Early-Modern or Modernism includes many artistic movements, each country in Europe had its way of creating innovative designs.

Staircase of the Hotel Tassel by Victor Horta.

Image source: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/YRRnb

Early-Modern/Modernism Architecture-Characteristics

In architecture and design, glass and wrought iron were used, in jewelry semiprecious stones and opals were employed. This style can be distinguished by the following features:

  • Curving Lines;
  • Use of symbols;
  • Aesthetic sophistication;
  • Attention to details;
  • Decorative elegance.
Example of ring coming from the Early-Modern period.
Example of ring coming from the Early-Modern period.

Image source: https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/research_projects/all_current_projects/jewellery_and_men/early_modern_period_jewellery.aspx

Early-Modern/Modernism Architecture-Examples

Hotel Tassel was projected by Victor Horta in Brussels. He opened the center in a sort of conservation space in which the exposed cast-iron supports became stylized plants.

Hotel Tassel, Brussels.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B4tel_Tassel

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

Secession Exhibition Building, Vienna.
Secession Exhibition Building, Vienna.

Image source: https://voices.uchicago.edu/201504arth15709-01a2/2015/11/16/vienna-secession/

Among the most visited edifices in the world, the Sagrada Familia was from the beginning thought as a monumental project, famous mainly for the height of its spiers and by the extravagance of its design. Designed by Gaudí, the Sagrada Familia is an icon of the spirit of one of the most innovative cities in the world. Gaudí was inspired by nature, by his elements.

View of the Passion Façade (Western side).

Image source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagrada_Fam%C3%ADlia

The Großes Schauspielhaus, is the great theater of Berlin, designed by Hans Poelzing. He was a German architect, painter, and set designer. He looked for a solution to the problems of modularity, and space-related concerns. He used new materials to create a solid bond utility beauty in industrial buildings.

Inside of the Great Theatre, Berlin (1922) by Poelzing.
Inside of the Great Theatre, Berlin (1922) by Poelzing.

Image source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gro%C3%9Fes_Schauspielhaus

Early-Modern Furniture

Early-Modern furniture features curvy lines to link images in art and can even be found in beautified plain items, such as dishes, eating utensils, hardware, and furniture.

Cabinet by Louis Majorelle,1900.
Cabinet by Louis Majorelle,1900.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau_furniture

In interior design, Carlo Bugatti (1855-1940) was the most important artist of the movement. He was born in Milan and was a creative designer. His expensive pieces of furniture were made out of precious wood and deer leather. Bugatti’s works took to the end the transition from 800’s furnishings culture to a new modern concept.

Armchair. Carlo Bugatti.
Writing desk and chair in black painted wood, metal inlaid and bone, lined with parchment.

Images source: http://www.italianways.com/i-mobili-del-regno-incantato-di-carlo-bugatti/

The fight for beauty, utility, and comfort, and a bit of exhibitionistic luxury are essentials of Modernism, as it is possible to see in the interiors of bourgeois housing. Along with architects, carpenter-decorators became important figures, having commissions from the bourgeois obsessed with the furniture design and ornament of the houses, that reflected tastes of the time and the new way of conceiving art.

Two-section display cabinet with mirror (1907-1908), Gaspar Homar.
Two-section display cabinet with mirror (1907-1908), Gaspar Homar.

Image source: http://www.museunacional.cat/en/interiors-modernisme-gaspar-homar-and-joan-busquets-0

Early-Modern Artists

Gustav Klimt is famous for his decorative art or, at least, his decorative way of  painting respecting the manner of Byzantine Art that used gold and semi-precious rocks for ornamentation. It is characterized by a flat style, often made rich with biomorphic forms, as exemplified by his masterpiece “The Kiss”.

The Kiss (1908).

Image sources: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-artists/gustav-klimt.htm#painting

Santiago Rusiñol was a Spanish writer and painter. He was one of the leaders of the Catalan modernist movement. He had an influence over Pablo Picasso and his art and also designed some modernist structures in Sitges, a little city in Catalonia. He was known also for his plays, and landscape and garden paintings.

Terraced Garden in Mallorca,1904, Santiago Rusinol.
Terraced Garden in Mallorca,1904, Santiago Rusinol.

Image source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_Rusi%C3%B1ol

Matisse was a French painter and sculptor, and one of the most representative artists of Fauvism. He is the author of paintings known as “The Dance”, “Woman with hat”, “The Red Room”.

The dance by Matisse (1910), Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The dance by Matisse (1910), Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Image source: https://www.wikiart.org/en/henri-matisse/dance-ii-1910

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

Accent in pink by Kandijsky (1926) Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.
Accent in pink by Kandijsky (1926) Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris.

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/412783122100265559/

Wassily Kandinsky, Picture with a Circle (Bild mit Kreis), 1911 Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi.
Wassily Kandinsky, Picture with a Circle (Bild mit Kreis), 1911 Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi.

Image source: https://www.finestresullarte.info/501n_arte-come-musica-vasilij-kandinskij-arnold-schoenberg.php

Info sources: http://arthistoryteachingresources.org/lessons/modern-art-1900-50/  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_Bugatti  http://www.museunacional.cat/en/interiors-modernisme-gaspar-homar-and-joan-busquets-0  http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-artists/gustav-klimt.htm#painting  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_Rusi%C3%B1ol  https://www.wikiart.org/en/henri-matisse/dance-ii-1910  https://voices.uchicago.edu/201504arth15709-01a2/2015/11/16/vienna-secession/