American Modern (1925-1940)
We’ve spent quite a while recently exploring the history of American made furniture and we’ve almost made it through the years and ages. Last time we met, we took a look at Art Noveau but what came next? Next up was the American Modern movement – sit back, relax and read on to learn more!
American Modern was a distinct American design aesthetic formed in the period between 1925 and World War II. Created by a pioneering group of designers, architects and artists, this movement is distinguished by the absence of traditional ornament, the use of new technologies and materials, and the application of mass-production techniques to create affordable objects for the expanding middle class. The impact on the lives of the everyday American is exemplified through a wide array of objects from furniture to graphic arts.
In the beginning, most of America’s modern design reflected the widespread influence of the Paris fair which brought to international prominence the chic French luxury style of Art Deco, with its emphasis on costly materials and fine workmanship. Dramatic economic, industrial and technological changes, however, would significantly impact design during this time of drastic growth in mass production and mass consumption.
America’s most innovative designers adapted the clean lines, pure geometric forms and machine-made materials of Germany’s Bauhaus movement which forged an alliance between art and industry. The onset of the Depression served to enhance the aim of the Bauhaus to create objects that were both attractive and affordable.
Interestingly enough, an important factor in the start of American design influence and dominance was an influx of foreign talent. More than a third of the designers involved in the American Modern movement were immigrants drawn to America by the promise of economic opportunity or escape from political oppression. Not only designers and manufacturers, but department stores, museums and galleries joined in an effort to promote innovative work in overcoming the country’s generally conservative taste for traditional forms which pushed the movement further.
This movement lasted until the 40s when the American taste moved from streamlined to comfort which ushered in the next movement of Scandinavian Contemporary. And that concludes our look at the history of American made furniture! We hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at the past and we’re glad you joined us! Don’t forget to check out our website or stop by our store to find the furniture style that best suits your taste!