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Lines of strength and beauty

by
March 2006, no. 279

Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius by Nikolaus Pevsner

Yale University Press, $85 hb, 192 pp, 0300105711

Lines of strength and beauty

by
March 2006, no. 279

‘All machinery may be beautiful, when it is undecorated even. Do not seek to decorate it. We cannot but think all good machinery is graceful, also, the line of the strength and the line of the beauty being one.’

Although ridiculed in his own day as a fashion victim in dress and manners, Oscar Wilde, the exemplar of the excesses of the Aesthetic Movement, is not normally quoted in design histories. Being Wilde, what he wrote above is probably not in praise of the machine, but its inclusion in Nikolaus Pevsner’s Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius (first published in 1936) shows the breadth of reference in this excellent and now classic introduction to modern design and twentieth-century modernism.

Christopher Menz reviews ‘Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius’ by Nikolaus Pevsner

Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius

by Nikolaus Pevsner

Yale University Press, $85 hb, 192 pp, 0300105711

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