Americans living in the first decades of the twentieth century felt they inhabited a modern age. A spirit of excitement and experimentation transformed the world around them, in particular the consumer goods that filled their homes and offices. A Modern World draws upon the rewned collection of American decorative arts at the Yale University Art Gallery to explore the appearance and dissemination of modern design in the United States. This catalogue organizes roughly 300 examples of silver, glass, industrial design, furniture, medals, jewelry, and printed textiles into thematic groups that chart the aesthetic and social trends that defined American design from the Jazz Age to the Space Age. The authors consider modernism broadly-from handmade luxury goods to mass-produced housewares-establishing a context for the objects within larger international developments in architecture, avant-garde art, and scientific invation. New research and compelling juxtapositions offer an expanded understanding of the era, and designer biographies and corporate chrologies help make this catalogue a valuable resource.
John Stuart Gordon is the Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Yale University Art Gallery.