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*BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK *
*Illustrated with over 130 colour photographs and drawings*
In her majestic biography of Walter Gropius, charismatic founder of the Bauhaus, Fiona MacCarthy argues that his visionary ideas still influence the way we live, work, and think today.
'An absolute triumph.' Edmund de Waal, bestselling author of The Hare with Amber Eyes
'Moving and vivid ... Hard to beat.' Rowan Moore, Observer
'Commanding, intelligent, gripping.' Laura Freeman, Times
Mention the Bauhaus and iconic objects such as a Marianne Brandt teapot, an Anni Albers weaving or a Marcel Breuer chair leap to mind. But the Bauhaus was more than an art school - it was the birth of a radical new philosophy of design: a constellation of talents including Kandinsky, Klee and Moholy-Nagy, at the heart of which was Walter Gropius.
MacCarthy grippingly narrates the story of the ground-breaking architect's life beginning with his shattering experiences in World War One before his turbulent marriage to the notorious Alma Mahler and the tragic death of their daughter. After Gropius' agonized decision to leave Nazi Germany in 1933, she explores his life in exile by tracing how a disorientating period in London evolved into a peaceful marriage with Ise Gropius and his late starring role in twentieth-century architecture in America.
Challenging views of Gropius as a doctrinaire modernist, MacCarthy's modern reassessment of Gropius' interior life is biography at its finest: insightful, witty, and gloriously three-dimensional.
The definitive new life of the father of architectural modernism, by an award-winning biographer. The impact of Walter Gropius can be measured in his buildings-Fagus Factory, Bauhaus Dessau, Pan Am-but no less in his students. I. M. Pei, Paul Rudolph, Anni Albers, Philip Johnson, Fumihiko Maki: countless masters were once disciples at the Bauhaus in Berlin and at Harvard. Between 1910 and 1930, Gropius was at the center of European modernism and avant-garde society glamor, only to be exiled to the antimodernist United Kingdom during the Nazi years. Later, under the democratizing influence of American universities, Gropius became an advocate of public art and cemented a starring role in twentieth-century architecture and design. Fiona MacCarthy challenges the image of Gropius as a doctrinaire architectural rationalist, bringing out the visionary philosophy and courage that carried him through a politically hostile age. Pilloried by Tom Wolfe as inventor of the monolithic high-rise, Gropius is better remembered as inventor of a form of art education that influenced schools worldwide. He viewed argument as intrinsic to creativity. Unusually for one in his position, Gropius encouraged women's artistic endeavors and sought equal romantic partners. Though a traveler in elite circles, he objected to the cloistering of beauty as "a special privilege for the aesthetically initiated." Gropius offers a poignant and personal story-and a fascinating reexamination of the urges that drove European and American modernism.
London is one of the world's greatest cities. It's iconic and dynamic; a vibrant city where the past and present meet in an explosion of art and culture. It's also a city that is constantly on the move. From its earliest explorers, London has never been afraid to venture to new worlds and discover new and wonderful things. This hasn't changed through the centuries. London continues to create and innovate with cutting edge ideas, especially in its food scene where you can literally taste the world from its diverse offerings, or even be transported to another world completely! Likewise with London's libations. Pubs are the beating heart of London and there's practically one on every corner (kind of like churches in Rome). But the beverages on offer would make any heart beat faster. And once you're full of good food and wine, it's time to hit the shops and enter another stratosphere altogether. Oliver Twist's immortal question has never been more resonant, because you'll definitely want to have more of London! This book features the best eating, drinking and shopping across 18 London precincts, including Covent Garden, King's Cross, Soho and Piccadilly. Precinct maps make this a handy and useful guidebook, while the hardback cover creates a beautiful keepsake. London Precincts is the 6th book in Hardie Grant Travel's Precinct series, which has been shortlisted for the 1010 Printing Best Designed Series (Including Classics) award in the 2016 Australian Book Design Awards. The winners will be announced on Friday 13 May in Melbourne.
Eric Gill was perhaps the greatest English artist-craftsman of the twentieth century: a typographer and lettercutter of genius and a master in the art of sculpture and wood-engraving. 'A wonderfully detailed account of his personality - so vivid, you feel you know just what it would have been like to visit him at one of his patriarchal communes . . . A Dominican, dining with the Gills, once thought he saw a nimbus shining around Eric's head. Despite the sexual improprieties it unearths, MacCarthy's authoritative biography allows you to understand how someone might have thought that.' John Carey, Sunday Times
Kenneth Grange: Making Britain Modern celebrates the career of one of the truly great figures of modern British design; featuring previously unpublished interviews and specially commissioned photography of his work. The book features essays by renowned commentators on Modern British design including Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, London, and cultural historian and widely published writer on design, Fiona MacCarthy. Spanning more than half a century, Grange's career began in 1947 and establishing a private practice in 1956, initially as an interior and architectural designer, Grange eventually became known for his work in product design. Working with a range of high-profile clients including British Rail, Wilkinson Sword, and Manganese Bronze, Grange has since designed products as varied as the Anglepoise lamp, the black cab and high-speed inner city trains. In 1976 Grange became one of the founding partners of the famous design consultancy Pentagram, along with Theo Crosby, Colin Forbes and Mervyn Kultansky, where he worked with a number of high-profile clients including Kodak and Kenwood. More recently, Grange has collaborated with British fashion designer Margaret Howell to produce a collarless shirt, which combines Grange's practical design experience with Howell's quality and make.
