The Wallpaper Book

Geneviève Brunet. Thames & Hudson, $55 (240p) ISBN 978-0-500-51607-2
In this beautifully produced, lushly illustrated, and energetically composed visual cultural history, French journalist Brunet explores the rich artistic, design, and social value of wallpaper. The book’s first section traces the fascinating history of wallpaper’s “industry and artistry,” from the first appearance of decorative printed paper in the 15th century to the late 18th century, when wallpaper became popularized among the European bourgeoisie, its full “democratization” in the 1960s and 1970s, and its recent resurgence. The following chapters explore the evolution of panoramic paper from the 19th century to the present; the links between the fine arts and wallpaper’s craft and design, describing how Matisse, Warhol, and others integrated wallpaper into their art and in some cases also designed it; an overview of contemporary European and North American wallpaper designs; and how 21st-century designers are innovatively transforming the craft and artistry. This splendid collection concludes with visually provocative wall art by contemporary artists and interior designers that convincingly illustrates Brunet’s argument that wallpaper is “an extraordinarily creative medium.” The book, which includes a useful appendix of wallpaper collections, designers, and further reading, will be of great interest to designers, artists, and cultural historians. Color illus. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 05/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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