A Members-only Curator Tour of "The Architectural Image, 1920-1950"

posted Feb 16, 2015, 7:59 AM by Bill Marzella
Saturday, March 7th, from 2 to 3 p.m.
National Building Museum

Join us for a Saturday afternoon tour of the exhibit led by G. Martin Moeller, Jr., Senior Curator at the National Building Museum. Please note the particular relevance of this tour to the March 21-22 Latrobe Chapter Symposium, “Art in Architecture, Architecture in Art.” 

Between 1920 and 1950, architecture changed more profoundly and more rapidly than during any similar timespan in history. At the beginning of the period, neoclassicism—as promoted by the centuries-old École des Beaux Arts in Paris—still dominated in the U.S. and much of Europe. But the newly established Bauhaus school in Germany, advocating for functional design free of unnecessary ornament, challenged that tradition. By the end of the period, International Style modernism, which was largely based on Bauhaus principles, was by far the predominant force in architectural education and practice.

Prominent artists documented these changing tastes, theories, and obsessions, finding architecture and construction compelling subject matter. Some of these artists saw beauty in the inherent geometries of buildings, which they crisply captured via woodcuts or similar high-contrast media. Some celebrated the workers who built soaring skyscrapers or who toiled in modern factories. Others were fascinated by the burgeoning skylines and great works of infrastructure that distinguished the modern metropolis.

This exhibition presents 70 prints, original drawings, and paintings from the period, all drawn from a single private collection in Washington, D.C. Included are works by such noteworthy printmakers as Howard Cook, Louis Lozowick, and Charles Turzak. Collectively, these works not only shed light on the dramatic emergence of modernism, but also reveal a certain optimistic spirit that persisted despite the political, economic, and social upheaval of the era. By virtue of their bold patterns, intriguing perspectives, and masterful execution, these images invite the viewer into the captivating realm that lies at the intersection of art and architecture.

The tour will begin promptly at 2 p.m. and last approximately one hour. Meet inside the National Building Museum (401 F Street NW) near the center fountain. Tour fee includes admission to the museum.  Reservations are required. See attached flyer for additional information.

Photo by F. Harlan Hambright, National Building Museum
Bill Marzella,
Feb 16, 2015, 8:00 AM