grant

Creating James Dean heads in Hollywood – photo by Allan Grant




Jazz-trumpeter-Louis-Armstrong with a group of woman panting - photo Gordon Parks

Jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong posing for art students – photo Gordon Parks




Louvre-Museum-1953-Paris- Dmitri Kessel Curators moving a Greek statue

Curators moving a Greek statue – – Dmitri Kessel

Louvre Museum 1953, Paris



Louvre Museum , Paris by Dmitri Kessel




Mary-Callery,-Sculpture of two abstract figures----Gordon-Parks-1952

Mary Callery, Sculptor —- Gordon Parks



Faces-of-Egypt,-life-magazine,-circa-1940's An Egyptian man standing under a large arch

Egyptian arch, 1940



Nina-Leen,photograph of model -Jean-Patchett,-Life,-1949

Nina Leen photograph of model  Jean Patchett for LIFE




Boardroom Photo by Nina Leen for Life Magazine, 1956.

Nina Leen for Life Magazine, 1956.




Pablo Picasso-light-painting-at-Vallauris

Pablo Picasso light painting at Vallauris – Photo Gjon Mili




Pair of dancing figures, metal cutouts, folded & painted, by Pablo Picasso. Gjon Mili 1967

Pair of dancing figures, metal cutouts, folded & painted, by Pablo Picasso. Photo Gjon Mili




Yellow lazy boy convergence photo - Joao.Almeida.d.Eca

Yellow Lazy Boy convergence – photo – Joao Almeida d-Eca

Palm Springs, 1956




Paul Delvaux, ‘A Siren in Full Moonlight’ oil painting–Dmitri Kessel

XXV Venice Biennale, 1950




Peruvian Art At Museum Of Modern Art

Peruvian artifact – Andreas Feininger 1954




Chicago outdoor drive in theater Francis-Miller-1951

Chicago outdoor drive in theater – Francis Miller




Remugen Bridge Okinawa Casino & Anzio Battlefield Taejon Battle Ground

Photo Walter Sanders And Joe Scherschel And N R Farbman




Sam-Zemurray photo by Eliot Elisofon

Sam Zemurray photo by Eliot Elisofon




Reclining Sculpture-By-Dina-Melicov

Sculpture By Dina Melicov




Sculpture-By-Picasso -- Little-Girl-Skipping-Rope Gjon Mili photo

Sculpture By Picasso ‘Little Girl Skipping Rope’ – Photo  Gjon Mili




‘I am Cuba’     Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov and using Infra Red film stock




Starlets Jean Colleran, Peggy Lloyd & Betty Jane Hess imitating a statue at home of publisher William Randolph Hearst Sr.

1943 Photo by John Florea



Starving old blind Indian beggar with stooped old woman standing next to empty grain pots, during famine caused by a 2-yr. droughtin Mysore

Margaret Bourke-White 1946



The-Westinghouse-Exhibit with Elektro the robot

The-Westinghouse Exhibit with Elektro the robot. 1939 World Fair

Photo –  Alfred Eisenstaed



US gymnast Muriel Davis practicing at the National Gymnastic Clinic. Stan Wayman

US gymnast Muriel Davis practicing at the National Gymnastic Clinic. Photo Stan Wayman




Villa-Albani-wall-relief, Roma

Villa Albani wall relief, Roma




Venice Gondola & US DUKW amphibious trucks on the canal in Venice

Venice Gondolas & US DUKW amphibious trucks cruising the canals, WW2



Zulu chief drinking deeply from the beer gourd called 'inKezo

Zulu chief drinking from a beer gourd which is called ‘inKezo’



Life photo archive hosted by Google








NEXT POST  —  Romantic love in art, sculpture and clay


Sculptural teapot tempests



ceramic-teapot-in-browns by Suze Lindsay

Suze Lindsay


Blue and Yellow Running Man ceramic teapot---Tony Bennett

‘Blue and Yellow Running Man’  teapot — Tony Bennett

T’s made exhibition – Rye Art Gallery, UK


Tempest in a teapot


Storm in a teacup, tempest in a teapot, exaggerated sculptural teapot forms brewing up intriguing shapes that seem to transcend any wholistic coherence. Most of us were exposed to the quirkiness of teapots at a young age when we were treated to renditions of “I’m A Little Teapot” at kindergarten. Maybe this  partially explains how a certain childlike freedom of expression seems to manifest when potters cross paths with teapots. As most are hand built and asymmetrical, there is possibly of a release being experienced from the symmetrical constraints of wheel thrown forms. There certainly seems to be an enthusiastic amount of form manipulation, shape shifting and stretching of teapot boundaries occurring.
In Design Theory, form follows function, but the new paradigm of teapot construction is function might possibly follow exaggerated form and if it doesn’t, then you always have a teabag to fall back on. There are plenty of these tea brewing masterpieces that manage to be utilitarian but others are purely decorative. Teapots apparently bring luck, as tradition has it in Russia for giving a bridesmaid a teapot – as a gesture of better luck next time.


Michael Lucero ceramic teapot on stand

Michael Lucero

Some of the following teapots look like they are eagerly waiting to be part of a tea break conversation and quite capable of participating in an animated discussion. Being a 4-5 cup a day tea connoisseur myself, my teapot gets more than enough attention, but they do appear to suffer from a ‘look at me’ complex, relative to the other table wares. Being a favorite British preoccupation, I always associated their ritualistic tea habit with being a slightly eccentric pastime, this being reinforced by outlandish spectacles like Lewis Caroll’s Mad Hatter tea party. Not to mention the teapot’s Seer like attributes for being a source of tea leaves for predicting the future. The appearance of most of this collection of teapots here tends to support this notion. In times of chaos there is nothing more reassuring then an orderly cup of tea from a teapot of whimsy.  As they say, “this morning’s tea makes yesterday distant”


Tea here now – one pot, infinite flavors

Some ancient sayings reinforcing teas reputation for quirkiness and wisdom:


The sounds of the tea being made invites the peach blossoms to peep in through the window. ~Uson, quoted in Sasaki Sanmi, Sadô Saijiki


Having picked some tea, he drank it,
Then he sprouted wings,
And flew to a fairy mansion,
To escape the emptiness of the world….
~Chiao Jen


If you have one teapot
And can brew your tea in it
That will do quite well.
How much does he lack himself
Who needs to have more things?
~Sen no Rikyū



Afternoon teap ritual

‘The King’s Speech’ afternoon tea



Glass French-Teapot with a gold filigree surround

Glass French teapot – 1840



The teapot song a man in a tuxedo holding illustrated teapots

This cheeky song was penned in 1939 by George Harry Sanders and Clarence Kelley with the intention of creating a tune that would support tap dancing at Kelley’s dance school. The staccato rhythm of “I’m a little teapot, short and stout” was ideal for the young toe tappers.

