Early Modernism

Early Modernism includes many artistic movements, as each European country had its way of approaching this new movement.

Early Modernism Architecture

During Early Modernism, architecture and design began employing glass and wrought iron, while jewelry saw an increase in semiprecious stones and opals. This style can be distinguished by the following features:

  • Curving Lines
  • Use of symbols
  • Aesthetic sophistication
  • Attention to details
  • Decorative elegance
Post Medieval Mourning Ring with a dark hexagonal stone and the name "Mary" carved into the gold band.
 Example of Ring coming from the Early-Modern period.

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/1c356217-1c36-4045-86b9-4e69807c8b8d by Birmingham Museums Trust, Peter Reavill, 2006-01-18 14:28:43

Victor Horta created Hotel Tassel, located in Brussels, which had a center conservation space with exposed cast-iron supports.

Hotel Tassel: A large stone building with a large dark brown door and many various rectangular windows.
Hotel Tassel, Brussels

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/a36ce38d-f731-4181-81a5-7d1348efc491 by RightIndex

Joseph Maria Olbrich designed the Secession Exhibition Building, located in Vienna, Austria. It was conceived as an exhibition space with a flexible interior. The plan and the forms are all about pure geometry, yet the ornaments are flat stylized organic forms. Additionally, the inscription over the entrance points out the strive to form a representative artistic language.

Vienna Secession Exhibition Building: A large white building with a gold ball on the top and various gold accents.
Secession Exhibition Building, Vienna.

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/31643d3b-5f46-45be-b500-24c494ac407c by avinashbhat

Among the most visited edifices in the world is the Sagrada Familia, which has always been a monumental project. Famous mainly for the height of its spears and by the extravagance of its design, Gaudí took inspiration from nature and the elements. Additionally, the Sagrada Familia is an icon of the spirit.

Sagrada Familia - Passion façade: A large sharp structure with four distinct, pointy towers and an arched entrance.
Passion façade (Western side) of the Sagrada Familia

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/eb9ac0e5-9802-467f-81c4-3cbb70450c3d by larrywkoester

The Großes Schauspielhaus, designed by Hans Poelzing, is the great theater of Berlin. Poelzing was a German architect, painter, and set designer. Looking for a solution to modularity and space-related concerns, he created a solid bond between utility and beauty in industrial buildings.

Inside of the Great Theatre, Berlin (1922) by Poelzing. Decorated columns in the entrance hall.
Inside the Great Theatre (1922) by Poelzing

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gro%C3%9Fes_Schauspielhaus#/media/File:Berlin_Grosses_Schauspielhaus_Poelzig_Foyer.jpg

Early Modernism Furniture

Furniture from the Early Modernism style features curvy lines to link images in art. Further, it can even be found in beautified plain items, such as dishes, eating utensils, hardware, and other household furniture.

Louis Majorelle Cabinet Mirror. Two people reflected in the mirror while taking a picture of it.
Louis Majorelle Cabinet Mirror

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/e080e490-66bd-453c-924f-d8718d0d0358 by brownpau

In interior design, Carlo Bugatti (1855-1940) was one of the most important artist during this movement. The Milan native created expensive pieces of furniture made out of precious wood and deer leather. Moreover, Bugatti’s works showcase the transition from 800’s furnishings to a new modern concept.

Carlo Bugatti, Chair, 1902 : An abstract light colored seat.
Chair (1902) – Carlo Bugatti

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/bd7c6d97-6cad-49d5-8104-d63ce884d4d6 by lartnouveauenfrance

Armchair by Carlo Bugatti (Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin) : A large dark wood chair with tassles hanging from the bottom of the back and the front of the seat.
Armchair by Carlo Bugatti

Images source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/28735093-d208-4ad0-97e0-e4cffaf0f988 by dalbera

The fight between beauty, utility, comfort, and a bit of luxury are essentials of Modernism, which are evident in the decorations of bourgeois housing. Along with architects, carpenter-decorators became important figures, having commissions from the bourgeois obsessed with the excessive ornamentation of their houses.

A brown wooden chest by Homar with more than twenty drawers.
A brown wooden chest – Gaspar Homar

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/5bf8a929-79f5-409f-b796-e1104359f55c by Jordi Domènech i Arnau

Early Modernism Artists

Gustav Klimt is famous for his decorative art which resembles of Byzantine Art through its use of gold and semi-precious rocks for ornamentation. Additionally, his art is characterized by a flat appearance, often made rich with biomorphic forms, as exemplified by his masterpiece “The Kiss.”

Gustav Klimt (1862–1918), The Kiss (Lovers), 1907–1908 : A painting of two abstract people kissing each other.
The Kiss (Lovers) (1908)-Gustav Klimt

Image sources: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/d042af76-a7cd-4489-a251-10551c9890e2 by Tulip Hysteria / Go to albums

Santiago Rusiñol, a Spanish writer and painter, was one of the leaders of the Catalan modernist movement. He influences artists such as Pablo Picasso and designed some modernist structures in Sitges, a little city in Catalonia. Further, he is known for his plays, and landscape and garden paintings.

Matisse was a French painter and sculptor, and one of the most representative artists of Fauvism. His most famous pieces include “The Dance,” “Woman with hat,” and”The Red Room.”

The dance by Matisse (1910), Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia: A painting of five orange bodies that appear to be dancing in a circle
The dance by Matisse (1910) – Russia

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/6193bdf6-924a-4266-a801-aa9059c885e2 by archer10 (Dennis)

Kandinskij, one of the best-known Russian painters, founded “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider). He is the author of many historical masterpieces such as “Picture with Archer,” “First abstract watercolor,” and “Accent in pink”.

Improvisation No 30 Cannons - Wassily Kandinsky - Cleveland Museum of Art: A large abstract piece of art with a wide variety of cold colors and dark-black-lined figures.
Improvisation No 30 Cannons (1913) – Wassily Kandinsky

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/53897506-22bc-4a2c-ac8b-1bf2fa367759 by Tim Evanson

Painting of white horse and blue rider galloping across a green meadow from right to left.
The Blue Rider (1903) – Wassily Kandinsky 

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassily_Kandinsky#/media/File:Wassily_Kandinsky,_1903,_The_Blue_Rider_(Der_Blaue_Reiter),_oil_on_canvas,_52.1_x_54.6_cm,_Stiftung_Sammlung_E.G._B%C3%BChrle,_Zurich.jpg

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