Alexander Girard: Restless Eye

The Mid-20th Century Designer's Personal Photography Collection

The late designer Alexander Girard's evocative photographs of his wife Susan on their worldly travels captures the folk-art enthusiast's relentless hunt for inspiration. In a career spanning fifty years Girard flirted with architecture, textile design, interior decoration and even the re-branding of an entire airplane company. “He was prolific, one of those voracious observers who sucks everything in and remembers it all when he's designing,” says editor and writer Kiera Coffee, who collaborated with designer Todd Oldham on the new monograph Alexander Girard. As head of the Herman Miller textile division, Girard’s affection for folk-art inspired patterns appeared in colorful 'mexidots' and 'mexistripes' motifs. Although admired by friends that included the Eames family, Saul Steinberg and Georgia O'Keeffe, Girard had little interest in self-publicizing and never shared the same success. “His real joy was creating, so to him it was a waste of time to stop and talk about it,” Coffee says. She and Oldham spent months researching Girard, interviewing family members and ex-assistants as well as going to see his extensive folk-art collection and the epic wood mural he created for the Unitarian church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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