Collection 1880s–1940s


Design for Modern Life

Fall 2019–Summer 2021


Richard Schadewell. Frankfurt (“Bauhaus”) telephone. 1929. Manufacturer: H. Fuld & Co. Telefon und Telegraphenwerke AG, Frankfurt. Bakelite, nickel-plated sheet brass and paint, 5 1/8 × 4 5/16 × 6 1/8" (13 × 11 × 15.5 cm). Gift of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 513 The David Geffen Wing

Between the world wars, clusters of artists, architects, and designers joined forces to work internationally as agents of economic change and social transformation. Convinced of the underlying unity of all art forms, many groups in the Netherlands, Germany, and the newly established Soviet Union aspired to harness the vast potential of industrial production and new technologies to address modern needs in the home and workplace. At the same time, middle-class women experienced new social and professional freedoms, such as opportunities for art and design education.

Broadcast via telephone, radio, film, and an explosion of print media, innovative ideas and products transcended national boundaries. Despite numerous factional disputes and false starts, the utopian experimentation of the interwar years left a powerful legacy in terms of interdisciplinary models of education, the increasing visibility of women as makers and designers, and the international networks through which creativity flowed.

Organized by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, with Andrew Gardner, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

103 works online


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].