the FINE ART collection

William Morris

1845 – 1896

During his lifetime, Morris produced items in a range of crafts, mainly those to do with furnishing, including over 600 designs for wallpaper, textiles, and embroideries, over 150 for stained glass windows, three typefaces, and around 650 borders and ornamentations for the Kelmscott Press. He emphasised the idea that the design and production of an item should not be divorced from one another, and that where possible those creating items should be designer-craftsmen, thereby both designing and manufacturing their goods. In the field of textile design, Morris revived a number of dead techniques, and insisted on the use of good quality raw materials, almost all natural dyes, and hand processing.

Read more about William Morris in our post: William Morris: The First Celebrity Designer?

August Racinet

1825 – 1893

Albert-Charles-Auguste Racinet (1825–1893), himself an accomplished artist, is best known today for publishing two major pictorial works on the history of design — Le costume historique and L’Ornement polychrome — while engraver and artistic director at the Parisian publisher Firmin Didot et Cie. Published in ten instalments between 1869 and 1873, the first iteration of L’Ornement polychrome (Colour ornament) is a visual record in 100 plates of the decorative arts from antiquity to the eighteenth century. The work was such a huge success that in 1885–7 Racinet brought out a second series, this time of 120 plates, and updated to include designs of the nineteenth century as well. The imagery presented in both series is drawn from a wide array of various mediums, including woodwork, metalwork, architecture, textiles, painting, and pottery, and from cultures all over the world.

E. A. Séguy

1890 – 1985

E. A. Séguy was one of the foremost French designers of decorative art during the first third of the twentieth century. He produced numerous color portfolios of visual ideas for artists, illustrators and designers over a long and distinguished career. His books reproduce in full color all 40 of the extraordinary plates from Papillons (Butterflies) and Insectes, two portfolios Seguy published in the 1920s. Included are 81 specimens of butterflies plus 16 artistic designs based on butterfly motifs, and 80 insects other than butterflies with 16 decorative compositions utilizing insects. 

Learn more about this artist from our post: Eugène Séguy & the pochoir method

Gustav Klimt

1862-1918

Gustav Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d’art. Klimt’s primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism. Wikipedia

His works were mainly paintings, murals, and sketches. Marked by his numerous erotic drawings, Klimt’s primary subject were female figures. Klimt found financial success in his “Golden Phase” with decorative techniques and the prominent use of gold leaf in his paintings.

Paul Klee

1879–1940

Paul Klee was a Swiss-born German artist. His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. Wikipedia

Klee was a central figure of the Bauhaus movement and the German Expressionist group Der Blaue Reiter. Vibrant paintings influenced by Cubism and Surrealism, including minimal stick figures, abstract forms, vivid colors and use of symbols drawn from imagination, poetry, music and literature. 

For a more in-depth understanding of this artist’s technique, background and inspiration, read our post Artist & Author: Paul Klee

Edward Penfield

1866-1925

Edward Penfield was an important American poster artist and a pioneer of the American poster movement. He worked as an art editor for Harper’s Magazine and created captivating posters for over seven years to promote each issue. Penfield had a unique avant-garde style that simplified everyday scenes and used vibrant colors to depict various subjects like horses, cats, sports, and women’s fashion.

Penfield lived in New Rochelle, New York, a popular art colony among actors, writers and artists of the period. The community was most well known for its unprecedented number of prominent American illustrators. He was one of the founding members of the New Rochelle Art Association which was organized in 1912.

His posters were bold and stood out from a distance with great clarity. As artists like Alphonse MuchaThéophile Steinlen and Toulouse-Lautrec popularized the poster in Europe, Penfield accomplished the same feat in the United States. For his posters, Penfield utilized simple shapes and a limited palette of colors that lent themselves to the primitive methods of reproduction of the era.

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