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Designed by Gilbert Rohde, Vanity, Model 3920, 1939, East India rosewood, sequoia burl, silver solid and plate over steel, PVC impregnated cloth, Plexiglas, brass, and glass, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Michael W. Dale and the Design Council, 2001. © Estate of Gilbert Rohde

The 32nd Annual Houston Antiques Dealers Association Lecture “When America Went Modern: Design in the 1920s and 1930s”

Thursday, Feb 13, 2014
2 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Law Building, Lower Level
1001 Bissonnet Map & Directions

Presented by John Stuart Gordon, Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts, Yale University Art Gallery.

Made possible through proceeds from the Houston Antiques Dealers Association 2014 Spring Antigues Show and Sale, February 14–16, at the George R. Brown Convention Center. See for more information.

This lecture explores the varied influences and myths surrounding the appearance of modern decorative arts during the Jazz Age and the popularization of the style during the Depression. The earliest promoters of modern design in America were European émigrés who helped form a quintessentially American version of modernism that borrowed freely from a range of global influences. This talk looks at how American manufacturers and craftsmen, although skeptical of modernism at first, eagerly embraced the new style and applied it to furniture, housewares, textiles, silver, and glass. For many Americans, the idea of “going modern” meant more than simply buying objects in the latest style but implied adopting a new worldview. As a result, modern design became tied to social and cultural issues, such as Prohibition, and celebrated innovations in architecture, transportation, and new materials.

A reception to meet the speaker follows the lecture. Questions about the content of this lecture? E-mail

Reserve your free seat in advance! Use the "Get Tickets" button above and print at home; call 713.639.7771; or visit any MFAH admissions desk.

Community Partner: Houston Antiques Dealers Association