12 June 2015

Drawing on Tuesday...

... continues in Berlin, this week with a long visit to the Kunstgewerbemuseum - the museum of applied arts, or as they more appealingly put it, art, fashion, and design. I've been there before and found it very quiet in terms of visitors, as it was this time - which is sad because it contains wonderful objects.

Jugendstil and Art Deco isn't my favourite design style [hmm, what is...?] but the first thing I saw was this wicker furniture and I sat right down and got stuck in -
It's designed by Richard Reimerschmid and made in Dresden, 1904-5.
The new (A5) sketchbook I brought along turns out to have quite "toothy" paper, and pencil isn't very happy on it - it wants to smear. Away with the pencil, out with the pen, and quite a different aspect of the furniture appeared, the design stripped of its material. First in my notebook -
and then back to the "good" sketchbook -
The wickerwork itself needed close inspection - the rows of lines I'd used for texture in the pencil drawing really bore no relation to the actual construction -
The coffee pot is also designed by Reimerschmid - the pattern was called "Lindenblueten", now known as Blaue Rispe, says the article on Reimerschmid in wikipedia. ("In 1903-04 he designed a dinner and coffee service for Meissen porcelain, part of their attempt to incorporate art nouveau designs; it was well received by the critics but did not sell well, although some were also sold through the Workshops [Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk]. It has been reissued as Blaue Rispe (blue meadow-grass)." Meadow grass??)

Before we leave the wicker furniture, here's another view - also of the Hokker (stool) supplied by the museum on request - made of thin plywood, very light to carry around -
Sticking with pen and line, I spent a while at this vitrine -
At the bottom is the Lindenblueten service by Reimerschmid, and above are some objects by Joseph Maria Olbrich, one of the founders of the Vienna Secession in 1897. I was very taken with the oil and vinegar bottles (there are spice jars in that pattern), looked at them closely but my rendering hardly does them justice -
Next came some contemplation of vase shapes - pages and pages of trying to get the two sides to match, based on this and another case -
On one page I used charcoal - not stick charcoal but the compressed sort that comes covered in paper that you unwind as you use the crayon. It doesn't smudge much - 
After this, a series of continuous line blind drawings, followed by a "real" drawing, such as the "Mistletoe" comb by Andre Falize, Paris, 1898-1900 -
The chairs are by Bruno Paul, made at the Vereinigte Wekstatten, Munich, 1901 -
But back to the Mistletoe comb (gold, opals, horn) - it was in a case with a Lalique "Thistleflower" flagon  and "Ivy" hair comb -
Wandering into the earlier 19th century, I loved the arched handle of this 1830 cup - a swan biting the rim -
What looks like white lines are actually raised dots, and the gold bands between the blue have incised patterning. Beautiful, but possibly not very easy to actually drink out of?
From another vitrine, and from sitting position, more cups (Meissen), including one with little feet (Waldenberg) -
These objects, with their painted scenes and gold decoration, are sumptuous and involved many skills in their production -
The lighting and the limitations of the camera don't show them to advantage. 

Back to Art Nouveau and some glass by George Carl von Reichenback, Munich, 1906/7 - 
They are mold-blown clear glass, with the colour applied inside, and trailed glass applied. The skill of glass-making is awesome, but the technical process is still a mystery to me.

Finally (it was getting on for 3pm), my eye was caught by the sinuous diagonal of a cigar lighter c.1900, maker/designer not known -
Not quite finally, though - near the Kunstgewerbemuseum is this sculpture, "Tetes et Queue" 1965, by Alexander Calder -
The label is placed just where you get the best view (as this video demonstrates).
Soluble graphite, and interesting to see the changes in blackness and shadows as the sun came and went. 

Having seen some Calder a few days ago, the charming circus film in the Berggruen exhibition, I went for a closer look at this - there's something appealing about those heads on stalks. Having spent time with it - the time it took to do a drawing, and then to walk around it, considering whether I'd got the best viewpoint or might even want to draw it from another angle - I quite "like" it now.

(And now, a slight digression - )

Which brings up the small matter of "liking" things - there's been a bit of discussion on a forum about drawings by a certain artist, with most people saying they don't "like" them. I'm finding it hard to get my thoughts together about this "liking" thing. We need more exact terms - appreciate? enjoy? understand? wish to emulate? Perhaps I've ranted about "the L word" before - certainly it's something that comes up again and again - "I don't like that bit of art" - so? Think about it - tell me why!

Another question, also arising from that discussion ... and it's a complex question, I think: what is a "bad" - or a "good" - drawing? 


magsramsay said...

I haven't raised my head above the parapet on the forum you mention - I find this issue of 'liking' (or not) more prevalent among people who don't draw or paint much themselves. Those that do practise tend to look at things in a different way.

Charlton Stitcher said...

Love the gold cups ... And you lovely drawings of them ...so full of life!