Ladislav Sutnar: Mechanical Beauty
Dummy of dust jacket for Arnold Zweig's The Crowning of the King, 1938.
Drawing, pencil and tempera paste-up.
Last spring, we spent several days in Switzerland en route to Italy a detour which was largely unremarkable except that it provided a chance to see an exhibition on Ladislav Sutnar
at the Zurich Museum of Design.
The exhibit (which sadly, did not come to the US) showcased the designer's prodigious output, in a variety of media, over the course of the first half of the twentieth century. Designer and theorist, champion of the everyday and early pioneer of what would later become information design, Sutnar
was a pragmatist as far as function was concerned, but a poet when it came to working with form.
[The exhaustive and seminal catalogue from this exhibition is not available in America or England. Book buyers can only find it at Nijhof & Lee
Of course, it was all impressive: the glass tea set, the childrens' toys, the catalogues for obscure industrial corporations before the War...
An Instrument of Sufficiently Lucid Cogitation
The legendary French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson, who died on Tuesday at his home in the South of France, always carried a sketchbook with him. Today's obituary in The New York Times
alleges that he described drawing as meditative, while photography was intuitive: though certainly both activities might have been informed by a relentless need to observe and in a sense, preserve the world around him. In Cartier-Bresson's later years, drawing trumped photography: here, "the decisive moment" (with which his photographs were so frequently described) was supplanted by a more organic process, a more immediate and gestural need to make something. Well into his nineties, Cartier-Bresson spent hours drawing in his Paris studio...