I’ve taken you on the train from Naperville into “the city”, AKA Chicago. We’ve seen the urban canyonlands and a few items from the Art Institute of Chicago.  Last week, I shared photos of the Bean from around the outside.  The reflections of the sky, buildings, and people are amazing.  But get under the Bean and everything looks different.  From a quirky distortion of its surroundings you’re taken into the land of M.C. Escher (or into section of the circus fun house with the funky mirrors.)

© janet m. webb 2016

© janet m. webb 2016

The day after a baby shower for my friend in Urbana, Illinois, we spent the morning having coffee and relaxing. On the way to my parked van, I spotted a bit street art on the back of this building.

© janet m. webb 2016

 

From our Chicago suburb, the preferred method of visiting the city, at least for me, is to take the Metra train into Union Station, then walk to my destination.  That’s the easy part.  Parking is the difficult part.  People who commute regularly compete for passes to park at the station.  Outside of that, parking anywhere nearby is limited to between 2-4 hours, not nearly enough to get into the city, do something, and get back.  If you arrive at the right time (after the morning rush), there are a number of $2-for-the-day spots.  I prefer having my husband drop me off and, as this sign shows, during these hours, that’s what works.  I enjoy the humor of the sign.  The shot was taken out the window as we went by, hence the fuzziness.  But it IS an oddball photo, so…

© janet m. webb 2016

Taking a photo of another train passing our train resulted in a rather cool oddball as well.

© janet m. webb 2016

In 2004, sculptor Anish Kapoor’s “Cloud Gate” was unveiled in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago..  The initial mocking sobriquet of “The Electric Kidney Bean” was eventually lovingly shortened to “The Bean” and Chicago and its visitors embraced this marvel. 80% of it reflects the sky and twice a year it gets washed with 40 gallons of liquid Tide, the better to reflect both the city and its enthralled visitors.

When first spotted, the resemblance to a space ship is strong.  On this warm, sunny spring day, it’s a stunning sight and up close, it’s even more intriguing.

© janet m. web 2016

The edge seems to flow seamlessly into the sky and the city takes on a whole new beautiful look as it bends and reflects.

© janet m. webb 2016

With a little vintage riff, you get an old picture postcard look.

© janet m. webb 2016

I had a good time taking photos of people taking family or group photos so they could all get in the shot.  In return, someone offered to take one of me, doing my part to keep the Bean in place.

© janet m. webb 2016

Under the Bean, though, things change from a distorted yet charming reflection of the city to a definite Escher-like look. But that’s a picture story for another time.

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
~Winston Churchill

To explore the mountains on horseback definitely makes me feel jubilant (feeling or expressing great joy : very happy.)  I need say no more. The photo speaks for itself.

© janet m. webb

Just FYI: this is me on Lacy, the horse that replaced Sunday, the horse you see with me in my gravatar.  Always thankful for a good horse, but there will never be another Sunday (of the horse sort, of course.) :-)

Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, born in Paris in 1879, was a master Art Deco furniture designer and designer of interiors.  His father ran a painting and contracting firm, which Ruhlmann took over after his father’s death.  In 1910, after getting married, he designed furniture for their apartment and, that same year, exhibited his furniture.

“To create something that lasts, the first thing is to want to create something that lasts forever.”

On this website by Frank Pollaro, an authority on Ruhlmann’s furniture who also makes reproductions of his work, you can read more about Ruhlman, see rare photos of his work as well as some of his sketches, and see pictures of his furniture gathered from various sources, including this cabinet from the Art Institute of Chicago, one of many stunning pieces found there.  Now that’s a door!

© janet m. webb 2016

“His early designs reflected the Art Nouveau influence popular in France at the turn of the century. Later his influences could be traced to architects and designers creating innovative furniture in Vienna around the time of the First World War.

Although his very early work was quite heavy, apparently influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement, by 1920 Ruhlmann made clear his disdain for the movement. In a magazine interview in 1920 he succinctly stated his case: “A clientele of artists, intellectuals and connoisseurs of modest means is very congenial, but they are not in a position to pay for all the research, the experimentation, the testing that is needed to develop a new design. Only the very rich can pay for what is new and they alone can make it fashionable. Fashions don’t start among the common people. Along with satisfying a desire for change, fashion’s real purpose is to display wealth.” He further stated: “Whether you want it or not, a style is just a craze. And fashion does not come up from humble backgrounds.

His strongest inspiration may have come from the classical design elements and craftsmanship ideals found in 18th century furniture. Ruhlmann would later shape these same ideals into what he called his precious pieces. These pieces, most often occurring between 1918 and 1925 were his favorites. They made use of the rarest woods such as Macassar ebony, Brazilian rosewood, and amboyna burl, usually in combination with each other. Most of the forms were very simple, making use of gentle, almost imperceptible curves. These pieces were most often embellished with ivory; used for handles, dentil, feet, and inlay. The ivory brought a static sense of control to the pieces that made them unique, timeless and extremely elegant in form.”

………………………

“When examining Ruhlmann’s furniture, take notice of the subtle use of grain. Ruhlmann was careful not to allow the figure of the wood to vie for attention with the form of the furniture. His two favorite woods; Macassar ebony and amboyna burl both create soft but striking background patterns, without focusing attention on the wood itself. This allowed the veneers to support the design details instead of competing with them.”

© janet m. webb 2016

Image  —  Posted: May 18, 2016 in Wordless Wednesday
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