In 1919, the Bauhaus school was formed in Germany by a group of artists and designers led by Walter Gropius. The aim of this new school was to “create a new guild of craftsmen, without the class distinctions which raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist”. The Bauhaus and its approach to design had an important influence on many subsequent developments in art and especially areas such as architecture, interior design and typography.
In the Netherlands around the same time, there was the De Stijl movement, also known as neoplasticism. Work by De Stijl artists was highly abstracted and tended to use only primary colours plus black and white. It was also extremely geometric, using only straight lines, squares and rectangles in compositions and designs.
Both the Bauhaus and De Stijl were influenced by Russian Constructivism, which encouraged the use of art for social purposes. It had a major influence on architecture, fashion and graphic design.
There was also Modernism, which encompassed many things including scientific positivism, realism and formalism. It extolled principles such as (national) identity, unity, authority and certainty – it was greatly affected by developments in science and work from this period often had a minimalist appearance.
Modernism was followed by Postmodernism. If the motto of Modernism was ‘less is more’, Postmodernism’s was ‘less is a bore’.