domingo, 29 de enero de 2017

Casa FERRÁN (Ferrán House), 1910 by MONGUIÓ. Teruel (Spain)

Teruel (Aragon. Spain) was the starting point of the original idea about the present project. Consequently, it is going to be the second stop in our artistic journey. Architecture will be the focus to enjoy a wider perspective of Art Deco.

The uniqueness of Teruel lies not only in its superb gastronomy, but also in architecture. Unexpectedly, this jewel of the Mudejar style, (13th to 14th centuries) holds magnificent civil buildings following the Art Deco patterns.

Casa Ferrán (Ferrán House), 1910, by Monguió.
Pervading Art Deco style invites the observer to discover the elements which have been used, and to relish the expressiveness of the materials. Stone, iron and wood, combine in a handcraft symphony  according to the rules of Art Deco. Assymetry and  undulation, transform the building  materials into dynamic compositions. Therefore, shapes become powerful and well-balanced.
This spectacular building was refurbished in 1976 by the architect Carlos Ferrán. Keeping the most interesting elements, such as the stairs, which communicate the different floors, establishing a relationship among banisters, passages, iron columns, and furniture.
The Ferrán family have been working in the textile business before 1820. It seems the oldest boutique in Spain, and probably in Europe too. ( Actually, Art Deco is strongly related to the local bourgeoise. They pretended to rival the former aristocracy. Pablo Monguió i Segura who came from Tarragona, will design the new buildings. Master craftmen from Teruel would make it feasible.
Civil architecture embodies the most vigorous facet of Art Deco. Blocks of flats are arranged in a more rational manner (including bathing and personal hygiene facilities). Whereas sumptuous façades would develop three basic elements, front door, hallway, and staircase.
Pablo Monguió i Segura is an essential artist  thanks to his long stay in Teruel from 1897 to 1923 (not taking into account his moving to Tortosa from 1902 to 1908).
Art Nouveau, The Glasgow School and Viennese Secession artistic expression languages, plus the architect Lluís Domênech personal influence can be traced in his works. La Casa del Torico (The Tiny Bull House), and  the narrow façade of La Madrileña are salient examples.

Nonetheless, Casa Ferrán is Monguió’s most ambitious and thrilling building.
The dynamism and freedom the artist exhibits in the balconies structure is evident. Especially, on the corner of the building, which is definitely the greatest achievement.
Nature stands out as a main source of inspiration. Animal and vegetal symbolism. For instance, butterflies, stems, leaves and a variety of flowers.

The poetry of iron executed by Matías Abad, a blacksmith from Teruel, is such a delightful view.
To conclude our artistic tour, I would like to show you a further selection of cast iron works of art which you come across walking around the arresting and charming city of Teruel…



sábado, 28 de enero de 2017

LIS House. Art Nouveau & Art Deco Museum

I have chosen Art Deco as the subject of this art gallery selection.
During a recent staying in Salamanca this turned out to be the topic of my first project. Consequently, we will begin this artistic journey there.     

CASA LIS.  Art Nouveau and Art Deco Museum.
Art Deco had an influence on every field concerned with design. The term makes reference to certain artistic expression in the period between World War I and World War II. The 1925 Paris Exhibition (the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes), brought together thousands of designs from all over Europe and beyond, and received over 16 million visitors. It was Bevis Hillier, an English historian, who used this concept in his work Art Deco of the 20´s and 30´s in 1968. (Victoria & Albert Museum

Art Deco  influence is still felt nowadays. Distinctive lines and geometric patterns establish a difference from curving organic shapes characteristic of Art Nouveau. Luxurious materials, superb craftmanship and simple shapes are relevant features. It is an eclectic style which takes advantage of several trends. Mainly, the avant-gardes, the increasing mechanisation, and the archeological discoveries in Egypt and Mesopotamia (Tutankhamun´s tomb was discovered in 1922).
An idealized Orientalism built on stereotypes and preconceptions seduced the public. Remote cultures provided a world of mystery and sensuality and opened the realms of fantasy.

Undoubtedly, the chryselephantine-technique (from chrysos, gold and elephas, ivory) provides the finest examples of Art Deco between the 1920´s and 1930´s. The best sculptors devoted their work to this elegant and exotic woman. Demetre Chiparus or Paul Philippe show a colourful expressiveness in their works.

Russian dancer, by Paul Philippe. (Photographer, Óscar J. González Hernández)
Resultado de imagen de paul philippe russian dancer
This precious sculpture shows a young female dancer wearing a gilt dress. She is also wearing a headband which frames the whiteness and purity of the ivory and the fine handmade features of her face, hair and arms. Her arms are outstretched while balancing on one foot. A bracelet on her left hand leads the eyes of the spectator towards  her left arm, which is in a higher position than the rest of her body to enjoy the daintiness of her arm. Then, the sight moves from right to left following her right arm direction. Movement is the outstanding feature in this masterpiece. It is stressed in the folds and flounces in the dancer’s dress, and the dynamic choreography she is performing. There is a striking contrast with the serenity in her face. A careful study of the woman’s anatomy is remarkably achieved. Her upward progress forces the sight to follow her ballet shoe, reflecting the lace tightened around her standing left leg.

 This sculpture is made of gold-plated bronze and ivory. It stands on a marble pedestal. It is 63cm high, and it was made in 1913. The lady's clothes are mainly golden in colour, whereas the belt, the trims in the skirt and top of her dress are furnished with red hearts, two flowers, and extensively rounded shapes imitating buttons. The aforementioned decoration provides further volume to her outfit, and together with the jewels on her head and hand, frame and  highlight her exquisite features.
According to Sotherby’s catalogue (, the model for this sculpture seems to be the Ballets Russes dancer Ludmilla Schollar, wearing a costume based on designs for the ballet Cléopâtre.

The so-called cold-painted bronze technique  makes reference to colourful bronze or either spelter figures, which were covered with enamel paint. Art deco figurines of women, were mainly made of these metals, Nevertheless, ivory was used for the hands and faces. (The Columbus Dispatch,

The artist, Paul Philippe (Polish 1870-1930), studied sculpture at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris under Antonin Larroux (1859-1913). He exhibited with success at all the French salons. Philippe worked in both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles. Working in bronze, bronze and ivory, and pure ivory his sculptures are sought after worldwide collectors. Amongst his most recognised works are Le Reveil (The Awakening), Russian Dancer, and ‘Radha’ (Hickmet Fine Arts. Many works by the artist have been sold at auction, including Russian Dancer. One was sold at Christie’s King Street ’20 Century Decorative Arts & Design’ in 2010 for $46.193.

In contrast to other artistic styles, Art Deco was basically decorative. Broadly speaking, artists did not aim at expressing feelings or emotions. Rather they tried to create beautifully designed  and well balanced objects, only to reflect the time and the society where they lived. Great technological development featured that moment in time. The first skyscrapers are built, aeroplanes, submarines and automobiles too. Progress is shown through a style  mirroring speed, machines, enthusiasm and the joy of life.