1990s American Post-Modern Figurative Sculptures
Stoneware, Resin, Acrylic
A Close Look at post-modern Furniture
Postmodern design was a short-lived movement that manifested itself chiefly in Italy and the United States in the early 1980s. The characteristics of vintage postmodern furniture and other postmodern objects and decor for the home included loud-patterned, usually plastic surfaces; strange proportions, vibrant colors and weird angles; and a vague-at-best relationship between form and function.
ORIGINS OF POSTMODERN FURNITURE DESIGN
- Emerges during the 1960s; popularity explodes during the ’80s
- A reaction to prevailing conventions of modernism by mainly American architects
- Architect Robert Venturi critiques modern architecture in his Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966)
- Theorist Charles Jencks, who championed architecture filled with allusions and cultural references, writes The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977)
- Italian design collective the Memphis Group, also known as Memphis Milano, meets for the first time (1980)
- Memphis collective debuts more than 50 objects and furnishings at Salone del Milano (1981)
- Interest in style declines, minimalism gains steam
CHARACTERISTICS OF POSTMODERN FURNITURE DESIGN
- Dizzying graphic patterns and an emphasis on loud, off-the-wall colors
- Use of plastic and laminates, glass, metal and marble; lacquered and painted wood
- Unconventional proportions and abundant ornamentation
- Playful nods to Art Deco and Pop art
POSTMODERN FURNITURE DESIGNERS TO KNOW
- Ettore Sottsass
- Robert Venturi
- Alessandro Mendini
- Michele de Lucchi
- Michael Graves
- Nathalie du Pasquier
VINTAGE POSTMODERN FURNITURE ON 1STDIBS
Critics derided postmodern design as a grandstanding bid for attention and nothing of consequence. Decades later, the fact that postmodernism still has the power to provoke thoughts, along with other reactions, proves they were not entirely correct.
Postmodern design began as an architectural critique. Starting in the 1960s, a small cadre of mainly American architects began to argue that modernism, once high-minded and even noble in its goals, had become stale, stagnant and blandly corporate. Later, in Milan, a cohort of creators led by Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini — a onetime mentor to Sottsass and a key figure in the Italian Radical movement — brought the discussion to bear on design.
Sottsass, an industrial designer, philosopher and provocateur, gathered a core group of young designers into a collective in 1980 they called Memphis. Members of the Memphis Group, which would come to include Martine Bedin, Michael Graves, Marco Zanini, Shiro Kuramata, Michele de Lucchi and Matteo Thun, saw design as a means of communication, and they wanted it to shout. That it did: The first Memphis collection appeared in 1981 in Milan and broke all the modernist taboos, embracing irony, kitsch, wild ornamentation and bad taste.
Memphis works remain icons of postmodernism: the Sottsass Casablanca bookcase, with its leopard-print plastic veneer; de Lucchi’s First chair, which has been described as having the look of an electronics component; Martine Bedin’s Super lamp: a pull-toy puppy on a power-cord leash. Even though it preceded the Memphis Group’s formal launch, Sottsass’s iconic Ultrafragola mirror — in its conspicuously curved plastic shell with radical pops of pink neon — proves striking in any space and embodies many of the collective’s postmodern ideals.
After the initial Memphis show caused an uproar, the postmodern movement within furniture and interior design quickly took off in America. (Memphis fell out of fashion when the Reagan era gave way to cool 1990’s minimalism.) The architect Robert Venturi had by then already begun a series of plywood chairs for Knoll Inc., with beefy, exaggerated silhouettes of traditional styles such as Queen Anne and Chippendale. In 1982, the new firm Swid Powell enlisted a group of top American architects, including Frank Gehry, Richard Meier, Stanley Tigerman and Venturi to create postmodern tableware in silver, ceramic and glass.
On 1stDibs, the vintage postmodern furniture collection includes chairs, coffee tables, sofas, decorative objects, table lamps and more.
Finding the Right figurative-sculptures for You
Figurative sculpture is a modern art form in which artists create work that is typically representative of the visible world. However, sculptures that are considered to be figurative in style can definitely be inclusive of abstract elements. A wide range of antique, new and vintage figurative sculptures has been made over the years by both well-known and emerging artists, and these pieces can prove striking and provocative as part of your home decor.
Realistic representation in visual art has a very long history. And while figurative artists, whether figurative painters or sculptors, find inspiration in humans, animals and real-life objects, good figurative sculptures can make us think differently about how the real world should look. Just as figurative paintings might include Photorealistic human likenesses, they can also include elements of Surrealism and can suggest a creative and alternative reality. Figurative sculptures aren’t always realistic impressions of our world — depictions of the human form in classical Greek sculpture, for example, might emphasize beauty and physical perfection.
There are a variety of figurative sculptures on 1stDibs created by artists working in a number of styles, including Art Deco, Art Nouveau, mid-century modern and more. A large figurative sculpture can introduce an excellent focal point in a guest bedroom, while smaller works might draw the eye to spaces such as wall shelving or a bookcase that people may otherwise overlook.
When decorating your living room, dining room, home office and study areas with figurative sculptures, don’t be afraid to choose bold colors to inject brightness into neutral spaces. Texture is another factor to consider when purchasing figurative sculptures. A highly textural work of ceramics or wood will catch the eye in a sleek modern space, whereas a smooth, flat glass sculpture can offer an often much-needed contrast in a room that already has many textures.
On 1stDibs, find antique, new or vintage figurative sculpture or other kinds of sculpture for your home decor today.