modernism

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Image features an upright, rectangular poster featuring a motif of a stylized cross in blue, black and orange. At the center, a kneeling man holds a bow and arrow. Decorative motifs with Dutch wording are In each of the four corners of the cross. A roundel with the words, Bestaans zerkerheid, is at the top of the composition; above this are the words: RADEN van ARBEID in blue and orange. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
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...
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....
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,...
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...
All-American Modernism
In 1924, the US Secretary of State advised the French government that the United States would not participate in the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris, because American manufacturers had “little or nothing to display” that would meet the French admissibility requirements of new inspiration, and originality. Yet, America could...
Guns and Roses
Edgar Brandt showed promise in metalwork since his teenage years. He forged a rose in iron for his graduation masterwork from the École Nationale Professionnelle de Vierzon, located in a traditional site of metallurgy manufacture in central France. Following further training and certification through the Brevet Technicien Superieur Brandt served two years in the 153rd...
Gravity’s Shadow
Electric lighting has existed since the late nineteenth century. Some of the earliest forms exhibited fine Art Nouveau-era workmanship, while decadent Art Deco forms arose in the mid-1920s. A functional, industrially-inspired modernist aesthetic grew in popularity from the 1930s onward. But to my mind, the 1960s was a time of some of the most inventive and clever lighting design, especially for home interiors. Looking to developments...
The Miracle of Glass
More than 44 million people attended the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and two of the many exhibits that visitors would have enjoyed were the Glass Center, a pavilion that marketed glass as the material of the future, and the Town of Tomorrow, a faux suburb of model homes that included the House of...
Modernism in a Milk Jug
Functionalism is the idea that form should follow function; objects should be designed simply, honestly, and directly. [1] It should be immediately clear to a viewer and a user what the object is and how to use it. Functionalist objects are primarily domestic objects, which makes this milk jug an example of Functionalism in inter-war...