modernism

Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades – The Birth of Conceptual Art

Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades – The Birth of Conceptual Art

On July 28, 1887, French-American painter, sculptor and writer Marcel Duchamp was born. He is commonly regarded, along with Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, as one of the artists responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Moreover, Duchamp is considered by many to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century. “I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own tastes.” (Marcel…
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Marcel Breuer – Master of Modernism

Marcel Breuer – Master of Modernism

On May 21, 1905, Hungarian-born modernist, architect and furniture designer of Jewish descent Marcel Breuer was born. Being one of the masters of Modernism, Breuer extended the sculptural vocabulary he had developed in the carpentry shop at the Bauhaus into a personal architecture that made him one of the world’s most popular architects at the peak of 20th-Century design. “I am as much interested in the smallest detail as in the whole…
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Peter Behrens – Pioneer of Modern Industrial Design

Peter Behrens – Pioneer of Modern Industrial Design

On April 14, 1868, German architect and designer Peter Behrens was born. Behrens was important to the modernist movement, and several of the movement’s leading names (including Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius) worked for him in earlier stages of their careers. “Design is not about decorating functional forms – it is about creating forms that accord with the character of the object and that show new technologies…
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Piet Mondrian – Reducing Art to Simple Geometry

Piet Mondrian – Reducing Art to Simple Geometry

On March 7, 1872, Dutch Painter Pieter Cornelis Mondriaan was born. Mondrian is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. He is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th century abstract art, as he changed his artistic direction from figurative painting to an increasingly abstract style, until he reached a point where his artistic vocabulary was reduced to simple geometric elements. “A form must be of…
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The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht

The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht

On February 10, 1898, German poet, playwright, theatre director, and Marxist Bertolt Brecht was born. A theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht is best known for his contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production. There are few areas of modern theatrical culture that have not felt the impact or influence of Brecht’s ideas and practices. “It is not enough to demand insight and informative images of reality from the theater. Our theater must…
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Virginia Woolf and the Birth of Modern Literature

Virginia Woolf and the Birth of Modern Literature

On January 25, 1882, English writer Virginia Woolf was born. She is considered one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. Her most famous works include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928). “The beauty of the world which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.” — Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own (1929)…
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Sergei Eisenstein and the Art of Montage

Sergei Eisenstein and the Art of Montage

On January 22, 1898, Soviet film director and film theorist Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein was born. Eisenstein is considered a pioneer in the theory and practice of montage. He is noted in particular for his silent films Strike (1925), Battleship Potemkin (1925) and October (1928), as well as the historical epics Alexander Nevsky (1938) and Ivan the Terrible (1944, 1958). “American capitalism finds its sharpest and most expressive reflection in the American cinema.”…
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Oscar Niemeyer – The Visionary Architect of Brasilia

Oscar Niemeyer – The Visionary Architect of Brasilia

On December 15, 1907, famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture was born. Niemeyer was best known for his design of civic buildings for Brasília, a planned city which became Brazil‘s capital in 1960, as well as his collaboration with other architects on the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. “I deliberately disregarded the right angle and…
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Auguste Rodin – Progenitor of Modern Sculpture

Auguste Rodin – Progenitor of Modern Sculpture

On November 12, 1840, Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and draughtsman, was born. He is widely considered to be the progenitor of modern sculpture. “Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” — Auguste Rodin, As quoted in [9] Rodin was born in times of riots and revolutions that spread through Europe. France was hit by this wave of change in particular during the ‘February Revolution‘ in 1848 which…
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Claude Debussy – More than just the Link between Romanticism and Modernity

Claude Debussy – More than just the Link between Romanticism and Modernity

On August 22, 1862, French composer Claude Debussy was born. Debussy’s music is regarded as a link between romanticism and modernity. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For me, his Claire de Lune is one of the most beautiful pieces for piano I have ever played. “The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.” — Claude…
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