Spotlight on Alvar Aalto: Architect and Monumental Artist with Dr. Jennie Hirsh

Spotlight on Alvar Aalto: Architect and Monumental Artist with Dr. Jennie Hirsh


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Named for the title that Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) gave to his architectural practice that he founded in 1923, this conversation will examine the trajectory of Aalto's career, tracing his movement from Nordic classicism to a truly modernist aesthetic. Together with his life and work partner, wife Aino Aalto, Alvar Aalto remains one of the most influential Scandinavian modern architects. Not only did he design buildings but also the furniture and other objects that would complete them.

Covering more than 40 years of the Finnish modernist's career, this conversation will examine survey photographs and plans, as well as the reception, of a selection of Aalto's built works including:

Paimio Sanatorium (1929), the Viipuri Library (1935), MIT Baker House Dormitory (1948), Jyväskylä University Building (1951), Muuratsalo Experimental House (1953), House of Culture (1955), The Aalto Studio (1955), Maison Louis Carré (1959), Heilig Geist Kirche (1962), Stephanuskirche (1968), and Riola Parish Church (completed posthumously in 1978). Additionally, we will analyze the Finnish Pavilions that he designed for the New York World's Fair in 1939 as well as the one for the Venice biennale giardini (1951). In conclusion, we will consider the details and craftsmanship of Aalto furniture and design objects, such as his wooden Chair 611 (1929) and Chair 65 (1935) as well as the works debuted at various world's fairs, such as his Chair 400 for the (1936) Milan Triennale and the wave-like green vase that he entered into competition anonymously at the Paris 1937 exposition.

Led by an expert on modern and contemporary art and architecture, Dr. Jennie Hirsh, this Conversation will provide a detailed survey of the architectural as well as iconic design contributions of this modernist master. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of Aalto's unique contributions to the history of not only Scandinavian design but also modern architecture across the globe.

To further explore Dr. Jennie Hirsh's additional upcoming courses and seminars on the topic of architecture, we invite you to click here.

Jennie Hirsh (Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College) is a Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Columbia Universities, as well as pre-doctoral fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Commission, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Wolfsonian FIU. Hirsh has authored essays on artists including Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yinka Shonibare, and Regina Silveira, and is co-editor, with Isabelle Wallace, of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011).

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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