Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Venice: La Casa dei Tre Oci – Jacques Henri Lartigue – The Invention of Happiness – Photographs

 Lartigue’s ‘part of the world’ is the rich and bourgeois one of a Paris of the nouveau siecle, even when Europe was to be traversed by the horrors of two world wars, Lartigue was to continue to preserve the purity of his photographic microcosm, fixing on film only what he wants to remember, to conserve. To stop time in order to save the instant from its inevitable passage. For Lartigue photography becomes the means to exhume life, to relive happy moments, again and again.”
Denis Curti

 La Casa dei Tre Oci
Jacques Henri Lartigue – The Invention of Happiness

The Invention of Happiness - until January 10 - is the most extensive retrospective organised in Italy devoted to French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue - 1894-1986 - curated by Marion Perceval and Charles-Antoine Revol, respectively director and project manager of the Donation Jacques Henri Lartigue, and Denis Curti, artistic director of La Casa dei Tre Oci. The exhibition presents 120 images, 55 of which previously unknown, all coming from Lartigue’s personal photograph albums. Added to these are archive materials, books, magazines from the period, a diorama with pages from the albums, stereoscopes with images representing snowy landscapes and elegant Parisian settings. These documents look back over his whole career, from its beginnings in the early 20th century until the 1980s, reconstructing the story of this photographer and his rediscovery.

Bichonnade also jumps for my snapshots…. Paris 1905

Marie Lartigue – Portrait of Jacques Henri Lartigue – Paris 1904

The collection of cars in Jacques Henri Lartigue’s room – Paris 1903

Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture (France), MAP-AAJHL – courtesy La Casa dei Tre Oci


“The images themselves surprised me, in particular because of their simplicity and the charm of their graphic structure.  They seemed – like a good athlete – to reach the desired result with restraint, elegance and precision.  I had the impression of having discovered the as-yet unpublished early work of Cartier-Bresson’s father – without the son’s artistic or intellectual sophistication, of course, but with the same gift for discovering the underlying essence in movement.”
John Szarkowski

1963 was a crucial year when John Szarkowski, recently appointed director of the photography department of the MoMa - Museum of Modern Art in New York, exhibited Lartigue’s works in the museum, enabling him to achieve success when he was close to seventy years old. The display itinerary of The Invention of Happiness is structured around those significant moments of rediscovery of Lartigue’s work, beginning with the exhibition at MoMA, where his first photographs, created in the period prior to the First World War, were presented; this contributed to the establishing of his renown as the enfant prodige of photography.

Anna la Pradvina – also called La Femme aux renards –
Avenue du Bois - Paris 1911

Caroline Roussel – a cousin of Jacques Henri Lartigue and M. Plantevigne  Villerville 1906

Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture (France), MAP-AAJHL – courtesy La Casa dei Tre Oci

Inspired by the newspapers and illustrated magazines of this age, Lartigue was interested in the affluent members of the Parisian middle class who would gather at automobile races, at the horseracing competitions at Auteuil, as well as the elegant men and women attending them.

Conte Salm during the final of the World Tennis Championships – Paris June 1914

At the Rocher de la Vierge – Biarritz 1927

 During the filming of Les Avventures du Roi Pausole
Cap d’Antibes 1932


The hands of Florette – Cannes 1942

Monaco Grand Prix – Monte Carlo 1956

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc – Cap d’Antibes 1964

 Photograph by Jacques Henri Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture (France), MAP-AAJHL – courtesy La Casa dei Tre Oci

Lartigue did what no photographer had done before
and what nobody did subsequently: photograph his own life.

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon – New York - 1966

Photo by Luca Zanon - courtesy La Casa dei Tre Oci

Following the success achieved with the exhibition at MoMa, towards the end of the 1960s, Lartigue encountered Richard Avedon and Hiro, two of the most influential fashion photographers of that time, who immediately began to enthuse about his art.  Avedon, in particular, soon asked him to create a work in the form of a “photographic ‘journal”, showing a little more of the material in Lartigue’s archives. Helped by Bea Feitler, then the photo editor at Harper's magazine, in 1970 they published the volume Diary of a Century, which definitively placed his name in the pantheon of greats of 20th-century photography.

