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Article

Richard Guy Wilson

Richard Guy Wilson

Stylistic term applied to architecture and decorative arts of the 1920s and 1930s whose origin partially lies with the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris (see Art Deco). The term was invented in 1966 and initially applied just to French 1920s design but shortly thereafter grew to encompass a wide variety of modernist architecture and design that displayed decorative traits that stood in contrast to the more austere Modern style sometimes known as Functionalism, Bauhaus style, or International Style. Synonyms for Art Deco have included Style moderne, Art Moderne, Modernistic, Cubistic, Manhattan style, skyscraper style, setback style, zigzag style, streamlined, stripped Classicism, Greco Deco, and others.

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925 was a lavish spectacle of pavilions and exhibits that showcased the latest modern tendencies in French and foreign design. Originally scheduled for ...

Article

Anna Rowland

(Lajos)

(b Pécs, May 21, 1902; d New York, July 1, 1981).

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 (1897–1972). Breuer soon became an outstanding student in the carpentry workshop, which he led in its endeavours to find radically innovative forms for modern furniture. In practice, this meant rejecting traditional forms, which were considered symbolic of bourgeois life. The results of these experiments were initially as idiosyncratic as those of other workshops at Weimar, including the adoption of non-Western forms, for example the African chair (1921; see Rowland, 1990, p. 66) and an aggressively castellated style inspired by Constructivism.

Breuer was impressed by De Stijl, whose founder Theo van Doesburg made his presence felt in Weimar in ...

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 California Arts and Architecture (later Arts and Architecture), he was concerned that the aftermath of wars was usually a period of conservatism in which progressive ideas were set aside. He wished to keep the spirit of the New Deal of the 1930s alive in architecture.

Entenza used the journal to promote interest in a program in which he would choose a major Modernist architect to design a house which, when built, the general public would be invited to tour. After such exposure, he would sell the house and use the proceeds to build another house designed by a Modernist. It would also be open for inspection—and so on. Needless to say, his plan was based on faith alone. Surprisingly, the idea worked. Entenza’s first six houses were toured by 368,554 people, all of them curious if not approving. Thirty-eight commissions were proposed and twenty-six were actually built, giving such architects as ...

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born 1800, in Boston (Massachusetts); died 1842.

Painter, designer of ornamental architectural features, engraver, decorative designer. Portraits, landscapes, military subjects, seascapes, harbour views, scenes with figures. Decorative panels.

Charles Codman trained with John Ritto Pennimans as a painter and designer of ornamental architectural features, and settled in Portland in ...

Article

revised by Margaret Barlow

(b Blue Earth, MN, Nov 23, 1894; d Vero Beach, FL, April 20, 1989).

American interior and industrial designer. Deskey gained a degree in architecture and studied painting before working in advertising. From 1922 to 1924 he was head of the art department at Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA. In 1921 and 1925 he made trips to Paris, where he attended the Ecole de la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Colarossi, before returning to New York in 1926 as a champion of modern art and design. In 1926–7 he created the city’s first modern window displays for the Franklin Simon and Saks Fifth Avenue department stores. In 1927 he was joined by the designer Philip Vollmer, and the partnership became Deskey–Vollmer, Inc. (to c. 1929). Deskey expanded into designing interiors, furniture, lamps, and textiles, becoming a pioneer of the Style moderne (as Art Deco was known in America). His earliest model for the interior of an apartment was shown at the American Designers’ Gallery, New York, in ...

Article

Eames  

David Gebhard and Gregory Gallagan

American architects, designers, and film makers. Charles (Orman) Eames (b St Louis, MO, 17 June 1907; d St Louis, 21 Aug 1978) and his wife, Ray Eames [née Kaiser] (b Sacramento, CA, 15 Dec 1916; d Los Angeles, CA, 21 Aug 1988), formed a partnership after their marriage in 1941 and shared credit for all design projects. Charles Eames studied architecture at George Washington University, St Louis (1924–6). He then worked part-time as a draughtsman for Wilbur T. Trueblood and Hugo Graf in St Louis. In 1929 he travelled in Europe, looking at both old buildings and the newly emerging work of the International Style. In the early 1930s he associated himself with Charles M. Gray, with whom he had worked in Trueblood’s office. The Depression severely limited commissions, and in 1934 he travelled and worked in Mexico. He returned to St Louis in ...

Article

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 30 October 1872, in Omaha (Nebraska).

Painter, engraver, decorative designer.

Edmond Ellis was also an architect. He decorated the interiors of public buildings, notably the Protestant episcopal church of Fordham, and private houses. He produced etchings.

