During the 1930s the Gallery was one of the first to collect mass-produced or limited-edition home furnishings with a very strong, contemporary design aesthetic and to display them in an art gallery setting. The exhibition illustrated some of the ways in which the boundaries between art and design for the home have been challenged since then.
Some manufacturers deliberately chose to employ contemporary artists in order to improve the design and cachet of their products: the exhibition included items designed for industrial production by artists such as Dame Laura Knight, Eric Ravilious and John Piper. Many of the designers included in the show were influenced by contemporary art, particularly Neo-Romanticism, Abstraction, Surrealism, Op and Pop Art. Modern art opened up new ways of looking at objects which, combined with developments in science and technology, led to new forms for traditional functional objects and novel sources for decoration.
The exhibition also included paintings and works on paper that haven’t been seen for several decades, alongside textiles and wallpapers from the Whitworth art gallery and some key works of art from the Arts Council Collection.
Louisa Hodgson, In Search of Peace
© Manchester City Galleries.