reviewed by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 9/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Toiles de Jouy
By Judith Straeten
Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith, Publisher, $35
112 pages, 83 color illustrations
"Toile de Jouy" referred originally to cloth modeled on Indian chintzes and manufactured by Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf in Jouy-en-Jonas, south of Paris, beginning in 1760. Now the term refers to a whole genre of fabrics descended from that origin and produced internationally. Steadily popular since Oberkampf's day, toiles are charming, decorative, intriguing, and unpretentious. Most are still printed on cotton in one strong color on a paler ground, although multiple colors are occasionally seen.
The author of this survey, archivist of antique fabrics at Brunschwig & Fils in New York, has selected 67 examples from an early 19th-century sample book and shown them all in color photographs. (She also provides a "Resources" section listing Brunschwig, of course, as well as 47 other retail and to-the-trade toile sources, mostly in the U.S.) Patterns are grouped by subject matter: country scenes, classical and mythological scenes, and various florals. Of particular historical interest, a toile designed by Jean-Baptiste Huet in 1784 shows the buildings, workers, and activities of Oberkampf's factory.
Envisioning Architecture: Drawings From the Museum of Modern Art
By Matilda McQuaid
New York: Museum of Modern Art, distributed by Distributed Art Publishers, $50
256 pages, 144 color plates, 27 duotone illustrations
Architecture and interiors can be portrayed in many ways, and such portrayals are often key to the transmission of design ideas. Here is a rich treasury of possibilities. The architectural drawings represent 71 architects and an equal number of styles in pencil, ink, charcoal, crayon, airbrush, lithography, collage, and computer-generated print. Featured architects include Otto Wagner, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Paul Rudolph, Rem Koolhaas, John Hejduk, Zaha Hadid, James Wines, Mario Botta, and Daniel Libeskind. In addition, there are striking interior views of Hans Poelzig's design for a concert hall in Dresden, Germany, a Frank Lloyd Wright residence with furniture, Louis Kahn's Philadelphia synagogue, and Gaetano Pesce's brooding Housing Unit for Two People.
The book catalogs an exhibition of drawings that MoMA is sending abroad while its Manhattan building is under construction. Terence Riley, chief curator in the museum's department of architecture and design, contributes an introduction on the history of collecting architectural drawings. An essay by Matilda McQuaid, curator of the exhibition, takes a more specific look at MoMA's own drawings collection, begun in 1947 when Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., donated a gouache-lithograph of Theo van Doesburg's theoretical Contra-Construction Project.
The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt
Edited by Erik Hornung and Betsy M. Bryan
New York: Prestel Publishing, $65
256 pages, 190 color illustrations
"King Tut" has a would-be blockbuster successor in "The Quest for Immortality," at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., until October 14, before traveling around the country. Like so much of ancient Egyptian art, the show and its catalog concentrate on preparations for the afterlife and objects meant to accompany the dead on their journey: furniture, clothing, jewelry, ointments, bread, and beer—or illustrated substitutes. (It's endearing that, artistry aside, the afterlife's requirements were remarkably mundane.) The heart of the book contains full descriptions and color photography of the exhibit's 107 objects, the centerpiece being Thutmose III's reconstructed sarcophagus chamber from the 15th century BC.