Revolution through Beautiful Modern Art: René Herbst's Chaises Sandows and the Union des Artists Modernes (1929-1937)
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At the Salon d'Automne of 1929, French designer René Herbst (1891-1982) inaugurated the Chaises Sandows, a series of mass produced chairs built with seamless tubular steel and brightly colored elastic straps (sandows). The chairs were deemed beautiful modern art by the Union des Artists Modernes (U.A.M.), a revolutionary artist collective that Herbst co-founded the same year. The group defined beautiful objects as those that provided psychological repose and were financially attainable for every class, highly functional and socially engaged. Based on the naturalism of Hyppolite Taine, the U.A.M. believed that if beautiful art like the Chaise Sandows was consumed en masse, an egalitarian utopia would be produced. This thesis offers comprehensive understanding of their project as defined by Herbst and their manifesto and the group's connection with larger political concerns during the interwar period.