modernism

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Image features two white, stylized female figures and one black, stylized male figure on purple ground, with horizontally printed black and white sans-serif text. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Teetering Trio in a Pastel Void
In celebration of World Pride, June Object of the Day posts highlight LGBTQ+ designers and design in the collection. Today’s blog post was originally published on May 22nd, 2016. 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,...
Image features a cuff bracelet of roughly circular form composed of two intertwined curved strands of silver containing a central irregular triangular panel. The silver surface has passages of dark patination. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Art in Metal: The Modernist Jewelry of Greenwich Village’s Art Smith
From the archives, an Object of the Day post on the jewelry of Art Smith, one of the designers featured in Jewelry of Ideas.
Image features a cylindrical vase of thick-walled clear glass with internal decoration of small translucent green discs, many topped by a small air bubble. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Panther with Leopard Spots
Saara Hopea (later Saara Hopea-Untracht) began her career as a furniture and lamp designer, but started designing glassware in about 1952, at a time when Finnish design was gaining prominence on the world stage for its strong attention to materials and sense of organic form in a modern idiom. Kaj Frank, Hopea’s former teacher at...
Image features a lamp with a three-tiered shade composed of three stacked glass circles of graduated sizes, all on a simple dark brown metal base consisting of a vertical rod on a circular foot. The lamp is topped by a circular dark metal screw-on cap. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A New Form for a New Technology
Danish architect and designer Poul Henningsen’s interest in light and lighting started at a young age when as a child in the 1900s, he observed the sharp glare from fixtures housing bare electric bulbs in his family home. Electric lighting was new, and older lighting devices, such as candlesticks or gas lamps, were being adapted...
Image features Circular green radio with semi-circular station dial at top front above circular brown textile-covered speaker with three vertical metal rods as grille; three circular control knobs below speaker. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Radio in the Round
The cost and large size of early radios made them status objects for the home. Their housings were made of wood and often imitated cabinet furniture in traditional styles. But, by the early 1930s and the rise of Modernism, sophisticated consumers began to update their interiors, and furnishings such as radios followed suit. In 1930,...
Image features a design for chromium-plated bronze floor lamp for the print room of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller’s Topside Gallery in the Rockefeller townhouse at 10 W 54th Street, New York, New York. Above at center, object shown in elevation: circular foot in brushed chromium supports four lengths of rectangular brushed chromium straps that angle upward, stabilized by a pair of rings below and a single ring above, to hold polished chromium, semispherical shade. Below, object shown in plan. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Matron of Modern Design
In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers—and  today, patrons—in the collection. While this month we’ve been celebrating women designers, today’s post considers the role played by women patrons in the arts, architecture, and design.[1] Where modernism in America is concerned, one of the most influential actors in...
Image features chaise in the form of a long, contoured, rectangular seat/back unit of woven strips on curved wood frame with four flat, angled and tapered legs. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Farm Fresh American Modernism
Edward Durell Stone, born in Arkansas in 1902, was an important proponent of the International Style in the United States, reconciling its crisp geometry and functionalism with American popular tastes. In the 1940s, however, his formalist aesthetic underwent a transformation following a cross-country tour that included visits to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin and Yellowstone National...
Image features a poster depicting a triangle made up of colored blocks with a black circle at the top with atomic symbol; above: atoms for peace; lower margin: GENERAL DYNAMICS. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Looking Ahead in the Atomic Age
This blog post was originally published on August 4, 2014. 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,...
Image features: Dress-weight plain weave cotton fabric printed in blue on a white ground. The overall pattern layout is an even horizontal stripe. In each band a suburban street is depicted, with houses in three different styles of architecture, one very modern. The pattern appears in positive (blue on white) and negative (white on blue) to form the stripe effect. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Suburban Living
This charming cotton dress fabric was anonymously donated and remains anonymous itself, as there are no designer or manufacturer markings in the selvedges. It was probably intended for the home-sewing market, for which many so-called “conversational” prints were produced and made into women’s full, gathered shirts or men’s casual shirts. This piece satirizes the postwar...