alexander girard

20th Century Influencer

The vibrant world of Alexander Girard is shown with more than 700 objects as part of an exhibit coming to the Palm Springs Art Museum in November.

Staff Report Arts & Entertainment, Current Digital

alexander girard
Alexander Girard, in his studio in the early 1950s.
PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLES EAMES

One of the most important and influential designers of the 20th century, Alexander Girard created stunning interiors for restaurants, private homes, corporate offices, and even airplanes.

His work will be exhibited starting Nov. 23 at the Palm Springs Art Museum through more than 700 objects, including textiles, drawings, furniture, graphics, film, and folk art. The West Coast debut of Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe, curated by Jochen Eisenbrand and organized by Vitra Design Museum, presents the vibrant world of Girard through March 1, 2020.

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Inspired by folk art and pop art, Girard created a bold, colorful, and charismatic universe. He designed textiles, typography, tableware, toys, and a whole city street in Columbus, Indiana.

Practicing from the late 1920s until the late 1970s, Girard worked mostly for the American furniture company Herman Miller after becoming director of its textile division in 1951.

braniffinternationalairways

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY VITRA DESIGN MUSEUM, ALEXANDER GIRARD ESTATE

Corporate design for Braniff International Airways, 1965.

Girard’s clients also included companies like Braniff International Airways and John Deere for which he created fresh new corporate brand identities, which, in the case of Braniff, extended from the planes themselves to the flight crew uniforms and passenger lounges.

In addition to Girard’s own designs, this exhibition presents the creative universe from which Girard took his inspiration: folk art from all over the world, which the designer collected throughout his life. A selection of 300 objects from his folk art collection, gifted by him to the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe, is also featured in the exhibition.

A variety of educational programs and activities will take place in connection to the Palm Springs iteration; additionally, the museum’s annual gala and biggest fundraiser on Jan. 26, 2020 will be Girard themed in décor and ambience to bring even greater attention to the exhibition.

The exhibit’s global sponsors are Herman Miller and Maharam. Palm Springs Art Museum’s presentation is organized by Brooke Hodge, director of Architecture and Design, with generous support from Joan & Gary Gand. Additional support is provided by Ellen Donaldson.

alexandergirardarmchair

PHOTOGRAPH © VITRA DESIGN MUSEUM, JÜRGEN HANS

Alexander Girard arm chair, no. 66310, 1967, series production by Herman Miller Furniture Co., collection Vitra Design Museum.

For more information about Palm Springs Art Museum exhibitions, programs, and events, visit psmuseum.org or call 760-322-4800.