American Modern, 1925–1940
Design for a New Age
May 16, 2000–February 4, 2001
Between 1925 and 1940, a pioneer group of industrial designers emerged in this country who decisively altered the shape and character of the everyday things with which we live. They created objects that reflected the dynamism of the twentieth century, trying their hand at everything from streamlined locomotives and "skyscraper" furniture to cocktail shakers and kitchen appliances. Drawn exclusively from the Museum's collection and from the John C. Waddell Collection, a major promised gift to the Metropolitan, this landmark exhibition features more than 150 objects—including furniture, clocks, appliances, posters, textiles, radios, tableware, and even a bathroom sink—by such leading designers as Norman Bel Geddes, Donald Deskey, Paul Frankl, Raymond Loewy, Isamu Noguchi, Eliel Saarinen, Walter Dorwin Teague, Walter von Nessen, and Russel Wright.
Installed chronologically and thematically, the exhibition reveals how these and other key innovators of the period—while at first dependent on contemporary modernist design movements in France, Germany, and Scandinavia—ultimately forged a style that was at once modern and unmistakably American.