A girl with a tiny play teaset

Coralie Beatrix dress



Gail-Mackiewic creative ceramic teapots

Gail Mackiewic


‘Dragonfly Teapot’Barbara Chadwick



Penguin ring teapot

Ray Bub – ‘King Penguins Upright Ring Teapot’




Egyptian revival teapot - Royal-Manufacture-of-Naples

Egyptian Revival teapot—1785.-Royal Manufacture of Naples

Florence Porcelain Museum



sea liner teapot

Ceramic sea liner teapot



Marlene Bowman elegant ceramic teapot

Marlene Bowman



Adrian-Sandstrom quaint ceramic teapot

Adrian Sandstrom



Adrian-Saxe gold swirl teapot with rock base

Golden glaze teapot with rock base – Adrian Saxe




Michael-Lucero,-Conquistador mas with a red teapot head

Michael Lucero,   ‘Conquistador’




Amy-Sanders-orange and brown deep textured teapot

Amy Sanders

Mud Fire Gallery



Chameleon pourer – Ardmore Ceramics




Long Neck Teapot – Carol Wedemeyer


Carol Wedemeyer constructing a ceramic teapot

Carol Wedemeyer



alexander-miroshnychenko ceramic teapot in turquoise and brown

Alexander Miroshnychenko



Leopard in a leopard skin boot teapot

‘Fit to a Tea’ is a teapot in the form of a leopard in a patterned boot – Meryl Ruth




Geoffrey-Swindell-teardrop teapot

Geoffrey Swindell



Joanne-Russo teapot with geometric pattern in relief texture

Joanne Russo



 Judy and Larry Cunningham of California handcrafted gourd teapot with glass handle

Gourd teapot with glass handle   Judy and Larry Cunningham





rebeccalowery-on-Etsy green teapot

rebeccalowery on Etsy



John-Kellum ceramic teapot

John Kellum


Josie-Jurczenia red ceramic teapot with white underglaze sgaffito

Josie Jurczenia red teapot with white underglaze and scratching



Jake-Johnson-Teapot - pastel turquoise matt green

Jake Johnson – 2010




Kurt-Weiser-Adam-and-Eve and large bird teapot

Kurt Weiser  –  ‘Adam and Eve’ 




Panda eating bamboo teapot

Giant Panda munching bamboo teapot



Jane-Shellenbarger oriental style teapot

Jane Shellenbarger orental style tea/coffee pot




Judy-Weeden black and white geometric sgraffito teapot

Judy Weeden, Canada – ‘Memimage’ teapot




Karen Portaleo – lady holding child and pig teapot




Charming octopus wood teapot

Cheery octo teapot with octopus nose lid

Hand carved bass wood and acrylic paint. Kamm Foundation



-Lydia-Buzio ceramic teapot

‘Roofscape Teapot’ – Lydia Buzio




Lana-Wilson blue with purple highlights teapot

Lana Wilson



Liz-Quackenbush teapot with blue spirals on white

Liz Quackenbush




Red Weldon Sandlin teapot with female figure lid

Red Weldon Sandlin




Tokumaru-Kyoko-white teapot

Tokumaru Kyoko




Meryl-Ruth..queen of hearts teapot

Meryl Ruth –  ‘The Queens Tea Yara’

photo Robert Diamonte


1785 teapot

Creamware taeapot – 1785



Gourd teapot with white rabbit motif on black and orange

Gourd teapot with glass handle –   Judy and Larry Cunningham



Michael-Lucero Head-with-Two-Curls-Teapot,

Michael Lucero – ‘Head with Two Curls Teapot’




Nicholas Joerling



Noel-Bailey white gourd like teaspot

Noel  Bailey




Noi Volkov – Dali Don Quixote teapot



Pamela-MacGregor orange and black detail teapot

‘Not A Rusty Bucket’ – Pamela MacGregor



julia-Galoway ceramic teapot - blue glaze with geometric detailed panels

Julia Galloway

Schaller Gallery



Ray-Bub ceramic tubular teapot

Ray Bub



Lomonosov porcelain teapot

Russian Lomonosov teapot



Richard-Notkin pyramid teapot

Richard Notkin




Vadim-Malkin-teapot-green and brown glaze

Vadim Malkin

In my work I attempt to investigate a transcendental facet of life, to find a soulful meaning to everyday living and combine it with style and whimsy. My work reflects growth, change, and adaptation. Stemming from an idealistic perspective of childhood memories, I have found a fondness for the ceremonial aspects of the tradition of tea. This nightly ritual brings families and friends together as they lounge, sip, and discuss the day’s events and adversities.



Sencha ewer or export teapot in the form of bamboo with painting of the three creeds Fengan with tiger, Confucius, and Laozi – 19th Century

© Los Angeles County Museum of Art




Steel-Plated-Teapot Scott Dooley

Steel Plated Teapot – porcelain sculpture by Scott Dooley





Helene Fielder Tea Pot Sculpture




Alice-DeLisle Tea Matron ceramic teapot

Alice DeLisle



German Meissen porcelain teapot

Meissan teapot in the shape of a peach, Germany 1725



Chandra-DeBuse lime green abstract pattern teapot

Chandra DeBuse




Tom Coleman

Tom and Elaine Coleman Gallery



Tom-Hubert-flamboyant teapot

Tom Hubert

Hubert Ceramics


Vorobiev teapot

Vorobiev teapot




Sgraffito female face motif teapot

 Fuller Craft Museum Image by Mryipyop, via flickr




Xenia-Mitrokhin-teapot with psychedelic decoration

Xenia Mitrokhin




Richard Godfrey polychrome futuristic ceramic teapot

Raygun atomic futuristic teapot – Richard Godfrey



Meissen-porcelain teapot with swimming fish and sea serpent

Meissen porcelain ocean theme teapot

circa 1729-31



David-Bennett wood carved teapot in a sea horse form

‘Tea Horse’David Bennett




Dwo-Wen-Chen whinsical teapot

Whimsical teapot with wizard hat lid – Dwo Wen Chen



Sausage dog teapot by Meryl Ruth

Sausage dog teapot – Meryl Ruth



‘Teapot and stand’  by Ralph Bacerra





joellynrock_ceramic--(Nicaraguan-Coffee-Break) black and white teapot

Joellyn Rock ceramic — ‘Nicaraguan Coffee Break’

Narrative teapot




Rebecca Mazur-(aka-Zimmerman),-Sandbag-Teapot,-1998

Rebecca Mazur – -yellow ‘Sandbag Teapot’





