Monday, February 18, 2019

Magical and Magnificent Claude Monet—Superb New Exhibition ‘Monet: The Late Years’ Open Now Through May 27 at the de Young Museum, San Francisco

‘The Late Years’ includes 60 artworks from 1896—1926, and in particular focuses on his large-scale waterlily paintings, the diptychs and triptychs, full immersion.

I attended a preview last week, and had the great good fortune to be able to wander alone through the gallerie. I was quite overcome by the beauty, emotion, with incandescent light shimmering on ponds, the lilies levitating through the haze, and mist rising from the twilit ponds. Willow branches hovering, the imagery isobsessed with color and mood and feeling.

Highly recommended. The show is beautifully and artfully curated, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to view Monet at the time of his great masterpieces.

Special thanks to Melissa Buron, curator the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Her selection is breath-taking, and the presentation is exquisite.

The de Young exhibit of Claude Monet’s beloved water lily painting offers new insights about the final phase of his career.

'Monet: The Late Years' explores the artist’s panoramas of gardens and ponds in Giverny as well as the late works that mark him as a forebear of modernism.

This is the first exhibition in North America in over 20 years dedicated to Monet’s radical late career. It features 60 paintings, with many on view in the United States or on the West Coast for the first time. Gallery walls were painted a soft sage leaf green/grey and a deep charcoal/aubergine/black color that present the paintings in a dramatic light.

Collections of the show, which is co-presented by the Kimbell Museum of Art in Forth Worth and the Fine Arts Museum, are from the Musée Marmottan in Paris, the National Gallery in London, the Met, Fondation Beyeler, and from leading galleries in Chicago, Toledo, and the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

I love also Monet’s paintings of agapanthus in his garden, as well as highly abstract canvases of wisteria, elegant yellow lilies, and orange daylilies.

The texts that accompany the exhibit are excellent. I don’t usually focus or become distracted by the life of an artist or the times or the drama of his or her life or psychological state. But in the case of Monet, understanding of the works is enhanced by knowing the era, the times, his biography, his failing eyesight, and his grand donation (L'Orangerie/ Nymphéas) to France in honor of 1 million war dead.

In particular, the texts with the show relate that many of the paintings in this show were painted between 1914 and 1918 at the height of the First World War. Battles took place in the region west of Paris and gunfire could be heard in the distance from Giverny. His son was fighting at the front. His wife died. Cataracts clouded his vision. He continued painting these overpowering paintings.

Eight gardeners tended the lily ponds. Several times a day they would push out into the water on pontoons ( as they do today) to clear weeds and nurture and protect the flowers.

Waterlilies dominated the last thirty years of Monet's life. He had a new gallery installed in his garden to work on the largest canvases.

Monet in his garden at Giverny, 1921.

"These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession for me," Monet wrote to a longtime friend in 1909. "It is beyond my strength as an old man, and yet I want to render what I feel."

Monet painted more than two hundred oils of the willows, trees, flowers and especially the waterlilies and the Japanese-style bridge and lagoons at Giverny.

There is also a fully illustrated catalog for the exhibition:

The de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park was designed by Hertzog & de Meuron and is clad in copper. The landscaping happens to include, co-incidentally, a waterlily pond.


Monet: The Late Years at the de Young Museum, San Francisco, through May 27.

Photography, including images by Drew Altizer of the galleries and paintings, courtesy the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Fascinating New Museum Exhibit to Visit: ‘Kimono Refashioned’

‘Kimono Refashioned’ opens February 8 at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The exhibit, which originated at the superb Kyoto Costume Institute, explores the influence and impact of kimono styles and fabrics and traditions on global fashion, from the Victorian era to current fashions of the digital age.

As Jay Xu, the director of the Asian Art Museum noted, “This is not a kimono show but rather an exhibition that emphasizes the cultural fluidity and inspiration of kimono and its expression in modern fashion.” The show vividly and intriguingly illustrates how a traditional Japanese style has inspired global fashion designers and let to a meaningful (and beautiful) exchange of ideas.

