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beautiful mathematics, 20th century architectural elevations

XIX: 19th Century Design
Friday, April 4 to Saturday, August 30, 2008

Design drawings and engravings for buildings, pavilions, furniture and wallpaper for the most eclectic of all centuries.

The 19th Century was an encyclopedia of world design.  From the Industrial Revolution to High Victoriana, architecture and design careened from one extreme to another.  The dueling empires of France and England flaunted their colonial lands with new styles of exotic decor.  In the end, London triumphed economically while Paris flourished as the epitome of luxury.

Most ironically, technology was celebrated while at the same time revivalism of the antique became the definition of "new."  World's Fairs were built.  The "grand hotel" was invented and foreign travel became commonplace.  Design and fashion once again became a visible way to declare one's class.

For over a decade, ArchiTech Gallery has assembled original drawings, watercolors and prints by the architects and decorators who created the varied looks of the world's most eclectic century:  A tile floor for London's most exclusive club; Plaster carvings for the finest mansions in Paris; Wallpaper designs for stately homes; Engravings of  the spectacular Paris Opera House.

Works by Viollet-le-Duc, Owen Jones, Charles Garnier and the Americans, Burnham and Root demonstrate the breadth of ideas for this watershed epoch.  From "Neo-Grec" to Gothic and Renaissance revival to Beaux-Arts and back to Empire, the 19th Century provided something for everyone.

“XIX: 19th Century Design”  opens  Friday, April 4th to Saturday, August 30th, 2008.

architech gallery interior

Notes on the Exhibition:

XIX: 19th Century Design
April 4 - August 30, 2008

Sometimes an idea for a show happens when I have bought a new collection of drawings with the intention for a full exhibition. Sometimes an artist I've represented presents me with a new body of work. This show started with a housecleaning.

In late 2007, I was forced to move my inventory storage from out of the basement in which it's resided since 1997. After arranging with my current building management to take some rare available space on the floor above me, and constructing storage carrels in the back of the gallery itself, I dug into the old racks.

I was rediscovering framed works I'd either shown once or not at all. When enough things had stacked along the floor, it became apparent that there was an entire show's worth of design drawings and prints from the 19th Century that needed to be seen together (and that I needed to sell).

I always try to tell a story with each exhibition and this one could work as an overview of the various (if polyglot) schools and styles of an entire century. And there was enough of a mix of famous names and unknowns so that the prices could be varied as well.

There were French drawings from my holdings from one of the draftsmen of Viollet-le-Duc and British works that were bought at London auctions. When my earliest Burnham and Root drawings and Frank Lloyd Wright prints were added, this became a pretty complete story of the century's eclectic march to modernity.

I decided that since each drawing and engraving was framed differently that the best visual approach would be to hang everything in a modified "salon" style. "Modified" because the origin of the term was the Louvre's somewhat chaotic method of hanging disparate works in a "cheek-by-jowl" arrangement that saw some frames literally overlapping neighboring paintings and other works almost out of sight just below the ceiling.

Also, since the show would hang through the summer, I could sell off the wall and replace the sold work with another without causing a stylistic disruption. A longtime friend who was a specialist in Arts and Crafts provided a mahogany armchair from the Aesthetic Movement. The show looked wonderful.

After two months, clients have acquired some of the more arcane oddities, including an important design drawing for wallpaper by C.F.A. Voysey that had once hung at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

Housecleaning has its rewards.


Click Here to Read Alan Artner's review
in the July 11, 2008 Chicago Tribune

Click on image
to enlarge

crace floor
John Gregory Crace
Design for tile floor
Conservative Club, London
Pen & ink and watercolor
Circa 1850s
16 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches

crace floor
Cesar Daly, Publisher
A. Hardy, Architect
Detail of Doorway, 
Palais du Champs de Mars, Exposition Universelle, Paris 1878

Engraving, 1880
21 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches

owen jones
Owen Jones
Detail of Design for Side Chair
Pen  & Ink and Watercolor
Circa 1860s
16 1/2 x 21 inches

cesar daly
Cesar Daly, Publisher
E. Boeswillwald, Architect
Chapelle, Biarritz
Chromolithograph, 1880
21 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches

cesar daly
Cesar Daly, Publisher
E. Boeswillwald, Architect
Chapelle, Biarritz
Chromolithograph, 1880
10 3/4 x 13 1/2 inches

gothic villa
Architect unknown
Gothic Villa
Engraving, 1833
One of two plates, with plan
12 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches

Blackie & Sons, Publishers
"Greek" Thomson, Architect
Holmwood, Scotland
Engraving, 1857
Plate #66 shown, Eight engravings included
10 x 14 inches

grand hotel
Guerinet, Editor
Gerhart, Architect
Les Grands Prix de Rome...Un Grand Hotel
Heliotype, 1865
8 x 16 inches

grand hotel
Louis Villeminot, Delineator
Viollet-le-Duc, Architect
Sketches for figurative table support and details
Pen and Ink on tracing paper, Circa 1880s
17 x 11 inches

Louis Villeminot, Delineator
Viollet-le-Duc, Architect
Design for right half of Overdoor
Pencil on paper, Circa 1880s
6 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches

Louis Villeminot, Delineator
Viollet-le-Duc, Architect
Design for overdoor
Pencil on paper, Circa 1880s
7 3/4 x 20 inches

Engraver Unknown
Optics  Heliostata 
Copperplate engraving, 1811
9 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches

burnham and root
Burnham and Root
East Elevation C.B. Soutter, Esq.
Pen and ink with wash on paper, 1882
20 1/2 x 19 inches

grand hotel
Photographer unknown
Ernst Wasmuth, Publisher
Plate 14, Ladies Boudoir in Berlin
Carbon Print on mount
Traute Wohnraeume, 1892
10 x 14 inches



David Jameson
ArchiTech Gallery
730 North Franklin suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654

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