Thursday, March 22, 2012

Cult of Beauty

While in The City to celebrate Marla’s birthday we visited the Legion of Honor’s exhibit, “Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860-1900.” A small movement of progressive artists, writers, architects and designers created often radically new creations in what became known as the “Aesthetic Movement.” Oscar Wilde, a darling of the Aesthetic Movement, wrote “Beauty is a form of genius—is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts in the world like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in the dark water of that silver shell we call the moon.”

The belles gather in front of my favorite jewel-box of a museum in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park. Our daughters, Lisa & Stacy flew in as well as Lea, Marla’s great friend and sorority sister at U.O.P.

The Legion of Honor is the only U.S. venue on the world tour of the exhibition that came from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. It runs until June 17, 2012. If you are a fashionista you might also catch “Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” exhibit, March 24-August 19, 2012 at the de Young Museum at the same time. I saw it in Dallas and loved it!

James McNeill Whistler’s painting “Harmony in Grey & Green” (1872) was remarkable. He was influenced by Japanese prints at the time. He even put a symbolic Mon emblem on the left.

Frederick Leighton’s “Pavonia” is stunning and very sensual.

“Saint Cecilia” (1895) by John William Waterhouse.

Armchair, by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Peacock feathers were a favorite motif of the movement. Liberty & Company created this wonderful fabric design by Arthur Silver in 1887.

Edward William Godwin created a very modern sideboard in 1865-75. His Modernism style was an inspiration for the later Bauhaus Movement. There were a number of new art & furnishing movements evolving in the 1880’s such as the Arts & Crafts Movement and later the Art Nouveau movement.

Can you believe this Christopher Dresser teapot was made in 1879?

I hope you have a chance to come to Denver for our “Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective” exhibition at The Denver Art Museum, March 25-July 8, 2012. Denver is the only U.S. venue for this largest ever exhibit of YSL’s incredible creations. Please let us know if you are in town so we can give you a tour of the Wesco Fabrics’ Denver Design District showroom (near the museum) or our warehouse and workroom.

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