Sunday, September 21, 2008

Marian Mahler's Curtain:Lauren Thore

Marian Mahler’s swinging mobile curtain is a prime example of fascinating deco art from the 1950’s. David Whitehead Ltd. manufactured this contemporary screen-printed cotton fabric, in three different colors, and it is approximately 50’ wide. The deco art movement was based purely on decoration, as seen in Mahler’s curtain, and not on political or philosophical roots. The curtain also exemplifies a style of elegance and functionality that celebrates the Machine Age through the use of man-made materials. Mahler’s uses of repetition with the swinging mobiles are symmetrical which relate back to the designs of Asian and Middle Eastern influences. Mainly movements before the 1950’s, such as Neoclassical, Constructivism, Cubism and Art Nouveau, influenced designers such as Mahler, Eileen Gray and Jules Leleu. After spreading from the states to as far as Brazil and the UK deco art slowly came to an end after reaching mass production when it began to be derived as flashy and presenting a false image of luxury.

The Mahler curtain is similar to Alexander Calder’s actual mobile that was designed in 1972, mainly because of the contrasting colors and illusions to suspension. Calder’s mobile was the first ever made out of steel wire and aluminum. The mobile also has features of symmetry and repetition because of its wires and shapes.

The Mahler curtain is dissimilar to the Wurtemburgishe Metalwarren Fabrik punch bowl. The punch bowl was made in Germany in 1900 and consists of a silvered metal framework and green glass liner. Also, the punch bowl is smaller in size and has many intricate details. Although the curtain does have designs printed on it, it is not ornate but very straightforward and modern.

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