Hello Fellow Eichler Owners:
I am researching Eichler-compatible art and the principles of design,
selection, and placement for an upcoming article for the Eichler
Network newsletter. I would love to hear from Eichler owners that are
artists themselves and/or can suggest professionals they have worked
with in helping them select and place Eichler-compatible art. This
would include paintings, photographs, sculpture, weavings, etc. If you
have comments, suggestions, or pictures, please contact me ASAP --
before mid-April, please. E-mail me at cathyelynn at earthlink dot net.
Cathye in Willow Glen
Catheye? I know you, don't eye? (Get it? 'eye'?) Wally Fields, Eichlerholic, here. That's my painting in the living room of Lani Nagwani's Eichler. I'd be happy to talk with you about my theories about Eichler art.
Meantime, you can see for yourself if you feel my paintings match the 'vibe'.... http://www.wallys.com/art.htm
Wally, I like the titles as much as I like the art...and I like the art a lot. It saves me the trouble of asking "What is this?".
My cousin's artwork based on vintage matchbook art
Especially check out her work for the Palm Springs show...
My artwork - more abstract and often inpired by Franciscanware or Nelson clocks
I also painted a large piece to go over my fireplace and custom matched the color to coordinate with the greenish ceiling stain - unfortunately - i don't have a picture posted of that yet...
Thanks, catheye. I'm also having an exhibit of my work this Sunday, 4/18 (or did, depending on when you read this!), in Palo Alto. Drop me an email at email@example.com for details. I'll also post something on my web site.
cathye: this is a toughie. art is so subjective. I am looking forward to the day when I can put some art on my walls. while I have been focused on restoring my home, I haven't been able to do much gallery hopping. But here are some ideas that come to mind when regarding art for an eichler:
Japanese. It's known that Eichler's architects and inspiration were heavily influenced by Japanese design. Simple Japanese art forms can fit just right in a the minimalist Eichler aesthetic, just like the landscaping does.
Contemporaries of the time. Look at the art of the time Eichler was building homes. Mondrian, Calder, and others. Do a little research of the day. I like to flip through old magazine like Sunset, House Beautiful, BH&G and look at the interiors of modern homes of the day (not just Eichlers) and see the kind of modern art on the walls back then.
Tiki. Similar to other asian art forms.
Nature. William Wurster once said (as I try to paraphrase) a window is like the picture frame for nature. In other words, a nice landscape can be viewed like art through all those walls of glass.
Don't forget Shag.
For research, check out old issues of Echoes magazine (1992-2002). They devoted a good amount of ink to contemporary art for the middle part of the 20th century. Modernism Magazine is also a resource.
As with anything, a little goes a long ways. Less is best.
Your stuff is great! I didn't know you were an artist too! I thought it was just your cuz! ; )
Anyway, I wish you had prints of your stuff!
Doing any new stuff soon?
Note to Eichler-ites: I saw Cherri Capri's exhibit in Palm Springs last fall and it was fabulous!
One of Joe B's ideas echoed what I've been feeling since moving into an Eichler about 6 months ago. We get such a nice peaceful view of Nature from our walls of glass, I can leave the rest of the walls clutter-free.
In previous homes we've painted almost all of the rooms to achieve color and interest, but we get so much of that already, I actually like the walls a nice neutral off-white (OK, I would have liked mahogony even better but what can you do).
During the day i get to see a beautiful landscape painting that's changing from winter to spring. At night I get beautiful abstract light paintings of the kids running behind the frosted glass I can see accross the atrium. I'm still so enthralled by all these sights that I think I can skip putting real art on the walls for awhile.
Oh, but Eichlers are also the perfect foil for 4-year-old's paintings. Abstract and super colorful, with not a straight line in sight, the opposite on the color wheel from my Eichlers' subdued geometric minimalism.
fxlarry: the right-place outdoor landscape lighting can make it work at night too.
Good points Joeb and Fxlarry.
And Larry, interesting point about the role that the views of the outdoors plays in the overall asthetics of the interior space. We have an interior desinger friend that has a good understanding of mid-century modern design and he once said to me: "Don't put any plants inside your home because they will violate the outside-in feel and conflict with the views of the outdoors." Of course by then, it was too late. I have plants everywhere!
I do have some beautiful Japanese woodblock prints that work really well but right now they are in a closet until I can find the right place for them.
So much to do. So little time!
Catheye: Personally, I strongly dis agree about plants indoors. To me, it's not about 'outdoors in'. It's about indoor and outdoor merging to create a third, hybrid, space.