Diary of a Century
Postcard from Lartigue intended for Richard Avedon in thanks for his work for diary of a century


Jacques Henri Lartigue – The Invention of Happiness


Jacques Henri Lartigue – The Invention of Happiness Photographs exhibition is organised by Civita Tre Venezie and promoted by Fondazione di Venezia, in close collaboration with the Donation Jacques Henri Lartigue in Paris with the patronage of the French Ministry of Culture. Accompanying the exhibition is a bilingual catalogue published by Marsilio Editori, with a presentation by Ferdinando Scianna.







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Sunday, October 04, 2020

Venice: Le Stanze del Vetro - Venice and American Studio Glass


“The goal of the mid- to late-20th Century American Studio Glass movement was to free glassmaking from industrial processes and to develop glass in the artist’s studio as a material for contemporary art. Some artists took the new studio glassblowing in experimental and innovative directions in the late 1960s, yet most Americans were hampered by their lack of technical knowledge.”


Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore

Le Stanze del Vetro

Venice and American Studio Glass


Right across from Piazza San Marco and Palazzo Ducale on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in the Stanze del Vetro - Venice and the American Studio Glass show – until January 10 - is curated by Tina Oldknow and William Warmus. Gathering 155 outstanding glass vessels, sculptures and installations created by 60 American and Venetian artists, this exhibition is the first to closely examine the influences of traditional Venetian glass-working techniques, as well as the Venetian aesthetic, on the American Studio Glass from the 1960s to the present.


 Venice and American Studio Glass


By 1960, glassblowing had become industrialized in the United States and many skills were lost, so American Studio Glass artists looked to Europe, and especially to Venice and the glassblowers on the island of Murano, for guidance.  What ensued was a “love affair” with Venetian glass-working that, by the end of the 1990s, had spread throughout the United States and worldwide.

Harvey K. Littleton - Blue Projectile Impact – 1984

This iconic glass sculpture, shot with a rifle, is symbolic of the bold new directions in glassmaking that Americans wanted to take.


Harvey K. Littleton – Blue Crown – 1988

The sense of arrested movement that can be seen in this sculpture is characteristic of Littleton’s work at that time, as is the way in which the colors are multiplied and magnified inside the glass.


 David Landau


Dale Chihuly – Cobalt Goblet – 1971

Pioneering artists such as Dale Chihuly and Benjamin Moore traveled to Venice, learned Venetian techniques, and then invited Venetian maestros to the United States to teach. 



 Harvey K. Littleton – Distortion Box II – 1974


Dan Dailey – Prima Donnas – Circus Vase - series – 2019



Dale Chihuly

Cadmium Orange Venetian #350 – 1990

Payne’s Gray Venetian #24 - 1989

 both made with Lino Tagliapietra


Richard Marquis  

Stars and Stripes Acid Capsule #4 – 1969-1970

 Crazy Quilt Teapot – 1985

Richard Marquis, who also traveled to Venice, developed entirely new uses for the Venetian mosaic technique, known as murrine, for his American flag-inspired objects, crazy quilt teapots, and Marquiscarpa vessels.


Dale Chihuly  

Olive Green Venetian with Sawtooth Flanges  

Chrome Yellow Venetian – 1989

Napoleone Martinuzzi

Anfora Pulegoso a Dieci Anse – 1925


These experimental vessels were made during Chihuly’s first ‘Venetians’ blow with Lino Tagliapietra in Seattle.


Benjamin P. Moore – Interior Fold Plater – 2001

Moore traveled to Venice, learned Venetian techniques, and then invited Venetian maestri to the United States to teach at Pilchuck.  His body of works focuses specifically on Venetian aesthetics, and is inspired by mid-20th-century Venetian glass design.