Ceramic teapot Yoshiro Ikeda








NEXT POST  —  Archival photos from Life Magazine


The Art of ‘ism’s



Alfred barr cubism and abstract art timeline chart

Alfred Barr cubism and abstract art timeline chart (click to expand)


Early 20th century art movements


The timeline illustration above highlights a concentration of art movements and genres occurring over a few decades around the turn of the 20th century.  This chart was created by Alfred Barr, the first director from the Museum of Modern Art, NY for the 1936 exhibition Cubism and Abstract Art. Africanism, Orientalism and Aestheticism also fits into this period.
Artists during this remarkable era had an uncanny ability to conceive original designs and conceptualize movements that possessed radical innovations relative to the more staid and ornate excesses that had preceded them. Many of the artists encompassed numerous art mediums to define their styles and had a grandiose flair for expressing their art through various campaigns that included fashion, theater, advertising, interior decor and bold public promotion. From the outset they exuded a passionate belief in their artistic cause and an avid desire to share it. Manifestos, charters and collectives were formed to reinforce their beliefs.
The Italian futurists used public meetings to challenge and cajole fellow artists to abandon their attachment to classical styles and embrace new technology and avant-garde trends like cubism. The Russian constructivists shunned the easel arts as too bourgeois and promoted their movement with confrontational posters and radical set designs and costume in their theater and movies. The fauvists and the likes of Sonia Delaunay with her Orphism movement also adopted mediums that included ceramics, fashion, textile manufacturing and theater to define their style to great effect. The fauvists ignored ridicule from the critics and pushed forward with their agenda of vivid colours and lively brushstrokes.
As much as I would love to explore all the different genres for this post , I’m mainly concentrating on the ones that had a wide spread of mediums representing their unique styles.



‘The Muses’ – Maurice Denise

While attending the Academie Julian, Maurice Denise met fellow painters Pierre Bonnard and Paul Serusier. They, along with others like Paul Gaugin, established the avant-garde Nabi art form in 1890. Nabi in Hebrew means Prophet. These gentlemen found this to be the perfect description to what they knew would be the beginnings of a new expression. Though the men parted ways by 1900, the Nabi art form would remain and even influence future artists, which include the likes of Henri Matisse. Besides being a pioneer of the Les Nabi’s movement, his view of life helped lead to other art forms such as Abstract, Fauvism, and Cubism. He was also a member of the Symbolist Movement and Denis was among the first artists to insist on the flatness of the picture plane—one of the great starting points for modernism, as practiced in the visual arts. In 1898, he produced a theory of creation that found the source for art in the character of the painter: “That which creates a work of art is the power and the will of the artist.” Denis said that he was against academic art because it sacrificed emotion to convention and artifice, and was against realism because it was prose and he wanted music Above all he wanted beauty, which was an attribute of divinity.[7]




The seeds of Aestheticism had begun in the 1860’s when a group of artists which included William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti decided to reform the design standards of the age and shed the pompous opulence. They seeked a new expression of beauty to counteract the materialism and uninspiring art of the Victorian era. Aesthetic painters such as Whistler, Leighton, Watts, Albert Moore and Burne-Jones focused more on a pure beauty with enhanced mood, form and exquisite colour harmonies. This influenced the decorative arts and promoted a wider interest and market for the decoration of houses, with more integrated themes in interior design attracting attention.
The increasing popularity of Aesthetic taste included furniture design, ceramics, domestic metalwork and textiles with artists such as Walter Crane, Aubrey Beardsley and Christopher Dresser gaining prominence. Exotic Eastern influences, reflecting opening trade, included Japanese, Chinese, and Islamic influences and characterised the eclectic styles of the Aesthetic movement dedicated to heightened beauty. Art pieces were created simply for their inherent beauty and didn’t need to be justified with any functional need or message.

This “cult of beauty” led to the creation of ‘artistic’ furniture and more sophisticated decoration. During this era, artists’ houses and their extravagant lifestyles became the object of public fascination and provoked an upheaval in the architecture and interior decoration of houses to satisfy the desire for beauty in everyday life.



Theodore Deck, France




edward-lycett-vase-1886-90 footed vase with peacock motif and lion head handles

Peacock vase – Edward Lycett




Royal Worcester moon vase by Christopher Dresser



De-Morgan twin handled ceramic vessel

Large baluster vase – De Morgan





Worcester ‘Aesthetic Movement’ Monumental Vase and Feathers decoration




aesthetic movement_detailpg

Two birds earthenware harger – John Bennett





Art Nouveau cyclamen vase – Oputa Millet

( France ) 1875 circa




The Cubists challenged conventional forms of artistic representation, such as perspective, which had been the rule since the Renaissance. Pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques at the beginning of the 20th century, it was a radical style that revolutionized modern art and introduced a new approach in perception that matched the rapidly emerging modern age. The abstract styles of Paul Cezanne and Africanist sculptures were also an initial influence.



Carlo-Carra cubist abstract of a women on a balcony

‘Woman on the Balcony’ – Carlo Carra






Alexander Archipenko ‘Medrano II’





archipenko-nature-morte cubist sculpture

Alexander Archipenko – ‘Nature Morte’ 




Antoine Pevsner –  ‘Torso’-  Plastic and copper

1924-26, France




‘Woman with Mandolin’  – Picasso




Art Deco style plate in cubist decoration Schaffhauser Keramik 1950's by Kaiser

Art Deco style plate with cubist decoration – Schaffhauser Keramik  by Kaiser





Alexander Acarchipenko – ‘Two Women’





‘Day and Night’ – Salvador Dali

Art Bronze, Inc, California




cubist-nude female -panel-strong-harris

Cubist nude female wall panel – Harris Strong




Constructivism  &  Suprematism


Constructivism originated in Russia at the beginning of 1919, and had an ongoing influence on art movements of the 20th century. A central figure in Russian Constructivism, Alexander Rodchenko, rejected the established artistic conventions of self-expression and aesthetics, dedicating himself with revolutionary fervour to bringing art to the masses. His wife Varvara Stepanova was also a major constructivist artist and designer in her own right who took to fashion to create simple and functional, yet aesthetically pleasing quotidian objects for the general public.

Driven by the ideal of new design, the Constructivists created cubist/abstract paintings, concerned with the placement and movement of objects in space and emphasizing dynamic diagonal compositions, favouring the colours of red and black for their radical art. Their prime objective was to bring “Art into Life” with the goal “to unite purely artistic forms with utilitarian intentions.”