Having plants inside.. especially the same plants on both sides of the glass.. I think REALLY enhances the indoor outdoor vibe. I've even seen Modernist homes with indoor planters... actual holes dug down to the dirt! It's an amazing effect!
Cathye: "Don't put any plants inside your home because they will violate the outside-in feel and conflict with the views of the outdoors."
Cathye, I have never heard that. Not from FLLW, Neutra, AQJ, May, or any other influential architect from the mid-century. I think your designer friend needs a little more education.
The idea is to erase the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. That's why you see wood paneling, exposed aggregate, and exterior siding carried indoors.
Like anything else, less is best. A couple strategically placed plants in the main living area if fine
awe shucks thanks joe!
i do have gicleee prints of the abstracts available - i just never thought of offering them for sale outside of when i had those shows? but NOW you have me thinking... i think i'll work on putting up a page on Lotta Living for the prints!
and plants in architectural pottery are PERFECT for an eichler!
OH and someone called me regarding commissioning a painting and I lost your number.... argggggg..... please call me back.
The term "Eichler-compatible art" seems very confusing to me. What type of art is not compatible with an Eichler? But more importantly, who decides so? That's a personal choice and I don't see how an article can be written that defines what type of art is suitable or not suitable for an Eichler home.
We have many different types of art in our home, from a hanging light refracting sculpture that my grandfather made out of eyeglass lenses to a an Asian Buddha mask to a Czech circus poster over our fireplace.
I suppose our main concern when choosing our art is how it plays along with its surroundings, expecially in terms of color.
I'll be very interested to read the article and learn a thing or two.
P.S. We also have Sesame Street posters in our son's room. Is that Eichler-compatible?
As subjective as art is, I do not believe that Eichler Compatible Art is a misnomer, just like Eicherl Compatible Kitchen Remodeling is not a misnomer. I have seen some gawd awful remodels with crown molding and french country kitchens and tile --great way to ruin your home in a big hurry. AND this past weekend, I went into a beautifully remodeled home that looked great on the outside but inside YUK. Pink flowered wallpaper everywhere. Clearly a violation of the Eichler concept. If you want French Country or Victorian, DON"T buy an Eichler.
So, setting aside personally fulfilling pieces from the family or kids, I would say that the Birth of Venus is not Eichler compatible, nor is something by Gainsborough (sp??) in a gold guilded frame. You get the idea.
I suppose one simply means what most people who are into Eichlers would find to be Eichler compatible art. So, yes, subjective. For me, it would be abstract expressionist stuff and mobiles.. to the tune of 50s free-form jazz. And don't forget the sound of the Jetson mobile outside!
cathye: you are dancing on a slippery slope. While I will agree there is a proper way to remodel-restore-decorate an Eichler or other MCM homes, it's fairly difficult to tell someone else what art is compatible or appropriate for their home. Not a good path to travel.
Rather, illustrate what kind of art is popular with Eichler owners from a historical standpoint. Also, highlight art popular with modernists of the time the homes were built. This, of course, would take a little research. You can also get a feel of art currently popular in new modern spaces. You can pick up on those trends by looking at many of the magazines today that feature modernist homes (Dwell, Motropolis, Wall Paper, Arch Digest, Met Home, Sunset, BH&G, just to name a few).
I guess I see what you are getting at, Cathye. But somehow it just seems snooty to me....even the whole idea that you shouldn't buy an Eichler if you might be in "violation of Eichler concept." There's more to the Eichler concept than just how an Eichler looks, i.e. someone might buy an Eichler because its layout is superb or because the neighborhood is excellent. Although I do agree that it would be great if Eichlers maintained their original appearances from the outside in order to maintain the overall look of the neighborhood, it's hard for me to say that people's Eichlers should look a certain way on the inside.
Again, I do get your point, especially from a historical preservation standpoint. But I don't like telling people what they should and shouldn't do, have, or like, just as I wouldn't want someone to do to me.
Perhaps Joe B is right in saying that the article should be more of what type of artwork was appropriate or sought out at the time Eichler homes were built. Because while I think 50's abstract barkcloth curtains with kidney shapes galore and tiki sculptures look great in a neighbor's house, I'd surely hate to have it in my own.
Personally, I agree said slope is slippery. What we can all do is say what we like, and avoid the negatives. Still, I can't help but pick on Thomas Kinkaid!
In my Eichler fantasies, I see Kandinsky, Pollock, Calder, Henry Moore. The sculptures of Jean Arp. Of course, in these fantasies, I can afford these works! But there are always ones that capture that vibe. Also, wall sculptures. I've seen ones with plates of brass welded together in an abstract skyline shape.
