This chair reminds me of the one that I had as a little girl. Only mine was vinyl and turqouise. I loved it because I could sit any way that I wanted to watch TV. I recall that my favorite position was upside down.
My mother grew up in rural Mississippi with country antiques and all she wanted in her home were things that were "modern". So her style gravitated to what she identified as "Danish Modern" designs. As I got older I didn't know that the style of that time was called "Mid Century Modern" and that there was a major architectural and decor movement connected to what my mother loved so much.
"Mid-century modern" (which I will refer to as mid-mod from now on) was a self-named movement in interior decor, architecture, urban development and products that happened from the mid 1930's through the mid 1960's. It is recognized by museums and scholars around the world as a significant design movement.
You could have fooled me--I just thought of it as old--what my mother liked. Then came HGTV!
I will admit that I am an addict to that channel. I love to see all the houses and watch the makeovers and make guesses as to whether they will love it or list it. I have discovered some great diy tips that I have used on my house as well as my daughters. HGTV was where I began to get my education on mid-century modern houses and to appreciate the beauty of the "mid-mod" designs.
The mid-mod movement in the U.S. was a combination of the International and Bauhaus movements with influences by designers and architects like Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. The American designs were a bit more organic and less formal than the International movement. Akin to the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, mid-mod architecture was used in residential design with a goal of bringing modernism into America's post-war suburbs. The structures featured ample windows and open floor plans with the intention being to open up the interior spaces and bring the outdoors in. The structures introduced a ground-breaking post and beam construction that eliminated bulky support walls in favor of walls seemingly made of glass. Function was as important as form with an emphasis placed on the needs of the average American. (Thank you Wikipedia for making me sound really smart in this last paragraph and providing other tidbits throughout this blog.)
Many suburban neighborhoods, especially in California and Florida, in particular Palm Springs, sprung up featuring this style architecture with the movement spreading all over the US.
Now, back to Mom. She loved this design but had a typical one story track house in Richardson, Texas, so she had to rely on her furniture and decor to bring us the mid-mod feel. Note the dining set above--not unlike the one that she loved and that my dad still uses in his house. She called it "Danish Modern" but it was an example of the Scandinavian style characterized by clean lines, natural shapes with smooth and flowing contours, and simplicity. The Scandinavian industrial design was also seen in glassware, ceramics, tableware, and lighting as well as furniture. California was a center for ceramics design at that time and those influences are still seen today.
The Mid-century Modern Art movement started with artists like artists like Picasso and Marcel Duchamp and encompassed artists such as Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollack among many others.
You may be asking at this point "Why a blog about Mid-Century Modern Art?". After hours of HGTV and some study on my own, I came to appreciate that movement. I learned that many of the younger collectors of today are very much into mid-mod influenced homes and search out mid-mod antiques. I started keeping an eye out for artists that designed and created with that influence in mind. And we have some here at the gallery (and on our online store).
The red phonograph painting is by Austin based artist Joel Ganucheau who describes himself as "a father...and artist...a musician...a night owl...a daydreamer...". His paintings are inspired by his current mood, recent events in his life and completely random visions. Making art is very therapeutic and necessary for him.
The painting in the middle, "Have a Seat", is the work of Jeanette Chinelli of Denver. Jeanette was born in San Francisco to a family of creative Italians. Her appreciation for mid-century modern designs has brought her to the chair as her primary subject matter. Influenced by designers like Ray and Charles Eames, Jeanette feels that a chair is more than a chair...it's personal.
(See my story above; I can relate to Jeanette's feelings.)
The painting on the right is an abstract pastel by well-known Texas artist Enid Wood. Pastels are usually thought of for portraits and portraits or florals. Enid does all of those exceptionally. However, she also has branched out into abstracts with the medium and responded with several pieces when asked to explore the mid-mod influences.
ALL OF THESE ARTISTS ARE FEATURED IN OUR ONLINE STORE
ONE BIG STEP IN MY QUEST FOR ART INFLUENCED BY MID-MOD HAPPENED THIS WINTER IN PHILADELPHIA AT THE AMERICAN HANDCRAFTED SHOW.
The show features over 500 juried artists and artisans of every medium imaginable. What caught my eye were a group of artisans who create with the mid-mod aesthetic, some intentionally, some intuitively.
Featured here is fused glassware by Drew and Alyssa Kail of Camp Copeland Studios in Braddock, Pennsylvania.
Other art that I found there included wooden birdhouses and carved birds by Five Ply Designs, ceramics by Ed and Kate Copeland, and carved wood bowls by Mark Gardner.
Whether you live in a mid-mod house, have collected mid-mod pieces, or are just a little nostalgic about the whole thing, I invite you to visit our website and shop for these and many other wonderful pieces art.
Now I invite you to look at the work of one more artist that I found in Philly this winter: Mindy Sand. She does hand painted glassware using enameled glazes that are fired for functionality as well as beauty. This pattern reminded me of one of those TV shows that I watched upside down in my favorite vinyl chair during its original season of 1962-63. Can you guess which one it is? I'll give you a hint: George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Rosie the robot, and Astro the dog.
Please note that this glassware may have reminded me of a cartoon but it is stunningly beautiful and the gallery can order it in sets with mixed colors or all one color. Just call us and get details.