The term ‘Modernism’ is widely used, but rarely defined, to mean artistic currents responding to the social conditions of Modernity. While such applications occur in all the arts, fashion relates to these conditions in a particularly intimate way. In 1863 Charles Baudelaire defined modernity as ‘the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable’. Few creations are as ephemeral and fugitive as a fashion intended to last a single season, and yet fashion itself is constant. Thus fashion design, one of the most intrinsically ephemeral of artistic practices, could be considered a quintessentially modern art. Further, the emergence of social modernity in cities such as Paris in the mid-19th century was accompanied by the development of the structure of the modern fashion industry. The haute couture house and the department store, two economic institutions that would seem to be diametrically opposed but are actually profoundly interconnected and interdependent (...
(b Kilchberg, Switzerland, May 23, 1862; d Munich, Feb 26, 1927).
Swiss artist, craftsman and teacher. After studying science and medicine at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (1885–7), he travelled in England and Scotland in 1887. There the Arts and Crafts Movement influenced his decision to turn his attentions to the applied arts. Following brief studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Karlsruhe and an apprenticeship as a potter, his ceramics and furniture won gold medals at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. In 1890 he studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, before visiting Berlin and Florence, where he experimented in marble sculpture and established an embroidery studio in which his own designs could be carried out; he moved his studio to Munich in 1894.
In April 1896 an exhibition in Munich at the Galerie Littauer of 35 embroideries designed by Obrist and executed by Berthe Ruchet attracted considerable critical acclaim, with commentators referring to the birth of a new applied art. To further his artistic ideals Obrist founded the ...
(b Munich, June 20, 1868; d Munich, April 13, 1957).
German designer, architect and painter. The son of a textile manufacturer, he studied painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Munich (1888–90); he painted primarily at the beginning and end of his career, and he was a member of the Munich Secession. In 1895 Riemerschmid designed his first furniture, in a neo-Gothic style, for his and his wife’s flat on Hildegardstrasse in Munich. In 1897 he exhibited furniture and paintings at the seventh Internationale Kunstausstellung held at the Glaspalast in Munich. Immediately following the exhibition, the committee members of the decorative arts section, including Riemerschmid and Hermann Obrist, founded the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk. In 1898 Riemerschmid was commissioned to design a music room for the Munich piano manufacturer J. Mayer & Co., which was subsequently exhibited at the Deutsche Kunstausstellung exhibition in Dresden in 1899. The armchair and side chair, with its diagonal bracing, designed for this room, are some of his most original and best-known designs. In ...