Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Smiles and Tiles

Kenneth Townsend (1931-99) was a British artist and freelance designer 
based in Hastings. His humorous pictures were utilized by various companies
 to decorate pottery, textiles, children's games, and glass trays.
He also illustrated six books, one of which,the 1968 children's book 
Felix the bald-headed lion, was written by him.

The animals on the tiles of the "Menagerie" series are among Townsend's 
most famous designs. There are around 25 different tile designs,
including the ones shown in this gallery.

The games designed by Townsend look delightful, too...

Marble Fun, a scoring game by Merit

Tiles from Remember, Remembera memory game by Galt Toys.
As you can see, some of them are very similar to the ceramic tile designs.

Townsend's work is still popular and loved by many, especially in Britain. 
Thanks to Hazel Terry for the discovery, and to the members of the flickr group 
"Lovers of Kenneth Townsend's workfor uploading a majority of the images in this post.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Foxy Tricks

A couple of years ago I dedicated a post to the fox character in Russian tales. Since then,
 the theme has continued to hold my interest, and I've gathered more images and information.
 As mentioned before, a large number of Russian and Ukrainian folk tales feature forest animals
 such as the fox, the wolf, the bear, and various birds. Domestic animals including the cat, 
the dog, and the rooster also appear, usually in secondary roles in combination with the wild ones. 
All of these characters mix human abilities and habits with animal instincts and behavior. 

Evgenii Rachev, The Cat and the Fox

In this rich genre of stories, animal features are strictly typecast, and the sex of each character
 is based on its masculine or feminine nounAmong the males, we find the greedy and stupid wolf,
the clumsy and slow-witted bear,the cowardly and quick hare, the lazy opportunistic cat, and the boastful rooster.
The main female characters are the sneaky and crafty fox, and the cunning, obstinate goat
 Trickstery is one of the fondamental narrrative elements of these stories, and in many of them
 the fox plays the role of the sly, calculating animal who vanquishes the stronger ones and fools all the others. 

Natalia Trepenok, The Fox and the Goat, from Russian Folk Tales

This gallery includes illustrations for some of the most popular Russian and Ukrainian tales, 
and lastly a Siberian one. A few, like The Fox and the Crane and The Fox and the Goat
are also found in Aesop. I've also added links to the stories' text when possible.
 Other fox tales include The Fox MidwifeThe Fox and the BearSister Fox
The Fox and the Thrush, The Fox Confessor, and more.

Natalia Trepenok, Sister Fox and Brother Wolf, from Russian Folk Tales 

Marianna Belyaeva, Sister Fox and Brother Wolf (The Fox and the Wolf), 
from a collection of Russian folktales by Alexei Tolstoy, 1988, thanks to ban galbasi

Evgenii Rachev, Cockerel The Golden Comb, 1954

Watch the wonderful animated version made by Yarbusova with her husband Yuri Norstein here.

Natalia Trepenok, The Fox and the Hare, from Russian Folk Tales 

Igor and Ksenia Ershov, The Cat, the Rooster, and the Fox

Alexander AlexeieffRussian Fairy Tales, 1945, thanks to 50 Watts

Vladimir Menshikov, The Fox and the Crab (also known as The Race)thanks to normanack

Veniemin Losin, The Fox and the Crane, 1977

Georgiy and Alexander Traugot, The Fox and the Crane 

Tatyana Kolyusheva, Kolobok

Petr Kirillov Gulin and Nadezha Kirillova, Rabbit and Fox. Ukrainian folk song, 1972

Adele Gilewicz, Ban Kotsy (Ukrainian version of The Cat and the Fox), 1971

Gennady Pavlishin, The Raven, Karas, the Bear and the Fox, 1968

A great thanks for the iconography to HannaRivka and her flickr set
to Book Graphicspolny_shkaf and other Russian LiveJournals and websites. 
And thank you Mark Kats for all the much appreciated clarifications!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mysteries of the Marabou

Richard Müller

Recently Sebastiano and I spent a weekend in Brescia to attend the opening of the collective show 
 Marabù Vizi e Virtù. A big thanks to Chiara Padova who invited Sebastiano to participate in the exhibition 
and gave us the opportunity discover her beautiful gallery, an elegant city and lots of fascinating people!

 Since 1972, Chiara is the owner of the Galleria dell'Incisione, an established art gallery 
specializing in Mittel-European art from the late 19th and early 20th century. 
With dedication and connoisseurship, she has introduced and promoted many extraordinary artists
 and a media, engraving, which is generally ignored and underrated in our country. 
But the gallery's offerings are much wider, and range from Japanese woodblocks
to sculpture, contemporary illustration and photography.  

Il pretendente ardito, 1923

La grande bestia I, 1918

The inspiration behind the unusual theme of the show lies in the powerful marabous 
inhabiting the wonderful engravings and drawings of the symbolist artist Richard Müller

These striking and rather unappealing carrion-eating water birds of the stork family 
are physically characterized by a bald head and neck, a dangling air-filled breast pouch, 
a long straight beak and thin long wading legs. Their hyeratic pose and unsettling gaze
are likely the origin of their long history as a symbol for wisdom and spiritual insight.

In Müller's engravings the marabou is given center stage as an allegorical animal
impersonating the vices and virtues of man, and sometimes transformed into 
a demonic creature of gigantic proportions. After seeing these stunning works,
I understand and subscribe to Chiara's passion and desire to showcase them.

Ernst Moritz Geiger, La conoscenza, 1890

Martin Erich Philipp, 1925

The show features a series of works by Müller accompanied other Mittel-European artists
 of the period and by a selection of works by 12 contemporary artists produced for the occasion.

Carol Berenyi, Words of love and Urban marabou

Sebastiano Ranchetti, untitled

Seba's colorful marabou was the only digital artwork on show,
and I'm very happy to report that it's already been sold! 

Matticchio, Marababy and The last marabou

Chiara is also one of the greatest fans and collaborators of Franco Matticchio, who was not present 
in person at the event, but whose artworks were lovingly sprinkled around her house and gallery.  
Although initially reluctant to explore the exhibition's theme, he ended up creating 
three marabou drawings that are masterpieces of humour, mystery and imagination. 

Giorgio Maria Griffa

A special mention goes to the watercolors of Giorgio Maria Griffa
a wonderful discovery for me and one of the highlights of the show.
Marabù Vizi e Virtù is open until the 20 of March.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


André François

One last homebound post

Mark Ulriksen

George Booth

Jean Claude Floc'h

Eugene Mihaesco

Ronald Searle

James Stevenson

Kathy Osborn

Barry Blitt


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