The Courtier In The Federalist: Our Obsession With Midcentury Modern Design Is Out Of Control

'GILMORE GIRLS' TV SERIES - 2000My latest for The Federalist is out this morning, in which I look at some of the issues surrounding our current obsession with “Midcentury Modern”, that incredibly imprecise term which gets bandied about everywhere these days. The article builds off of a piece I wrote a few weeks ago for this site, which resonated with many of you. It gave me the opportunity to revisit the very gracious home of Richard and Emily Gilmore on “Gilmore Girls”, while at the same time praising the work of several key furniture designers of the past several centuries – not to mention making an aside about the “art” of Lucio Fontana. As always, I am ever grateful to everyone at The Federalist for the opportunity to share some of my musings with their readers.

4 thoughts on “The Courtier In The Federalist: Our Obsession With Midcentury Modern Design Is Out Of Control

  1. Billy, I would love to see a couple of links to some of the auction houses to which you refer. Some of us night shift workers would love to peruse the current world-wide fire sale on antiques.
    Though I admit to a love of clean lines and grey walls.

    Mrs. Barron


    • The examples I gave were results from a local DC auction house weekly auction a month or so ago. For people with normal incomes your local city or county auctioneer is the best place to look for this type of furniture. And be patient! You don’t have to buy something every time you go or get a catalogue. Thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. Absolutely spot on! I was in a type of thrift shop (in Italy) a few months ago and could not believe my eyes when I saw the prices of furnishings, in particular, a large dresser/cabinet made of beautiful real wood with a mirror from the early 20th for €190 – pocket change. The Ikea-ish sofa next it was double the price. Months later the sofa is long gone and, alas, the dresser is still there. As you mentioned in your article on the loss of uniqueness in cities, we are likewise being conditioned to make our interiors bland and uniform, a loss to our home lives and the appreciation of real craftsmanship and beauty. I wish I had a way to take these beautiful pieces home!


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