December 4, 2016 § Leave a comment
Ever since attending his first museum collection in New York, I have always been a big fan of Yves St. Laurent. I have found his work to be incredibly imaginative, skillfully designed and colorful. When my associate, Melissa Bolt, told me that a collection of his work was being shown at the Seattle Art Museum, we decided it was a “must-see” and it was!
The newsletter published by SAM, as the museum is affectionately called, said that the St. Laurent collection “filled the gallery with elegance.” The collection is called: The Perfection of Style and described as following “the revolutionary concepts of this fashion icon whose designs shifted perceptions of gender and class.”
On display were his paper dolls modeling his early fashion designs. These morphed into his sketches shown with original fabric samples of the110 garments, featured along with accessories, each of them so contemporary looking (and in such good condition) that they could be worn on the fashion runways today.
After we saw the collection, I was inspired to look for a book called simply “Yves St. Laurent” that I had purchased at the Met in NY and found it in my collection. Some of the clothing that was in the book was featured in the show, so we had the chance to revisit them.
Diana Vreeland, the flamboyant lover of red who was the special consultant to the Costume Institute at the Met, wrote an introduction to the book, stating that St. Laurent was “followed across the oceans of the world by women who look young, live young and are young, no matter what their age. That works for me!!
The collection will be at SAM until January 17. 2017.
September 25, 2016 § Leave a comment
I had such fun researching (as well as discovering) more of Florine Stettheimer’s work that I wanted to share more of it. Interestingly, the Portland, Maine Museum of Art just completed a show of her work in tandem with three other female artists of Florine’s same time period who used color in intriguing combinations. The best known artist, who was also a personal friend to Florine, was Georgia O”Keefe, a name familiar to those who are color lovers.
O’Keeffe, Stettheimer, Torr, Zorach: Women Modernists in New York examines the art and careers of four pioneering artists and their contributions to American modernism in parallel for the first time. Through this exhibition, the PMA invites visitors to explore works by some of the most significant modernists in American art history: Georgia O’Keeffe, Marguerite Thompson Zorach, Florine Stettheimer, and Helen Torr.
July 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
On my way back from London where I was attending color-forecasting meetings, I enjoyed several days in New York where I delivered a seminar at the National Stationery Show. The Big Apple is always full of interesting things to do and see and, on that particular weekend, I noted that a film was being shown at Lincoln Center that I had read about. The subject was David Hockney, the English-born artist, and the film is simply titled: “Hockney”.
Hockney has always fascinated me. He arrived in Los Angeles at about the same time I did—in the golden Beach Boys days when the surf was always up and so was the mood of L.A. It was a magical place, filled with sunshine and energy. It was a Technicolor city spread out between orange groves, mountains, and the ever-presence of the blue Pacific,but if sea-and- sand was not readily available, there were the ubiquitous swimming pools.
Hockney managed to capture the feel and look of the area through his many paintings,especially those of swimming pools. He was so enamored of the California lifestyle– “It’s got all the energy of the United States but with the Mediterranean thrown in,” says David Hockney of Southern California in the new feature-length documentary Hockney—and its pools, that he painted a mural on the bottom of the pool at the iconic Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood—the scene of many parties and photo shoots.
The film I saw at the Lincoln Center was a delight, showing much of Hockney’s wide array of talents. The director of the film, Randall Wright, stated that his mission was to show a “strong sense of place from two very different landscapes– the vast bright spaces of California and the moody hills of East Yorkshire. The creative push and pull of these absolute opposite environments energizes David’s constant search for answers, both creative and personal.“ He also pointed out that “digital cinema is now brilliant for reproducing painting. The color accuracy and the image resolution is breathtaking.
David’s paintings look stunning on the big screen.”
Indeed they do, and should you have a chance to view this engaging story of an artist and his life and work, it is well worth the time. To whet your appetite, watch the YouTube trailer for the film.
May 2, 2016 § Leave a comment
What a fabulous whirlwind of a trip! The first stop was the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao,
where I spoke on the Shadows collection and 150 Marilyns work done by the pop artist, Andy Warhol. Although it took much time and research to delve into Warhol’s use of color, especially the influences in his life that led to his color choices, we truly enjoyed the process.
My associate, Melissa, and I spent three fabulous days there, staying in a hotel that was just across the avenue from the museum. We girded ourselves with ample breakfasts while looking out at that magnificent Gehry-designed building that literally sparkled in the sunlight.
The architecture and design of the Guggenheim has gathered worldwide attention and it is easy to see why people are so fascinated by the structure.
