Mod Links - VIII


Mid-Century Modernist Cufflinks with Secessionist Inspiration (LEO Design)


This week we are sharing a selection of Modernist cufflinks, recently added to our on-line collection. Please click here to see our full range of cufflinks—from Victorian to Modernist.

The Modernist Movement—like many design movements before it—was known to "lift" aesthetic inspiration from history and the work of earlier designers.  Modernist designers and craftsmen (like all artists) looked-back for historical, literary and cultural elements which could be "revived" (or adapted) for their contemporary works.  I've sold Mid-Century pottery inspired by archeological discoveries—including vases decorated to emulate early paintings from the caves of Lascaux, France.  Many Modernist ceramics forms are inspired by the utilitarian objets (jugs, urns, bowls) uncovered at sites in Egypt, Greece, or Mesopotamia (which explains the abundance of jug handles on so many Modernist vases).  Ancient shields, architecture and other graphic elements were adapted and freely-utilized in Modernist decor.  It's all part of the same "Cycle of Design" from the beginning of time—not much is truly new; most design contains "roots of inspiration" tapping an earlier person, time or place.

The American Modernist cufflinks, shown above, take inspiration from European Secessionist design of fifty years earlier.  In turn, this Secessionist design was likely inspired by "tribal" or ancient artifacts that came centuries before—perhaps a shield from ancient Rome, Greece, Macedonia or elsewhere.  The cufflinks, made in the 1950's or 1960's, are another example of "aesthetic recycling," a practice as old as art itself.  Click on the photo above to learn more about these cufflinks.

More Modernist cufflinks tomorrow and in the days to come.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248