Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Using My Little Grey Cells




I don't know about you, but recently I have found myself having a little difficulty with my memory recall. I doubt that it can be attributed to a physical condition (at least I hope not,) but rather it's a result, I think, of too much information via the internet.

While consulting Martin Battersby's The Decorative Thirties, I discovered the 1932 photograph, above, that depicts the home of Professor Adolf Rading. What is most striking, of course, are those metal sculptures attached to the home's wall. According to Battersby, the metal works, once called "a space-enlivening element", were fabricated by Bauhaus artist Oskar Schlemmer.

Looking at that photo, it dawned on me that I had seen the sculpture to the left quite recently. But where??? Wait! I know where. An episode of Poirot. It only took me an entire afternoon and hours worth of Poirot episodes to locate it:




See? The very same Schlemmer wire sculpture, though here it was located in a ruthless film director's Art Deco home in "The King of Clubs". Do you think it's the same as that in the Rading home or a replica?

While watching all of those episodes, I did find yet one more space-enlivening element that was similar to the other sculpture in the Rading home. It's not quite as Bauhaus in feel, but you get the gist:




Photo at top from The Decorative Thirties by Martin Battersby.

19 comments:

  1. I am not going to worry about your memory--it is fantastic. And I want that sculpture. The epitome of Art Deco. Now, the question is to find a wall that is large enough (and what color should I paint the wall). Super post. Thanks. Mary

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    1. Yes, one would need a large wall for it!

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  2. Good work, Jennifer. As you know, spotting such elements that travel is one of my favorite past times.

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    1. I'm thankful that I remembered where I saw it first!

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  3. you are sooo smart! + stunning, xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  4. Well., it seems as though your visual recall is just fine. I wonder if anyone is currently doing that kind of wall sculpture?

    Love your writing., I've added you to my blog roll!
    CJ

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  5. One of those co-incidences: funny you should mention Battersby, as I've just taken in a rather fine Martin Battersby print (Archaic Smile) for resale. I was looking at Battersby's books on the net- and there is one I had not come across before. It's called the "World of Art Nouveau" and has a fab lilac dust wrapper. Have you come across this edition before?

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    1. Funny that you mention the Art Nouveau book, because I only just learned of it over the weekend while perusing Amazon. I have both The Decorative Twenties and Thirties as well as Battersby's book on trompe l'oeil. Art Nouveau is not one of my favorite styles, but I might just develop an interest in it if I were to read Battersby's book. Let me know if you buy a copy of it!

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    2. Hi Jennifer...I think I've just got to buy a copy of the Art Nouveau book from the cover alone...reminds me of Faberge- and I love all that. I've got the Decorative Thirties book- a dog eared copy in paperback. Art Nouveau is slightly tricky. It's not really an English style (not that that is a problem) but we've been agonising (I'm sure you will appreciate this) about getting bar stools for our kitchen (builders still here!) and about the only bar stools (most of them are dreadfull) I like are the Thonet bentwood versions which you can still get- I think- from the original factory. And you have just got to love the Paris Metro ironwrork.? I'm not sure that you are going to approve of our new kitchen. It's very much the Lutyens/Downton Abbey/Scullery look- all brass taps and polished oak... very upstairs..downstairs... if only I could source some of those brass gong things in a a polished mahogany case- as my grandparents had....you know, you push a bell in your bathroom , and it goes directly to the scullery...

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    3. I think your new kitchen sounds fabulous! If I didn't live in a 1968 high-rise, then I might have a kitchen that looks very similar. I do like the Paris Metro ironwork as well as the work of Victor Horta. Generally speaking, though, I'm more of a 1920s/30s fan myself.

      Finding a decent bar stool is like finding a needle in a haystack. I do like Bentwood chairs, so I think you're making the right call. My very favorite bar stools are those used by Frances Elkins- cerused oak with hoof feet. However, that wouldn't be right for your kitchen.

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    4. I know. .. there's something just a bit naff about bar stools...but, practically, we've got to have them, 'cos there is nowhere else in the kitchen to sit - we're having a massive free-stand island in the centre. I'll take some photos when it's all finished. But do you think the Thonet bentwood stools will look better in off-white or a dark purple/blue?

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    5. Oh boy, that's tough. Both versions sound attractive, but for some reason, I'm intrigued by the idea of dark purple/blue. Perhaps it's because that color version is not seen very often- at least, not over here. Also, it might not show quite so much of that cooking film that seems to coat everything in a kitchen.

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    6. That was exactly along the same lines we were thinking...

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  6. Anonymous7:28 AM

    I suppose the Poirot designer raided Battersby's books(he did a book on the 20s as well)for ideas. Battersby was an early (in the 50s and 60s) collector of Art Deco etc and worked for a while as Cecil Beaton's assistant. Some of Battersby's collection ended up in the Brighton Museum.

    BTW,the Schlemmer original with the tonal shadow underneath looks better than the plain telly version.

    Cheers
    Herts

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    1. Herts,

      The sculpture does indeed look more dramatic and impressive in the '32 photo, what with that soaring wall and the shadows behind it. I suppose the effect isn't quite the same in the TV version.

      I had no idea he worked for Beaton. How very interesting! As always, you taught me something new!

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  7. I think this might be the house: http://pigtown-design.blogspot.com/2012/08/ill-take-this-modern-house.html

    It's currently for sale.

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  8. Anonymous1:19 AM

    if you see the agnelli's rome apartment in the 70's (vogue US jan 1977) you might find the same....

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