If you want to take your cues from science fiction, look at the set decorations for Dr. Morbius' house in Forbidden Planet (itself a great, Eichler-like set inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright). Also, set decorations for Star Trek.. episodes like 'the Cloud Minders', 'Requiem for Methuselah', and most of all "Metamorphosis". Look them up on the net. That last one is also a beautiful story.
I recently hung a sculpture I made of toothpicks and glue.. a random, amoebic jumble of wood.. against a wall of wood panelling at my recent show. It looks great! Not that I'm biased. But seriously.. some super oblique lighting on a toothpick sculpture creates dramatic shadows.
Most important, I think, is this.. works which respond to the light.
This has certainly mushroomed into a passionate discussion!
At the end of the day, everyone should absolutly do what they want to make their home and surroundings their own. Some take a preservationist view, others make incremental changes, while others do more radical upgrading and remodeling. So don't think for one minute that I or anyone else am trying to "tell" folks what to do with their own property. Far from it. And BTW, I have zero mid-century modern furniture in my home. Love to look at it in other homes, but not quite right for hubby and I. Some of the nicest homes I have seen (IMHO) have been decorated using an ecclectic approach -- this works well if you know what you are doing.
When I approach an article, I try to do it from the viewpoint of "what are the questions?" and "what are some examples of answers?" In the case of art, we have very little in the house because I have had trouble finding something we personally like that also looks good in our home. I found a designer with a pretty good eye and he has made some suggestions-- including sketches to illustrate placement--which have worked well. That is because he understands the fundamentals of design. I just wish I had known him before I purchased those lovely prints from Howard Beherns. Love his paintings of Monte Carlo and Lake Cuomo. All four now sit in the closet, waiting for a new home. I guess the traditional framing should have tipped me off. (Actually, his work would look quite nice in some of the Eichlers I have seen, but in ours it never felt right).
And I will not be writing on the historical aspects to any great degree either. Leave that for the academic journals or art specialty mags. My goal is to provide useful information that readers can apply to their own situations. Period. To do otherwise would be like standing in quicksand...
Kee the comments coming, guys!
Personally, I'm rather wild about this painting from the hilomodern site...
..or how about this Gorky abstract expressionist jigsaw puzzle!?
. but that's me.
The Chronicle did an article on Liz Mamorsky see:
Some of her work is on display at the San Francisco Dwsign Within Reach, on Jackson st. I like her pieces because they uinfuse more color into a setting. I know not exactaly period specific, but I think asthetically much more my style.
Thanks for posting the link, Chris. My only dissapointment was that they only showed ONE picture of her art, but I liked what I saw. Reminded me of all my old Avalon and Fillmore posters.
I have been on DWR for years to start carrying the art that they show in the staged catalog photographs. Those who want their look can get it by buying their lovely furnishings, but they leave us frustrated by making it difficult for us to complete the look by adding the works of art.
Most of the photos you see in DWR are actually shot in peoples homes and offices.
Period? I'd say Liz' works are definitely early 23rd century... during the fifteenth revival of the Modernist style.. when they dispensed with posts and simply held up the roof with force fields.. that also doubled as the window. Singular.
Not sure if anyone is reading this topic still, but we bought a painting from Bay Area artist Liz Maxwell and just love it. There are a lot of rectilinear shapes and colors that work in a modern home.
Thanks for posting the link. These are very nice. I like them a lot.
PS to Joe B re DWR's pictures being shot in actual homes. From what I have seen, most homes used in these kinds of shoots are totally staged - and that especially goes for the paintings and accessories. You would be amazed if you saw some of the "before and after" pictures out there for lovely Eichlers that go on the market after being lived in, cluttered and suffering the ravages of age. Even high-end newer MCM homes can be subject to the cluttered lived-in look. After all, that is what houses are for: to live in.
I am not saying that DWR stages all of their shoots, but I also find it highly unlikely that all they are doing is placing some furniture and then shooting it. More likely is that each and every shoot is totally staged since nobody's home - even those with the best eye for detail - looks as perfect as these magazine shots.
So my comment still stands. Sombody is selecting the art shown in their catalogs - paintings, ceramics, etc., and it would be nice for customers to be able to purchase those accessories in addition to the furniture. I think they have begun to listen, as their catalogs have slowly begun to offer some accessories. Not to the degree of some of the other dealers out there, but at least it is a step in the right direction.