Postwar Art, Architecture, and Design

Stefan Muthesius

in The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560981
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Postwar Art, Architecture, and Design

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  • History
  • European History
  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)
  • Social and Cultural History



There is no doubt that planners, architects, and designers, or anybody involved with creating works addressed to the public, would have testified to the overwhelming importance of a comprehensive sense of a new postwar world, most definitely for the first twenty years after 1945. It was a period that followed what appeared as the ‘zero hour’, marking the end of the most terrible war in history. There was a sense of a new beginning that aimed at ‘making good’ what the war had destroyed and pacifying the evils of dictatorship. But not only that; the ‘reformers’ aimed higher, at creating a world which was ‘better’ than any known before, and even the pre-war years in those countries that had not been under a dictatorship, such as Britain, were held to have been gravely deficient. Almost all other countries also took part in this ‘renewal’, chiefly under the banner of ‘modernity’. This article examines art, architecture, and design in Europe during the postwar period, looking at painting and sculpture as well as postmodernism.

Keywords: art; architecture; design; Europe; postwar period; painting; sculpture; postmodernism; modernity

Article.  8391 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945) ; Social and Cultural History

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