Exhibition

The Beginnings of Modernism: British Design, 1870-1910

Exhibition Dates: July 30, 2016 - July 29, 2018

Christopher Dresser
Scottish, 1834-1904
Aquarian flower pot, c. 1873
Glazed ceramic
Wedgwood, Manufacturer, Staffordshire, England, est. 1759
The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund  90.116

Christopher Dresser
Scottish, 1834-1904
Aquarian flower pot, c. 1873
Glazed ceramic
Wedgwood, Manufacturer, Staffordshire, England, est. 1759
The Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Fund 90.116

In U.S. and European decorative arts in the late 1800s, Britain led the way in modern design. Some common themes emerged: an openness to global design influences and an embrace—or rejection—of industrial manufacturing. Christopher Dresser, considered the first modern industrial designer, worked with British manufacturers of furniture, metalwork, wallpaper, ceramics, and glass to create well-designed objects for mass production. Dresser, a trained botanist and world traveler, studied design from all cultures. His designs reflect either new uses of natural or cultural motifs, or incredible simplicity through a focus on geometry and surface.

At the same time, designers and makers who were part of the English Arts and Crafts movement wanted to provide handmade—and often luxurious and expensive—alternatives to mass-produced goods. Standards were set and maintained by the Guild of Handicraft led by Charles Robert Ashbee. London department store Liberty’s of London sold handmade and unique objects made by British craftsmen and women. This exhibition shows the dominance of Britain during this era with works by Dresser and his contemporaries.

Note: This exhibition is located in downtown Minneapolis.

The Wells Fargo Center is located between 6th and 7th streets along Marquette Avenue. Exhibitions are free and open to the public, 8 a.m.–6 p.m., weekdays only. Learn more »

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