Franco Grignani: Art as design 1950-1990 at Estorick Collection

Posted on August 8, 2017 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Estorick Collection

Estorick Collection

The tranquil Grade II listed Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

 

Reopened earlier this year after 5 months' of refurbishment, the delightful Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is one of my favourite museums in London. Located in Highbury, the museum is off the beaten track, so it is not touristy nor does it get very busy. The museum is small, but it has a lovely garden and Italian cafe, where you can relax and forget that you are minutes away from the busy Upper Street.

Italian architect, graphic designer and artist Franco Grignani (1908-1999) may not be a household name in the UK, but his iconic swirling ‘Woolmark’ logo design is probably one of the most recognised logos globally. Known for his Op Art, this fantastic 'Art as design 1950-1990' exhibition' (until 10th September) features around 130 paintings and works on paper, including his graphic design projects many of which are on loan from private collections and from the Manuela Grignani Sirtoli Archive.

 

Franco Grignani

Franco Grignani   Franco Grignani

Franco Grignani

Franco Grignani

 

Grignani studied both mathematics and architecture between the late 1920s and the early 1930s, and was briefly affiliated with the Futurist movement in the 1920s. But after 1935, he focused solely on geometric abstraction, and established a studio in Milan that specialised in graphics and exhibition design.

Grignani's fascination with geometric forms and optical effects was not appreciated by the artistic establishment at the time. And his role and importance as one of the first Op Art artists of the period is still to be fully recognised. Yet he was experimenting with Op aesthetic and techniques at least a decade before François Morellet or Bridget Riley.

 

Franco Grignani

Franco Grignani

 

At the exhibition, Grignani’s most famous Woolmark logo is on display alongside with the rejected ones. The logo was created in 1964 for an international competition hosted by the International Wool Secretariat (IWS). Even though Grignani was on the jury for the competition, he submitted designs under the alias ‘Francesco Saroglia’ due to his disappointment with the standard of Italian entries, and, despite his protests, won the competition.

 

Franco Grignani

Franco Grignani

Franco Grignani   Franco Grignani

 

In the 1950s, Grignani became the Art Director of lifestyle magazine Bellezza d’Italia, and the typographic distortions that he used on the covers brought his dynamic work to a wider audience. He also worked for a number of well-known clients, including Pirelli and Alfieri & Lacroix and Penguin – designing book covers for their science fiction series in the late 1960s.

 

Franco Grignani

Franco Grignani

Franco Grignani

 

Can graphic design be viewed as art? Well, I think this Franco Grignani exhibition has the answer to that long-disputed question.


This post was posted in London, Exhibitions, Graphics & illustrations, Art, Italian design, Design and was tagged with London, art and design exhibitions, graphic design, Italian design, Franco Grignani, op art, Estorick Collection

Comments