Soviet constructivist poster

“The Machine tool depots of the factories and plants await you. Let’s get industry moving.”




vadim-meller-constructivist costume-designs

Vadim Mellor costume design





Russian fashion photographers Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva constructivist inspired fashion shoot





 Silhouette of Factory Chimneys plate, Nina Zander




alexandra-exter-french-born-russia costume-design-for-a-female-character-in-la-dama-duende-phantom-ladythe-mcnay

Alexandra Exter – costume design for female character in La Dama Duende phantom lady

The Mcnay



russian-constructivist teapot-clock

Suprematism clock teapot

Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg




Kazimir Malevich Suprematist tea set – painted by Nikolai Suetin




Alexandra-Exter costume design for Salome

Alexandra Exter costume design for Oscar Wilde’s Salome




russkii_avangard teaset with suprematist design

Russki teaset



Alexandra Exter or Aleksandra Ekster, costume design. Her work, at first, were influenced by the geometric style of Cezanne , then by the cubism .

1924. Collection Lobanov-Rostovsky.




Nikolai Suetin painted tea service





Alexander Rodchenko Costume Design for We

A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum



Aelita constructivist set design

Aelita constructivist set design, 1924




Alexander-Belcova.- ceramic plate

Alexander Belcova





Constructivist outfit – Varvara Stepanova



stepanova dancing-figures-on-a-white-background

 ‘Dancing Figures on a White Background’ – Varvara Stepanova






The 1910 “Manifesto of the Futurist Painters”, was created by—Gino Severini, Giacomo Balla, Carlo Carrà, Umberto Boccioni and Luigi Russolo after they had aligned with original futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. Not renown for mincing their words it stated –

We are tired of the laziness of artists, who, ever since the sixteenth century, have endlessly exploited the glories of the ancient Romans. In the land where traditional aesthetics reigned supreme, new flights of artistic inspiration will emerge and dazzle the world with their brilliance.
We will fight with all our might the fanatical, senseless and snobbish religion of the past, a religion encouraged by the vicious existence of museums. We rebel against that spineless worshiping of old canvases, old statues and old bric-a-brac, against everything which is filthy and worm-ridden and corroded by time. We consider the habitual contempt for everything which is young, new and burning with life to be unjust and even criminal….

Their reactionary position was born out of a desire to pursue their art without restriction and unjust criticism and was probably needed to embrace the innovations of the new century and break the artistic stupor from the past. It’s hard to gauge how much influence the futurist cause had on the postwar explosion of modernist art in Italy, but I feel their input was influential.



tea-set-by-nicola-diulgheroff Italy

Futurist tea service – Nicola Diulgheroff




Ceramic plate – Roman Suta




Giuseppe Mazzotti, Italy




Sigismunds Vidbergs, plate «Aviation», 1926

Riga’s Porcelain Art. 1925–1940 – Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Riga



Giulio-D'Anna futurist painting

‘Senza Titola’  – Giulio D’Anna





Nicola Diulgheroff  – ‘La Madre’  (The Mother)


Modern and Contemporary Art   Cambi Auction House





Tullio Crali –  ‘Airplanes on the metropolis’


Harmonic Inspirations


Mark Kostabi, Back to the Futurist, 1991 Futurismic art

‘Back to the Futurist’ – Mark Kostabi





Cubo futurism – ‘Globe’ –   Krotkov Vassily






Bauhaus modernism


The Bauhaus school in Germany was the first institution in Europe dedicated to realizing the achievements of the new arts for the purposes of human existence. It promoted radically simplified forms using rationality and functionality, and the idea that mass-production was reconcilable with the individual artistic spirit. It was conceived with the aim to create a “total” work of art where all arts including architecture, crafts and fine arts were merged. The Bauhaus style went on to become one of the most influential currents in Modernist design and Architecture.

The architect Walter Gropius, founder and director of the Bauhaus, was among the pioneers in the fight against entrenched historical forms. “Today’s scientific and technological advances will not become assimilated into general culture as long as humankind still lives under medieval conditions. The machine is still a foreign object in the houses of today; the documents of technological culture are still relegated to books atop fancy carved desks, radio music by the fireplace. The age demands a style, a common denominator for its visible phenomena.”  It was in operation from 1919 to 1933.




Walter Gropius modernist chair



Bauhaus das-Triadische-Ballet

Oskar Schlemmer Bauhaus das Triadische Ballet, 1922

The Triadic Ballet was a widely performed avant-garde artistic dance and while Schlemmer was at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1929, the ballet toured, helping to spread the ethos of the Bauhaus.





Bauhaus Schlemmer ballet figures




Oskar Schlemmer, Spiral costume





Wassily Kandinsky inspired costume – Julie Lavefve-ss-2012




Oskar Schlemmer–Triadic Ballet





The early innovators of the Fauvist movement were Henri Matisse and André Derain, whose works emphasized painterly, spontaneous brush strokes and strident colors, while their subject matter had a high degree of simplification and abstraction. Fertile, bold colors were favoured over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. Fauvism was not a formal movement with a manifesto of rules and regulations but instead involved the instinctive coming together of artists who wished to express themselves freely with simplified drawing and expressive brushwork. Symbolist artist Gustave Moreau’s broad-mindedness, originality and affirmation of the expressive potency of pure color was inspirational for his students who included Henri Matisse who claimed, “He did not set us on the right roads, but off the roads. He disturbed our complacency.”
After viewing the boldly colored canvases of Henri Matisse, André Derain, Albert Marquet, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees van Dongen, Charles Camoin, and Jean Puy at the Salon d’Automne of 1905, the critic Louis Vauxcelles disparaged the painters as “fauves” (wild beasts), which was the source of the movement name. The pictures gained considerable condemnation in the press—”A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public” wrote the critic Camille Mauclair. The fauvists weren’t deterred by the condemnation and continued with their mission.
Another aesthetic influence for the early Fauvists was African sculpture, of which Vlaminck, Derain and Matisse were early collectors. The ceramic artist André Metthey was one of the first at this time to create pottery with fauvist imagery.





‘The Moment Of Truth’ – Paul Gauguin





André-METTHEY-(1871-1921)-&Maurice-de-VLAMINCK Fauvist vase

André Metthey / Maurice de Vlaminck Fauves vase




André-Derain-1907 - fauves vase with naked female figure motif

André Derain, 1907



Maurice de Vlaminck fauves ceramic plate

Maurice de Vlaminck




derain-andre-lidded vessel ceramique

Andre Derrain – lidded vase with motif vegetal avec person





Andre Metthey vase

1907 – 1909, Paris




‘The Aloes in Bloom’, Cassis, Henri Charles Manguin (1874-1949), considered one of the founding fathers of Fauvism.



