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Article

Göran Schildt

Finnish architect and designer, active also in America. His success as an architect lay in the individual nature of his buildings, which were always designed with their surrounding environment in mind and with great attention to their practical demands. He never used forms that were merely aesthetic or conditioned by technical factors but looked to the more permanent models of nature and natural forms. He was not anti-technology but believed that technology could be humanized to become the servant of human beings and the promoter of cultural values. One of his important maxims was that architects have an absolutely clear mission: to humanize mechanical forms....

Article

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

After the closure in 1933 of the Bauhaus in Berlin, its staff and students dispersed. Many found their way to the USA, where they became highly influential teachers as well as artists and architects. The pedagogical methods developed at the school, particularly in the preliminary course, became commonplace in all levels of art education, as the former centrality in America of life drawing to instruction in the visual arts was now challenged by experimentation with abstract principles of composition and the qualities of individual materials....

Article

Robert Winter

American architect. Although Becket was based in the Los Angeles area, he also had an international reputation. His work was in the modernist mode and he was important in popularizing the style in public buildings throughout Southern California and elsewhere.

Becket studied architecture at the University of Washington (...

Article

Melissa Marra

American fashion designer. A modernist, Beene’s inventive geometric cuts and in-depth understanding of the human body made him one of the most innovative designers of the 20th century.

In deference to a family tradition, Beene enrolled as a pre-med student at Tulane University in 1943...

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Born 14 June 1904, in New York City; died 27 August 1971, in Darien, Connecticut.

Photographer, photojournalist. Social documentary, advertisements, landscapes, genre scenes.

Modernism.

Margaret Bourke-White received her first training in photography at the Clarence White School of Photography in 1922, while a student at Columbia University. Bourke-White was intrigued by the American industrial landscape, and her first important industrial series featured the Otis Steel Mills near Cleveland. At this time Bourke-White developed her hallmark style, using the cinema trick of magnesium flares to flood the dark factory floor with bright light. Her commercial images similarly used multiple light sources and crisp focus to highlight repeated forms and shapes....

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 10 July 1868, in Boston; died 1962, in New Jersey.

Draughtsman, illustrator, poster artist. Toys.

Art Nouveau.

Will Bradley was the son of a caricaturist who worked on the Daily Item, a newspaper published in Lynn, Massachusetts. At the age of 12, he became apprentice to a printer and then began drawing and illustrating, making this his full-time occupation ...

Article

Anna Rowland

American furniture designer and architect of Hungarian birth. In 1920 he took up a scholarship at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, but he left almost immediately to find a job in an architect’s office. A few weeks later he enrolled at the Bauhaus at Weimar on the recommendation of the Hungarian architect Fred Forbat (...

Article

Experimental architectural program that ran from 1945 to 1966 and involved the building of Modernist houses, largely in California. John Entenza (1903–84) hit upon the idea just after World War II of spreading the word of the Modern Movement in architecture through an actual building program. As editor of the left-leaning journal ...

Article

Sandra L. Tatman

American architectural competition held in 1922 by the Chicago Tribune newspaper for its new corporate headquarters. The competition changed American views of European modernism and the course of American Skyscraper architecture. The 1922 Chicago Tribune Competition’s call for competitors attracted more than 260 architects from 23 countries with the offer of a $50,000 prize for the winning design. Although the company may have issued this competition as a way of attracting attention to its newspaper, competitors from around the world, drawn by what was in ...

Article

American, 20th century, female.

Born 12 April 1883, in Portland, Oregon; died 23 June 1976 in San Francisco, California.

Photographer. Portraits, figures, nudes, still-life, landscapes.

Pictoralism, Modernism. Group f/64.

With the aim of becoming a photographer, Cunningham majored in chemistry at the University of Washington, Seattle. To pay her tuition she photographed specimens for the botany department, establishing a life-long love of floral subject matter. After completing her degree, she worked in the photography studio of Edward S. Curtis (...

Article

Robert M. Craig

Architectural partnership formed in 1946 by Nathaniel (Cortlandt) Curtis Jr. (b Auburn, AL, Nov 29, 1917; d New Orleans, LA, June 10, 1997) and Arthur Quentin Davis (b New Orleans, LA, 1920), American architects.

