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Machine Age Modernism: Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection

Machine Age Modernism, a special presentation of prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection, captures the tumultuous aesthetic and political climate of the years before, during, and after World Wars I and II in Britain. Today known as the Machine Age, this was an era that embraced industry and mechanization. New modes of communication and transportation infused with the aura of speed and efficiency—radios, trains, automobiles, airplanes—transformed the landscape of the country.

This exhibition features a wide range of vanguard imagery produced during the period, including themes such as cityscapes, war, industrial technology, rural farming, sport, and leisure activity. During World War I, two British printmakers, Edward Wadsworth and C. R. W. Nevinson, depicted Britain’s military efforts, portraying soldiers at the front, war ships, and manufacturing projects in support of the war effort. In the following decades, another group of artists began to explore their changing world with a new medium, the linocut. Students at the progressive Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London learned to make prints from common linoleum flooring. Sybil Andrews, Claude Flight, Lill Tschudi, and others made technically experimental prints whose vibrant colors and geometric forms bridged abstraction and representation. They chose to embrace craft-like execution that encouraged simplicity. The works featured in this exhibition are filled with the energy and excitement of the Machine Age and exemplify how artists found inspiration in the modern world.

All works in the exhibition are from the Daniel Cowin Collection.
Relevant research areas: Western Europe, 20th Century, Relief printing

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