André-Derain-Danseuse baluster vase

André Derain – ‘Danseuse’





Portrait No.1 – Joan Miro





Vase to baigneuses (bathers) by Raoul Dufy





Early 20th Century French Fauvist style vase, by possibly Edouard Cazaux




‘Woman with Flowered Hat’ – Kees Van Dogen



derain-andre baigneuses-dans-un-paysage christies new-york

Baigneuses dans un Paysage (Bathers in a Landscape) – Andre Derain




Fauvist Ceramic Exhibition

Shiodome Museum




Orphism or Orphic Cubism


Sonia Delaunay, who founded Orphism in 1911 with her husband Robert Delaunay, made costumes for ballet, theater, book illustrations, mosaics, stained glass, ceramics and textile design. The pair also devised another style known as simultaneism, which occurs when one design or element, when placed next to another, affects both pieces. Robert Delaunay’s background as a Fauvist artist was an obvious influence on their Orphism, which was characterized by the use of bright colors and geometric shapes.



sonia-delaunay-colors-abstraction-live-demais designed by lla Malomane

lla Malomane, one of Sonia Delaunay’s descendants, relaunched Sonia Delaunay’s fashion designs

Spring/Summer, 2014,



sonia-delaunay-limoges designed square ceramic bottle

Sonia Delaunay design for Limoges



delaunay and futurist style meets designer Salvatore Ferragamo

Designed by Salvatore Ferragamo, Italy





Robert Delaunay –  ‘Rythme N1′ – oil on canvas

In Homage to Bleriot, the artist celebrated the new dynamism of the new industrial age by painting vibrating discs of color that simulate plane propellers in motion.




‘Boule Colonials (French-Line)’ –  Stephane Gisclade





90 Days One Dream’ by Kristian Schuller




De Stijl, Mondrian-ism


Mondrian cylindrical vase

Mondrian vase


christipher_kane mondrian style dress

Christopher Kane design




West German Mid Century vase  “Bay Keramik” design Bodo Mans, decor ”Reims”.







Romans Suta



Moderne – ism




Carlton ware moderne trio







Doris-Vlasek-Hails,-Solitaire-surrealist-vase of a man playing cards

Doris Vlasek Hails, ‘Solitaire’


Woman,-Old-Man,-and-Flower-by-Max-Ernst painting Surreal

Woman, Old Man, and Flower by Max Ernst



‘Moonmad’ – Max Ernst




French Lucien Lelong, 1935





NEXT POST  —  Sculptural teapot tempests


Pottery Arts Feed – innovative simplicity



Pueblo-Native-American-women displaying their pottery

Pueblo Native American Indian pottery wares

New Mexico



Loading the kiln with large garden pots on a trolly - Cretan-Terracotta Pottery

A busy morning on the wheel – Cretan Terracotta Pottery



Pottery simplicity realised


The basic pottery form, created on a spinning wheel, is a statement of simplicity. The imminent curved lines, that take shape by the manipulation of a clay mass in motion, reacting to a centrifugal force, creates a graceful and balanced dynamic. The union of a malleable substance with a primary force of nature, being transmuted to a solid form with fire, is one of the purest primordial combinations, manifesting a subtle reassurance of the elements. Maybe that’s why simple pottery objects hold such an eternal appeal. Variations of the wheel thrown forms serve as a constant reminder of the survival and sustenance of mankind and the endurance and consistency of this ancient art.
Leonardo da Vinci claimed that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Christian Dior also recognized its value through the refinement of his designs and realizing that simplicity is from where true elegance must come. Computer science pioneer Edsger Wybe Dijkstra claimed ‘“Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better.” The challenge is to maximize the style while keeping superfluous detail to a minimum. The Mingei potters of Japan were mindful of mastering an aesthetic of simplicity, utility and timeless beauty. This refined ideal is still evident today and has had a pervasive influence globally on many contemporary ceramics.
A potter generally begins with a form of simple elegance, which I believe contributes to the unfolding of its design, then adds more detail if needed, whether it be further glazing, hand painting, carving or incision. Furthermore, instinct, restraint and choice of materials all contribute to the captivating permutations that are possible.. The pottery pieces here all highlight the depth and breadth of design and innovative simplicity in the ongoing evolution of the clay arts.