Curtis and Davis was the most prominent early modern architecture and planning firm in New Orleans, designing some of that city’s most notable modernist landmarks, including the Rivergate (...

Article

American, 20th century, male.

Born 1894, in Blue Earth (Minnesota); died 1989.

Designer, graphic artist.

Art Deco.

Donald Deskey studied architecture at the University of California, before travelling to Paris in 1923 where he studied painting and worked as a graphic designer. In 1926 he moved to New York and started his own design firm. He created a wide variety of objects ranging from clocks to radios, furniture and machines, and his most notable commission was for the interiors of Radio City Music Hall in ...

Article

Sidney K. Robinson

American architect. Alden B. Dow was an architect who worked in the mid-century context of Modernism, not as part of a European revolution, but as an American alternative established by Wright family, §1. Having been an apprentice at Wright’s Taliesin in 1933, after graduating from the Beaux-Arts curriculum at Columbia University, Dow’s contributions were primarily located in Midland, MI, where his father, Herbert Henry Dow, had built the Dow Chemical Company. As the principle architect in town, Dow was able to design residences, civic and religious buildings, as well as recreational and industrial facilities. He designed furniture, including chairs of magnesium (a material his father’s company produced), plastic building units, stained glass and murals, and took special interest in photography and film, producing an evocative tour of his own studio and home....

Article

Lauretta Dimmick

American sculptor. An important proponent of modernism in America, he began studying painting in 1914 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. In New York he met the painter Arthur B. Davies, who suggested Flannagan try wood-carving. By 1927 Flannagan had abandoned both painting and wood-carving and, essentially self-taught, settled on direct carving in stone, although he did later experiment with metal casting. Flannagan preferred natural fieldstone to quarried material, favouring its rude and basic qualities. Similarly, he eschewed academic art, preferring simplified and abstracted forms. He chiselled as little as possible from the stones that he chose, seeking solely to release in his small-scale works the pantheistic image he believed existed in every rock. Often he made only shallow incisions to delineate his generalized animal and human figures. He dealt particularly with mother and child themes, such as ...

Article

Robert M. Craig

Architectural movement of the 1950s and 1960s. New Formalism was a reaction to the so-called “Miesian” aesthetic of corporate America during the 1950s; the architecture of the glass curtain wall. Rejecting the modernist generation’s abstract functionalist design based on volume and surface skin, Formalist architects instead sought a more articulate, representational, and expressive language of architecture. They reshaped building elements, both structural and formal, and reintroduced historic references and styles to the design of buildings. When fashionably adorned with a “new ornamentalism,” the more stylized Formalist buildings became Mannerist in expression....

Article

Despina Stratigakos

American architect of Latvian birth, active also in Palestine. Gidoni was a Berlin-based architect who was among those who fled Nazi persecution and helped to bring European modernism to Palestine and the USA. She attended the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg in Russia and received further training at the Berlin Technical University, but did not graduate with a degree. In ...

Article

Richard Longstreth

American architect. The son of a building contractor, he was trained in Chicago in the offices of the architects Joseph Lyman Silsbee and Adler & Sullivan. Health considerations prompted his move to San Diego in 1893. Establishing an independent practice there, Gill remained in southern California for the rest of his life. Most of his commissions were for houses, apartment complexes, and institutional buildings in residential districts....

Article

Ellen G. Landau

American dancer and choreographer. Graham is widely considered a major pioneer and exponent of modernism. Her collaboration with American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who designed costumes and sets for the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1935 to 1966, and the extraordinary photographs of her in performance by ...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

American architect, industrial designer and teacher of German birth. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of the Modern Movement, whose contribution lay as much in his work as theoretician and teacher as it did in his innovative architecture. The important buildings and projects in Gropius’s career—the early factories, the Bauhaus complex at Dessau (...

Article

Elisabeth Vitou

American architect of Armenian birth. After studying at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, he worked for a time with Josef Hoffmann and Oskar Strnad. He went to live in Paris in 1920 and became an important colleague of Robert Mallet-Stevens. His first projects included a design for a concrete villa on pilotis, which Siegfried Giedion considered a forerunner of Le Corbusier’s Villa Laroche, and which confirmed him to be an exponent of functionalism, favouring concrete, geometric volumes and smooth walls. He gained public recognition with his designs for ...