Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


The Party

[Lisa Fine's Baroda II linen in curry with Carolina Irving's Andaluz in viola.]

 [Francoise Gilot's letters from Matisse as seen in Matisse and Picasso: A Friendship in Art.]

I'm still putting together ideas for a one-room studio inspired by Eat, Breathe, Draw, Sleep, but I got a little sidetracked thinking how nice it would be to spend a week doing just those activities.

 [Deborah Needleman's garden courtesy Patrick Cline and Lonny.]

Wouldn't matter where. Any sunny spot would work.

 [Matisse's photograph of his assistant, Lydia Delectorskaya, circa 1935.]

[Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1944, Henri Matisse, Vence, France from MoMA's exhibition,  Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century.]

[Francoise Gilot in 1948 photographed by Gjon Midi for Life Magazine.]

[Robert Capa, Magnum Photos, Copyright Estate of Robert Capa. 1948 photo of Francoise Gilot and Pablo Picasso in sunny Golfe-Juan, France, with Picasso's nephew, Javier Vilaro, in the background.]

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century, an exhibition currently on view at MoMA, includes the photographer's famous portrait of Matisse and is traveling to the High in 2011. Looking at a range of vintage photos of Matisse, Picasso, Francoise Gilot, and Paloma Picasso (mainly from the 1940s and 50s), I started imagining a casual garden dinner party to sort of cap off a relaxing week. Maybe a birthday celebration. Not a theme party, but again, something vaguely inspired by Eat, Breathe, Draw, Sleep.

 [Credits follow below.]

I really like the thought of using Lisa Fine's Baroda II linen to cover one long dining table and then mixing in napkins made from remnants of Carolina Irving's Andaluz. (Remember, this is all just imaginary play for now.) Both fabrics have elements that very much remind me of the 20th-century masters.  Irving's print resembles the North African textiles collected by Matisse, as well as his drawings on the envelope above...

 [Red, late-19th-or-early-20th-century North African pierced and appliqued hanging. Colored cotton appliqued to sackcloth. Matisse, His Art and His Textiles.]

...while Fine's birds definitely connect with the mood.

 [Lisa Fine's Baroda II with Carolina Irving's Andaluz.]

In Matisse and Picasso: A Friendship in Art, Gilot writes:

It was amazing to see how much space birds occupied in Matisse's and Picasso's correspondence. Birds seem indeed to have been a common denominator for Matisse, Picasso, and me. Both artists always kept birds at home -- Matisse mostly exotic species, Pablo the more ordinary kind, except for the owl. In my grandmother's garden in Paris, my father's aviary had enchanted my childhood.

[Screengrab via]

Also, as you probably already know, Paloma Picasso was named for the iconic dove symbol designed by her father. I've shown the same two fabrics in multiple color options because I'm drawn to the idea of Matisse-like pairings on the table.

Could be complimentary colors, such as red with green or, other variations of color wheel opposites, like lavender and curry. In short, one color from Irving's collection and an opposing hue from Fine's.

The Moorish-style doors on this red-and-green, 19th-century French architectural birdcage from Benjamin Wilson Antiques suggest Matisse to me, too, so it would go on another table placed up against a courtyard wall.

 [Scissors via to Bell'occhio.]

I might suspend a few paper birds or fresh flowers inside. (In his new book,  Flair,  Joe Nye offers advice for using whimsical pieces without getting cheesey.) A small bar could be set up next to the antique cage.

One too many birds and everything could appear too staged. That said, maybe a ceramic Picasso owl from J.F. Chen could hold fresh green leaves by the ice bucket.

Keeping things earthy, painterly wood grain dinner plates from B.D. Jeffries, or maybe rattan chargers from Target with simple white china.

Helianthus goblets from Anthropologie.

Magnolia's cut from someone's backyard (because of the still life),  a mish-mash of rustic chairs, like the one above from Wirthmore, and possibly a child's Thonet bench from Huntington House.

[Picasso's Thonet rocking chair in Damian Elwes, Picasso's Villa La Californie I & II, 2006, oil on canvas, 66 x 66 inches.]

Handwritten invitations mimicking Matisse's letters, and loads of candles. Oh and a guitar in the corner propped against a wall -- another nod to Picasso. Apart from the food and the utensils, what am I missing?

Afterthought: 6:10 p.m.

[Photography by Tim Street-Porter, styling by Carlos Mota, interior design by Martyn Lawrence Bullard.]

Speaking of Pablo Picasso ceramics, look for his candelabra in Ellen Pompeo's Hollywood Hills house as seen in the May 2010 Elle Decor. Interiors by Martyn Lawrence Bullard.

 [Detail view, photo by Tim Street-Porter, styling by Carlos Mota, interior design by Martyn Lawrence Bullard.]


Gwen Driscoll said...

What a precious post? Missing? Maybe wine?

Please invite me, sounds like so much fun. Hope you are well. I've been out of the world of blog loop, so trying to get back in the groove. Talk soon.

Style Court said...

Absolutely Gwen! Thanks for stopping by.

La Maison Fou said...

So well said,......
Aviary connection among these artists is so unknown, but yes a truth. Amazing the waves of the brain from several artists and their inspirations. A small group or "brainstorming" tight knit discussions were obviously bounced around and evident in the works of these masters.
So different from the influence of modern technologies of today and the outside influences of our time.
Better or not? Too much to focus upon or too much exposure?
An interesting thought, one to be considered.Artists minds of course are stratospheric gallaxy's of worlds of information, creativeness and execution.
Thanks SC; for the post,
makes one ponder.

Karena said...

Courtney this is so delightful. One of my favorite books ever is the Friendship of Matisse and Picasso by Gilot. The only thing missing would be to have the three of them at the party!

Art by Karena

Style Court said...

L -- If part of what you are pondering is the difference between, say, sharing or brainstorming via snail mail -- creative letters -- and in person visits versus email and blogs and twitter, that would be an interesting thing to explore. Yes, definitely. Thanks.

Style Court said...

Karena -- I love it too. Gilot shares so much about the process, how they worked. So interesting!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Me! Other than that, not a thing. Entirely enchanting.

Style Court said...

Patricia -- Your name on the guest list goes without saying :)

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

Another perfectly woven collage of artistic inspiration. This was such a joy to read!

Mélanie A. said...

What a wonderful post, I will may be add a bottle of Bandol Rosé. Merci for this beautiful artistic inspiration

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Andaluz, a Thonet bench, a color chart and some lanterns what else does a girl need?!