tonala-mexican-folk-art legged bowl

Tonala Mexican folk art tri-legged bowl




Martin-Puryear simple abstract sculpture

‘Verge’ – Martin Puryear




Jacques  Innocenti ceramic pichet, Vallauris

Gallerie Riveria



Accolay ceramic planter with mid century face motif

Accolay tri legged ceramic planter, France



adero--willard_jar orange and brown-yellow floral

Adero Willard lidded jar



Jess Carter ceramic cups

Jess Carter



Akira-Satake footed sake cup

Akira Satake sake cup




pottery speckled vase Bob Deane

Bob Deane – spiral ribbed vase




Andre-Metthey ceramic vase with foliate bands

Andre Metthey




Alan-Foxley abstract sculptural vase

Alan Foxley




Boleslaw-Danikowski,-red Ceramic-Table-Lamp

Boleslaw Danikowski,  Red ceramic table lamp




Kay Stratford green ceramic shell vase

Ceramic Shell 1 vase – Kay Stratford



stone pool textured vase 1 by Anne Goldman

‘Stone Pool’  by Anne Goldman




Brenda-Holzke-porcelian flared cup

Flared porcelain  cup — Brenda Holzke



Caroline-Chevalier orange lidded jar

Caroline Chevalier



Penelope-Withers ribbed asymmetrical bottles

Penelope Withers ribbed asymmetrical ceramic bottles



Chantal-Césure--blue on white lidded jar

Chantal Césure – blue on white lidded jar



Baluster jar with flared rim by Chris Luther

Baluster vase – Chris Luther

Seagrove Potters of Historic Busbee Rd




Claude Conover-Tall-ceramic-bottle vessel,

”Toltec”  –  Claude Conover tall Mid Century ceramic vessel



Latex resist design bowl by Clyde Burt

Clyde Burt ceramic bowl with latex resist design




Morino-Taimei-rust-red glaze vase oval shape with flat sides

Morino Taimei, Japan



David Frith tall vase

Large bottle vase – David Frith, UK

13 inches height



Diny Timmers ceramic sculptural portal vessel

Diny Timmers ceramic sculptural vessel



Classic still life presented with ceramics by George Segal

‘Classic Still Life’ – George Segal


Museum of Arts and Design, NY



Eileen-Goldenberg Ceramic-Sgraffito vase with white figure on black

Eileen Goldenberg Ceramic Sgraffito vase, tumbler

San Francisco



Emile Jacques Ruhlmann elegant art deco vase with pink floral design

Emile Jacques Ruhlmann Art Deco  vase



Eric Astoul -ceramic sculptural form

Eric Astoul



Ernst-Wahliss,-Wien-&-Turn-Teplitz ceramic dancer

Ernst Wahliss, Wien & Turn Teplitz ceramic dancer figurine





‘Exposition 3’ sculpture by Nicholas Lees



Navajo pottery vase with figure motif

Navajo Hand Coiled Pottery Vase  Ken and Irene White



FISCHER-Michèle carved pottery vase

Michèle Fischer footed sgraffito vase




Jasmina-Ajzenkol ceramic sculptural vessel - turquoise and ochre glaze

Jasmina Ajzenkol




black and white sgraffito platter by stoneware-GravesCo---etsy

‘Ladies Toasting’  – Large Serving Platter—Handmade sgraffito carved ceramic



Henri-Laurens,-Tete-de-Femme sculpture female bust

Henri Laurens, – ‘Tete de Femme’Z sculpture




Isles-of-Scilly-Studio crab plate

Isles of Scilly Studio Pottery Crab Bowl Glazed Earthenware



jaque_barely set of wall plates with matching lamp base

 Barely Bowl Set – Jan Jacque -ceramic wall art



Jean-Mayadon-baluster-vase with green figures

Art Nouveau vase – Jean Mayodon




Remi Bonhert ceramic bottle vessel

Remi Bonhert





Glpb-vessel with white horses decoraion-Psolo-Stacciou

Globular luster glaze vessel with white horse motifs -Psolo Stacciou



Massive-Rhoda-Hepner-female torso Ceramic-Vessel

Massive female torso ceramic vessel – Rhoda Hepner



Stoppered ceramic bottle by Fantoni

Mid Century ceramic decanter with stopper – Marcello Fantoni




Koroit opal from queensland

Koroit Opal – Queensland




Paul Louis Mergier ovoid vase – copper, silver and brass




Homer Brown Wassi Art African Lady vase

 African Lady vase – Homer Brown Wassi Art




Pre-Columbian-Colima-Seated-Terracotta Figure

Pre Columbian Colima seated terracotta figure




Gareth-Mason-porcelain-abstract vase

‘Pressure Ridge’ – Gareth Mason



Richard-Zane-Smith---‘Edge-and-Flow’ vessel with dynamic line decorations

‘Edge and Flow’  – Richard Zane Smith




Spherical-vase with abstract geometric pattern with frosted and clear glass

Boris Lacroix,  Spherical Art Deco vase with frosted and clear glass in an abstract cubist pattern



Richard Zane Smith—Blue Rain Gallery—Santa Fe




Ceramic Seaman’s Bank for Savings

1940s McCoy




Sander Wassink and Olivier Van Herpt adaptive manufacture vessel

Sander Wassink and Olivier Van Herpt – textured vessel created with adaptive manufacturing




William-Marshall ceramics

William Marshall -glazed  ceramic bottle



The-Guitar-Henri-Laurens cubist sculpture- blue, white and brown

‘The Guitar’ – Henri Laurens




Sharon Stelter abstract ceramic Zebra sculpture

Sharon Stelter  ‘Zebra’ 



Joan Miro ceramic vase

Joan Miro

Kirsten-Holm charcoal ceramic vessel

Kirsten Holm



melanie-ferguson ceramic sculpture vessel

Melanie Ferguson


Shamai Sam Gibsh Sttoneware Terra Sigillata

Shamai Sam Gibsh  – ‘Bodyblaze #22’

Stoneware Terra Sigillata and lustres



Designed-Tripod-Vase----Charles-Smith - sgraffito decoration

Tripod, sgraffito vase – Charles Smith




ceramic vessel Gail Nichols

Gail Nichols





Pedestal bowl – Harrison McIntosh, California




Roger-Guerin tall elegant fotted baluster polychrome vase

‘Grand vase amphore’ – Roger Guerin



Hiroyuki Wakimoto Toubako



Jim-Malone-Pottery bottle vessel with white slip and red botanical decoration

Bottle Vase Hakeme – Jim Malone

Hakeme slip glaze with iron oxide brushed botanical pattern



Leora-Brecher white ceramic asymmetrical spiral sculpture

Leora Brecher asymmetrical spiral sculpture


Thomas Hoadley used the Japanese technique of nerikomi to create the delicate lines of color in this vessel.





Lustre glaze pedestal vases – Jean Mayodon





Huge Cantagalli Italian Faience Majolica Winged Figure handles vase



Emanuel Maldonado

 The Museum of International Ceramic Art – Grimmerhus in Middelfart, Denmark





Eric Knoche




Red front preggy vase - Amy Sanders

Red front preggy vase – Amy Sanders





Joan-Carrillo-lustre-flat bottle vessel

Joan Carrillo lustre flat bottle vessel

Carrillo uses a 9th Century Persian technique of applying extremely thin layers of metal oxides in three firing processes to create a metallic lustre finish.




Yuan Dynasty painted stucco female head

Yuan Dynasty painted stucco female head




Wood Fired series by Robert LaWarre

Wood Fired series by Robert LaWarre




Stephanie-Young---Art Nouveau style Forest-Series vase

Stephanie Young—Nouveau Art Nouveau style Forest Series vase




vase-art-deco-Bernardaud & Cie -limoges-

Art Deco vase – Bernardaud & Cie  for Limoges




Zenith by Willem Stuurman ox blood vase

‘Zenith’ by Willem Stuurman, Belgium


Terrain-Vallonne-vase-pair asymmetrical forms

Terrain Vallonne vase pair




Tony Laverick—contemporary vase



Ziegler-Tall-Floor-Vase VINTAGE-ORIGINAL-60's

Vintage Ziegler Floor Vase



Morten-Lobner-Espersen ovoid red vase

Morten-Lobner – ‘Espersen’




