Gatsby Gold

(Her voice) was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it…High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl…
– F.Scott Fitzgerald

• The Gilt Bronze Gates inside the Chanin Building embody the Gatsby spirit. Completed in 1929 by Irwin Chanin, the skyscraper is one of the finest examples of French-inspired Art Deco. Irwin, like Gatby, was a rags to riches story, and his designs reflect the dynamism and elegant ruthlessness required to rise to the top. Gatsby is a dominant figure with “the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward,” and an unconscious distaste for restraint. The decorative gears of Irwin’s work confront visitors with industry, prosperity, evolution, and the glory of money, just as Gatsby’s great house signals his success.

• This French Comb has the curved, flowery forms of Art Nouveau that would become more streamlined in the following decade. Chanin’s inspiration for his work came from a visit to the 1925 Exposition in Paris. He was more interested in pursuing the graphic potential of organic shapes.

• This Perfume Bottle is one of many such extravagant examples designed by Heinrich Hoffman in the ‘20s and ‘30s. They were imported from Czechoslovakia in the 1920s by Hollywood to be used in movie sets. The 1939 film The Woman featured one of these bottles as Joan Crawford played a perfume counter assistant.

• Bonne Amie Boutique’s Clutch screams Deco decadence with a gold and black diamond design.

• Caroline Beard’s photographs of a Mail Slot and Spiral Staircase capture the classic Deco style of the Rand Tower in downtown Minneapolis.

• Tasha Hussey’s Ring sets a black square, made from vintage glass, in a a hammered gold band.

• Duane Vickers’ Vintage Liquor Bottle has a variegated gold leaf glow that would fit right into one of Gatsby’s great parties.

• Anne-Marie Jones’ Headband is the perfect flapper accessory with layers of tiny gold beads.

• Joseph Sanchez’ Necklace suspends two interlocking squares in gold and sterling silver.

• Jessica C.’s Necklace is made from vintage brass parts arranged in an Art Deco style composition and accented with a sparkling agate druzy cabochon.

Deco Design

• This 1938 Tea Pot by Paul Schreckengost embodies the symmetry and efficient geometry of Art Deco.

• Ty’s Silk Scarf has a subtle grey print inspired by Japanese Art Deco.

• Theresa’s Paperweight frames an embroidered “H” from a vintage cotton towel.

• This Art Deco Band by Spexton is made from titanium with gold and silver inlay.

• Starling Ink’s Wall Clock is made from a vintage 1936 Ford V8 hubcap, with a few scuff marks to make it more interesting.

• Nora’s Earrings are gently curving lines of sterling silver.

• Jean Luc’s Jewelry Box has an elegant, curved shape reinforced by the lined pattern on its glass surface.

• Duane’s Metal Mirror frame is covered in burnished silver leaf.

• Laura’s Art Deco Ring displays a double diamond in black and silver.

• The Alexander McQueen Resort 2013 Collection injected a little glam rock and Art Deco edge into the tailored suit.

My Salad Days, When I Was Green

Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait often inspires observations of the realistic technique and meticulous detail as well as a vague notion that the objects and setting have some sort of symbolic meaning. There is no doubt that van Eyck used an exceptionally complex method of painting, as each layer of translucent glaze explored oil as a new and revolutionary medium. However, in his book Jan van Eyck: The Play of Realism, Craig Harbison suggests that the immediate association with realism as the aim of the artist is a modern notion based on the anticipation of the movement of Realism in the nineteenth century. But even van Eyck’s reality is “selective,” as Harbison calls it, and is not simply a direct translation of contemporary life and belief.

Courbet was known to promote Realism as the pursuit of a “truthful” representation of everyday life, and he seemed to thrive from the criticism of his contemporaries, saying that “it is impossible to tell you all the insults my painting of this year has won me, but I don’t care, for when I am no longer controversial I will no longer be important.”

If the amount of realism is measured by the time devoted to one painting, John Everett Millais’ Ophelia would be worth admiring. It took him five months of working six days a week for up to eleven hours each day to finish this work, as he sought to depict the detailed descriptions of Shakespeare’s character. For much more about it, please visit: Ten-things-you-never-knew-about-Ophelia

Perhaps your preferred brand of realism is the inherent abstraction in watery impressions of light reflecting on water.

Monet painted about 250 portraits of his garden in Giverny, seeking to capture the infinite and intangible variations of atmosphere.

Atonement costume designer Jacqueline Durran • Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet • Tracy Reese Spring 2009 at Fashion Week

Lempicka’s Young Girl with Gloves evokes that magnetic impression of pop culture that, over time, disintegrates into a geometric arrangement of form and shade. Nonetheless, every smooth fold of her green dress seems somehow relevant to the present, though the abstraction will always keep us guessing.

Tracy Reese Spring 2009 at Fashion Week • Green Still Life by Pablo PicassoTidal scarf – emerald

* the title comes from Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Act I