Art Deco Decoration Art Deco Decoration

Lectures on Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To see recordings of the lectures with slides click here.

Glenn McArthur

glenn-mcarthur.jpgModern – But not Crazy: the evolving architecture of John M. Lyle

Biography Glenn McArthur is a designer, photographer, author and artist, whose work has been exhibited in major Ontario galleries. He has worked as a graphic designer for advertising agencies and design studios in both New York City and Toronto. His 1996 book on the architect William Thomas that was published by Carlton University Press and which, in addition to his writing, featured his photography, drawings and design, received glowing reviews and numerous awards including one from Heritage Toronto. His current book project, A Progressive Traditionalist: John M. Lyle, Architect (published by Coach House Press) is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2009.
Abstract John M. Lyle was one of the pre-eminent architects of the first half of the twentieth century in Canada. Moving to Toronto from New York City in 1905, just after the devastating Great Fire, he lived through the Wall Street crash and the Great Depression, two world wars and the rise of a radical form of architectural modernism that undermined his aesthetic principles. Through economic hardships and the lifestyle changes that resulted from them, Lyle produced a significant body of work that always expressed a highly personalized and original approach to architectural form and detail. He is perhaps best known for championing an authentic regional consciousness in building design and attempting to pave the way for a uniquely Canadian architecture. That creative phase of Lyle’s work ended abruptly after the Wall Street crash and the ensuing Depression, which reduced the architectural program of every building to its bare essentials. But Lyle continued to change, embracing much of the modern movement by simplifying elements, eliminating meaningless ornamentation and creating beauty through form, line and colour.
Don Luxton

luxton.jpgThe Marine Building, Vancouver: Western Canada’s Art Deco Landmark

Biography Born and raised in Vancouver, Donald Luxton, FRAIC, has a passionate interest in local history and heritage. Involved in the field of heritage resource management since 1983, he is a well-known heritage and museums consultant, preservation advocate, educator and author, and has worked on numerous projects throughout western Canada, including municipal planning projects, heritage inventories and evaluations, and the restoration of residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. He is active in the field of public education through the teaching of heritage conservation courses, for both general interest and university credit, and is currently a sessional lecturer in the BCIT Architectural Science degree program. His interest in the preservation of architecture has led to his continuing involvement with a number of heritage societies, including his role as a founding Director and current President of Heritage Vancouver, founding and current President of the Canadian Art Deco Society, Director of the Arthur Erickson Conservancy, founding Director of the Victoria Heritage Foundation and former Director of the Vancouver Heritage Conservation Foundation. In 2006 he received a honourary membership in the B.C. Society of Landscape Architects, and in 2007 was elected to the College of Fellows of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Among his current projects, he is acting as project manager for a new museum for the Nisga’a First Nation, being constructed in Greenville, BC, that will open in 2010.
He is the co-author of Lions Gate (Talonbooks, 1999) and Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia (Talonbooks, 2003). His most recent book, Vancouver General Hospital: 100 Years of Care and Service, was released in February 2006.
Abstract The Marine Building is the landmark Art Deco structure in Western Canada, and one of Canada’s most famous buildings of the twentieth century. Built at the cusp of the Great Depression, it marked the mature flowering of the Art Deco style in Vancouver, and was the masterwork of local architects, McCarter & Nairne. Marine motifs run riot throughout the building’s exterior and interior ornamentation. The lobby, entered through a grand portal, remains one of the most glorious interior public spaces in Western Canada. Entering through the exquisite wood and brass doors, with their frames encrusted with three-dimensional cast sea creatures, the cathedral-like splendour of the lobby becomes visible. Stained glass panels at each end echo the sunrise and sunset; the leather-finish terra cotta is the largest installation of Batchelder tiles in the world. Subdued indirect lighting shines upward from ship’s prows that surge forward from the wall surfaces. Cast brass elevator doors are a riot of geometric ornament, and the interiors of the elevator cabs are superb examples of inlaid marquetry, using a dozen different kinds of wood. This presentation will examine the Marine Building’s historic context, construction, design and current condition.
Rosalind Pepall

