March 20th, 2019


Wednesday Word: Gesamtkunstwerk

Gesamtkunstwerk - noun. German.

Sometimes I wish all y'all could follow along on my art history class because it is so fascinating to learn the more design and manufacturing side of things we all know, love and take for granted.

Gesamtkunstwerk is German for "total work of art". It was first used in 1827 but came to popularity during the Art Nouveau period. Gesamtkunstwerk can also refer to music or any other art, but I will focus on the stuff I know! Suddenly, the idea of furnishing a home top to bottom with everything matching in sync - from furniture to utensil to clothing - became a radical notion. Designers controlled every aspect of a room. Changing a piece of furniture broke the concept. Some examples include the Stoclet House, Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and Eugene Vallin's dining room. If you want to go a little more recent, think of those old Sears catalogue pages where everything matched in a dizzying array of patterns.