Monday, October 4, 2010

Object of the Day: An English “Between the Wars” Fan

The Interwar Period (often referred to as “Between the Wars,” especially in British antique terms) of the 1920’s and 1930’s produced a surplus of amazing art and design which relied heavily on organic shapes and materials, geometric patterns and Asian influence.

While the use of hand fans had largely fallen out of practice by this period, fans continued to be produced for decorative purposes due to the sense of romance associated with the items. This English fan, created in a Japanese style is the epitome of “Between the Wars” sensibilities.

Wooden sticks which have been inlaid with mother-of-pearl disks and incised with a gilt pattern, support a black silk screen, brightly painted with a peacock and orchids. Turquoise, gold, brilliant green, pink, white and shocking red cleverly emerge from the black background. These colors were extremely popular during that time period— a throwback to Eighteenth Century pastoral painting. Mounted in a period, custom-built, curiously geometric case, this fan was, no doubt, produced solely for artistic purposes. Its job was simply to look beautiful and it’s a task for which it is very well suited.

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