pepall.jpgÉcole du Meuble, Montreal 1935-1958

Biography Presently Senior Curator of Decorative Arts (early and modern) at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Rosalind Pepall has been with the Museum since 1988.  She served as exhibition coordinator and curator in charge of the decorative arts for the Museum’s international exhibitions: The 1920s:Age of the Metropolis, (1991), Lost Paradise:Symbolist Europe, (1995), and Cosmos:From Romanticism to the Avant-garde, (1999-2000), all under the direction of guest curator, Jean Clair, Paris.  More recently, Ms.Pepall headed the curatorial committee for the North-American presentation of the exhibition Ruhlmann : Genius of Art Deco, (2003-2004), organized in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée des Années 30, Boulogne-Billancourt, (Paris). The exhibition catalogue co-authored with Emmaneul Bréon won the Prix Houllevigue from the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. Ms. Pepall also served on the Curatorial Committee for the Museum’s exhibition Il Modo Italiano: Italian Design and Avant-garde in the 20th century, (2007).  She is currently preparing a travelling  exhibition on the glass production of Louis C. Tiffany, which opens in September 2009.
Abstract The MMFA has gradually over the last fifteen years assembled an important collection of furniture, lamps, and ceramics which were produced and designed by the faculty and students of Montreal’s École du Meuble.   The personal bedroom suite of the school’s director, Jean-Marie Gauvreau, was the first furniture to enter the MMFA collection in 1981.  Since then the museum has continued to acquire furniture, lamps and ceramics made by the professors and students of the school, because the École du Meuble is unique in the history of Quebec and Canadian design.
The École du Meuble grew out of the cabinetmaking section of the Ecole Technique de Montréal.  Established officially as a separate school in 1935, Jean-Marie Gauvreau was its first director and its principal driving force for twenty-three years.  The main purpose of the École du Meuble was to train Quebec’s future cabinetmakers and designers to execute furniture of a high quality and craftsmanship, following the French tradition of technical excellence.  Gauvreau had spent four years at the Ecole Boulle in Paris from 1926 to1930, and he modelled his school on the French example.  He and his staff were very much influenced by French Art Deco furniture design of the 1920s and 1930s, particularly in the early years of the Ecole’s teaching.  Soon after the Ecole’s establishment, Gauvreau added courses in interior decoration, painting, architecture, metalwork, ceramics, and textile design.  Some of Quebec’s most prominent modernist architects and designers were students or professors at the school, for example, Marcel Parizeau,  Paul Émile Borduas, and Louis Archambault.  After the Second World War, the teachers looked for inspiration beyond France, to Scandinavia and American design, which is reflected in the furniture produced later at the school.  In 1958 the school was reorganized and became l’Institut des arts appliqués de la province de Québec.
Phyllis Ross

ross-headshot.jpgGilbert Rohde: Modern Design for Modern Living

Biography Phyllis Ross is an independent researcher and scholar based in New York City.  A graduate of the History of Decorative Arts Master’s Program, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum/Parsons School of Design (1993), she has helped develop exhibitions at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Library of Congress, National Building Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York. Prior to her decorative arts studies, Ross was a landscape architect.
Participant in September 2004, 8th Annual Conference on Cultural and Historic Preservation, Salve Regina University, Newport, R.I. Panelist, October 2004, Yale University Art Gallery Symposium, “Livable Modernism: Interior Decorating and Design During the Great Depression”
Publications: Gilbert Rohde: Modern Design for Modern Living, a monograph to be published by Yale University Press, 2009; An American Designer at the 1937 Paris Exposition internationale des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne, essay, in Paris/New York: Fashion, Culture, and Design, 1925–1940, catalogue for an exhibition organized by the Museum of the City of New York, Monacelli Press, 2008; Merchandising Modern: Gilbert Rohde and Herman Miller, The Journal of Design History, December 2004
Abstract Gilbert Rohde (1894-1944), an American modernist furniture and industrial designer, who specialized in designing mass-produced furniture, was recognized as one of the leading designers of his era. Widely published, both in America and overseas, his designs were shown at important fairs of the 1930s, beginning with Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition, and in industrial design exhibitions, such as those held at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Rohde introduced modern design at several companies. Foremost in significance was his work for the Herman Miller Furniture Company, of Zeeland, Michigan, where from 1932 until his death in 1944 he served as their lead designer. Rohde’s promotion of modular furniture, biomorphic design, and his pioneering office furniture system, anticipated trends that took hold in the post-war era. Aesthetically, his work encompassed French moderne, the spare lines of the International Style, and biomorphism, adapting European design influences for an American lifestyle. His work contributed to the emergence of a distinctive American design expression.
My monograph, Gilbert Rohde: Modern Design for Modern Living, to be published by Yale University Press in March 2009, presents the first comprehensive appraisal of his career.
Michael Windover