Designers featured in the exhibit include my favorite Issey Miyake, as well as Tom Ford, Coco Chanel, Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Christian Louboutin, Iris van Herpen, Alessandro dell’Acqua, Rei Kawakubo, and the great Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

On view from Feb. 8 through May 5, 2019, Kimono Refashioned reveals how the two-dimensional structure, cutting-edge textiles and decorative motifs inspired by kimono have shifted the course of contemporary fashion. Featuring apparel from the collection of the renowned Kyoto Costume Institute in Japan, Kimono Refashioned follows the influence of kimono from 19th-century English formal dresses with bustles and trains to 1920s Parisian evening gowns, to haute couture fashion in the late 20th century, to recent pop menswear.

Kimono — which literally means “a thing to wear” in Japanese — is characterized by a relatively simple structure and basic gender-neutral construction that place the focus on material and motifs, rather than on the shape of the body.

“While it is well known that Japanese fashion designers took Paris by storm in the early 1980s, it was not the first time Japan transformed international fashion,” says exhibition co-curator Yuki Morishima, Asian Art Museum associate curator of Japanese art. “Since the late 19th century, the kimono has inspired some of the world's top designers with its distinct silhouette and sophisticated textiles.” 

And while many associate ‘kimono’ with glamorous Japanese gowns of embroidered silk with obi sashes, there is another interpretation on display at the museum

“Following the glitz of the 1970s, the imperfect, austere approaches to dress offered by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto in the 1980s were a breath of fresh air,” says exhibition co-curator and Asian Art Museum assistant curator of contemporary art Karin G. Oen. “Bringing together cocoon shapes, seemingly damaged or worn-out textiles and a more organic color scheme, these groundbreaking designers permanently changed the world of high-fashion. This deconstructed Japanese aesthetic presented a vision totally of the moment that remains surprisingly current more than 30 years later.” 

Designers featured in Kimono Refashioned

Alessandro dell’Acqua for Rochas; Jonathan William Anderson for Loewe; Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen; Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel; Jacques Doucet; Lucy Duff-Gordon; Tom Ford for Gucci; Maurizio Galante; John Galliano; Rudi Gernreich; Iris van Herpen; Nozomi Ishiguro; Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons; House of Amy Linker; Christian Louboutin; Issey Miyake; Yoshiyuki Miyamae for Issey Miyake; Hanae Mori; Hiroaki Ohya for Lacoste; Paul Poiret; House of Rouff; Yusuke Takahashi for Issey Miyake Men; Misses Turner Court Dress Makers; Madeleine Vionnet; Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons Man; Yohji Yamamoto; Toshiko Yamasaki. 

The Asian Art Museum Fundraiser Gala

Celebrating ART + FASHION
Thursday, March 7, 2019
6: 30 PM

The Asian Art Museum’s biggest event of the year.

A cocktail reception, dinner and fashion show in the museum showcasing the one-of-a-kind garments inspired by artwork in the museum’s collection. The evening continues with a formal dinner, fashion presentation by CHUCHU Style, and main performance in a custom designed tent. Then, dancing at the After-Party in the museum.

Proceeds from this benefit support the Asian Art Museum’s innovative art, educational and community programs.

About the Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco's premier arts institutions and home to a collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures from throughout Asia spanning 6,000 years of history.

Centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum is based in an historic neoclassical building that was formerly home to the San Francisco Public Library.


The exhibit has an excellent reference catalog I recommend. ‘Kimono Refashioned: Japan’s Impact on International Fashion’ is available through the museum’s bookshop.


