Thursday, January 31, 2013

Magyar Magic

First lovely days of Spring-like weather in Firenze, while I am finally emerging from an intense period of 
super-busy work schedule. Let's celebrate with some great Eastern European folk-inspired art, 
a subject that I love and that has been absent too long on Animalarium! 

The Hungarian artist Jozsef Domján was born in Budapest in 1907, the oldest of 12 children 
in a poor family, which he supported by working in a machine foundry when still a teenager. 
Being unemployed during the Depression, he toured Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany
by foot, supporting himself by working odd jobs and selling his sketches, and decided to become an artist. 
After his return to Hungary he won a scholarship to study at the Budapest Academy of Arts,
and six years later became a member of the faculty. 

Domján was very interested in woodcuts, and developed a unique colorful style that soon gained
 him international fame and important prizes. Unfortunately in 1945 a bomb destroyed his studio 
and many of his artworks, and the violent repression of the 1956 Hungarian upraising led him
 to leave his homeland and  emigrate with his family to Switzerland. A year later 
they moved to the United States, and eventually settled in New York.

 The inspiration for Domján's intricate woodcuts is clearly rooted in Hungarian folk art 
and in his love of nature. His complex technique used overprinted layers of oil colors,
sometimes as many as 21, and eight different wood-blocks for each image
to obtain a deep, vibrant color range and rich three dimensional texture.

 In 1970 disaster struck again, and Domján's studio and home were destroyed by a fire, along with
2 million dollars worth of artworks. Rather than getting discouraged, the artist elected the phoenix
 as his emblem and artistic subject, and declared "I can die or live, I choose to live,
 to create, to rise like the phoenix bird from the ashes once more."

Now recognized as one of the most important color woodcut artists of 
the 20th century, his production also includes a wealth of black and white 
woodcut prints, oil paintings and Aubusson tapestries. 

He also illustrated 40 books, which I'd love to take a look at! Domján died at 85. 
 His works are on permanent display at the Domján Museum in Sarospatak
Hungary, and are part of numerous major public and private collections.

For more art inspired by the great Magyar folk tradition, check out
my previous posts about János Kass and Károli Reich.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mad Men and Crazy Critters - Wool & Yarn

 Vintage Japanese ad, 1950, 
thanks to a wonderful post on 50 Watts

 Nicco Carlo, 1925

Alois Carigiet, 1937-39

 Marcello Dudovich

Willi Weiss, 1952

Vintage Japanese poster

Italian ad for mothproofed wool, 1946 

 Vintage Japanese ad, 1950, 
thanks to another wonderful post at 50 Watts!

Kenji Itoh, 1954

 Gene Federico & Naiad Einsel

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Revenge of the Lost Dragons

Wow, how time flies! (probably not the first time I say this)
I had collected these images thinking of posting them last winter,
but here I am, and the Year of the Dragon is already reaching its end...

I take this opportunity to thank all the readers who have followed, commented 
and e-mailed; I am very grateful for your compliments, encouragement and suggestions!
And a special thanks goes to all the artists, publishers, authors and illustrators 
who have generously and graciously contributed to this blog in so many different ways. 
I have to ask all of you who have contacted me recently, and have been waiting for a reply, 
to kindly be patient. The last three months have seen an unusually abundant outpouring
 of freelance graphic design work on top of my regular 18 weekly hours of teaching.
I sometimes I wonder if my head is going to explode, but I am also quite happy
because, let's face it, I enjoy being busy. And I promise I'll find the time 
to keep the Animalarium as full of life and surprises as ever!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fun with Appliances

Peter Gut is a Swiss typographer, illustrator and caricaturist based in Winterthur. 
He has collaborated for years with the weekly magazine Facts, and today works for Weltwoche,
the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the business magazine Bilanz. Gut also designs book covers and
 has illustrated the children's book Der Bär auf dem FörsterballI recently discovered his work
thanks to my daughter Michelle, who bought me the postcard above. His surreal and whimsical humour
 and artistic style are in a similar vein to the great Michael Sowawho I haven't posted so far 
only because he's already quite famous, and Roberto PeriniThese pictures are part of the book
Tierisch unter Strom, which explores a series of funny and creative interactions 
between different animals and various appliances and machines.
 You can also find them as postcards via Incognito.


Related Posts with Thumbnails