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Kem Weber

(1889—1963)


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Paul Poiret (1879—1944)

modernism

 

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(1889–1963)

Weber was an important figure in the dissemination of modern design in the USA in the interwar years. Born in Berlin he was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker in Potsdam in 1904 before studying at the Berlin School of Applied Arts from 1908 to 1912 where he worked under Bruno Paul. Rather than taking up the offer of a job with Paul Poiret in Paris in 1914 he chose to work on the German Section for the Panama‐Pacific Exposition in San Francisco of 1915, the outbreak of war forcing him to remain in the United States. In the 1920s he became increasingly influential in the promotion of contemporary European ideas in America, working as artistic director for Barker Brothers Furniture Company in Los Angeles, designing furniture, interiors, and packaging. Having become a US citizen in 1924, he subsequently opened an office and studio in Hollywood in 1927. The most important designer promoting European Modernism on the West Coast of America, he was also the West Coast representative of the American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen (AUDAC), exhibiting at its New York Exhibitions of 1930 and 1931. In 1933–4 he also designed film sets for Paramount and tubular steel furniture, as well as his knockdown streamlined Airline lounger seat which, although it was ordered by many stores, was never put into mass production. He also worked on a series of streamlined designs, including clocks for Lawson Time Inc. After the Second World War he concentrated on architectural projects rather than industrial design.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art — Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.


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