On Monday, I received a package in the mail. The contents included this beautiful vintage Lanvin-Castillo scarf. What a way to start the morning!
I was really enamored with the geometric application of colors. The design, executed under the direction of Antonio Castillo, really captures the Mid-Century aesthetic. Since I’ve been researching Castillo for the past 5 years, I figured I was a bit bias in favor of his designs. After looking at thousands of images, I feel that his work is so beautiful it enters the realm of timelessness. In fact, many of his former clients still retain his clothing. They’ve stated that while they were willing to donate other outmoded couture pieces, Castillo’s clothing is wearable throughout the passage of time.
Still, my favorite works by Castillo are his scarves. They are painterly and border the line of fine art. My scarf depicts 3 boats at a dock, with a cityscape in the background.
On Tuesday, at a used bookstore, I found Three Hundred Years of American Painting by Alexander Eliot. As I leafed through the pages, I was stunned to find this image. It looks strikingly similar to my new Lanvin-Castillo scarf:
Night City by Richard Florsheim
The image above is Night City by Richard Florsheim (1916-1979). Born in Chicago, Florsheim studied art independently in France, Italy, cnetral Europe and the Near East. His career as an artists was disrupted by WWII, but after the war, he exhibited widely. He worked with a variety of media, including oil and lithography.
Crowd by Richard Florsheim. Image courtesy of the Polk Museum of Art.
Florsheim was mainly concerned with the urban landscape, and how man-made objects affect the environment. Lisa Meyerowitz explains:
With its vibrant, almost acid-tinted colors and abstracted treatment of the landscape as patterns, shapes, and hues, Harbor Lights is typical of Florsheim’s modern paintings. Eliot Alexander could have been describing that work in particular when he wrote in Time magazine: “Florsheim points out that man-made lights are also a part of nature and adds new dimensions to the ordinary conception of what is beautiful.” Florsheim’s study of electrical light constitute what we might call today the “built environment”””emphasizing man’s influence on nature.
Illumination by Richard Florsheim
Florsheim’s art really speaks to me. While he was active primarily in the 1950s and 1960s, his cityscapes seem contemporary. Much in the way that Castillo’s designs still seem relevant today. I also love the idea of the built environment influencing ideals of beauty. Architecture influences art and fashion. So it’s important to select your environment carefully. Or even better, create your own.
Industrial Towers by Richard Florsheim
Neon City by Richard Florsheim