One of the most compelling things about art is its ability to persevere and influence us over the years, consistently reinventing culture in new and influential ways. This is because art is able to communicate things about the human soul that otherwise might be impossible to articulate—it allows us to feel closer to each other and add context to our lives.
As we reach the end of 2018, we look forward to the new art that will be created in the future of 2019. However, to look towards the future, it's important to look back at the past; there are many artists from the 20th century that continue to influence the direction of art and will surely continue to do so for many years to come. In this blog post we'll be taking a look at three iconic figures that have made their mark on the art world and whose work will continue to make history in 2019.
1. Alexander Calder (1898-1976)
Alexander Calder was an American artist who specialized in sculpture and is most well-known for his "Calder mobiles". The "Calder mobiles" are a series of sculptures that focus on abstract elements, playing with the definition of space and what it means to manifest something and give it life. The sculptures are kinetic, meaning that they move, giving them a personality that almost personifies them. By creating mobiles that incorporate abstract elements, Calder can give personality to vague shapes, almost personifying them.
This aspect of Calder's work made his style incredibly playful, typically relying on the use of primary colors (blue, red, yellow) and simple, child-friendly concepts (circus, animals, basic shapes). Because the concept of a mobile is typically represented as a way to soothe children, Calder's work touches upon the root of what is soothing for someone to see. Taking an object such as a children's mobile and turning it into mid century modern furniture makes his art unique, finding a double meaning for what he is trying to utilize.
His mobiles move in the breeze like they should, but the abstract elements and presentation of them as being for kids and adults taps into something more unique, suggesting the ways in which concepts can be used to appeal to our sense of stability. By having the same shapes and images spin around, Calder can reinforce concepts that we might not otherwise associate with calmness, making his work emphasize moments of happiness.
2. Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Miró was a Spanish artist who was also known as being somebody incredibly interested in experimentation and playing with societal standards. He specialized in painting and sculpture, both of which were incredibly influenced by his interest in avant-garde art of the early 20th century. In fact, his fascination with this type of art began when he saw Cubist and Fauve exhibitions in his hometown of Barcelona, these being encounters that would change the way he related to art forever. The deconstructive ideas of Cubism made him realize that he can dissect the world around him in a truly intuitive way, allowing the building blocks of the culture to reflect the hectic nature of society.
Miró took his experimentation very seriously, even saying that his end goal was "the assassination of painting". By this, he meant that he wanted to completely overthrow the traditional standards regarding what made a painting unique, allowing himself to reinvent the art form for himself and create a truly modern approach. This way of thinking was very common in avant-garde at the time and reflected a frustration with the standardization of practice. After World War I many artists were feeling disillusioned by the gruesome nature of the war, something that inspired many art scenes to emphasize deconstructing tradition to emphasize the unpredictability of society.
Part of this deconstruction involved Miró's embrace of "surrealism", a style that specifically focused on creating nonsensical things in order to parallel the inconsistency of life itself. This idea was incredibly ahead of its time and something that continues to influence artists today as they continue to understand the subjectivity of the world itself. As somebody who made a variety of objects such as collages, tapestries, and even ceramics, Miró was particularly enthused with creating pieces that could exist in a space. This aspect of his work also brings it into the realm of mid century modern furniture, allowing his work to be able to exist as easily in a gallery as a bedroom.
3. Fernand Léger (1881-1955)
Fernand Léger was a French artist who operated in a similar manner to Miró, emphasizing surrealism in his art to deconstruct elements of society. The difference between the two, though, was that Léger was explicitly a Cubist, meaning that he utilized abstract shapes and colors in order to create a new context for the modern artist to work in. By focusing on humans and everyday objects and subsequently taking them apart in his work, Léger could comment on what makes up ourselves and our surroundings.
Something that Léger was inspired by in particular was consumerism, frequently highlighting machines and other things associated with advertisements and the dawn of the industrial age. This was incredibly forward-thinking at its time as it represented ideas that wouldn't be addressed again until the mid-20th century by artists such as Andy Warhol, a style that's now referred to as "Pop Art".
This consumerist focus of Léger's work makes it very fitting to pair his midcentury modern art with any type of Art Deco or Bauhaus inspired architecture or furniture.
Our Design Center
At Iconic Snob Galleries we have not only works from all of these artists, but also an extensive collection of 18th century antiques, 19th century antiques, and even mid-century modern pieces at our antique and design center. We frequently travel around the world to continually add to our collection and make sure that we have one of the most unique and impressive displays in the world.
Our showroom at the antique and design center has over 4,500 square feet for you to peruse, including a wide variety of art from different countries and eras. In fact, over the years we have become one of the most trusted and experienced vendors of the most cutting-edge avant-garde pieces, attracting many different types of clients. Some of our most frequent customers include interior designers, collectors, design mavens, and even architects, something that we believe demonstrates our collection's appeal for those looking for some truly ground-breaking pieces to act as furniture or dynamic art pieces.
The truth is, the art that we preserve and experience from the past is essential for understanding our future. This is especially true when it comes to the late 19th and early 20th centuries as many people would say that we're still catching up to the ideas that were pioneered by influential artists such as Calder, Miró, and Léger.
Thankfully, we are able to elaborate on their ideas and continue to bring ourselves into the future of 2019!
Curious about our collection? Don't hesitate to contact us or stop by our antique and design center to see some midcentury modern art today!
*All artworks here-displayed are available at Iconic Snob Galeries