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In Denmark there was a huge shift towards Modernism during the 1880s. These grand narratives were essentially replaced by snapshots of reality and current occurrences. There were unvarnished depictions of the simple country life in Denmark and was stripped of all remnants of idealism and devoid of historical painting. This was a massive change for the artwork that was known in Denmark. Not only did this mark a sudden change in what the country was seeing at that time, but it was also a shift in what direction it was taking its artwork.
Early 19th Century Design
During the late 1880s artists continued to play huge roles in Danish society, as there was a focus on national themes. Art itself played a crucial role in the shift to the modernization process, which affected much of Denmark’s society towards the end of the 19th century, which is now viewed as a modern breakthrough of sorts. This newfound take on modernism in Denmark focused more on the realistic perspectives on life. Rather than continuing the historical approach, Danish artists offered a depiction of what was going on in real time. Modern French art influenced Danish artists by going with the “return to nature” – which the painters of the Barbizon School first coined with artists like Theodor Philipsen. This involved paying particular attention to the realistic depiction of light and environmental conditions at different times of the day and throughout the entire year. Each season had its own realistic perspective on it. Not only was it a more natural approach, but it was extremely easy on the eyes and completely relatable. The same can be said for Danish furniture design, as modernism completely changed the way furniture pieces were created and viewed.
Distinction and Identity
The 19th century also spawned one of the finest and most extensive collections in Danish painting history known as the Hirschsprung Collection in Copenhagen. This collection was representative of the heart of Denmark. Heinrich Hirschsprung, a tobacco manufacturer and art connoisseur, was passionate about developing a home to showcase these masterpieces. This collection houses everything from the Danish Golden Age, which took place in the early 19th century, to the Danish Impressionists and Symbolists in the later half. This exhibition of work surveys Danish art spanning from the early era to the later. It also finely displays the transition that Danish artists went through when it came to modernism in Denmark. There is a distinction when one walks in to look at the pieces. While they focus on the realistic approach, you can see the subtle details from one piece to another. You can almost consider it to be sort of a maturation process of art pieces.
Much of Denmark’s inspiration for such renewal projects around the country mainly came from European countries like Sweden where modernism had an early outbreak. Often times, modernism was seen with efficient planning and functionalists solutions. They loved the concept of progress and with this new found idea, they believed that it was the only rational way to create modern housing conditions. Danish furniture design also paved the way for many of the interior design pieces that we use today.
The American modernist period was a period of exemplary art and transcendence. Much of modernistic artwork is still influential in today’s work and it is seen very vividly as well. Much of the American modernists that influenced the modern age period worked in the United Stated before World War II. They adopted the “American” ways and culture as their own. They also grappled the issues of modernism central to entrench themselves in the 20th century. They presented their artwork in the form of creative media such as canvas and emulsion.
Approach to Modernism
There isn’t one characteristic approach to modernism. Furthermore, there isn’t one style or approach to the rules of American modernism. For instance, abstraction and realism are equally characteristic, but couldn’t be more different from one another. This also raised the bar when it came to limitations. How can modernism be so broad, yet undefined? What distinguishes the theme of the modern age period? Is there a true identity when it comes to modernism? Although many of these questions are answered in the eyes of the beholder, one thing is for certain. The provincialism and influence of America’s label could not be shaken off. The urgency of this artwork still comes across in today’s works of art.
Some modernists approached modernity by incorporating much industrial influence in their artwork. For example, there was Charles Sheeler who loved to work with industrial landscapes. Others, like Dadaist Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven worked with the concept of machinery and was heavily influenced by the movement of the gears. Others approached modernism with science by using color, form, and perception with the idea of synchronism. Ironically, much of the celebrated modernists today actually went against all the rules and concept of modernism in general. They were what you can consider the anti-modernists. Arthur Dove is a perfect example. He actually provided a counterforce to modernity with a more spiritual approach to modernism. He wanted to lift people out of the depraved industrial life that was vastly seen out of urbanization and commercialization.
Questions and Beliefs
The American modernist cannot be seen as one categorically correct way of creating art. Rather, it’s a melting pot of ideas, influences, and experiences all melded into one. Much of the artwork that we come across today has influences of the modern work. Adversely, modernism also betrothed artwork in a way that it trapped it in a sort of bubble. There are still questions that are asked today about modern work. What did it mean to be modern? What conscious search is there for a modern identity? Before the wars, these questions were continuously asked in that a focused response was in dire need of answering. But, in the heat of it all, the era of modernism made a huge impact on today’s culture. Everything from the artwork to the unheralded pioneers that started it all. We owe much of what we contribute today to the world of art to the period of untimely modern art.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was an influential architect that was acclaimed for his artistic ingenuity. His innovative nature led him to becoming one of the greatest architects that the world knows today.
The German-born master builder was known for his imposing structures that expressed the full spirit of the 20th century. Not only that, but his style is continuously used in today’s furniture. Mies van der Rohe furniture is a popular option for modern-day households that want to embody the spirit of an elegant, yet trendy look.
Rather than being much of a vocal leader, Van der Rohe let his work speak for himself. He wanted to make architecture for a technological society – which explains his futuristic and technical design patterns that he has on his pieces. In addition, he wanted to create something that was reasonably clear and concise – essentially something that others can duplicate with ease. He continued to explain that architecture must be a clear and true statement of the times. He was ahead of his time to say the least. One of his greatest inspirations came from the George Washington Bridge in New York, which he fancied every time he passed by it. He even used to stop by just to marvel at the bridge. He believed that it was the most modern type of building in the city. He also believed that it was beautifully proportioned and did not conceal its inner structure. In many of his designs, he showcases the innards of the entire furniture piece. Because he argued that nothing should be hidden, many people have seen that his furniture pieces gravitate towards openness rather than a closed-off look. This is why the furniture Van der Rohe has created designs that work off an open-air look.
Mies van der Rohe furniture is a work of art that focuses on simplicity. No, not simplicity to the point of carelessness, but one that enters the realm of creativity. His designs are seen today as modern compared to the time period that he designed them. Much of his influence has come from the beauties of life that he portrayed masterfully in his work. One can see how much love and care that he had for his work. Furthermore, Van der Rohe didn’t achieve public recognition until after the age of 50. Until then, he was working on a much smaller scope. This didn’t bother him as his artwork was his life. For instance, when he introduced the concept of ribbon windows in 1922, many people didn’t have much interest. However, because of this design, it’s become a standard in many of the commercial buildings today. The uninterrupted bands of glass that life in between the faces of concrete slabs were a groundbreaking artistic measure at that time. Van der Rohe didn’t believe in global notoriety, rather he believed that his designs could become a bright spot in industrial buildings. Furniture van der Rohe still holds a beloved spot in our interior design world today.