Influence of Modern Art on Early 20th-Century Advertising Art

By Kimberly A. Selber.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the early part of the 20th century two disparate yet inevitably linked areas of artistic expression emerged in America: modern art and advertising art. In the fine arts, American modern artists quested for new styles—forms that reflected the time, the mood, and the cultural perspectives that were uniquely American. In the advertising arena, many agencies and art directors began to see the value of an aesthetic approach to selling products and services. The adaptation of modern art (especially Futurist and Cubist styles), however, sparked a fiery debate within the advertising community. Recorded in the editorial pages of trade press journals such as Printers’ Ink, Printers’ Ink Monthly, and Advertising and Selling, these debates questioned the appropriateness, sales appeal, and aesthetic integrity of the new styles, all of which were often conveniently collapsed under a single moniker—modern. This study is an historical foray into the rich history of American advertising of the early part of the 20th century and serves to illustrate the influences Modern Art had on advertising in the 1920s.

Keywords: Modern Art, Advertising Art, Newspaper, Art Directors Club

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.183-192. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 542.782KB).

Dr. Kimberly A. Selber

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX, USA

Kimberly Selber is an assistant professor at The University of Texas-Pan American. Her research interests are in Advertising: Art Direction, Creative Theory, Advertising History and Branding. She is also an award-winning graphic designer and photographer, receiving international, national and regional recognition. Selber is currently working on a book about the history of the Art Directors' Club of New York and the influence of Modern Art on early American advertising art.


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