For the Design Library
Released not too long ago, Plants and Their Application to Ornament has already received attention from Vanity Fair, O at Home and Vogue Living. The beautifully produced book is based on 19th-century graphic designer Eugene Grasset's original primer and features three artistic variations on each of 24 flowering plants, ranging from lily-of-the-valley to the iris.
Grasset, who designed furnishings for the Parisian night spot Chat Noir, was a key figure in the Art Nouveau movement. So this volume will especially appeal to fans of that style. But I do think the book would be a nice addition to the library of anyone passionate about art history, textile design and decorative arts. Grasset shows a creative progression from flowers rendered naturally to blooms in a very stylized, abstract form.
As David Becker of the MFA, Boston points out, Grasset also takes care to demonstrate many practical applications of the floral designs to wallpaper, ceramics, architecture and so on. The casual pics I've shared here don't do justice to the lush colorplates.
Wouldn't it be interesting to see the design process that led to Quadrille's stylized floral, "Contessa?"
And rounding out this week filled with Tulane references, here's a piece I used to see countless times per week at the High. Part of the Museum's Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection, it's a circa 1910 vase with abstract flowers from Newcomb Pottery, New Orleans; thrown and fired by Joseph F. Meyer and decorated by Anna Frances Simpson.