'Feminine horror' or 'eminent Viennese specialty'? : Vienna's Kunstgewerblerin in Paris, 1925


This article focuses on the Austrian contribution to the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris and the role of the modern woman designer (Kunstgewerblerin) in light of the exhibition's focus on the modern female consumer. Tracing how women's contributions were seen as significant only when emphasising the pavilions shortcomings in offering truly modern (meaning practical and functional) design solutions, the article draws on debates about gender and the purpose of modern design, about the luxurious nature of the decorative arts in Vienna, and about the contested figure of the Kunstgewerblerin as a profession and a type of modern femininity. It argues that the 'female factor' in Austria's participation in Paris epitomised a moment when women's contributions to interwar Austrian design were being renegotiated in relation to the social, cultural, and economic concerns after the First World War

women designers; Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes; applied arts; Austrian design; modernism and gender; decorative arts


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