The collections that we saw were very well curated and it was especially meaningful to see “in person” the works that I was speaking about, having only seen photos prior to our visit. The color usage was phenomenal in the Shadows collection, employing deeper tones such as black, along with orange, peach, yellow, electric blue, lavender, warm reds, hot pink, aubergine, deep green, and vibrant chartreuse. The 150 Marilyns used some of the same vibrant tones against black.
We allowed enough time to explore the nearby beach town of San Sebastian,
as well as the old town section of Bilbao that was filled with charming, historically significant architecture—quite a contrast to the contemporary Guggenheim.
Naturally, we left some time for shopping (colorful shoes are magnets to us!)
and sampling the delicious food. Melissa took some wonderful shots of the green rolling hills (complete with sheep!) surrounding this vibrant city.
Next time, we will share on the blog some of our experiences and images taken while in Milan where we attended Salone de Mobile, the annual furniture fair.
April 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
COLOR AND EMOTION:
A PERSPECTIVE ON WARHOL
Several months ago, I received an email from one of the curators of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. They had seen the work I had written for the Agnes Martin* exhibit at the Tate Modern in London and wondered if I could do a presentation in Bilbao. It took me all of a half minute to make up my mind, as I have long wanted to visit the Guggenheim in that location. So I said yes before I even knew the subject!
It turns out that the subject I was asked to address is Andy Warhol, the pop artist icon of the 1950s-1980s, as the Guggenheim is currently showing two of Andy’s most ambitious works: Shadows
and One Hundred and Fifty Multicolored Marilyns.
One of the most enjoyable things about doing presentations is collecting the research that is such as important part of the talk. I had done some research on Warhol for one of my books, The 20th Century in Color, and had some preliminary information to start with. Of course, Warhol is all about color and that made it especially interesting to me.
I turned to one of my favorite art historians, Sister Wendy Beckett. In her book: 1,000 Masterpieces, 1999, DK Publishing, New York, there is an overview on Andy Warhol’s work that is titled the Marilyn Diptych — a colorful study of the actress, Marilyn Monroe, who is also the subject of one of the collections mentioned above: One Hundred and Fifty Multicolored Marilyns. Sister Wendy said of Warhol: “He was interested in what might be described as contemporary vulgarities. He loved glamour and fame…
…here was a subject for Warhol and he treated her with profundity.” Sister Wendy suggested that his use of vibrant colors on half of the images signified Marilyn’s life and the removal of color in the other half signified her death. By using Marilyn’s image repeatedly, he “acknowledged his fascination with a society in which personas could be manufactured, commodified, and consumed like products.”
The color palette used for the grounds of the Shadows includes more than a dozen different hues, certain colors that are characteristic of his larger body of work, including violet, aqua, chartreuse, apricot, hot pink, and black. To quote from the Guggenheim’s press release on the collections: “Unlike the surfaces of earlier paintings, in which thin layers of rolled acrylic paint constituted the backgrounds onto which black pixelated images were silkscreened, the backgrounds of the Shadows canvases were painted with a sponge mop. Seven or eight different screens were used to create Shadows, as evidenced in the slight shifts in scales of dark areas as well as the arbitrary presence of spots of light.”
As always, there is much to learn about observing the use of color in different mediums and Warhol’s work certainly is an example of a most prolific career. Check out the images that are posted on this blog and you will get a glimpse of his versatility and depth. His work is certainly not just about Campbell’s Soup cans!
We worked out the date for the visit to Bilbao so that it dovetails with our trip to Salone de Mobilier in Milan, a destination for us every year to that fabulous furniture fair. My associate, Melissa Bolt, is going with me and she will be taking lots of images of the museum and the surrounding areas that we will be sharing with you in a future blog posting.
*See archives Eiseman Color Blog Aug. 15, 2015
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the internationally famous Pantone Color Institute, will offer a different look at Andy Warhol’s work, particularly his works Shadows and One Hundred and Fifty Multicolored Marilyns, and his peculiar way of using colors. An expert in color psychology, Eiseman will talk about the emotional perception of color from the perspective of culture and association.
Venue: Museum Auditorium
Date and time: Monday, April 11, 6:30 pm
Free tickets available at the admission desk and on the website
August 31, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 17, 2015
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been showing four of van Gogh’s paintings— those he did just before leaving the asylum he was in for two years. In the link you will see the comment that caught my eye: ” Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) brought his work in Provence to a close with exuberant bouquets of spring flowers—two of irises and two of roses, in contrasting formats and color schemes—in which he sought to impart a “calm, unremitting ardor” to his “last touch of the brush.”
(There is also a video to watch. See link at the bottom.)