Al-Qoyawayma---Blue-Rain-Gallery lidded vessel with relief decoration

Al Qoyawayma

Blue Rain Gallery–Santa Fe New Mexico




Bernado-Hogan-contemporary-vase - blue gradient glaze to black speckles

Bernado Hogan contemporary vase





Caroline Chevalier — ceramic lidded vessel




60's vase by Marcello Fantoni with female bust motif

60’s vase by Marcello Fantoni



Lidded ceramic_vessel_Green-Box-by-Hannie-Goldgewicht

‘Green Box’ by Hannie Goldgewicht



Barry-Stedman--ceramic vases

Barry Stedman



Nicholas-Bernard-Schaller-Gallery tear drop vessel

Nicholas Bernard

Schaller Gallery

Kosei-Matsui-Japanese ceramic art

Kosei Matsui



Jeff-Mincham ceramic artists South Australia

Jeff Mincham, South Australia



For more feed updates see Evolving Ceramic Arts



NEXT POST  —  The Art of ‘ism’s




Art Deco in the movies



actress Ann Sothern with circus acrobat on horde statue

Ann Sothern and circus acrobat on horse statue – 1939



Art Deco, Style Moderne meets Hollywood


The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925, had a major impact on the launch of Art Deco, including its name, which was derived from Arts Décoratifs. Art Deco was aligned with both luxury and modernity; combining expensive materials and exquisite craftsmanship adapted to modernistic forms. The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (1910-1913), by Auguste Perret was the first landmark Art Deco building completed in Paris. The Art Deco architectural style, although called Style Moderne in France, was not purely modernist but it had many features of modernism, including reinforced concrete, glass, steel, chrome, and like modernism, it rejected traditional historical models.



art deco design by Emile Jacques Ruhlmann

1925 interior of The Grand Salon of the Hôtel d’un Collectionneur at the Arts Decoratifs Expo – design by Emile Jacques Ruhlmann


Le Corbusier, a student of Augeste Perret, exhibited his purely modernist Esprit Nouveau pavilion at the 1925 Paris Exposition and the USSR had a pavilion featuring the flamboyant futurist style of Konstantin Melnikov. Hollywood designer Cedric Gibbons was also in attendance, and the event provoked an upheaval in movie set design. He brought back with him many of the room designs he had seen there and incorporated them into the MGM films he worked on. Gibbons’s designs were idealized images of a life of luxury and style and the huge cinema audiences were mesmerized and ready to escape into this lavish reality of opulence, especially during WWII and the Depression. At the time this style was known as Art Moderne in the USA, but later became labelled as Art Deco. This radical style of future living was widely embraced and emulated in mainstream decor trends and interior designs.

The evolution of Art Deco was closely connected with the rise in status of decorative artists. This was also reinforced by the Paris department stores who recruited artists like Louis Vuitton, René Lalique, and Louis Cartier to design products in a modern style to compliment their fashion ranges.This was a major influence on the costume designs and chic aura created in Hollywood in the 20’s and 30’s. The screen sirens responded to their elegant and serene surroundings with smoldering, sultry, seductive personas filled with elusive mystique which further enhanced the desirability.



Art Deco movie-'The Wonder of Women' (1929) Art Direction by Cedric Gibbons

‘The Wonder of Women’ (1929) Art Direction by Cedric Gibbons. Demetre Chiparus figurine on the coffee table


The convergence of the many influences within Art Deco were on display. Futuristic, streamlined forms, angular geometric Cubist shapes and bold Fauvist colours combined with exotic designs that included Persian, Japanese, Egyptian, Mayan and African. The clean stylized lines and geometric details translated seamlessly into the black and white medium of the movies.
Cedric Gibbons had replaced the Russian designer Erte at MGM, who had struggled with translating his creative vision into practical set designs. Gibbon’s architectural finesse and design innovation was tastefully complimented by amazing decorative objects and contributed to defining the visual aesthetic of this era, which is my main interest in this article. Glamorous elegance abounded with polished floors, mirrored surfaces, walnut panels, chrome highlights and art deco sculptures and light fixtures.
The studios employed some of the finest photographers at the time, who created images that did true justice to the stunning sets and actors, which is featured here. They vividly captured the essence of this charismatic era with a timeless beauty.



Rene Lalique etched glass sculpture

‘Oiseau de_Feu’ –  René Lalique

Dayton Art Institute



Una-Merkel-in the movie Private-Lives

Una Merkel in the movie Private Lives – ScreenDeco

Orientalist statue by ?




Angelo Basso Art Deco La Luna Sculpture Bronze female nude sculpture

 Art Deco ‘La Luna’ Sculpture – Angelo Basso




Alice-Faye-1935 with black cat sculpture on a pedestal

Alice Faye with black cat sculpture




Robert-Montgomery-with Art Deco scotty dog

Robert Montgomery




Cedric Gibbons art deco set design from The Kiss (1929)

Cedric Gibbons art deco set design from ‘The Kiss’ (1929)



Art director Cedric Gibbons used strong, geometric accents to achieve the Art Deco look of Our Dancing Daughters (1928).

‘Our Dancing Daughters’ (1928)  —  Art director Cedric Gibbons used the typically strong geometric accents that were characteristic of Art Deco



Art-Deco-set---The-Artist--2011 Art Deco recreation by set designer Robert Goulet

Art Deco set– ‘The Artist’ –2011 — Art Deco recreation by set designer Robert Gould





Ann Harding




Dolores-Del-Rio-face of Art Deco

Mexican actress Dolores Del Rio who was married to Cedric Gibbons. She was known as the face of Art Deco.


Dolore’s beauty wisdom:

“Take care of your inner beauty, your spiritual beauty, and that will reflect in your face. We have the face we created over the years. Every bad deed, every bad fault will show on your face. God can give us beauty and genes can give us our features, but whether that beauty remains or changes is determined by our thoughts and deeds.” ~ Dolores del Rio

“Exercise, diet, beauty treatments– these things are all a complete waste of time because everyone must get older. If women were more sensible they would cease going to beauty parlors for facials and would instead lie down quietly in the peace of their bedrooms for the same length of time and arise more beautiful in face and more peaceful in spirit. The fact that I’m aging makes me a part of life, a part of the bigger scheme of existence… It is my mind, not my body, that I am trying to preserve, because it is through the mind that I can stay young.” ~ Dolores del Rio, 1964


“The two most beautiful things in the world are the Taj Mahal and Dolores del Río.” –George Bernard Shaw



delores del rio in long floral gown

Dolores del Rio in ‘I Live For Love’



Ann-Sothern and white female figurine statue

Ann Sothern




 Art deco set for the film 'Our Modern Maidens'

The art deco interior of a house which served as the set for the film ‘Our Modern Maidens’, with a sweeping staircase leading from the lounge area. Art direction Cedric Gibbons, MGM




art deco future movie

Futuristic ‘Things To Come’ – 1936




Art-deco-tablelamp-by-Pierre-le-Faguay, Kneeling female sculpture figure

Art deco tablelamp – Pierre le Faguays, signed Guerbe ( pseudonym)




paramouont theatre Oakland

Art Deco Paramount theater. Oakland




Egyptian Art Deco Cleopatra in Hollywood

Egyptian Art Deco in Hollywood



Demetre-Chiparus-art-deco-female figure sculpture

Art Deco dancer –  Demetre Chiparus



Frankenstein-holding maiden

‘The Bride Of Frankenstein’, 1935




Carole lombard with winking greek bust sculpture

Carole Lombard publicity still for ‘Rhumba’, 1935





Spirit of the Centennial statue at Fair Park in Dallas, 1936.

