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Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius; Revised and Expanded Edition
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Pioneers of Modern Design: From William Morris to Walter Gropius; Revised and Expanded Edition

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  12 reviews
One of the most widely read books on modern design, Nikolaus Pevsner’s landmark work today remains as stimulating as it was when first published in 1936. This expanded edition of Pioneers of Modern Design provides Pevsner’s original text along with significant new and updated information, enhancing Pevsner’s illuminating account of the roots of Modernism. The book now offe ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 8th 2005 by Yale University Press (first published 1936)
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Pevsner’s book is remarkable: it is short enough and well illustrated, which should make it an easy and accessible read for both the profane eager to find that the modern style did not appear, despite its claims, through divine revelation, but out of a tumultuous historical process, and to those more familiar with the subject, as Pevsner wide ranging knowledge of European and American architecture will have most likely something to teach them.
To this day few writers endeavour to cover both aspe
Nico Macdonald
Exhibited as an influence in Terence Conran: The Way We Live Now.
Ralph Zoontjens
Very good book treating developments around architecture and design during the 19th and early 20th century, up to early modernity. This has been the most important period for shaping the future of our mass-manufactured world, where we are now slowly climbing out of, entering the 3rd Industrial Revolution.
I may be reading this for class, but I like it enough to put it on here. It's an interesting take on art history, not a textbook.

Edit: This is pretty much all you need if you're interested in modern design. I don't always necessary agree with him but he has a certain way of putting things that is pretty endearing. I wish he was still alive just so I could see what he'd write about postmodernism. Actually, he'd probably have a heart attack about it.
Two stars is generous for this wordy and poorly illustrated book that has a poor chronology. It is annoying when the author talks about items extensively that are not illustrated or with illustrations that lack scope.
The subject is great. I am a big fan of Morris, Wright and Klimt, to name a few, but I will try another text to get a better understanding of what lead up to the modern movement.
Don't waste your time or money on this one.
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Another book read for class that I likely would not have chosen, I ended up enjoying this one more than most. The arc of its argument seemed easier to understand than most, looking at how the arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouveau came together with other ideas to create modernism, all from an English perspective. Additionally, the book piqued my interest due to the subject matter of two movements that I
I read this before studying in Paris and it was a gorgeous read. It certainly opened my eyes to architecture that I would otherwise just walk past. I recommend this to students of art history and also to those who are about to travel to Western European cosmopolitan areas.

Read it with google handy to enhance your experience. Look up what you don't understand or recognize. Great resource!
This book was originally published in 1936, and the copy I'm reading was revised and rewritten in 1960. I love reading about modern design's beginnings from someone who is living in that era. :)
David Mortimer
A helpful introduction to modern design. Not brilliantly written but still fascinating and informative.
A classic, but very dated and heavy-handed.
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Sir Nikolaus Pevsner was one of the twentieth century's most learned and stimulating writers on art and architecture. He established his reputation with Pioneers of Modern Design, though he is probably best known for his celebrated series of guides, The Buildings of England, acknowledged as one of the great achievements of twentieth-century scholarship. He was also founding editor of The Pelican H ...more
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