Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Decorative Art

I went to a lecture today about Cassandré, the man who designed these posters.  Really interesting, one knows so much more about the art than the man.  Apart from his being French (although born in the Ukraine and spending much of his childhood there), I knew nothing.

When I went to the computer this morning (I read comments on the phone but generally reply to them from here, as one has to sign in every time which is a nuisance), there was no internet connection, so I assumed that we'd had a brief power cut in the night and the booster needed resetting.  That wasn't it, however, and I wasn't able to get online again before leaving the house.  I said to the Sage, I can't find anything obviously wrong, maybe it's the external connection.  And indeed, when he came home at lunchtime, he said that the whole town was off.  The Post Office and two of the banks were shut, although one was open and offering a limited service.  The shops were okay, as there was still electricity.

I was quite reassured, taking the view that it would all be repaired pretty soon, and so it was, but it must have been off for at least four hours.  Quite a nuisance for a business.  At least it wasn't a power cut.

I cycled in and found it very heavy going - it was quite windy, but even so...  As soon as I came home I pumped my bike tyres right up.  The Sage did it for me last time, but when Phil does it, I sail along afterwards.  Bumpily, but fast.  When I'd done it and was checking the bike over, I realised that one of the brake levers has rather come apart.  I'll have to have a word with Phil and ask if I can put it right myself or whether I'd better take the bike to the shop in town.  I'd ridden home without noticing, but I evidently mostly use the other brake.  Or maybe both of them.

I've got a couple of clear days, I realise.  And a free weekend.  My word.  I could do a whole lot of gardening.  I doubt I will, I admit.  I'm a fair-weather gardener and unashamed of it.  I have no intention of putting my back out or getting chilled - a girl gets cystitis in the cold, you know, and I get enough of that from biking in the winter.

13 comments:

Dave said...

I really must get my bike out again now. Well, not now. When it warms up a bit, perhaps.

Z said...

We could cycle towards each other and meet half-way!

allotmentqueen said...

Oh, those posters so reminded me of Hercule Poirot a la David Suchet! Magnifique!

Hope it was the back brake lever that had come apart. Could be quite dangerous if your front brake doesn't work.

And the weather looks good for the weekend. I shall plant my first earlies. There's nothing like a good bit of digging to stop one feeling cold.

Z said...

Absolutely, AQ, both the design for that and for Jeeves and Wooster with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry were inspired by his work. The lecturer played the J&W music at the start - Cassandré was born in 1901 and flourished in the 20s and 30s.

If it warms up, I'll get into the garden. There's so much to do that it's discouraging. I am planning a fairly easy year, planting stuff that doesn't need too much attention. And I don't have to grow for Al's shop any more. I'll miss all the seedlings, I love that part of it.

martina said...

Very glad you got home safe with the faulty brake. I just bought the Martha Steward gardening issue; research for what to plant this year!

Alienne said...

I have L'Atlantique, framed, on the wall in my dining room. We bought the poster over 20 years ago at the Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam because we loved it, such wonderful lines, and had it framed when we got back. I didn't know who the artist was, but as soon as I started looking through the posters on your link I knew I was going to find it there!

63mago said...

Could the lecturer present new facts about the artist's life?

Z said...

I'm quite tempted to put it all down to potatoes to cut down on the work, Martina! I don't know how I'll find time for vegetable growing this year.

I think that the posters are so well known that they have taken over from the man. He also was a font designer.

Since I knew nothing about him, I don't know if there were new facts, but it was interesting. Sad to say, his huge success in his early career dropped off later, not helped when his business partner was killed in a car accident, and he eventually killed himself in the late 1960s.

63mago said...

I looked around a bit and found only one book about him, seemingly a Schirmer-Mosel-coffe table thing with reproductions of the posters. In the documenta-archive (he was on documenta 3 -!) I found only one literature, in a catalog of Staedelijk museum from 2000.
I seriously thought he had died through the war.

Christopher said...

Thank you, dear Z. I recognised the style (partly from Dave's occasional references to his posters) but had no idea about the artist. Was his name really Cassandré? And did people believe his claims?

Sarah said...

I've only been gone 10 mins and you have written another 5 posts! can't keep up.....Cystitis from the cold....really? in what way does it make any difference?....no don't answer...too much information !

Z said...

His name was Adolphe Mouron, his father was in the wine business and the family were prosperous until WWI and then the Russian Revolution - they lost everything and had to make their way back to Paris and start again. He probably predicted all of it, but no one took him seriously.

He spent time in America and did various design work there, magazine covers for Harper's Bazaar and so on, and by the time he came back to France he'd rather been forgotten. His YSL logo is still the one in use.

If you google Cassandre and click on images, you'll see lots of designs you know - some of which have since been ripped off by other people.

Z said...

I'm a delicate little thing, Sarah, and need to be kept at an even (warm) temperature or else I'm not very well.