windover-headshot1.jpgDeco(rous) Modernity: A Consideration of Eaton’s College Street Store in Toronto, Ontario

Biography Michael Windover is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the University of British Columbia. His dissertation project, which is tentatively entitled “Aestheticizing Mobilities: Art Deco and the Fashioning of Interwar Public Cultures,” explores the socio-political ramifications of Art Deco production. His thesis covers material not only from Canada and the United States, but also investigates Deco movie theatres in Mumbai (Bombay). He has been the recipient of several major fellowships and awards, including the SSHRC doctoral Canadian Graduate Scholarship and recently the IODE War Memorial Post Graduate Scholarship. He has published in the Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada and has a chapter on Maple Leaf Gardens in the forthcoming anthology Architecture and Formation of the Canadian Fabric (UBC Press), edited by Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe.
Abstract In the heady 1920s, the T. Eaton Company was the eighth largest retailer in the world, and, in keeping with its perceived stature, it planned a massive edifice to centralize its operations in Toronto, where the business had been founded in 1869. Eaton’s was the arbiter of modern taste in Canada and the College Street Store was to be the embodiment of this ideal. However, with the onset of the Depression, the project was pole axed following the first phase of construction, leaving behind a remarkable example of Art Deco architecture in Canada. This edifice serves as an apposite site for a consideration of modernity in interwar Toronto. This paper will discuss how the building indicates the complicated negotiation of modern and “antimodern” sentiments that seems inherent to our understanding of Art Deco in Toronto, or indeed Canada. The store appears a nexus where American and French influences, burgeoning ideas of nation and its place within Empire, and the boom and bust that characterized the Art Deco era meet. I hold that the decorative program of the store supports a conception of Art Deco as the aestheticization of mobilities—i.e., systems that facilitated commodity exchange, migration of expertise and ideas, and dreams of social advancement. The Deco thus is envisioned as a complicated and cosmopolitan style that had serious socio-cultural implications.
Filipp Goldscheider

goldscheider-headshot.jpgGoldscheider Art Deco Ceramics

Biography Filipp Goldscheider was born in Prague and emigrated as a child to Germany. He studied sociology of media and psychoanalysis in Frankfurt, London and Los Angeles and got his PhD at the Institute for Economic and Social History at the Charles University in Prague. He is the founder of GNM Consulting, an online marketing & sales company. For more than five years he researched the history of the renowned Goldscheider ceramics and bronzes factory in Vienna and Paris, publishing a comprehensive book on Goldscheider in 2007. This bilingual publication with a description of over 4,000 models, artists and with over 2,200 illustrations is a real treasure trove for collectors and lovers of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco style – and the standard work on the subject.
Abstract Founded in1885 Goldscheider is renowned worldwide for its faience, terracotta and bronzes. The combination of the highest artistic quality, innovation and business acumen resulted in an enormously successful international production lasting well over half a century. Goldscheider succeeded in attracting both the famous, highly acclaimed artists just as the young innovative ones and is rightly regarded nowadays as one of the most remarkable and prolific manufacturers of the 19th and 20th century. Well-known sculptors and ceramists like Walter Bosse, Demètre Chiparus, Benno Geiger, Josef Lorenzl, Ida Meisinger, Michael Powolny, Susi Singer, Arthur Strasser, and many others designed and created most desirable models for Goldscheider throughout the periods of Historicism, Art Nouveau and Art Déco.
Goldscheider was setting the standards and style for Art Déco ceramics with an enormous success all over the world – creating some of the most beautiful and striking models, which continue to be very much in demand to the present day.