During the prosperous and peaceful 1950s, there were many artists who had achieved, or were reaching prominence in the art world. This article will outline some of the more prominent.
Mark Rothko was one of the more original painters during the era. He had broken into the art scene in the United States during the '30s and kept experimenting with forms until he began producing the large multiforms he is so famous for today. The first of these was painted in 1948. He only painted in oil on vertical canvases for the next seven years. His goal was to overwhelm with intimacy and a sense of the unknown with these large paintings.
Henry Moore was long a famous English sculptor, and by the early '50s was receiving plenty of publicity. He won a commission for a reclining figure for the UNESCO building in Paris. His Family Group in bronze (1950) was his first large commission after WWII. During this period, he began to hire assistants and continue to work prodigiously.
Serge Mouille is a master of modern lighting. In Paris Mouille had begun to imitate organic forms as he crafted his metals into modern light fixtures. His spider lamps are representative of the forthcoming minimalist aesthetic throughout the arts.
Alberto Giacometti is a sculptor whose work was similar to Serge Mouille's in style. His thin stick-like figures were more akin to sculpting "the shadow that is cast" by the human body rather than the body itself. The result defies easy classification and is some of the most original produced during the era.
Francis Bacon is another important figure in painting, and was discovered by the art critic David Sylvester, who had written about Moore and Giacometti. Bacon's work, originally perceived as expressionist, defies categorization with its raw spartan imagery and powerfully stark pallette.
Willem de Kooning is a painter who is best known for his equine portraits of women. Why is his work so great, people have asked? Part of the reason is his dedication - he often spent months working on a single painting, scraping and reducing to get the figures exactly as he wanted them. The result was a perplexing ambiguity, which foreshadowed his more abstract work during the later half of the century.
These artists helped to define art in the second half of the twentieth century. Their work can be seen at most major museums throughout the world. Often it may seem difficult to understand, and perhaps that is the point. All one can do when viewing them is think and feel, allow them to wash over you. That may make it easier to understand.
Gueridon offers mid century modern lighting from Serge Mouille, a modern metal master.