The Invention of Chic: Therese Bonney and Paris Moderne

The Invention of Chic: Therese Bonney and Paris Moderne


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After graduating from the Sorbonne in 1921 until the outbreak of World War II, American Thérèse Bonney pursued a prolific career as a photojournalist. She founded the first American illustrated press service in Europe, whose specialty was modern French design and architecture. The Bonney Service did business with some twenty countries, but her homeland was always the chief focus of Bonney's tremendous energies. In America, she declared,"our offices, our cars, our clothes reflect modern life, but our furniture and our homes are of the past." She made it her mission to change that.

Housed at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Bonney's amazing and little-known archive comprehensively documents the modern movement in Paris between the wars. She photographed architecture and interiors, applied arts, and fashion in private residences, annual salons, and public exhibitions. René Herbst, Jean Dunand, René Prou, Paul Poiret, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, Pierre Chareau, Eileen Gray, Jean Puiforcat...her captions record the glory days of Art Deco and Moderne.

Bonney also recorded the changing face of Paris as the city embraced the modernist aesthetic. She turned her lens on shop fronts and window displays, advertising and graphic arts, theaters, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. The international public was hungry to glimpse the glamour and finery of Paris, and Bonney's photographs delivered haute couture, jewelry, beauty salons, and chic department stores. 180 duotone photographs and illustrations.

Author Biography: Lisa Schlansker Kolosek studied decorative arts at the Parsons School of Design and has worked on the Thérèse Bonney Archive at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780500510964
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication date: 11/25/2002
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 8.97(w) x 10.32(h) x 1.04(d)

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