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This eight-part course explores the diverse and exciting interiors, furniture and objects of the post-war international modernist period between 1940 and 1965.

In the aftermath of World War II, and against the backdrop of Cold War politics, design assumed an important role in the reconstruction of economies and national identities. Governments, companies, and individuals sought to promote modern design to a public which had suffered privations and rationing since the Depression of the 1930s. New materials and processes, original forms, and inventive imagery offered the possibility of a brighter future for all and fueled the optimism of the age. In this course, overview lectures examine this period thematically and contextually and are balanced by case studies. Contemporary collecting, dealing, and the interiors market for Mid-century Modern design are all important aspects of the course.

This course will appeal to collectors, interior designers, dealers, and design enthusiasts.

This Intensive Course consists of live-streamed lectures and discussions. Recordings of the live sessions are accessible anytime during the course via our online learning platform, Canvas.

Students will learn:

  • To recognize Mid-Century Modern designers, distinguishing their aesthetics, materials, and practice relative to different countries in Europe and the Americas, between 1940 and 1965.
  • The function and significance of Mid-Century Modern design within post-war interiors, between 1940 and 1965.
  • How to engage with the Mid-Century Modern design market.
The Details
  • Course Dates & Fees

    Course Dates & Fees

    November 17 - December 10, 2020
    Tuesdays and Thursdays | 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. GMT
    (1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT)
    Course Fee: £595.00 
    All online Intensive Courses are developed in London by Sotheby's Institute faculty, programming staff, and industry experts.
  • Sample Topics

    Sample Topics

    Topics covered in this course may include:

    • Introduction to Post-War Architecture and Interiors

    • Case Study: Isamu Noguchi

    • Case Study: Robin & Lucienne Day

    • Scandinavia: Craft and Industry

    • Case Study: Tapio Wirkkala

    • France: Modernism and the Decorator

    • Case Study: Jean Prouvé

    • Italy: La Dolce Vita

    • Case Study: Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti

    • Collecting Mid-Century Modern

    • The Market for Mid-Century Modern

    • Beyond Europe: Mid-Century Modern in Latin America

  • How It Works

    How It Works

    Our online Intensive Courses are designed to enrich and deepen your understanding of a specific art world subject in an accelerated and dynamic format. The courses are ideal for undergraduates, career changers, art professionals, and art lovers seeking to learn more about art and cultural history or to acquire specific knowledge/skills.
    Led by art professionals drawn from our global faculty, these courses provide participants with expert insight and practical skills through a combination of livestreamed lectures and group discussion. Course materials and lecture recordings can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via Sotheby’s Institute’s learning platform – Canvas. Canvas is an intuitive, self-contained environment that requires no additional software.
    Once you successfully complete the course, you will receive a verified Certificate of Completion from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Our digital certificates allow you to share new skills with various social media platforms, including LinkedIn.
  • Faculty


    Elisabeth Bogdan (Faculty & Subject Leader: History of Design, Decorative Art and Design) has been a lecturer in decorative art and design history at the Institute since 2003. She has taught in the visual arts and on art world education since 1992 at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, previously at Southampton Solent University, Oxford Brookes University and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. Her specialist teaching includes eighteenth to twentieth century European and American design, decorative art and architectural history. Additional to leading the Decorative Art and Design semester course, she teaches on the MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design and on summer short courses. She has published in the decorative arts, particularly for the Decorative Arts Society, the Design History Society and Phaidon Press. She is a contributor to courses at the V&A, is a former Trustee of the Design History Society and is a decorative art and design consultant for a Canadian valuation firm.
    Elisabeth Darby (Consultant Lecturer, MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design). Darby's research and teaching focuses on 19th, 20th and 21st century decorative arts, design and craft, with particular emphasis on furniture. She developed and was Program Director of the MA in Contemporary Design at Sotheby's Institute in London from 2008 to 2016 and now teaches on the MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design, for various semester courses and public programs, and also runs the MA elective Contemporary Design and its Markets. Lis is Visiting Researcher and PhD supervisor at Central St. Martins (University of the Arts London) and lectures regularly at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She has contributed to various publications and journals on both sculpture and the decorative arts; her book Re-Issue, Re-Imagine, Re-Make: Appropriation in Contemporary Furniture Design was published by Lund Humphries in 2020.
  • Register


    Click here to register.

    This course is listed under the Intensive Course option in the online application. Online Intensive Courses are open to anyone 18 years of age and older. Registration takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.
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