Simanaitis Says

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YESTERDAY IN PART 1, Yvonne Brunhammer discussed 1920s’ ballet, travel, and architecture. Today in Part 2, her focus is on a smaller scale: tableware and furniture, two genres of which I’ve had first-hand appreciation. 

Faience. Merriam-Webster defines faience as “earthenware decorated with opaque colored glazes.” The French word comes from Faenza, Italy, where production of pottery and brickwork flourished even in Roman times. 

André Methey. Plates. 1908. Faience (diameters 23.2 cms.)

“To reinvigorate the old tradition of French faience, Methey had his ware decorated by painters. The plate at left is decorated by Derain; the one on the right by Vlminck.” As in Part 1, quotes are Yvonne Brunhammer’s. Derain and Vlaminck, by the way, were both famed Fauvist artists.

My modest example (diameter 14.3 cms).

This plate, purchased in Spain, has its manufacturer’s name embossed on the bottom as well as its artist identified by a painted signature. 

Porcelain. René Lalique, 1860–1945, is familiar as a jeweler and glassmaker. René’s daughter Suzanne, 1892–1989, was especially skilled in Limoges porcelain.

Suzanne Lalique. Plate, c. 1925. Porcelain of Théodore Haviland, Limoges (diameter 25 cms).

“Suzanne Lalique and Jean Dufy (the brother of Raoul Dufy) were the best painters working for Haviland in the 1920s. Lalique’s art is at once formally elegant and refined.” 

Sit Yourself Down. “More than any other branch of decorative art, furniture reflected changes in fashion and style. It directly affected the buyer’s comfort and therefore had to adapt itself rapidly to changes in the way people lived; and it was of course conditioned by building styles.”

Le Corbusier, Jeanneret, Perriand. Armchair. 1928. Painted tube and box. 

“Le Corbusier and his partners Pierre Jenneret and Charlotte Perriand aimed to make objects in the services of man and not of the decorative arts.” And, on a purely personal note, I feel a kinship with this armchair’s comfy, properly stuffed shape.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Table and chair. 1927. Nickel-plate steel tubing, black lacquered wood and rush seating. 

“This armchair, known as the ‘Weissenhof-Sessel,’ was created for the Weissenhof exhibition at Stuttgart, where Mies van der Rohe built a block of high-density steel-frame houses.”

Another Named for an Exhibition. “The production of the chairs made for the German pavilion at the Barcelona Exhibition (1929) has been taken up again by Knoll International. The designs illustrated mark an epoch in the history of art.”

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Chair and stool. 1929. Special chrome-plated steel and leather.

I’ve personally experienced this artful chair design. When John and Elaine Bond were furnishing R&T’s new home at 1499 Monrovia, they chose Barcelona chairs in black leather for its open-area seating. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2022

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