Vitra Metal Wall Relief Dove in Black by Alexander Girard
View Similar Items
Vitra Metal Wall Relief Dove in Black by Alexander Girard
- DimensionsHeight: 7.25 in. (18.42 cm)Width: 15.75 in. (40.01 cm)Depth: 1.5 in. (3.81 cm)
- StyleModern (In the Style Of)
- Materials and TechniquesMetal,Powder-Coated
- Place of Origin
- Date of ManufactureContemporary
- Production TypeNew & Custom(Current Production)
- Estimated Production Time20-21 weeks
- Seller LocationNew York, NY
- Reference NumberSeller: 215097061stDibs: LU3989114572911
About the Designer
The director of design for the textiles department at Herman Miller, Inc., from 1952 to 1973, mid-century modern visionary Alexander Girard introduced bright, bouncy colors to upholstery and drapery fabrics, created jaunty graphics for marketing and advertising materials and devised motifs for everything from textiles to ceramics based on his true love: folk art from cultures around the globe.
The son of an American mother and an Italian father, Girard (known as Sandro to his friends) was born in New York City in 1907 but raised in Florence. He came from a creative family — his father was a master woodworker — and Girard began drawing and making his own playthings as a youngster. He had a fascination for nativity crèche tableaux, an enthusiasm that likely was the germ for his later interest in folk art. He went on to earn degrees in architecture at schools in both Rome and London before returning to New York in the 1930s and working in interior design.
By the 1940s, he and his wife, Susan, had moved to Detroit, where Girard was head of design for Detrola, a firm specializing in tabletop radios. The elegant bentwood housings that he developed for the devices won him acclaim, but, more importantly, at Detrola he met Charles Eames. The two became lifelong friends, and it was Eames who drew Girard toward Herman Miller, which had no dedicated textile department until Girard arrived, and most of its furniture was upholstered in mundane, “safe” hues. Girard changed all that, introducing fabrics in vivid shades of red, orange, yellow and blue. His early designs incorporated geometric motifs — stripes, circles, square, triangles and such. But toward the end of the 1950s he began to introduce folk art themes into his designs.
Girard did not collect important or expensive folk pieces. Rather he was drawn to simple objects such as handmade toys, figurines and models of animals, buildings and plants. The fabrics that emerged had whimsical, lighthearted motifs depicting, for example, angels, children, birds and flowers. Toward the end of his term with Herman Miller, in an effort to achieve what he termed “aesthetic functionalism,” Girard produced a group of what he called “Environmental Enrichment” pieces — silk-screened cotton panels emblazoned with various graphic designs, from bold geometric patterns to folk art themes. They were meant to divide spaces in offices or the home in lieu of walls while simultaneously functioning as art. Today, panels of vintage Girard upholstery textiles have become premium collectibles. The designer's furniture is less well known, primarily because most of it was created for private commissions.
Girard’s most lasting contribution may be his folk art collection. He and Susan had begun gathering pieces shortly after their marriage, in 1936. By the 1970s, they had amassed the world’s largest collection of cross-cultural folk art, composed of more than 100,000 pieces from around the world. The Girards donated their holdings to the Museum of International Folk Art, in Santa Fe (where they had moved in the ’60s), quintupling the institution’s collection, and a new wing — named for the Girards — had to be built to hold it.
About the Manufacturer
Design house Vitra has garnered international recognition for more than 70 years — the Swiss family-owned furniture company has outfitted public spaces as well as residential properties and offices worldwide. It has been a proponent of modernist design since the 1950s. While the brand is heralded for its collaborations with mid-century modern icons such as Verner Panton, Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard and others, Vitra’s German campus is also home to buildings designed by legendary architects Zaha Hadid and Frank Gehry. Among them is the Vitra Design Museum, an independent cultural institution that displays two centuries of design today.
Vitra was established in Weil Am Rhein, Germany, in 1950 by husband and wife team Willi and Erika Fehlbaum. On a trip to New York several years later, Willi Fehlbaum encountered the work of design polymaths Ray and Charles Eames in a furniture store and immediately knew that he had found his bliss.
In 1957, Vitra entered into a licensing agreement with Herman Miller, which saw the company producing designs by George Nelson, the Eameses and others. Later, Vitra partnered with Verner Panton and created the Panton chair, which was the first chair ever crafted from a single piece of molded plastic (it was also the first piece to be independently developed by Vitra). After 27 years of establishing the Vitra brand, the Fehlbaums passed control to their two sons, Rolf and Raymond Fehlbaum.
When a fire destroyed the factory in 1981, the brothers developed the Vitra Factory Campus, subsequently taking the opportunity to redirect the architectural landscape of the company. They created a masterplan with Nicholas Grimshaw, and together they erected four buildings in just a few short years.
In 1988, with the passing of Ray Eames and the disbandment of the Los Angeles Eames office, Rolf and Raymond acquired the furniture design portion of her estate, including the Eames prototypes and experimental models, housed today in the Vitra Design Museum.
Rolf and Roy opened the Vitra Design Museum in 1989. This began a period rich with design relationships, including collaborations with Antonio Citterio, Jasper Morrison, Maarten van Severen, Philippe Starck, Alberto Meda and others.
In 2012, leadership passed to Nora, the third generation of the Fehlbaums. Nora Fehlbaum has, like her grandparents, expanded the company and brought it into the 21st century with the acquisition of Finnish furniture manufacturer Artek. Nora has turned the company’s focus to sustainability yet still maintains its international and cultural relevance legacy.
You May Also Like
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Wall-mounted Sculptures
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Decorative Art
Vintage 1970s American Wall-mounted Sculptures
Vintage 1970s Belgian Brutalist Decorative Art
Vintage 1960s North American Wall-mounted Sculptures
Vintage 1970s Unknown Mid-Century Modern Decorative Art
21st Century and Contemporary Spanish Modern Wall-mounted Sculptures
Metal, Stainless Steel, Iron
Vintage 1960s Dutch Mid-Century Modern Wall-mounted Sculptures
Mid-20th Century Swedish Mid-Century Modern Wall-mounted Sculptures
Vintage 1960s French Mid-Century Modern Wall-mounted Sculptures
Recently ViewedView More
The 1stDibs PromiseLearn More
Expertly Vetted Sellers
Confidence at Checkout
Trusted Global Delivery