HENRY MOORE SCULPTOR
Herbert Read (appreciation by): HENRY MOORE SCULPTOR [An Appreciation by Herbert Read with Thirty-Six Plates]. London: A. Zwemmer Gallery, 1934. First edition. Large Octavo. A near-fine hardcover (cardboards) book in a near-fine dust jacket: DJ very lightly worn. Charles Niedringhaus' ownership signature on half-title page, otherwise interior unmarked and very clean. Out-of-print. An exceptional copy of a copy of a rare and fragile early monograph.
7.25 x 9.5 book with a photographic portrait frontispiece, 16 pages of text followed by 36 full-page plates, including 30 sculpture photographs.
An excellent snapshot of Hampstead -- that primary English incubator of Modernism in the 1930s. After marrying Irina Radetsky in 1929, Moore and his bride moved to a studio in Hampstead on Parkhill Road, joining a small colony of avant-garde artists who were flourishing in the emerging hothouse of creativity. Barbara Hepworth and her partner Ben Nicholson moved into a studio around the corner from Moore, while Naum Gabo, Roland Penrose and the art critic Herbert Read also lived in the area. This led to a rapid cross-fertilization of ideas that Read would publicize, helping to raise Moore's public profile. The area was also a stopping off point for a large number of refugee architects and designers from continental Europe (Gropius, Breuer, Moholy-Nagy, etc.) en route to America many of whom would later commission works from Moore.
In the early 1930s, Moore took up a post as the Head of the Department of Sculpture at the Chelsea School of Art. Artistically, Moore, Hepworth and other members of the 7 and 5 Society would develop steadily more abstract work, partly influenced by their frequent trips to Paris and contact with leading progressive artists, notably Picasso, Braque, Arp and Giacometti. Moore flirted with Surrealism, joining Paul Nash's Unit One Group in 1933. Both Moore and Paul Nash were on the organizing committee of the London International Surrealist Exhibition, which took place in 1936. In 1937 Roland Penrose purchased an abstract 'Mother and Child' in stone from Moore that he displayed in the front garden of his house in Hampstead. The piece proved controversial with other residents and a campaign was run against the piece by the local press over the next two years.
Charles Niedringhaus graduated as one of 5 students in the first graduating class of the Institute of Design in 1942. As a student, he served as Institute Director Lįszló Moholy-Nagy¹s asssitant in the Basic and Product Design Workshop, as well as assisting the Director in two seminars on Contemporary Art and Design problems. The student Niedringhaus designed and built a prototype machine dubbed the ³Smell-O-Meter.² This device proved less useful than the machine he co-developed with Nathan Lerner for forming plywood that was used in making most of the school's furniture.
After graduation, Niedringhaus¹ skills in furniture design and production quickly came to the attention of Hans Knoll -- always on the lookout for designers to work for what was then Knoll Associates. Niedringhaus began his long and fruitful career with Knoll when he assisted Herbert Matter with the production of the KNOLL INDEX OF DESIGNS in 1950. Then Niedringhaus and Florence Knoll were granted a patent on July 21, 1953 for their design of a sofa/daybed on angular steel frame.
Throughout his long career with Knoll, Niedringhaus often acted as an artistic liaison linking the inspired visions of designers such as Isamu Noguchi with Knoll's engineers, draughtsmen, and marketing departments. This confluence of art and business was fundamental to Knoll's identity and success. That same confluence of art and business first encountered as Moholy-Nagy¹s student in Chicago helped Charles Niedringhaus secure his rightful spot in the pantheon of American Modernism.
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