Alexander Calder Brass Wire Pendant
Alexander Calder Brass Wire Pendant, c.1950. Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Modernism is a collective term for a completely new Western art form. Evolving during the first half of the twentieth century, the name references a series of cultural movements in opposition to antecedent aesthetics. In painting, modernism had already gotten a foothold at the end of the 19th century. Impressionist painters united themselves in Paris and established the ‘Salon des Refusés’ after their work had been banned from the official Parisian ‘Salon’. Artisans of all disciplines were uniting and rejecting the duplication of historical aesthetics, pursuing the creation of something new.

In jewelry design, Modernism is also a term used to represent the Studio Jewelry Artists whose creations are often described as wearable (abstract) art. One well-known artist who produced such jewelry is Alexander Calder.

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