Article

Michael Spens

revised by Carla Tilghman

(b Toronto, Feb 28, 1929).

American architect, exhibition designer, furniture and jewlery designer, and teacher. He qualified at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1954 and attended the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, in 1956–7. After working in various architectural practices, from 1962 he practised independently in Venice, Los Angeles establishing the firm of Frank O. Gehry and Associates, Inc of which he remains the Design Principal. His early work focused on the potential of small-scale works to provide a succinct metaphorical statement, as with various exhibition designs for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and his designs for the Joseph Magnin Stores at Costa Mesa and San Jose (both 1968), CA. In his early works he was interested more in the manipulation of architectural form than in technical innovation, and he was concerned with the conceptual and spatial content of buildings rather than the tighter demands of the architectural brief. Seeking an ‘open-ended’ approach to architecture, he was influenced by the work of fine artists such as Constantin Brancusi and Robert Rauschenberg. But his works of the late 1970s proved that his approach could provide habitable if haphazard buildings, as in the Wagner House (...

Article

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in Boston.

Born 15 April 1859, in Weymouth, USA; died 1936.

Painter, decorative designer. Genre scenes, architectural views, still-lifes, flowers.

Abbott Fuller Graves studied at the Institute of Technology in Boston and went to Paris where he was taught by Cormon, J.-P. Laurens and Gervais. He was an architect but specialised in painting, mainly decoration....

Article

American, 19th century, male.

Born 1 August 1868, in New York; died 1941, in Lawrence.

Painter, architect. Frescoes, wall decorations.

James Monroe Hewlett was a member of the National Academy of Design in New York and the American Federation of Arts. He produced mural paintings for the Carnegie Technical Schools in Pittsburgh....

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b 1835; d 1898).

German–American furniture manufacturer. Hunzinger emigrated to America in 1855, where, working in New York, he specialized in chairs, often constructed in novel forms. His designs reflect a passion for engineering and innovation, and a sense that design should be led by fabrication methods (e.g. decorative elements should be interchangeable); he was awarded some 30 patents for furniture inventions. After his death his business was run by his sons until the 1920s....

Article

Leland M. Roth and Gordon Campbell

(John)

(b Vienna, Sept 22, 1890; d New York, Dec 27, 1965).

American architect, stage designer, furniture designer and writer of Austrian birth. In 1920 he worked with Adolf Loos in Vienna. He was also in contact with the artists associated with De Stijl and began experimenting with innovative theatre designs. In 1924 he produced the Endless Theatre design. The ‘Endless’ was a double-curved shell of reinforced concrete that could enclose any irregularly traditional divisions into floor, wall, and ceiling but offered the inhabitant an open interior that could be modified at will. For the theatre he adapted the ‘Endless’ by devising a double-spiral stage interconnected by ramps and rings of spectator seats. Kiesler believed that the Endless Theatre, without proscenium or curtain, projecting out into the audience, with perpetually moving walls bathed in light of ever changing colour, would promote greater interaction between actors and audience.

For the celebrated Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925...

Article

Mark Alan Hewitt

(b Philadelphia, PA, Feb 9, 1872; d Philadelphia, PA, Oct 30, 1938).

American architect and campus planner. Klauder was the son of Louis Klauder, a German-born furniture manufacturer, and Anna Caroline Koehler. He trained as an apprentice under the architect Theophilus P. Chandler from the age of 15, furthering his studies at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia. Between 1893 and 1900 he worked at a number of prominent Philadelphia firms before attaining the position of chief draftsman at Frank Miles Day & Brother (see under Frank Miles Day). He became a partner in 1910 and continued the firm under his own name after Day’s death in 1918.

Klauder teamed with the English-born Day to design some of the nation’s most influential and distinguished campus buildings during the heyday of university expansion in the early 20th century. Along with Cope & Stewardson, Day & Klauder may be credited with the invention of the Collegiate Gothic idiom in American architecture. Their early work at Princeton and Cornell universities set the standard for dormitory and classroom designs in the Ivy League. Klauder extended the Gothic idiom during the 1920s to incorporate elements of Art Deco abstraction and modern building technology. Klauder created campus plans for the University of Colorado (...

Article

(b Saginaw, MI, May 24, 1917).

American architect and designer. Orphaned as a child, Florence Knoll Bassett was educated at the Kingswood School for Girls, part of the Cranbrook community of schools in Bloomfield Hills, MI, founded by Detroit publisher George Booth and Finnish architect Saarinen family §(1). At Kingswood, she forged a close relationship with Saarinen and his wife Loja, a textile designer. In 1934, Eliel Saarinen encouraged her to study architecture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where she continued until 1939, departing for periods to study at the Columbia University School of Architecture and the Architectural Association in London.

