modernism

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2013-50-43
A Stool of a Rare Architect
We can define as “rare” an artist whose work is hard to reach or to see, because there are only few creations that remain from him, and because the tracks that could explain most of them are lost. Trying to reach them becomes a true quest for the art lover. Pierre Chareau (1883-1950) was such...
Circular form; smooth blue case surrounding metal band with Arabic numerals encircling white face with black hands; metal stem at top. At center: "WESTCLOX".
“An Essential Accessory”
This handbag watch, introduced in 1933 by the Westclox division of the General Time Instruments Corporation, offered the busy modern woman a portable, fashionable and discreet way to manage her time. [1] An alternative to wearing a wristwatch and about the size of a man’s pocket watch, this timepiece was large enough to be easily found...
Pink oblong oval form with folded, undulating rim.
American Modernizing
Russel Wright’s massively popular American Modern Dinnerware line remained in production for 20 years—from 1939 to 1959—but that was only after Wright spent two years prodding reluctant manufacturers to mass-produce his unconventional ceramics. The line was a departure from everything that design, and tableware in particular, represented in prior years. Instead of restrained and formal,...
Tapering cylindrical form with circular mouth, broad shoulder; body decorated with horizontal grooves; creamy yellow matte glaze.
A Modern Wedgwood Unadorned
This austere vase embodies nearly the exact opposite of Wedgwood’s well-known decorative aesthetic. Founded in 1759, the firm developed a sophisticated earthenware, often either black to imitate ancient Greek ceramics, or blue with relief decoration featuring neoclassical husks, swags of flowers and pastoral scenes. Early wares made of this material were cheaper than porcelain, but...
Ceiling-hung light, the segmented artichoke-like form with copper leaves supported on metal framework.
What Lies Beneath The Artichoke?
Poul Henningsen’s childhood was illuminated by the glow of gas lamps. When electricity arrived in his small Danish hometown and left his neighbor’s windows ablaze with the stark glare of electric light bulbs, Henningsen began to grapple with a design quandary that would come to define his entire career. He was determined to calm the...
Circular molded plate with curved upturned edge; white ground printed with black irregular lines and twelve reserve vignettes with furniture, kitchen tools, plants, etc.
A Heaping Plate of Design
After World War II, design boomed in Europe. Colors were brighter, lines more dynamic and materials more industrial—affordable modernism emerged to feed thriving consumers in the 1950s. The now iconic Homemaker tableware line started as a challenge for young English designer Enid Seeney. She was tasked with creating an “all-over” pattern for fashionable rimless plates....
Poster depicts an oculus of digital blocks of color, growing more concentrated as the blocks get smaller and closer to the center. Above: el atomo para la paz; below: GENERAL DYNAMICS; center right: solar dynamics.
Looking Ahead in the Atomic Age
The year is 1955, and Cold War tensions have begun to escalate. General Dynamics is a newly formed parent company overseeing eleven manufacturers, producing cutting edge technology for the defense of the United States. The company is capitalizing on the American policy of nuclear deterrence, but John Jay Hopkins, General Dynamics’ president, wants a graphic...
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Book Choice – The Story of Eames Furniture
Two Volume Set, The Story of Eames Furniture This is my favorite design book from 2010. Yes, it’s huge! That’s a twelve inch ruler in the photo. It runs to 800 gloriously printed pages containing over 2,500 images, with a sturdy box to protect the volumes. Congratulations to Gestalten for such a superb production! And...
Gilbert Rohde and Design Now – pt.3 of 3
Pioneering and little known furniture designer, Gilbert Rohde (1894 1944), specialized in designing clean, modern pieces appropriate for any room in the house, and his advanced merchandising techniques with Herman Miller laid the groundwork for future designers including George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames. In this panel we bring together Phyllis Ross, author of...