The theories of relativity in physics and the style known as Cubism in painting found a favorable reception by theoretical physicists, on the one hand, and avant-garde art dealers and patrons, on the other hand, across the seven years before the First World War. The climate in bourgeois Europe contributing to this rapid assimilation of revolutionary, intellectual work is examined from the point of view of material culture. Emphasis is placed on Neo-Idealist abstraction in urban decoration and design, with a focus on Oriental carpets, wallpaper, and electrical lighting. Elements from all three domains are found in Cubism, and relativity assimilated both vocabulary and images from newly electrified cities.

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