Fiona MacCarthy makes a breakthrough in interpreting Byron's life and poetry drawing on John Murray's world-famous archive. She brings a fresh eye to his early years: his childhood in Scotland, embattled relations with his mother, the effect of his deformed foot on his development. She traces his early travels in the Mediterranean and the East, throwing light on his relationships with adolescent boys - a hidden subject in earlier biographies. While paying due attention to the compelling tragicomedy of Byron's marriage, his incestuous love for his half-sister Augusta and the clamorous attention of his female fans, she gives a new importance to his close male friendships, in particular that with his publisher John Murray. She tells the full story of their famous disagreement, ending as a rift between them as Byron's poetry became more recklessly controversial. Byron was a celebrity in his own lifetime, becoming a 'superstar' in 1812, after the publication of Childe Harold. The Byron legend grew to unprecedented proportions after his death in the Greek War of Independence at the age of thirty-six. The problem for a biographer is sifting the truth from the sentimental, the self-serving and the spurious. Fiona MacCarthy has overcome this to produce an immaculately researched biography, which is also her refreshing personal view.
- Presents a wealth of creative material from Fletcher's notebooks
and travel diaries, creating an eye-catching and mind-teasing
collection of visual games, doodles, graphic objects, sketches and
quotations, that demonstrates how images can often convey meaning
more clearfy than text
The Simple Life (1981) was Fiona MacCarthy's first book, written while she was the Guardian's design correspondent (and before her acclaimed lives of Eric Gill, William Morris, and Edward Burne-Jones.) It tells of a venturesome effort to enact an Edwardian Utopia in a small town in the Cotswolds. The leader of this endeavour was progressive-minded architect Charles Robert Ashbee, who in 1888 founded the Guild of Handicraft in Whitechapel, specialising in metalworking, jewellery and furniture and informed by the desire to improve society. In 1902 Ashbee and his East London comrades removed the Guild to Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire, hoping to construct a socialistic rural idyll. MacCarthy explores the impact of the experiment on the lives of the group and on the little town they occupied - tracing the Guild's fortunes and misfortunes, hilarious and grave, and the many fellow idealists and artists who were involved (among them William Morris, Roger Fry, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb.)
As part of a year-long series of celebrations around its 175th anniversary in 2012, the Royal College of Art will present a major publication exploring key facets of the RCA over three centuries, providing a fascinating insight into the world's oldest art and design school in continuous operation. Designed by Neville Brody and Research Studios, this 40,000-word illustrated book, centers on an intimate portrait of the RCA by the writer and cultural historian Fiona MacCarthy. Exploring the evolution of this renowned institution, since its founding in 1837 to the present day the book includes both student work and later professional achievements such alumni and faculty as: Gertude Jekyll, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden, Lucie Rie, Sir James Dyson, Eric Parry, David Adjaye, Tord Boontje, Ron Arad, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore OM, David Hocknew OM, Tracey Emin and Spartacus Chetywnd will be represented. Notions of what constitutes 'Art' have changed over the centuries, from the Victorian model of art in service to industry, morality or religion to a twentieth-century concept of fine art as an act of personal creative expression. So too, has the late twentieth-century view of 'Design', with the advent of critical design; the concept of function, use, form, and value, as well as the rationalist notions of utility, the arts and crafts desire for 'fitness of purpose', or the International Style's rejection of ornament. The publication accompanies a major exhibition in the Royal College of Art Galleries from 16 November 2012 to 6 January 2013.
A beautifully illustrated portrayal of the life of the artist and writer who revolutionized Victorian society and whose legacy is still widely embraced today William Morris (1834-1896) was an artist, craftsman, designer, poet, polymath, and visionary thinker. Well known for advocating that objects of beauty be accessible to all, Morris had a tremendous impact on the British Socialist movement, the Arts and Crafts movement, the Garden City movement, as well as on successive generations of artists and thinkers in Britain and beyond. In this fascinating book, Fiona MacCarthy examines Morris's vision of a society in which art could flourish, and how this idea resonated over the ensuing century. Anarchy and Beauty takes the reader through Morris's fascinating career, from the establishment of his decorative arts shop (later Morris & Co.), to his radical sexual politics and libertarianism, and the publication in 1890 of his novel News from Nowhere, which envisions a utopian socialist society. MacCarthy then looks at the numerous artists and movements that bear the influence of Morris's ideas: Arts and Crafts and the Garden City, which took hold in both Europe and the United States; artists' communities that sprung up during the interwar years; and the 1951 Festival of Britain, whose mission was to bring the highest standards of design within the reach of everyone.
While still a student at Oxford, Edward Burne-Jones formed a friendship and made a renunciation that would shape art history. The friendship was with William Morris, with whom he would occupy the social and intellectual center of the era's cult of beauty. The renunciation was of his intention to enter the clergy, when he - together with Morris - vowed to throw over the Church in favor of art. In Fiona MacCarthy's riveting account of Burne-Jones' life, that exchange of faith for art places him at the intersection of the nineteenth century and the Modern, as he leads us forward from Victorian mores and attitudes to the psychological, sexual, and artistic audacity that would characterize the early twentieth century. In MacCarthy's hands, Burne-Jones emerges as a great visionary painter, a master of mystic reverie, and a pivotal late nineteenth-century cultural and artistic figure. Lavishly illustrated with color plates, "The Last Pre-Raphaelite" shows that Burne-Jones' influence extended far beyond his own circle to Freudian Vienna and the delicately gilded erotic dream paintings of Gustav Klimt, the Swiss Symbolist painter Ferdinand Hodler, and the young Pablo Picasso and the Catalan painters. Drawing on extensive research, MacCarthy offers a fresh perspective on the achievement of Burne-Jones, a precursor to the Modern, and tells the dramatic, fascinating story of this peculiarly captivating and elusive man.
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