In 1940, Knoll Bassett furthered her understanding of architecture and design under leading figures of the Bauhaus by studying with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology and working briefly in the architectural office of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. The following year, she arrived in New York and found employment at the firm of Harrison and Abramovitz designing interiors. Through the firm, she met manufacturer and retailer of modern furniture, Hans Knoll (...

Article

Louise Noelle

(b Mexico City, May 7, 1931; d Mexico City, Dec 30, 2011).

Mexican architect and furniture designer, active also in the USA. He graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Arquitectura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, in 1953. He began as a draftsman in the studio of José Villagrán García, the leader of Mexican Functionalism, becoming his partner between 1955 and 1960. During this period he was a follower of the International Style, as seen in the Hotel María Isabel (1961–1962; with Villagrán García and Juan Sordo Madaleno), Mexico City. In 1960 he set up in partnership with Noé Castro (b 1929) and Carlos Vargas (b 1938), specializing in the design of factories and office buildings, the most notable project of this period being the office building for Celanese Mexicana (1966–1968; with Roberto Jean) in Mexico City, with its prismatic outline and technical brio in the use of the hanging structure. In the late 1960s, influenced by ...

Article

American, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 5 March 1843, in Washington DC; died 5 April 1923, in New York.

Painter, watercolourist, decorative designer. Figures, portraits, genre scenes, interiors with figures, landscapes, architectural views.

George Willoughby Maynard was a student at the National Academy of Fine Arts in New York. He continued his artistic education in Florence, Rome and Antwerp....

Article

Geoffrey R. Edwards

(b Melbourne, Feb 9, 1929; d New York, April 19, 2005).

Australian sculptor and designer, active in the USA. He studied aeronautical engineering and later industrial design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, but left without finishing the course. From 1949 to 1953 he worked as an industrial designer, specializing in furniture. Marketed widely in Australia during these years, his furniture was distinguished by its simplicity. It was constructed with plain, undisguised materials such as steel rods, timber laminates, and cord; his tables, chairs, and shelving systems exercised a delight in linear and open structure that conveyed an impression of virtual weightlessness.

In his free time Meadmore began to produce sculptures, carving wooden shapes whose forms were similar to those of tensioned strings, and from 1950 to 1953 experimenting with mobiles. After extensive travel in 1953 in Europe, where he was particularly impressed by modern sculptures that he saw in Belgium, he produced his first large abstract sculptures in welded steel. Some of these, for example ...

Article

Peter Carter

(b Aachen, March 27, 1886; d Chicago, IL, Aug 17, 1969).

German architect, furniture designer, and teacher, active also in the USA. With Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier, he was a leading figure in the development of modern architecture. His reputation rests not only on his buildings and projects but also on his rationally based method of architectural education.

He was born Ludwig Mies but later adopted his mother’s name, van der Rohe. The son of a master stone mason, Mies van der Rohe had no formal architectural education. He attended the Domschule in Aachen until 1900 and then the local trade school (1900–02) while working on building sites for his father, from whom he acquired a respect for the nature of building materials. The town’s many fine medieval buildings stimulated a youthful interest in architecture, and their characteristically clear and honest construction exerted a lasting influence upon his creative work. Two years as a draughtsman and designer for a firm specializing in stucco decoration followed, before he left for Berlin in ...

Article

Ronald R. McCarty

(b Benicia, CA, Dec 12, 1872; d Palm Beach, FL, Feb 5, 1933).

American architect, interior designer, city planner, and developer. Mizner specialized in Mediterranean Revival architecture in California, New York, and Florida during the early 20th century and founded Mizner Industries, Inc. Mizner was the second youngest son born to Lansing Bond Mizner and Ella Watson Mizner. His father was an accomplished lawyer, politician, and landowner, later becoming the American ambassador to five republics in Latin America that are now Guatemala, San Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, and Costa Rica. Travelling internationally with his father, Addison became fluent in Spanish and was inspired by the 16th- and 17th-century Spanish architecture of Central America. After moving to San Francisco in 1890, he attended Boones University in Berkeley. He continued his education at the University of Salamanca in Spain in 1892–3. Returning to the USA he began his professional training in San Francisco as an apprentice draftsman in 1894 with the firm of Willis J. Polk, becoming a full partner with the firm in ...

Article

Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...