European Decorative Arts

Ian Wardropper, Author, Peter Junker, Editor, Lynn Springer Roberts, With ABRAMS $35 (140p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3253-1
Craftsmanship through the ages receives a spectacular visual tribute in 90 full-color photographs of decorative-art masterpieces from the early Middle Ages through the 1920s. The accompanying text by Wardropper and Roberts, the present and former curators, respectively, of European decorative arts at the Art Institute of Chicago, provides brief but interesting historical background on the techniques used to create the pieces, the practical functions they served, the religious and philosophical ideals they expressed. An exquisite 12th-century Spanish casket of hammered silver; an intricate inlaid German cabinet of ebony and ivory from the 17th century; a graciously curved 18th-century English walnut side chair; an exuberantly ornamental Wiener Werkstatte tea and coffee service; a coolly elegant, stripped-down steel-and-leather armchair from Mies van der Rohe--each incarnates the sensibility of its era in fine materials shaped by gifted designers whose skill prompts admiration in any century. A delightful browse for the decorative-arts enthusiast. ( Feb. )
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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