The Easel

14th September 2021

With Pleasure

This exhibition of Pattern and Decoration works was praised when shown in Los Angeles. Less so in New York. The 1970’s movement opposed the austerity of Minimalism and the claimed superiority of fine art. Some works have merit, concedes the writer, but many pieces would suit “hotel gift shops”. And even Japan, with its long craft tradition, still distinguishes between that and fine art. Still, whatever you make of these arguments, “decoration is worthy of admiration”.

7th September 2021

The Modernism of Hector Guimard

Art nouveau was all the rage in 1890’s Paris and Guimard was its key figure. His buildings, subway entrances and domestic furnishings were stylistically innovative and promoted a harmony between building design and interior decoration. By 1910, the new century’s taste for functional simplicity was apparent and after the war, art nouveau was completely eclipsed by a modernism that it had helped create. Images are here.