T&C Design Dispatch: Magritte's 125th Birthday


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Jul 25, 2023

T&C Design Dispatch: Magritte's 125th Birthday

Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Plus, a modern take on Blanc de Chine by Arrose and a nostalgic photo

Every item on this page was chosen by a Town & Country editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Plus, a modern take on Blanc de Chine by Arrose and a nostalgic photo exhibition of the eternal summer days on Block Island.

Once every two weeks, Town & Country puts together an assortment of the best design news and happenings— everything from interior design projects that pique our interest and auctions of note, to any must-have products on the market.

Is there beauty in the mundane? The work of René Magritte, one of the core members of the surrealist art group in the early 20th century along with Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró, has always made a strong case that the answer is yes. The key is to look a little closer.

Take The Treachery of Images (1929), for example. The artist paints a tobacco pipe with the phrase (in French) "This is not a pipe" under it. His intention was to illustrate a paradox between image and linguistics, and that the meaning of what we want to see may be hidden behind what is actually in front of us. The bowler hat, humble as can be, appears in several works such as Le Lieu Commun (1964) and The Son of Man (1964), nods to the anonymous everyday man but is depicted in extraordinary settings.

For the 125th anniversary of Magritte's birthday, crystal versions his most famous surrealist motifs are will become available. Partnering with the estate of Renee Magritte, Lalique honors the legacy of one of the most important artists of the 20th century by offering six decorative crystal statues. The aforementioned tobacco pipe and bowler hat are among them, with Magritte's famous The Married Priest (apples with masks), and Cut-Glass Bath (giraffe bathing in a crystal cup). Communication theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "the medium is the message." Perhaps these Lalique crystals will prompt a reimagining of the Magritte oeuvre.

To shop the collection, please visit: Lalique.com.

True Blanc de Chine porcelain, clay cast with a signature snowy appearance, is forged in a town in the Fujian province along China's southeast coast called Dehua. Since the early traces of the 10th century, these porcelains have depicted dynastic figures, natural motifs, and more with their popularity in the 18th century inspiring European designers to create their own white-paste-based porcelains. Is it possible for such a historic tradition to get a touch of modernity? Arrosé, a luxury home decor brand based in New York City, is making a strong attempt.

Enlisting expert craftsman with decades of experience, Arrose has reimagined the ancient Eastern practice in a newly launched collection that features a series of tea cups, teapots, a container, and a carafe. Titled Artemis, the collection is the middle-ground between Blanc De Chine and Art Deco design. Why reference the latter? "Art nouveau is such a style that liberated the world from total mechanization and brought it back to humanity,"Ayla Chen, Creative Director of Arrosé, tells Town & Country." It was a renaissance of humanism, which is exactly what our times need at the moment." Responding to the Industrial Revolution, artists of the Art Deco movement sought to purge the academic art styles in the 19th century and did so by creating works whose forms were organic, geometric, and natural.

In the collection, the marriage is quite clear: while the motifs and shapes of Blanc de Chine are still persistent, casted clay has been replaced with a coating of platinum and titanium. The interior design incorporates a double-layer highlight, effectively insulating heat and minimizing the risk of hand burns. The result is a tea set that is supremely sleek and elegant, fitting for a modern home that is not shy of referencing the past.

To shop the collection, please visit: arrosé.net.

A summer escape in the Northeast that has yet to be spoiled by the flashy crowds is a rarity. Just ask longtime residents of East Hampton and the island of Nantucket. True summer luxury is one that is an escape for the rest of the world, where white beaches appear ceaseless and designer labels best worn in the city are not needed because a swimsuit and linen shirt is just enough. Block Island seems to still contain this magic, of which Tori Jones Studio is a custodian.

From August 12th to September 10th, Tori Jones Studio, which also specializes in vintage home furnishings, will exhibit nine prints of the late Klaus Gemming images of Block Island during the 1970s. The prints originate from Gemming's book Block Island Summer which was published in 1972 by Chatham Press and feature black and white shots during his vacations to the island with his wife and kids beginning in 1956. There is an image of two men sitting on a bench next to a chowder shop, and two people standing on a cliff overlooking the winding beaches. There's even a shot of an old "Surf Hotel" with its tongue and grooved exterior. They incite a sense of nostalgia or yearning for the past, but somehow make viewers revel in the simplicity that summer is meant to embody.

For more information, please visit torijonesstudio.com.

The aforementioned launches and happenings are sure to induce a decorative itch. How does on resist? Whether it's a new frame for a new paintings or a new home accessory that'll liven up a particular space, one can never have too much.

Style News Editor at Town and Country covering society, style, art, and design.

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