modernism

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Two white, stylized female figures and one black, stylized male figure on purple ground, with horizontally printed black and white sans-serif text
A Teetering Trio in a Pastel Void
Alvin Lustig designed numerous book covers for New Directions Publishing over the course of his prolific career, including several for Tennessee Williams’s plays. Lustig’s modernist designs, characterized by their dramatic simplicity, contrast with the voluptuous poetry and unapologetic melodrama of Williams’s writing. For this cover for A Streetcar Named Desire, Lustig choreographed a three-way dance...
1990-2-1
Addition By Subtraction
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Cooper Hewitt is dedicating select Object of the Day entries to the work of women designers in our collection. Lella Vignelli has spent a lifetime as a designer examining the ongoing expressions of pure, modern form. Working in collaboration with her (late) husband, Massimo, at the eponymous Vignelli Associates,...
This is a Telephone. It was designed by Johan Christian Bjerknes and Jean Heiberg and made for Norsk Elektrisk Bureau. It is dated 1931. Its medium is bakelite.
Phone Finds Its Iconic Form
Informally known as the Bakelite telephone, the sculptural Ericsson DBH 1001 was a groundbreaking design that set the standard for the shape of the modern plastic telephone. The telephone was a collaborative project between the Electrisk Bureau of Oslo, Norway and the Swedish firm LM Ericsson and Televerket. In 1930 Ericsson hired engineer Christian Bjerknes...
This is a clock. It was designed by Gilbert Rohde and manufactured by Herman Miller Clock Company. It is dated 1933. Its medium is glass, chrome-plated metal, enameled metal.
True Blue
The Model 4083A clock made its debut at the 1933 A Century of Progress Chicago World’s Fair. Designed by Gilbert Rohde and manufactured by the Herman Miller Clock Company, a division of the Herman Miller Furniture Company, this sleek circular clock was one of seven modernist clocks designed by Rohde that were on display in...
This is a Vase. It was designed by Margarete H. L. Marks and manufactured by Haël-Werkstätten. It is dated ca. 1930. Its medium is glazed earthenware.
A Stroke Of Color
Margarete Heymann-Loebenstein-Marks, also known as Grete Marks, was a German ceramicist and painter who studied at the Bauhaus School of Arts in Weimer in 1920–21, alongside Paul Klee and Georg Muche. Prior to this, she had attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Cologne and studied painting at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Düsseldorf. Her time at...
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Designers Take Aim
Aim—pull—release! This archer draws back his bowstring and prepares to shoot. Peering into the distance, he points his arrow off the poster’s printed page. But designer Richard Roland Holst leaves no doubt about his target: a bullseye hovers just above his head, bearing the Dutch words for “Livelihood.” In this poster promoting the Labor Board...
1969-97-15
Silver and Circular: Jean Luce’s Art Deco Modernism
This sweet little glass bowl evokes the shining, art deco optimism of the 1930s. Designed by Jean Luce and exhibited at the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, it speaks to the period’s interest in democratic materials and tells a story of increasing simplicity of form and decoration in design....
2006-24-1
The Horizontal Line in American Design
This desk by Paul Frankl is an example of American streamlined furniture of the 1930s. Frankl trained as an architect in Germany and Austria before settling in New York in 1914, as a decorator and designer. He created geometric furniture designs for Frankl Galleries in Manhattan. Frankl’s design philosophy centered on designing for the future,...
1994-118-9-a,b
Bring it to the Table
The September 1934 issue of The Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review features a full-page color advertisement devoted to “Casino” by Royal Doulton. This modern shape debuted a few years earlier and came in three patterns: “Marquis,” “Radiance,” and “Envoy.” Pictured in the advertisement is the earthenware tureen seen here in the museum’s collection. Decorated...