Designed by Raoul Josett and Jose Martin. Carlo Ciampaglia designed the mural behind the statue.




-Josef-Lorenzl.--stylish-lady-sculpture in gold gown

‘Chryselephantine Lady’ –  Josef Lorenzl.





Carole-Lombard with nude figure sculpture

Carole Lombard




Carole Lombard




art deco lobby for GrandHotel

Grand Hotel, 1932

In the book Designing Dreams: Modern Architecture in the Movies, author Donald Albrecht writes, “Circles are prominent in every aspect of the Grand Hotel’s design– an appropriate image for the spinning-wheel-of-fortune scenario. The circular motif appears in the hotel’s round, multilevel atrium with open balconies, in the continually revolving doors, and in ornaments on balcony railings. It also appears in the round reception desk, which acts as a pivot for the curving shots that follow the movement of the film’s characters, who travel across the black-and-white floor like pawns in a chess game. Movie plot and architecture have seldom been so closely harmonized.”



Art Deco fire screen

Art deco fire screen with Art Nouveau floral motif -Rose Iron Works of Cleveland





Claudette-Colbert in harlequin costume

Claudette Colbert




Claudette-Colbert on a throne as Celopatra

Cleopatra – Claudette Colbert




Claudette Colbert wearing satin in 'The Sign of the Cross'

Claudette Colbert in ‘The Sign of the Cross’

Director Cecil B Demille.  1932



Corinne Griffith. Lilies of the Field (1924)

Corinne Griffith. ‘Lilies of the Field’ (1924)




Bronze sculpture elegant figure - Erte

Bronze sculpture figure – Erte




Elissa-Landi at huge white fire place

Elissa Landi and monumental sculptured fireplace




Fay-Wray posing with white art deco sculpture

Fay Wray

Photo Ray Jones



Flying Down To Rio dance scene

‘Flying Down To Rio’ dance scene, 1933




French-Art-Deco-reclining females with large fans Bookends

French Art Deco fan dancer bookends




Genevieve-Tobin posing with white art deco bust

Genevieve Tobin and a white art deco bust




Art deco staircase

Impressive Art Deco staircase and vase pedestal



Genevieve-Tobin-in art deco set

Genevieve Tobin




Giant-piano-set-from-King-of-Jazz movie

Giant piano set with 4 piano players and orchestra from the movie ‘King of Jazz’




Czech-Deco geometric-cut-glass-design-and-ruby-overlay-trim

Art Deco spherical vase with geometric cut glass design and ruby overlay trim – Continental (Czechoslovakia)




GRreta Garbo hollywood mystique

Greta Garbo – ‘Mata Hari’


Grace-Bradley-chatting on the phone

Grace Bradley under a Cubist Xmas tree



Helen-Twelvetrees posing with to art deco figure sculptures

Helen Twelvetrees



Jean-Harlow-Waylande Gregory art deco statue

Jean Harlow – Theo Vos art deco statue ( see below)




Theo-Vos---Ballerina---c.-1927---white porcelain statue

Art Deco white porcelain ‘Ballerina’ statue by Theo Vos for the German ‘Hutschenreuther Porcelain’

height 37cm  c.1927

Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, Salamanca




ODYV-French-Art-Deco mantle clock with black panther figures

ODYV French Art Deco mantle clock with gold panthers

Chateau Antiques



Joan-Bennett-movie actress

Joan Bennett, ‘She Couldn’t Take It’





Joan Marsh posing in a bathing suit

Joan Marsh



Art Deco panel

French Art Deco screen – A Soleau

Table—Jules Leleu   Chairs—Andre Arbus




Joan Marsh posing with beach ball

Joan Marsh



Josephine Baker sitting on tiger skin rug

Josephine Baker

Also see Josephine Captivates The Jazz Age



Juliette-Compton with art deco panel

Juliette Compton



masked Kay-Johnson-in-Madam-Satan

Kay Johnson in ‘Madam Satan’



Aelita: 'Queen of Mars' futuristic movie - Russia 1924

Aelita: ‘Queen of Mars’

Russia 1924





Art Deco bronze and ivory figure – J Ulrich





Lois Moran

Photo George Hurrell, 1931



Carole-Lombard pouring a cocktail

Carole Lombard




Loretta-Young in long black evening gown

Loretta Young




Marguerite-Chapman with black sculpture head bust

Marguerite Chapman




Mark Stevens and Cathy Downs in ‘The Dark Corner’, 1946





Raymond Léon Rivoire – ‘Women with Hound’

France, 1920



Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles: 'La Quadriga', 1929, Art Deco chariot

Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles: ‘La Quadriga’, 1929,



Merna-Kennedy with tall black cubist statue

Merna Kennedy with a stunning tall Cubist Deco statue



Monkey-Business---Marx-Brothers playing saxaphones

Marx Brothers saxophone quartet in ‘Monkey Business’



Myrna-Loy with a black cat sculpture

Myrna Loy




Myrna-Loy with mirror refkection

Myrna Loy





‘Night Owls’ – Laurel & Hardy






Norma Shearer in ‘The Divorcèe’ directed by Robert Z.Leonard




Rene Buthaud-ovoid vase with art deco motif of a naked Europa riding a bull

Rene Buthaud – ovoid vase with a naked Europa riding a bull




Our-Dancing-Daughters vintage movie

Art Deco Jazz Age movie, ‘Our Dancing Daughters’, 1928



Our Modern Maidens

Our Modern Maidens, 1929



Rita-Flynn in Art Deco movie set

Rita Flynn




Ruth-Taylor in-Gentlemen-Prefer-Blondes

Ruth Taylor  in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’




Pâte de Verre, Figure designed by Marcel Bouraine

Pâte de Verre, Figure designed by Marcel Bouraine for Gabriel Argy Rousseau






Classic Art Deco fireplace – Jean Harlow in ‘Platinum Blonde’



Speed_-_Harriet_Frishmuth art deco figure sculpture

‘Speed’ – Harriet Frishmuth




art deco movie The Hatchet Man

‘The Hatchet Man’




‘The Sign of Cross’ – Cecil B DeMille





Max-Le-Verrier-art deco-bookends

Max Le Verrier Art Deco bookends


Movie art deco Kay-Francis-(1934)

Kay Francis-(1934)


Jan-et-Joël-Martel-Art deco sculpture female figurine

Jean and Joël Martel





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