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Decorative art in the 1930s and '40s experienced a great shift from romanticism to rationalism, from the opulent Art Deco style to pared-down, pragmatic Modernism. Having made its debut in the late 1920s, the Modern Movement continued with force through the 1930s, championed most notably by Le Corbusier and Richard Neutra. Modernism's stark minimalism and use of industrial materials, which had previously seemed cold and threatening, became more accepted as a rational response to a time of great economic hardship. Excess and luxury were largely replaced by economy and simplicity as the Modernist style became more and more common.
Through the end of the 1930s up until the postwar period, Modernism's original coolness was gradually replaced by more warm and human characteristics. Incorporating factors such as nature and psychology, as in the work of Charles Eames and Alvar Aalto, became a crucial part of Modernist design. This fascinating transition from hard-edgedModernism to its softer, more organic descendent is faithfully reproduced in Decorative Arts 1930s & 1940s. An essential reference for anyone interested in this period
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