Gail S. Davidson

Take a Flying Leap


René Lalique has long been considered the most brilliant and original French Art Nouveau designer of jewelry and glass.  His lifelong study of nature in drawings and photographs including wildflowers and rare floral species, animals and insects such as swans, bats, birds, and dragonflies provided the unusual repertory for his jewelry and accessories.  In place of traditional gemstones, Lalique developed a technique of incorporating non-precious stones including opals with enamel on materials such as ivory and horn that changed the look of nineteenth-century jewelry.
Rene Lalique, Art Nouveau, drawing, jewelry, fish, comb, nature

Design for a Smoking Room


In honor of the opening of Romantic Interiors, 19th Century Watercolor Interiors from the Thaw Collection at the Beijing World Art Museum today in China, Cooper-Hewitt is featuring one of the most recent gifts from Eugene and Clare Thaw to the Museum.
interior, watercolor, drawing, Thaw Collection, Léon Feuchère, Architecture, set design, tromp l'oeil, domed ceiling

Graphic Diplomacy


On the occasion of the United Nations meetings in New York City this week (September 23 - September 27, 2013) a series of prints by the Dutch firm Catalogtree are humorously relevant. For this project, the principals, Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross, tracked down the raw data (who, where, when) concerning parking violations by United Nations diplomats, over the period from 1997-2007, and converted the data into a series of different mapping formats that they entitled “Flocking Diplomats,” or did they mean “Flogging” Diplomats?
Catalogtree, Joris Maltha, Daniel Gross, Werkplaats Typografie, graphic design, United Nations, diplomats, cars, parking

A Frequently Asked Question


This view of Frederic Edwin Church’s home Olana outside Hudson, New York is one of 2,035 oil sketches and graphite drawings by Church in Cooper-Hewitt’s collections.   The Church archive represents the largest collection of the artist’s works on paper in the world!  Church was one of the most prominent figures in the Hudson River School, the only student of the movement’s founder Thomas Cole.   Church’s breathtaking and luminous depictions of landscapes both in America and abroad have earned him the status as one of the most beloved art
Frederic Edwin Church, Olana, landscape, Hudson River School, Thomas Cole, gardens

Harmonious Line


With its sinuous curving line, asymmetrical composition, and integration of colors, forms, and lettering, this poster by the Belgian industrial designer, Hendrikus Van de Velde, ranks among the icons of the Art Nouveau movement.  In 1898, the General Manager of the Tropon firm, manufacturers of a health supplement developed from egg whites, commissioned Van de Velde to design posters, packaging and other graphic design pieces for the company.  Rather than illustrate people consuming the food additive, Van de Velde enticed viewers’ attention by showing egg whites separating f
Hendrikus Van de Velde, poster, lithograph, Art Nouveau, Belgium

A Busman’s Holiday


Winslow Homer and his brother Charles Savage Homer Jr.
Winslow Homer, Charles Savage Homer Jr., Quebec, Canada, fishing, Lake St. George, watercolor

Chicken Point Cabin


Tom Kundig, Olson Kundig Architects, Architecture, drawing, Idaho, vacation, hand-crafted

Exploring the Grand Canyon


Thomas Moran painted this beautiful watercolor of the Grand Canyon on a 1901 trip that was organized and paid for by the Santa Fe Railroad.   The Railroad treated Moran and other artists to a three-week excursion at the Canyon, together with a guide to point out the most picturesque views.  The Railroad’s aim was to get artists to paint the sites which would encourage tourists to visit the Canyon.  It is a revealing example of artists col
Thomas Moran, America, landscape, tourism, Grand Canyon, National Parks, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Santa Fe Railroad

Homer and Prouts Neck


In April 2005, while writing an essay on Winslow Homer and the American Landscape, I drove up with my husband to Prouts Neck, Maine where Homer had his studio on land that was owned by his family.  Homer, along with his father and two brothers, had purchased property on Prouts Neck from 1882 through 1909, for the purpose of creating a family vacation compound and as an investment in one of the most scenic spots along the Atlantic Coast.  An easement or “marg
Winslow Homer, Prouts Neck, Maine, Portland Museum of Art, American landscape

A House of Unique Character


Anna Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Townsend House, St. Regent’s Park, drawing, Sir Frederick Leighton, William Burgess, Frederic Edwin Church, Olana, Albert Bierstadt, Royal Academy of Arts, Architecture, interiors

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