Demisch Danant is pleased to announce the exhibition François Halard: Architecture, featuring photographs spanning 20 years of the career of the much-admired French-born photographer. On view from February 1 to March 1, 2014, the show presents Halard’s often dreamlike “portraits” of landmark architecture and interiors created by some of the most significant designers of the 20th century. Among the works on view will be many that have never before been published or exhibited, including more than 40 Polaroid photographs – intimate vignettes redolent of the rarified sites in which they were made.
Born in Paris in 1961 to two highly respected interior designers, François Halard is known for an acute sensitivity to materials and interior details, shaped by lifelong exposure to haute design. His prolific career as a magazine photographer has provided the public access to extraordinary locations that would otherwise have been impossible to experience, and has produced seductive images that reveal his privileged encounters with some of Modernism’s greatest tastemakers. Halard’s work is rich with intimate, deceptively casual views that touch on themes of memory, history, and high art, and convey his own quiet awe in the presence of distinguished spaces.
Among the works on view at Demisch Danant are photographs of Albert Frey’s House in Palm Springs, where the dramatic desert landscape is literally integrated into interiors. Halard’s images of this storied house frame views in such a way as to bring the materials of the built environment and the natural surroundings into dialogue – rock, steel, and cement merge in photographs that create a conversation between Halard’s present and Frey’s past.
Designed in the mid-1920s for art collectors Charles and Marie Laure de Noailles, the Villa Noailles is Robert Mallet- Stevens’ masterpiece. Halard’s portrait of the Villa captures its complicated story in a haunting view of the empty indoor swimming pool, which crumbles in the wake of decades of neglect. Once a marvel of early Modern elegance, the Villa’s ruined interior evokes the mutable and contingent truth beneath architecture’s seeming permanence. As with much of Halard’s work, his portrait of the Villa Noailles is a pensive reflection on mortality, the passage of time, and the fragility of temporal beauty.
The exhibition will also present captivating views into Adalberto Libera’s infamous Casa Malaparte, completed in 1937 on the Punta Massullo on the Isle of Capri; photographs of Oscar Niemeyer’s French Communist Party Headquarters in Paris, completed in 1972; and a series of poignant images of artist Robert Rauchenberg at his studio in Captiva Island, Florida.
Halard’s Polaroid photographs, dreamy and often off kilter, capture unexpected details of seemingly familiar places. In these works, visitors will see interiors created by revered Italian architect and designer Carlo Molino and corners of Pierre Chareau’s early 1930s masterpiece, the Maison de Verre, among others. Halard’s group of Polaroids also includes a series of pictures made in the Italian studio of American-born artist Cy Twombly.