Standing Guard

 The large figures on the Hope Memorial Bridge in Cleveland (also known as the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge) were created by sculptor Henry Hering in 1932 and executed by many stone carvers who found much work in Cleveland in the early 20th century. The architects of the bridge were the firm of Walker and Weeks. Hering was primarily a Beaux-Arts style sculptor, having been a student of the famous Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and the architect Frank Walker is credited with the over-all art deco design of the figures. In the 1970's they were almost taken down and the county engineer at that time thought they were hideous, but thank goodness they saved and remain an important part of the city landscape. The bridge was renamed the Hope Memorial Bridge in 1980 after the entertainer Bob Hope donated money for its restoration because his father had worked on it.

Hope Memorial Bridge: Guardians of Traffic holding truck - CSU Digital Humanities

Bringing the Modern to Tradition

 The Modern Song (Modan bushi) by K. Kotani,1930. (Detail.) The Japan Society (Credit: Exhibition organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Va.)

The Japan Society is currently hosting an exhibition of Japanese art from the Art Deco period. The work presented shows us a country working to combine tradition with the modern western world whose influence had been felt in Japan for a while, but whose culture was only then beginning to be adapted. This can be seen most prominently in the depiction of the Japanese version of the "Flapper," or modern early 20th century woman, who was up-ending society in the west, as well.

The exhibition runs through June 10th at the Japan Society, NYC.

Green Dress

Jeune fille en vert, 1930 by Tamara de Lempicka, Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

Lempicka has come to represent the Art Deco period in painting because of the fluid lines, rich colors, and sensuousness of her paintings. She was inspired by, and part of, the bohemian scene in Paris in the 1920's and the Hollywood scene in the late 1930's and 40's. She liked socializing and being a part of the most popular groups. She disliked the 1970's era, feeling it was inferior to the ones that preceded it, but ironically, in the 1970's her artwork was discovered once again, after a retrospective of her work was shown in Luxembourg and she has remained popular with collectors, since then.