Spring 2008 — issue 318

Utilitarian Sculpture


Eugene Fairbanks
Automobile Radiator Ornaments Created By Avard T. Fairbanks

The idea of the Winged Mermaid for the Plymouth as an automobile radiator ornament was conceived in the 1930s, during the Great Depression.  Avard Fairbanks was then developing the sculpture department at the University of Michigan.  He believed that he could design a more attractive radiator cap than existing ones, in the hopes of trading it in for a new automobile.

Kim Carpenter
Organic Utilitarianism: The Sculptures of Isamu Noguchi

A sculptor, designer, and landscape architect, Noguchi’s career spanned sixty years, and today he is remembered for having created some of the twentieth century’s most iconic furnishings and interior objects.

Bob Mueller
Paul Manship And The Fine Art Of Smoking

In light of public opinion today, with its focus on health issues and anti-smoking legislation, one finds it hard to recall a time when cigarettes and other tobacco products were the “in” thing.

Virginia Budny
Gaston Lachaise: The Applied Arts

Although Gaston Lachaise (1882-1935) is principally known for his monumental sculptures, he employed his professional skills from time to time in the creation of what he referred to as “lighter” or “secondary” pieces on a very different scale. Among these works of applied art are a bronze dish, a sundial, and several radiator cap ornaments, fountains, and even doorstops.

James Lord
Diego Giacometti: His Life And Work

Alberto Giacometti was born in 1901, in an austere Alpine valley of southeastern Switzerland.  Less well-known, however, though of supreme creative importance, is the fact that, in 1902, exactly thirteen months later, his brother Diego was born in the same place.