Benjamin P. Moore – Pala Set – 2008


Preston Singletary – Alligator Goblet – 1990

Singletary introduces American narrative elements into his lighthearted goblets – think of the Everglades of Florida.



 Salviati dott. Antonio – Calice da Parata Fume’ Con Tre Serpenti Alati – 1880


 Richard Royal – Tropical Leopard Skin Scroll – 2015

Royal’s work is not Venetian-inspired. But, like many other artists in this exhibition, Royal uses Venetian techniques in the making of his vessels and sculptures.


Dante Marioni

Red Parquet Mosaic Vase – 2007 Yellow in Red – Z – Leaf Pair – 2017

Pink Reticello Urn – 2010


 Lino Tagliapietra - Dinosaur – 2018


 William Morris

Canopic Jar: Elk – Spike – 1993

Canopic Jar: Hawk – 1993

Canopic Jar: Raven – 1993

After meeting Pino Signoretto, Morris made a series of hot-sculptured bones.  Then he embarked on the first of many widely recognized series of works: the blown and sculptured Canopic Jars, which are an American hunter’s and naturalist’s (Morris was both) interpretation of ancient Egyptian prototypes.


Flora C. Mace – Joey Kirkpatrick - The Edge of Certainty – 2002

Mace and Kirkpatrick explore the idea of the vessel as a metaphor for the body and identity.


 Venini’s New Look – 1952

In the 1952 Venice Biennale, Venini entered a display of vases designed not by the factory’s artists and architects, but by the glassblowers themselves. The unusual shapes and cloth-like patterning were based on the haute couture New Look of Christian Dior 1947 collection, which the owner’s French wife wore when she visited the factory. Ginette Gignous Venini was intimately involved in running the company with her husband Paolo Venini, and she could often be seen by the male workers in the furnace room as she ascended and descended the stairs to the office. A few of these glass pieces were put into limited production and presented as designs of Paolo or Ginette Gignous Venini.


James Mongrain – Atlantis Series – 2014

Mongrain takes highly skilled goblets making to an over-the-top, monumental scale, pushing process to create vessels that are more architectural than functional.



Katherine Gray – Acqua Alta – 2008

Gray delves into the narrative potential of the vessel, creating poignant stories around vessels that reflect history and current events.


Kim Harty – Old Venetian Glass – digital print - 2013 – detail

Harty uses the goblet, specifically, to explore identity, comparing the form of her body with the traditional goblet shapes that she draws in hot glass around her.


Laura Donefer – Jeff Mack – Violet Amphora Classico Moderno  2017


Michael Schunke – Sacrificial Vessel Trio – 2019

Schunke has perfected Venetian-style goblet making, which he practices as a profession.


 Lino Tagliapietra – Calice Floreale – 1991-1994



 Charles Savoie – Zanifirico Jetson Goblets – 2019

Savoie has perfected Venetian-style goblet making, which he practices as a profession.


 Martin Lipofsky – Venini Series – 1972

made with Gianni Toso



Fondazione Giorgio Cini – Carnelutti Hall

Dale Chihuly – Laguna Muran Chandelier – 1996

in collaboration with Pino Signoretto and Lino Tagliapietra


For the first time Le Stanze del Vetro reaches outside of its usual exhibition space and moves into Fondazione Giorgio Cini’s Carnelutti Hall which has become the stage for the spectacular work in glass for the Laguna Murano Chandelier. The chandelier, produced in 1996 in Murano by Dale Chihuly, together with the glass maestri Lino Tagliapietra and Pino Signoretto, consists of five blown and densely- sculptured elements that are executed in a rich palette of brown, amber, yellow and opalescent glass.  Sea gods, mermaids, and a bounty of sea creatures rise out of the seaweed-like glass curls of this spectacular and historic installation that pays homage to Murano and to the Venice lagoon.















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