Keywords: 20th Century Avant Garde

Guiding questions:

  • What does design thinking mean when applied to “Modern Art” and the European Avant Garde?
  • What does it mean when design leads vs. follows other cultural trends?
  • How does Zeitgeist influence, or is effected by, design thinking?

CUBISM (fragmentation, multi-view, subdued color) the art movement which influence all of art and design movements which have followed

Pablo Picasso

George Braque

Juan Gris

Fernand Leger

Guillaume Apollinaire—(Calligrames)

Filippo Marinetti


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Poesia magazine is the foreplay before the birth of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti‘s Futurism. And so, in 1905 in Milan, he founded Poesia, which quickly became his first of many offspring in the battle for free verse and then the Futurist credo to change the conventions of art and culture.

Marinetti was devoted to literature. He advocated symbolist and romantic poetry in Italy (hence the symbolist artwork that adorned every copy of Poesia). And fancied himself a member of elite Italian literary circles. On February 20, 1909, published in Le Figaro the Fondazione e Manifesto of Futurism (Founding and Manifesto of Futurism), Marinetti assumed the role of the most important Futurist as organizer, polemicist, financier, editor,artist, poet and writer.


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FUTURISM or CUBO-FUTURISM (dynamism, motion and movement, loud powerful machine; locomotive, race cars, airplanes)—Italian

Giacoma Balla—“Dynamism of a dog on a Leash”

G. Balla Dynamism of a Dog On a Leash

Unberto Boccioni—“The City Rises”

Carlos Cara—free word painting

Fortunato Depero—The Bolted Book

Gino Severini

DADA, (hobbyhorse, nonsense, anti-war, anti-art)

Switzerland, (ZURICH), Germany, (Berlin), U.S. (New York), France, (Paris)

Hugo Ball

Tristan Tzara

Jean (Hans )Arp

Sophie Taeuber-Arp

Richard Huelsenbeck

Marcel Duchamp—readymades,

Andre Breton

BERLIN DADA (social political messages)

Kurt Schwitters — MERZ (commerce) collage

Hannah Hoch—collage

Max Earnst

George Grosz

Max Beckman

John Heartfield—Helmut Herzfelde, political & social protest, collage

Otto Dix



Kasimir Malevich— absolute geometric abstraction

Mikhail Larionov

Natalia Goncharova

"Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge"...

El Lissitzky—Beat the Whites with the red Wedge

CONSTRUCTIVISM (asembling the page ayout like constructing a building)


El Lissitzky — PROUN—the great constructor, “Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge

Alexander Rodchenko—experimental layout and photography

Vladimir Tatlin—Monument to the 3rd International (tower)

Naum Gabo, & Anton Pevsner—sculptors (brothers )

DE STIJL (the style, neo Plasticism)


Piet Mondrian—red, blue, yellow squares surrounded with heavy black line

Theo Van Doesburg

Piet Zwart—typography and photomontage

BAUHAUS becomes known as the Swiss style after the war (form follows function, structure, organization unified design, non-decorative, sans serif type).
Founded in 1919, the Bauhaus brought together artists, architects, and designers in a collaborative spirit to reassess modern life. Bauhaus set the stage by revising the formation of the line, reevaluating color theory, and reexamining the composition. These explorative studies resulted in innovations that set the standard for modern life today.

Fun times at Bauhaus Dessau

Bauhaus Party



Laszlo Moholy-Nagy—photomontage

Mies van der Rohe—architecture, the glass box

Oskar Schlemmer—2nd bauhaus logo

Kandinsky—mystical and spiritual abstract painting

Walter Gropius—architecture, chicago skyscraper

Paul Klee—spontaneity, child-like drawing

Joseph Albers—color theory

Joost Schmidt—Bauhaus at Weimar poster

Jan Tschichold—(The new Typography, lines of continuity)

Herbert Bayer—lowercase only

ART DECO (streamline style, or decorative style)

France (Paris), Belgium, (Brussels), U.S. (New York)

A.M. Cassandré—travel posters for French rail lines and Dutch steamship company

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