Monday, June 30, 2014

The Printed Square: A Beautiful Scarf Exhibit Featuring Designs By International Artists

The McNichols Building, formerly the Carnegie Library that was built in 1909, is located right in the heart of downtown Denver in Civic Plaza.  The spacious second floor has a new exhibition of more than forty scarves from the 1940's and 1950's.  Commissioned and manufactured by the Ascher Company in London during the World War II.  Zika and Lida Ascher had fled to London from Poland.  They later went on to manufacture the printed floral scarves for Christian Dior and also introduced mohair into haute couture.

With the natural light pouring into the gallery and the over head lights, it was challenging to photograph the scarves without getting tremendous glare from the glass covering the framed scarves. 
Cricket Scene by Polish artist, Feliks Topolski screen-printed on silk.  Topolski later became a British citizen and was one of the war artist.  He was an illustrator and later an Expressionist painter.  
Problems existed during trying times.  There was a lack of good silks and cotton, inferior fabrics and dyes along with the proper techniques of reproducing the scarves. With all these obstacles, Topolski still enjoyed the process and that it offered enjoyment to the end user.  The very first Ascher scarves were printed on parachute silk.
 Old England by Topolski.
Cornish Landscape by Scottish artist, Robert Colquhoun. His studies at the Glasgow School of Art were suspended when he became an ambulance driver during the war.   His technique was heavily influenced by Picasso.              
La Seine screen-printed on silk crepe by French artist, Marie Laurencin.  Known for her whimsical, female figures, she was the only female artist in this exhibition.
French artist, Philippe Julian was a painter and excellent illustrator.  I love the colors in this scarf and could easily add to my own collection.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild came up with the idea that each year he would have a wine label designed by a famous artist of the time.  It was Philippe Julian who was given the commission for the  the first "artist's" label for the famous wine from Chateau Mounton Rothschild.  His 1945 illustration was in memory of the World War II victory over Germany. If you know me, this scarf also would fit perfectly into my wardrobe!
Screen-printed silk twill by French artist, Andre Derain.  He was the co-founder of Fauvism with Matisse.  Later he shifted his work to muted tones influenced by Cubism and Cezanne.
Chinese Panarama screen-printed on rayon by one of England's most famous fashion photographer, Cecil Beaton.  His travels to China inspired him to feature this swirling design of figures in everyday life.  I feel like one is looking through a camera lens.
Contrebadier (Smuggler) by Spanish artist, Pedro Flores.  Flores was part of the Spanish School of Paris along with Picasso.  I really like his style and it does remind me of many of Picasso's works.
Imprevisible Jeunesse (Unpredictable Youth) by French artist, Jean Hugo.  Hugo is predominantly known for his sketches and oil or gouche paintings.
Boats for Hire by English artist, Julian Trevelyan.  He wrote, "The design for Boats for Hire came as a result of a walk one spring morning along the Thames near Cookham.  After a grey winter, everything was vibrating with unusual colours - fruit trees, violet, willows, red, water, yellow.  In textiles it seems to me it is rather the same surprising inversions of colour and form that create a notable design.  The artist's drawing only comes to life when the colours of which it is composed are changed about the printer in almost as haphazard a way as in a kaleidoscope to form new and unexpected harmonies."
Le Jour et la Nuit (Day and Night) by Spanish artist, Oscar Domingues. A Surrealist painter also influenced by Picasso. 
Black Trellis by English artist, Graham Sutherland.  Southerland also worked on the home front during the war.  His works were very descriptive in his documentation of bomb damage.  He later went on to feature religious art depicting crucifixions and thorns.  

All of the scarves were limited editions, no more than 600.  At the time, the scarves cost 12 British pounds each.  Today that would be 400 pounds or around $680 US dollars.  During a time of rationing, these scarves were the creme de la creme accessory a woman could wear!  

Other scarves on display were created by the British actor, James Mason and artists Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder and Henry Moore.

Check it out.  Besides one other couple, we were the only ones enjoying the exhibit on Saturday morning.  The show is on display through August 10.  Saturday and Sunday, 10:00am - 3:00pm.

"The Printed Square: International Fashion Scarves"
McNichols Civic Center Building
144 W. Colfax St.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I have one of these scarves, the sixth one down, it has philippe jullian name on. I would like to sell,do any body know the best place to sell.