If you’re in need of a boost of sunshine and vibrant colour to brighten up a damp and dreary February day then the Josef Frank show at the Fashion and Textile Museum could be just the tonic.
I confess I was unaware that artist, architect and designer Josef Frank was behind some of the most colourful and enduring designs of the 20th century. Born and brought up in Vienna he had strong views that a house should be cosy and comfortable. He found intense inspiration from natural forms – flowers and plants, animals and landscape. But he combined serious draftsmanship with a wonderful sense of abstract art and used fierce, primary colours, combined opposites and brought an element of fun and humour to his designs. His designs from the 1920s, 30s and 40s look fresh and contemporary to today’s eye and must have been a joy to see when they first appeared. No wonder they have endured and it’s easy to understand how Scandinavian designers adopted and celebrated his pared down but exuberant work.
The Fashion and Textile Museum in London’s Bermondsey Street (not far from London Bridge Station) has done him proud. They’ve also assembled examples of some 4oo watercolours which he painted in later life. His use of bright colours to depict interiors, still life, street scenes, gardens and landscape convey his enduring delight in the natural world and human activity. Everyone seemed to emerge from the show with a smile on their face. Josef Frank: Patterns – Furniture – Painting is on until 7th May www.ftmlondon.org #joseffrank