The Original Eye: Arbiters of Twentieth-century Taste - Philip CoreLondon, Melbourne & New York: Quartet Books, 1984, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper a little age-toned, more heavily at the spine. Text complete, clean and tight.
Contains: Black & white photographs; Illustrated endpapers and blanks;
From the cover: “Taste, like art, has its geniuses. Half by instinct, half by logic, they choose among the cultural offerings of their times whatever appeals to their sharpened sense of style. Such people will amalgamate a primary enthusiasm for music, literature or painting with the products of other arts, creating in the process a style of dress, decor or social life which is unique.
The ten characters in this book are part of a linked chain that extends into history: they are the arbiters who have exercised their original eye in the hundred years since the impersonal eye of the camera began to document shifts in taste. The refinements of Robert de Montesquieu, Andy Warhol’s commercial aesthetic, Diaghilev’s seigneurial orientalism, Marie-Laure de Noailles’ baroque modernism or Lady Mendl’s chic historicism all to a certain extent existed for the camera. For Alfred Stieglitz and Cecil Beaton the camera was to an even greater degree their raison d’etre, while Filippo Marinetti’s alliance of art and politics, the extravagances of Peggy Guggenheim, and the punk subculture promulgated by Malcolm McLaren have depended in no small measure on the power of the photograph. A lavish selection of rare and curious pictures is therefore included, revealing the continual metamorphosis of twentieth-century taste while underscoring the biographical nature of each chapter.
The Original Eye is a book to look at, focusing on the similarities and the contrasts between the diverse personalities; but it also urges us to participate in style as an intellectual and moral act. Seeing, hearing, feeling are part of a sensual language as fluent as the spoken word. In the lives of these ten larger-than-life makers of taste we can learn this language and from if, perhaps, fashion our own new vocabulary for self-expression.
As stylishly written as it is visually appealing, this book pays homage to its legendary subjects in a manner which can be enjoyed without an insider’s knowledge of art. Philip Core brings to his theme widespread research in art and history, an artist’s flair for the visually stimulating, and an irreverent delight in the unexpected and the quasi-accidental nature of style itself.”