Designer Series — Timeless Over Trendy

Nov 29, 2020Artwise Posters
Designer Series — Timeless Over Trendy
JULY 26, 2019 

It can be easy to get caught up in the sway of design trends, colors of the moment and popular aesthetics that come and go with the tides. When choosing art to decorate a home, a work studio, a place of business or one of leisure, it can help to keep in mind an overarching purpose or intention, and to make it one that can be supported by the artwork regardless of the present mood. Perusing art that has proven itself timeless by its persistence through the decades will fill the drawing board with inspiration that is both fresh and yet lasting, offering a perfect balance of vitality and longevity that, like fine wine, gets better with age.

Pablo Picasso – Papiers Colles-Dessins, Mourlot stone lithograph 1966
Pablo Picasso – Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass and Newspaper, Mourlot stone lithograph 1956

Picasso’s mastery and flair are undisputedly reliable, his knack for a childlike freedom of discovery matched by the sophistication found only through countless iterations of experience— the result a purity of expression that somehow complements everything it accompanies. Papiers Colles from 1966 and Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass and Newspaper from 1956 are both gorgeous Mourlot-printed stone lithographs from exhibitions held at Galerie Lucie Weill.

Henri Matisse – Fruits, Mourlot stone lithograph 1964
Henri Matisse – Spray of Leaves, silkscreen 2010

Matisse maintains the champion seat for distilled forms, needing only a handful of lines to describe his subjects with great richness, clarity and beauty. In Fruits, a 1964 Mourlot stone lithograph he is able to make a simple black and white line look juicy and aromatic, and in Spray of Leaves, a 2010 recreated silkscreen of a 1953 classic, just a few color choices and a repeating theme open the doors for a highly varied and interesting motif, having more of the feeling of the plant and its living essence than would a straight portrait of it.

Alberto Magnelli – Untitled I (Fond Noir), SIGNED linocut 1970
Bertrand Dorny – Untitled IV, SIGNED etching 1974

Small black and white or greyscale prints are anything but minor, softly emanating their uniqueness and personality with quiet glamour— something that never goes out of style. Untitled I (Fond Noir) by Alberto Magnelli is a signed 1970 linocut, and Untitled IV by Bertrand Dorny is a signed 1974 etching.

Tom Wesselmann – Tulips in a Vase, offset lithograph 1985
Lowell Nesbitt – Community Holiday Festival, SIGNED silkscreen 1978
Marc Chagall – Floral Offering, Mourlot stone lithograph 1971

Flowers as subjects oftentimes allow for an effortless decor addition, contributing color, joy, a touch of nature and an uplifting feeling, carving an atmosphere that will forever enlighten. Tom Wesselmann’s Tulips in a Vase are both magnetic and graceful, Lowell Nesbitt’s Community Holiday Festival, a signed 1978 silkscreen, seems simultaneously universal and charismatic, and Marc Chagall’s Floral Offering is all at once traditional and inventive. All of these works have a foundation in classical representation while following their own particular voice— something that ensures relevance year after year.

"...inspiration that is both fresh and yet lasting, offering a perfect balance of vitality and longevity that, like fine wine, gets better with age."
John Peplowski – Juggler, etching 1971 (contact to inquire)
Joan Miró – Composition, Mourlot stone lithograph 1964

In a glimmering depiction by outsider artist John Peplowski, his Juggler moves as though a constellation of stars, a signed and numbered 1971 etching from an edition of 50. Works from this little known artist rarely surface, though ones like this reveal a lasting impression. And Joan Miró’s stellar arrangements always manage to allude to the cosmos as in this 1964 Mourlot stone lithograph Composition. This is a theme that is older than humanity and yet still an active modern presence, in both the reality of ordinary life and also with its affinity for compelling our hearts. Nobody forgets the magic of the night sky.

Alexander Calder – Derriere le Miroir no.173 Page, stone lithograph 1968

Alexander Calder’s forms, often inspired from nature as plants, animals or land features, are always on topic regardless of the conversation— an enlightening accomplishment, and perhaps the reason for which Calder’s work has been so beloved over time. This 1968 work from a Derriere le Miroir no.173 Page seems to mention all of the important points without being overbearing.

Jacob Lawrence – Floral Supermarket, silkscreen 1996
Paul Cezanne – Still Life with Apples, Mourlot stone lithograph 1970

And when at a loss for what kind of subject to entertain, the tried and true stronghold of the still life can be a good route to navigate, as many an artist over time has made their own distinctive take on this unassuming yet dignified option. Jacob Lawrence’s Floral Supermarket, a 1996 silkscreen dances with stylized charm, and Paul Cezanne’s Still Life with Apples, a 1970 Mourlot stone lithograph seems to glow from the inside, something Cezanne’s work always did— perhaps as a result of his noted attempts to see and describe the world in a new way.

Read past #ArtWiseUP articles under the EDITORIAL tab at

More articles

Compelling Portraiture
Sally McIntyreMay 19, 20210 comments
For the Love of Matisse
Paige HanleyJun 25, 20210 comments