Friday, May 27, 2022

Le Corbusier vs Salvador Dali & Terry (Modernism vs Surrealism in Architecture) – Chenonceau 11

In 1936, the Museum of Modern Art in New York invited Emilio Terry to participate in the controversial landmark exhibition “Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism”. Among the participants were the Spaniard, Salvador Dali, a leader of the surrealists, and the American Man Ray, best known in the art world for his avant-garde photography. .

However, by entering the museum establishment in the 1930s, Surrealism and Dada grew hugely fashionable, thereby loosing their avant-garde position. In the year of the exhibition, Dali was even on the cover of Time Magazine. This fur-lined teacup of Meret Oppenheim is perhaps the single most notorious Surrealist object. The work takes advantage of differences .

In the varieties of sensual pleasure: fur may delight the touch but it repels the tongue. It is said that a woman fainted at the Exhibition right in front of this cup and saucer with the pelt of a Chinese gazelle. Besides Meret Oppenheim, more female surrealists participated in the ‘Fatanstic Art’ exhibition. .

For the New York exhibition Emilio Terry realized a model of a double-spiral house, called “en colimaçon” (“snail-style”). An unfinished portrait of Terry by Salvador Dali shows a model of this house in the foreground. The snail-style house illustrates one of Terry’s theories, that the art of architecture expresses a 'dream to be realized' (“un rêve à réaliser”) .

Reflecting his anti-Le Corbusier stance as an architect, pitching his own philosophy against Le Corbusier's notion of a house as ‘a machine for living in’, “une machine a habiter”, which Le Corbusier expressed in his famous book of 1923, Towards a New Architecture. This is arguably the most influential architecture book .

Of the twentieth century. However, surrealists, like Salvador Dali, preferred Terry’s snail-style dream house. But sad to say, Terry’s house was never built. This plum-colored house in England is said to come close to Surrealist’s dreams. Actually, it only underwent in the thirties a Surrealist refurbishment. The owner of Monkton house, .

The wealthy Enlish poet Edward James, was known for his patronage of the surrealist art movement. In this house stood Dali's first lobster-telephone in white, in addition to the original Dali sofa made in the shape of Mae West's lips. This sofa was inspired by Dali’s gouache of an apartment with furnishings .

Rendered from Mae West’s facial features. According to Dali, architecture should produce “true realizations of solidified desires.” In Mexico Edward James built this sculpture garden with waterfalls and pools interlaced with towering Surrealist sculptures in concrete. >>Edward James<<"If I ask my heart in consciousness, the incentive behind building a tower I have to admit, it was just . Pure megalomania. But of course nothing is finished. So some of them look very odd. For instance the locals call those things 'helicopters', but they are going actually turn into capitals.” James was also the financer of Les Ballets 1933, the ballet company we dealt with in an earlier video. James was shortly married . To dancer an actress: Tilly Losch. At least once, even the purist Le Corbusier made a surrealist excursion. He designed in 1929 this extravagant party penthouse for Charles de Beistegui on the Champs Elysées in Paris. It is now demolished. The apartment itself is mostly what you would expect of Le Corbusier. . But in particular the bewildering roof terrace met some of the requisite provisions of a surrealist environment. It is designed as a large, open room delineated by a white wall, with a false fireplace complete with decorated mantelpiece, incongruous living-room furniture and a mirror. The terrace floor is a carpet of (real) grass. . More explicit examples of what – in some respects – could be called ‘surrealist architecture’ are presented in the following images. Perhaps the truest work of surreal architecture was by French rural postman, Ferdinand Cheval, who built in 33 years a dream-like structure in his garden: ‘Le Palais Idéal’ (the “Ideal Palace”) with his own hands, stone by stone. . While surrealists pontificated and analysed their dreams in Freudian terms, Cheval made his dream come true. His palace is regarded as an extraordinary example of naïve art architecture. After the war, Surrealism as a movement ceased to exist. Emilio Terry became the interior designer for the high society. . He worked for Rainier III of Monaco to embellish an apartment meant for Princess Grace. And from the 1950s, he took on the interior design of the 19th century Château de Groussay, the country house of the earlier mentioned, Mexican millionaire, bon vivant and collector of surrealist art, Charles de Beistegui. . De Beistegui became famous for a bal masqué held in his Venetian palace. It was said to be the largest and most lavish social event of the 20th century. Effect meant everything to Terry. For him, a “room without a cornice” was like “a man without a collar”. In the dining room ornate 17th-century-style chandeliers . Are combined with countrified checks. Terry had far from an averse to clashing color combinations. In a newly built wing of the castle he created an Italian-style private theatre for artists of the Comédie-Française. This theatre was inspired by the Bayreuth Margravial Opera House, a late baroque theater, . Designed by Giuseppe Galli Bibiena. He also designed a new park à l'anglaise with several follies. In 1999, about thirty years after the death of Charles de Beistegui and Emilio Terry, the castle was stripped and sold. At auction the content of the castle realized more than 26 million dollar This auction on the verge of a new millennium, . Marked the end of a century of stirring developments in art and architecture.

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