Saturday, June 30, 2007

Frederick Miller, 1913-2000

My article on silversmith Frederick Miller appears in the July/August issue of Silver Magazine ( An excerpt is below. If you'de like a photocopy of the article please let me know, -Alan.

. . . A 1953 American Artist magazine article by fellow Cleveland craftsman Edward Winter explained that, through his mastery of the stretching technique, Miller “learned to free design from the conventional round and rectangular shapes and to develop free forms that seemed to him better suited to the contemporary mode.”10 Miller himself stated that “silver, when you work it, seems almost human, as if it understood you and tried to help.”11 Miller’s analogy of sapience was reflected in the anthropomorphism of his asymmetrical bowls, raised on pointed ebony or ivory legs, suggestive of crouching beings stalking their prey.. . . Critics and curators concurred that Miller’s studio creations were exceptional. William Milliken, who purchased a number of Miller’s pieces for the Cleveland Museum of Art, described his work in 1956 as “superlative in its workmanship . . . emphasizing perfection of form for their quality and effect,” adding that his pieces were “completely contemporary in approach.” . . .

Victoriana 1930

My article "Victoriana 1930"--on the Victorian revival in 1930s interior design--was published in the Spring 2007 issue of Nineteenth Century, the magazine of the Victorian Society in America ( An excerpt from the article is below. If you'd like a copy of the complete article let me know, -Alan.
In 1930, with art deco lingering and the modernist aesthetic of the Bauhaus spreading, Martha Fischer wrote, in the magazine House Beautiful, that "we all know, by this time, that in the matter of decoration the Victorian style is lifting its head from the bog of obloquy to which it had been consigned these many years." A Victorian revival was, indeed, stirring amongst avant-garde tastemakers who just a few years earlier were devotees of the geometric deco aesthetic or the clinical chrome, glass and plain white walls of modernism. For these cutting-edge trend-setters Victoriana was so far out that it was suddenly in.
A pronounced neo-Victorian aesthetic was soon also championed by more conventional interior decorators and adopted even by ordinary homemakers, or at least those who had a subscription to House Beautiful or House and Garden and followed those magazines’ directives.The Victorian revival that developed in the 1930s was not simply an aesthetic reversion to the past or an attempt to recreate historically accurate period décor for accuracy's sake. For the fashionable style-setters, the re‑presentation of mid‑19th century style was an explicit challenge to the modernist machine aesthetic. The challenge was made through the placement of the most fantastic Victorian design elements within a modernist architectural envelope, achieving an apparently irrational juxtaposition that revealed a surrealist undercurrent in interior design.
. . .

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Rita Pavone--My Name is Potato

This is brilliant:
Check out the rest of my favorites on youtube too:

Architecture and Genealogy in France

This really interesting website is all about the late 19th and early 20th century villas in the Ubaye valley in France. They were built by families who had become wealthy after emigrating to New Orleans and Latin America. My brother says that these are the McMansions of the turn-of-the-century but I think they're beautiful. Among those who emigrated to New Orleans was Marius Jaubert, my great-great grandafther. Les Charmettes (shown in the phot here), a lovely art nouveau villa, was built by a member of the Jaubert family and I am also related to many of the other families mentioned on the site (Signoret, Reyne, Auddifred)

Carlyle Brown

I participated in the development of the website (link below) devoted to the artist Carlyle Brown (1919-1963). Brown began his career as a protégé of Pavel Tchelitchew. His paintings were collected by influential style-setters such as Millicent Rogers, Van Day Truex, Baron Alexis de Rede, Antonio del Castillo and Edward James.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Alan Rosenberg

Alan Rosenberg is a historian, consultant and journalist in the field of 20th century art and design. In his role as a design historian he writes frequently and his articles have been published recently in Nineteenth Century and in Silver Magazine.

In 1999 Alan Rosenberg curated Eugene Berman, a Centennial Perspective at Alan Moss, New York. Since that exhibition the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, TX, has presented a landmark retrospective of the artist's work (Spring 2005). In 2000 Rosenberg curated Jan Yoors, Tapestries, 1970-1977 at Icon20, New York, the first significant exhibition of Yoors' work in more than 20 years. The Yoors exhibition was documented in feature articles in Wallpaper and Elle Décor magazines.

Alan Rosenberg has contributed essays and articles to a number of publications including The Saint James Encyclopedia of Fashion, Contemporary Designers, Who Was Who in American Art, Modernism magazine, Distinction magazine and Echoes magazine. His ongoing series of articles on 20th century American silversmiths in Silver magazine has generated interest and praise amongst both silver collectors and modern design enthusiasts. His articles in Modernism, on modern American silver and on enamel craft and design are regarded as important references on their subjects. "Alluring Enamels" (Modernism, Spring 2003) was the first article to extensively discuss the work of Annemarie Davidson, whose enamel designs of the 1950's and '60's were subsequently the subject of a retrospective at the Long Beach Museum of Art in 2004.

Rosenberg has lectured at the Cooper Hewitt-National Design Museum, the Atlanta History Center, the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture.

Alan Rosenberg holds a Master of Arts degree in Museum Studies/History of Applied Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Hunter College and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fashion Design, also from FIT. In 1995 he was a Research Fellow at the Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art.