September 30, 2015 Mid-Century Modern

Forget Mad Men; Go See These Mod Women

Poldi House

The house designed by Poldi Hirsch in Havre de Grace. Photo courtesy of The American Institute of Architects, Baltimore Chapter.

While men get most of the ink, there are women who left their mark on mid-century modern architecture and design as well. There are a slew of events in our area celebrating some of these female modernists.

On Oct. 10, the national  Docomomo US Tour Day (the DC-centric version is Oct. 24),  Women in Architecture and the Historic Resources Committees of the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Baltimore Architecture Foundation will host a tour of modernist projects by architect Poldi Hirsch in Havre de Grace, including her own house. Hirsch, who immigrated from Germany in 1953 was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier , was the first woman corporate member of the AIABaltimore Chapter.

Poldi, along with 11 other architects, are featured in the Early Women of Architecture in Maryland travelling exhibit, which is currently on display in the AIABaltimore Gallery through October 30. The exhibit  also features DC modernist Chloethiel Woodard Smith.


Eva Zeisel (manufactured by Manifattura Mancioli), Belly Button Room Divider Prototype, 1957; Ceramic with metal rods, 60 x 36 in.; Courtesy of Eva Zeisel Archive; Photo by Brent Brolin

Beginning Oct. 30, the National Museum of Women in the Arts will be showing Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, an exhibition that explores the lasting impact of women artists and designers on mid-century Modernism. Highlighted artists include Ruth Asawa, Edith Heath, Sheila Hicks, Karen Karnes, Dorothy Liebes, Alice Kagawa Parrott, Lenore Tawney and Eva Zeisel. On view through Feb. 28, 2016, the exhibition presents more than 80 objects including furniture, ceramics, textiles and jewelry. Reflecting the continuing popularity of mid-century design today, the exhibition also includes a selection of contemporary work that builds upon the accomplishments of an earlier generation.