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Sotheby's Institute of Art

History of Interior Design: 1715 to Today

Oct 16—Dec 10, 2019
USD 1860

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This 8-week intensive course is a survey of the major design styles and movements in Europe and America since the mid-18th Century. Course lectures explore the shift in design from royal or ecclesiastical patronage to designs geared towards more personal, practical, and conceptual tastes. Important design styles and movements, such as rococo, neoclassicism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Modernism will be considered, as well as the impact of the Industrial Revolution and globalization. Additionally, this course examines the emergence of interior design as a profession at the turn of the 20th Century and explores innovations in design today. Each week will focus on a selection of case studies that will be contextualized through lectures, readings, and online group discussions.

What you will learn:

  • A foundation in the history and development of interior design.
  • The ability to identify and analyze the significant design styles and movements since the mid-18th Century.
  • A working vocabulary to describe interiors, furniture, and decorative arts.
  • An understanding of the social and political events that influence interior design.

Sample Topics

Week 1: France in the 18th Century

  • Louis XIV
  • Interiors in Rococo Style
  • The Luxury Market in France in the 18th Century

Week 2: Neoclassicism, French Empire, and English Georgian Styles

  • Marie Antoinette, Late Neoclassicism, and the Fall of the Monarchy
  • Transitional Style: Post-Revolutionary France & the Directoire
  • England in the 18th Century

Week 3: The Industrial Revolution and Victorian Style

  • The Crystal Palace Exhibition
  • John Lockwood Kipling
  • The Aesthetic Movement (1860s-1890s)

Week 4: Design Reform in the 19th Century

  • Lord Leighton House
  • English Arts and Crafts Movement

Week 5: Fin-de-siècle and Early 20th Century Design

  • Art Nouveau in France
  • Art Nouveau in Belgium
  • Other European Expressions of Art Nouveau

Week 6: Modernism & The Emergence of Interior Design as a Profession

  • The Chicago School
  • The Bauhaus (1919-1934)
  • Marcel Breuer's House in the Museum Garden at MoMA

Week 7: Art Deco, Le Corbusier, and Art Brut

  • Art Deco
  • Le Corbusier
  • Art Brut

Week 8: Mid-20th Century Design & Design Today

  • Hans Wegner & Scandanavian Modern
  • Mid-Century Modern Charles & Ray Eames
  • Design Today


BA, Art History, Hunter College City University of New York MA, Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, Bard Graduate Center Ann Bell is an art historian and lecturer. Her research interests include French society under the rule of Louis XIV and the history of theatre, with a focu...

Next dates

Oct 16—Dec 10, 2019
USD 1860

How it works

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