MADAME D'ORA
WIEN & PARIS 1907 - 1957
February 12 - September 4, 2022

The photographer Dora Kallmus (1881–1963) had a studio in Vienna and later in Paris. Early in her career, she adopted the name d’Ora and came to be known as Madame d’Ora. Her career as a photographer of the famous and beautiful between 1907 and 1957 spans a wide range of subjects: the first painter she photographed was Gustav Klimt and the last Pablo Picasso. 

Madame d’Ora’s studio became a fashionable meeting place. Aristocrats, actresses and fashion designers alike appreciated d’Oras abilities, especially her intuition and her knack for arranging clothes and accessories: thanks to clever lighting and precise retouching they looked more elegant in d’ Oras pictures than they did in their own mirrors. She was an apprentice at the famous portrait photographer Nicola Perscheid’s studio in Berlin and also had academic training since she was among the first women admitted to theory courses at the Austrian photographic school Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt. d’Ora understood which shades of colour were well suited to black and white photography, and her focus on contemporary fashion led to the publication of her fashion photographs in the greatest fashion magazines of the time. The Viennese models wore creations by the Wiener Werkstätte and Schwestern Flöge, while in Paris, they wore designs by designers such as Balenciaga, Lanvin, Chanel and milliner Madame Agnès. 

In 1925, d’Ora opened a studio in Paris. She turned her lens on artists, variety artists, and trailblazers such as Tamara de Lempicka, Tsuguharu Foujita, Maurice Chevalier and Josephine Baker. 

Being Jewish, d’Ora lost her studio in Paris in 1940 and was forced to hide for years from prosecution by German troops occupying France. Friends and family were persecuted. Her sister was deported and murdered. From 1945, after her narrow escape, the society portraitist directed her sharp yet empathetic focus on the victims of the War and the brutality of Parisian slaughterhouses. For her, the cattle waiting for slaughter represented the persecuted Jews. At the same time, she accepted society portrait commissions to make ends meet. One such example is her photographs of choreographer Marquis de Cuevas’ flamboyant ball in Biarritz, which featured 2,000 guests wearing 18th century-themed costumes. The contrasts are striking. 

The exhibition is a collaboration with Monika Faber and Magdalena Vuković of the research based Photoinstitut Bonartes in Vienna.

Due the delicate nature of the material, we present two sets of vintage photographs over the course of the exhibition: the second set of photographs will be introduced on May 17.

Link to exhibition texts

Link to biographies

ANTON ALVAREZ
HONEY
21 May – 25 September 2022

Throughout the ages, sculptural art and its conventions has embodied various meanings: portraits, memories and monuments, decorations and architectural elements. Sculptures have taken a figurative expression – depicted and idealised – as well as non-figurative and abstract expression. What is sculpture? This is a question that the artist Anton Alvarez (b. 1980) leads us to reflect on.

Sculptures have a tangible volume and share a physical space with the viewer. At the Millesgården Artist’s Home, Alvarez’s contemporary sculptures encounter Carl Milles’s works of art and the Antique Collection in a classical setting. Milles represents tradition and convention. For him, material is subordinate to form. For Alvarez, on the other hand, form is subordinate to material. Alvarez’s sculptures take shape unrestrained by convention and without any ambition to depict. Milles’s passion for classical sculpture, not least his fascination with columns, is given scope in the dialogue with Alvarez’s fluted, ribbed sculptures.

Alvarez’s works can be perceived as having tactile and sensory qualities. Formation is present in the imagination. The viewer is enticed to look closer, tempted to touch. This is associated with the contemporary phenomenon of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), in which intimate and multi-sensory satisfaction is achieved through visual, auditory, tactile or olfactory stimulus.

Alvarez challenges the nature of the traditional work of art by playfully exploring the boundary between the role of artist and engineer. The artist himself designs and constructs the tool that creates the work of art and thus removes himself from its creation. Alvarez’s tool The Extruder is a large-scale press that squeezes out matter at several tons of pressure through various profiles and nozzles. The formations become seemingly distorted and plastic objects.

For Millesgården’s exhibition in 2022 Alvarez collaborated with the Battaglia Fine Art Foundry in Milan. There, Alvarez developed his own method, based on the traditional lost-wax casting process – cire perdue – in which he presses beeswax in cold water. Depending on pressure, force and handling, the wax assumes a shape that becomes the final form of the sculpture, which is then cast in bronze. The lost form, rejected and invisible, becomes immortalised and visible.

NEW AQUISTITION TO THE ANTIQUES COLLECTION

Millesgården have, through Sotheby's acquired two Roman marble figures of dogs, from the 2nd century AD. They were at the end of 1930s offered for sale along with the Actaeonsculpture Carl Milles bought. The sculpture Milles bought depicts a recoiling man with traces of canine jaws and paws on the thighs. Milles acquired only the male figure, without dogs.

Actaeon was, according to Greek mythology, the grandson of the King of Thebes, and a skilled hunter. During a hunt with his two dogs, he wanders into a forbidden forest and sees the hunting goddess Artemis bathing naked. Artemis discovers him and in anger she transforms him into a deer, then the hunter's own dogs attack and tear him to pieces. At the British Museum in London there is a sculpture group of the same theme, including dogs, but on a smaller scale. In this sculpture the antlers are starting to grow out of Actaeons head.

The acquisition complements Millesgården´s collection of antiques and also enables research on Carl Milles and his collection of antique collecting, why he made the choices he made  when purchasing antique sculpture, and also research on this specific theme in antique sculpture.

 

The aquisition is made possible thanks to a generous contribution by Millesgården´s friends association. 

2016-07-01

Actaeon in the antiques collection at Millesgården. Photo: Yanan Li.