For art lovers out there the images on the Met site and the video give some interesting insights into the colors that he used to impart that feeling.
Take a moment to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.
What are your favorite Van Gogh works?
August 12, 2015 § Leave a comment
August 12, 2015
I was surfing the web last week when I found an article on Vera Neumann published by Elle.com in Mexico. If you’re not familiar with , you are in for a real treat.
In 2010 Susan Seid wrote a very beautiful book called Vera The Art and Life of an Icon. It is filled with wonderful and colorful photographs of Vera’s history. In it Susan states:
“Vera Neumann was an unlikely revolutionary–her tiny five-foot-tall frame typically dressed in mod tunics and a bold scarf, armed with a quick wit but a shy demeanor. But Vera—the innovator of cross-licensing and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time–had a radical philosophy: fine art should be accessible to everyone, not just a select few. She believed that artwork should not be relegated to walls. Rather, people should surround themselves with art–wear it, eat off it, and sleep under it. And why not? Great art endures. It lifts your sprit and makes you feel better. Vera’s art certainly does. It is bright, happy, and inspirational.”
A year after Susan Seid’s book came out, I made note of Vera Neumann in my book Pantone: The 20th Century in Color. The chapter is aptly named “Colors and Coordinates,” where I said, “Designer and artist Vera Neumann didn’t seem to need any help understanding color interactions, or the way color creates a mood.”
Seid has quoted Vera as saying to the Washington Post in 1978, “Color is the language I speak best,” and, “Color is such a marvelous way of expressing emotion. We have so many problems in the world, color brings just a little bit of joy into our lives.”
I agree wholeheartedly.
If you are not familiar with Vera, a quick Google search will bring you into the colorful wonder of Vera Neumann.
Vera’s designs are still being licensed now, more than ten years after her death. Their longevity is her longevity. And for those of us who were around when she first came on the scene, it is a welcome reminder of a colorfully artistic era to see her famous logo still used today.
May 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
May 21, 2015
Was the uber-influential 1980s design collective Memphis named after a Bob Dylan song, the capital of ancient Egypt, or the birthplace of Elvis Presley? The first answer is correct, but Memphis founder Ettore Sottsass would have loved the question: Memphis was a deliberate mash-up of high- and low-culture references, expensive and cheap materials, functionality and playfulness.
Sottsass was in his sixties when he gathered a bunch of European twenty-somethings to launch Memphis during the 1981 Milan Furniture Fair. Their provocative, zany offerings, including Sottsass’s Carlton Cabinet, attracted immediate media endorsement, and Memphis was star material right off the bat.
It is wonderful to see this movement having another moment in 2015. The color palette may have slightly softened to speak to today’s color palette but the feeling, context and the design elements are enduring.
Please take a moment to click the link to see how the Memphis movement looks today.
February 4, 2015 § 1 Comment
February 4, 2015
In the last year we’ve seen and talked about the butterfly as a fashion statement but we haven’t spent as much time talking about the butterfly as a symbol of change or the metamorphosis.
The term metamorphosis is evocative of so many different things. The thesaurus puts it into the perfect context for this conversation. “his amazing metamorphosis from gawky hayseed to sexy pop star.” Additional terms to describe metamorphosis: transformation, mutation, transmutation, change, alteration, conversion, modification, remodeling, reconstruction; humorous transmogrification; formal transubstantiation. Some pretty lofty words here, but they are all about change.
In an article titled Oscars 2014: The Year of Metamorphosis written by Jenelle Riley in the December issue of Variety, Riley has done a great job in articulating the spirit of metamorphosis our favorite actors have gone through for some of the top movies of 2014.
These days, it’s not enough to be good looking and a good actor. It’s just as important to be willing to adapt and transform yourself for that perfect role. That might mean adding prosthetic pieces, losing/gaining weight or simply baring it all with reckless abandon. Anyway you slice it, the critics all agree that the key is in the transformation.
When we see our favorite actor in a movie, it’s truly exciting to see them morph into someone we don’t recognize and even more thrilling when they capture a spirit that we’ve not yet seen from them.
What is more fun than going to the movies and having your mind blown from the story or the setting, the actor or the acting, or the costumes? One might say that this year’s Oscar contenders far outshine their stunning wardrobes. Lucky for us that there is room enough for accolades all around.
I find that the term transformation can also be applied to the students in my color class. I revel in the various levels of expertise and knowledge of color that my students bring to the table. In the four days we share together I too experience a transformation in myself as well as witnessing that change in the students.
What star had the biggest metamorphosis that made you take notice? Was there a specific color related to that change that “spoke” to you?