Friday, May 10, 2013

The Skinny -- Genia Rubin

To use a stupid little phrase we Blackbird girls use quite frequently -- if wishes were dreams...then I would have more wall space in our house.  Well, I'd just have more house to our house.  Extra rooms, extra display space, extra wall space for more art.  And if wishes were dreams, I could have vintage (OK, I could only afford prints...) fashion photography and portraiture.  You know, the really good stuff, like Richard Avedon and Cecil Beaton.  And this guy, Genia Rubin.

I recently stumbled upon the work of Genia Rubin, and although I haven't been able to find much out about his life, I thought I could at least share some of his stunning work with you, our readers.  His work has a surrealist vein running through it, showing "provocative forms of unrestrained, convulsive beauty."* 

Genia Rubin (real name: Yevgeny Hermanovitch Rubin) was born in Kiev in 1906, and died in Paris in 2001.  He left Russia in 1927, traveling to Berlin, where he assisted Karl Freund, cinematographer for Metropolis (1927) and an Academy Award winner for Best Cinematography in 1937 for The Good Earth.  

Rubin went to Paris in 1929, where he worked as a still and portrait photographer in the Pathé Film Studios, a company which produced over 70 feature films between 1929-1935, including some of France's first talkie pictures. In 1931, Rubin returned to Berlin, where he met the well-known portrait photographer, Rolf Mahrenholz.   He opened his own photo studio in the Kurfürstendamm, one of the most famous avenues in Berlin.   

Rubin soon began working with fashion magazine editor, Franz Wolfgang Koebner, the editor of a popular magazine, The Elegant World.  It launched his fashion career.  In 1935, he moved back to Paris, where he met photographer Harry Ossip Meerson. They collaborated, and after Meerson's departure for America, Rubin took over his studio.

During his fashion career, Rubin photographed for Indian magazine Femina, Harper's Bazaar and Australian magazine, The Home. After WWII, he met the English court photographer, Baron Stirling Henry Nahum, and until 1956, Rubin worked alternately as a guest fashion photographer in Baron's London studio and as a photo correspondent for the Daily Express in Paris.

Through his acquaintance with André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, Rubin learned about contemporary painting in Paris in 1947, and his work was represented that year, along with other artists', in the international Surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Maeght, a gallery for modern art, founded in Cannes in 1936.

In 1957, Rubin worked for Maison et Jardin (House and Garden, Condé Nast ), photographing parks, gardens, palaces and works of art in France, England and Italy. From 1959 on, he devoted himself again to his modern painting and photography.

 And that's it folks.  That's all I've got!  The Biksady Gallery in Budapest had an exhibit of his work in February through March of this year, and that's where I got most of the images.  I'm definitely intrigued now, and I'm going to dig some more.  Hopefully you enjoyed the images -- and I'll leave you with one of his lovely portraits!

* From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On the Radar -- Woodn't You Like to Have One?

Lanvin Necklace
We both of us, the Blackbird girls, each have a different ring that is a security blanket of sorts.  Mine is a silver ring that is fashioned with working hinged jaws accented with long, monster-like teeth.  I got it when a local jewelry store was going out of business for $7.  Someone offered me $50 for it once -- but I would never sell it.  Never.

Jewelry design is where, I think, designers get to let loose and have some fun.  Clothes can be amazing, but the moment you meet that certain necklace, that special ring -- that's the moment of total magic.  Accessories and jewelry are fun, easy to change around, and can be as delicate or as bold as you want them to be.  But jewelry can be sentimental, special, and family heirlooms, even if they are not that valuable.

I'm loving that designers went for wood in their designs this season.  Lanvin made stunning paneled cuff bracelets and necklaces.

Lanvin cuff bracelet

Marni also did a collection of wooden bug like pieces.

This minaudiere by Givenchy is STUNNING!

Even our First Lady Michelle Obama wears wooden jewelry, like this bangle made for her by Kara Ross.

Wood is an interesting material for jewelry, and it's something I've just started noticing.  I have lots of vintage rhinestone and enamel pieces, but I don't have any wooden pieces.  Might have to change that!  Look at these vintage pieces, available on Etsy:

1970s cocktail ring, available here.

1950s brooch, available here.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Junk Love Monday: Geisha Love

Bridge tally, from puffadonna
We have a fascination with mid-century Asian-inspired design, from game boards to tins to ceramics. What's funny is that we don't consider ourselves "Asian collectors." You won't find jade figurines or porcelain tea sets in our house. But you will find brightly colored bamboo-ish planters, tea tins, 1950s lamps, and vintage Chinese fabric labels. We're also really drawn to geishas.

We don't encounter geishas very often in our travels (ha!), but I thought I'd do some fantasy shopping online to see what sort of lovely ladies are available. (*Note: this does not involve "fantasy" shopping for actual ladies. This isn't that kind of blog....)
From puffadonna

We like cute ones.

From RetroLuxeHome

From tickytackyvintage

From HidalgoVintage

From thetoadhouse

Maxi dress!; From thegetupvintage

We like classic girls.
From 27thAVE
From overthetopoverstock

From rdeanlee

From BreezyNotions

And, of course, we've gotta get our hands on some Vera geishas.
From CollectibleKat

From PopLunch