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Table

Costa Achillopoulo , active in England 1930s - 70s

Date:
1934
Geography:
Country of Origin United Kingdom
Medium:
Painted wood, gesso, glass, metal screws
Dimensions:
H. 28 3/8 x Diam. 23 5/8 in. (72 x 60 cm) 35 lb. (15.9 kg)
Classification:
Furniture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, in memory of J. Stewart Johnson, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.143
  • Description

    Little is known about the designer of this table; though likely of Greek origin, he seems to have spent his adult life in England. Perhaps in part through friendships with such luminaries as Sacheverell Sitwell, Lady Diana Cooper, and the decorator Derek Patmore, Achillopoulo was familiar with up-to-date trends in the arts. While he was best known as a photographer, this table demonstrates his abilities as a designer. Not just a functional piece of furniture, it also is a Surrealist sculpture. The white-painted surface of the raised hand (recalling those in Byzantine icons) suggests a glove. Disembodied hands and gloves were recurrent motifs in Surrealist art - the left hand, in particular, was used to symbolize the irrational. The cloudlike element from which it emerges may represent the transition from the conscious world to the subconscious. The glass tabletop rests improbably on small balls balanced on the tips of three delicately tapering fingers, generating a sensation of tension and unease.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: underside signed, 'A. Costa, 1934'

  • Provenance

    John Jesse, London, England (1968 to 2006); MMA, New York, NY (2006 to ).

  • Exhibition History

    International Exhibition of Surrealism, New Burlington Galleries, London, 1936.

    Classic/Fantastic: Selections from the Modern Design Collection, MMA, December 21, 2007 - April 5, 2009.

  • References

    Madge Garland, "The Indecisive Decade", London, 1968, p. 54.

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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