Bruno Paul : the life and work of a pragmatic modernist

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Harrod, William Owen

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The artist, architect and educator Bruno Paul (1874-1968) was the most important German designer of his generation: one of the creators of the modern movement. Though his significance as a pioneer remains unquestioned, his name is largely absent from the standard histories of twentieth-century design. During the 1920s, Paul promulgated a theoretical position distinct from that of the younger members of the avant-garde. His personal beliefs in the role of the modern artist condemned him to obscurity. Throughout his life, Paul espoused a progressive aesthetic that was simple, practical and elegant: a pragmatic modernism suited to the needs and aspirations of the middle classes. The popular acceptance of this pragmatic modernism in Europe vii and America that prepared the way for the triumph of the avant-garde, and ultimately for the canonization of modernism as the characteristic style of the twentieth century. Yet by 1925, Paul stood apart from the avant-garde he had helped create. This study is the first detailed account of Paul’s multifaceted and prolific career. It relates the development and dissemination of a pragmatic modernism that remains as relevant today as when it was first conceived.




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