All images courtesy Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

For further information and tickets:
Instagram: @AsianArtMuseum  #KimonoRefashioned
Kimono Refashioned runs February 8—May 5, 2019. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Designer of Distinction: Kerry Joyce

Los Angeles interior designer, Kerry Joyce, has always been one of my favorites. He launched his design career in the eighties, and started his firm confidently and without fanfare. Magazine editors love his work. He has always attracted thoughtful clients who love his quiet devotion, his modest demeanor, his quiet humor, and his meticulous attention and perfection in all aspects of design. Kerry’s designs are polished, elegant, and inventive, and they always paint an accurate portrait of the owners.

I recall seeing his superbly delineated upholstery designs for the first time. They were beautiful and exactly right. He works in millimeters, not just centimeters…so that the result looks harmonious and effortless.

Kerry designs for his clients’ lives, across the US, and around the world, in New York, in LA. Perfection. For each house, his is a bespoke approach. He does not subscribe to the idea of a signature style. 

Photo: Antoine Bootz

Photo: Antoine Bootz

Photo: Antoine Bootz

Photo: Antoine Bootz

Photo: Grey Crawford

Now Kerry has highly successful fabric and furniture collections, and low-key and elegant lighting lines, as well as rugs for Mansur Modern.

Kerry recently published his new book, ‘The Intangible’ with a Foreword by the great Whitney Robinson, editor in chief of Elle Décor. Pointed Leaf Press published it. You must get it. It’s inspiring, and rich with detail, imagery, information and ideas. Definitely it is a beautiful book with profound professional insight, perfect for a lifetime reference library.

Photo: Joshua McHugh

Photo: Joshua McHugh

Photo: Joshua McHugh

Booksigning on February 6

Come and meet Kerry this week at an event during San Francisco Design Center, Winter Market. Kerry will be signing his new book ‘The Intangible’ at the elegant Kneedler Fauchere showroom at the Galleria. 

The event is February 6, Wednesday, from 2pm until ‘3-ish’. I will see you there. Oh, and I have it on very reliable authority that there will be an Espresso Bar and Sweets. Books on sale, and Kerry will be signing each one personally. 

Kerry Joyce
Photo: Dominique Vorillon

“It is always important to me that a home is fundamentally about the people and families I am working for, I’m their advocate.”—Kerry Joyce

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

“My approach, in my aim for tranquility, is largely defined by intuition. I trust my instincts and try not to overthink choices that feel right.”—Kerry Joyce

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

“I design to create a mood, rather than just a style. That mood has a tone, a volume, a love of pure silhouette and proportion that I can apply to any project. The resulting homes will have balance and freshness, a sense of ease and welcome.”—Kerry Joyce

Photo: Trevor Tondro

Photo: Trevor Tondro

Photo: Trevor Tondro

I wrote the following about Kerry recently on my Instagram account @dianedorranssaeks
In a way, quietly, these 236 pages and Kerry’s understated text illustrate how to have a highly successful and under-the-radar three-decade career. Put the client first, and create superbly inviting, personal and comfortable classic rooms, is his approach. Timeless but contemporary, fresh and vital but never trendy. Bravo to Kerry Joyce in his marvelous career, and this inspiring book. Please, Kerry, never retire.

Photo: Kathlene Persoff

Photo: Kathlene Persoff

Photo: Kathlene Persoff

“I like to make what I call ‘perfectly imperfect’ homes.”—Kerry Joyce

“This book is much like the homes and furnishings I design, an anthology of interest and chance directions that have inspired all of my projects, from whole houses to individual fabric partners.” —Kerry Joyce

New Book

Kerry Joyce, The Intangible with a Foreword by Whitney Robinson, Editor in Chief, Elle Decor (Pointed Leaf Press). It was written with Lisa Light. Photography by all the best photographers.

It’s a beautiful and very well edited large-format book…with images of Kerry’s beautiful fabrics, and beautifully presented houses. He takes readers on a tour of each house…so that the residence unfolds logically and clearly.

It’s an unusually well-paced and absorbing book, and one to read, peruse and study—and enjoy.

2900 Rowena Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90039
323-660-4442 Fax 323-660-4443

Kerry Joyce
Photo: Antoine Bootz

Kerry Joyce Studio