Art Deco was an international design and art movement in the 1920s and ’30s. Influenced by sources as varied as the Bauhaus School in Germany, the Cubist paintings of Georges Braques and Pablo Picasso, Mayan ruins in the Yucatan, and the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, the style was a rejection of the organic, naturalistic sensibility of Art Nouveau.
Art Deco was a machine-made aesthetic for a fast-paced industrial age, using symmetry and line to bring order to the natural world and suggest movement in objects as inert as chairs and bookends. Even the cinema echoed and inspired the trend, most famously in Fritz Lang’s 1927 vision of dystopia, Metropolis.
For a time, no object escaped the streamline touch of Art Deco. Frank Lloyd Wright filled his geometric buildings with equally angular lamps, tables, and stained-glass windows. Indeed, Art Deco architecture is perhaps the most enduring legacy of the style.
The 1930 Chrysler Building, an Art Deco masterpiece, is one of the most famous landmarks in Manhattan; the 1937 Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is another Art Deco triumph, in this case of both design and engineering. Then there’s Ocean Drive in the South Beach section of Miami, home to some 800 preserved Art Deco structures. Inside all those Art Deco buildings was furniture by the likes of Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, who equipped his armchairs with assertive, mesa-flat armrests. Elsewhere in the house, a host of decorative and functional objects set an elegant tone.
Because most Art Deco objects were mass-produced, a great many survive today, making them terrific and often surprisingly affordable collectibles. Industrial designers Raymond Loewy and Henry Dreyfus created many functional objects (such as clocks, radios, and telephones) with the classic Art Deco angular, streamlined look. Statuettes and figurines, frequently of female nudes, were produced in plastic, bronze, and ceramic. Glass objects — from vases to perfume bottles — were also popular, with René Lalique, Antonin Daum, Henri Navarre, and Maurice Marinot among the most prized practitioners.
Porcelain figurines created for Robj, Rosenthal, and Lenci often depicted characters and caricatures dressed in the fabrics of the day, with Art Deco costume jewelry on their necks and Art Deco watches on their wrists. By the bed would be a bronze and mahogany clock, in the dining room a china service emblazoned with geometric patterns, and in the living room silver and enamel cigarette cases leaning against ashtrays made of Bakelite.
Art Deco had a great ride, but by 1939 the movement had run its course, giving way to World War II and what we now know as the Mid-Century Modern style (which made even the simple flourishes of Art Deco look baroque). A 1966 exhibition in Paris at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs reminded the world why Art Deco, previously called modernism, had been so popular in its day. Today, it may be even more so...
Key terms for Art Deco:
Bakelite: One of several patented early plastic resins (along with Plaskon, Beetle, Catalin, etc.) popular in the 1920s and 30s, which are associated with Art Deco style objects. Invented by Leo Baekeland.
Streamlining: In an effort to make everything from radios to railroad trains look modern, designers tried for a streamlined look, which became ubiquitous during the heyday of Art Deco.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Art Deco 1910-1939
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Art Deco
Source: Google News
Beauty Box: Art Deco colors for your eyesPhilippine Star, September 2nd
What makes it unique: Art Deco's new collection is all about decadent colors. The new soft and creamy texture of the Soft Eyeliner is long-lasting, smudge-proof and waterproof. The liner can easily be blended shortly after application and is...Read more
'Art Deco Style Remains, But Elements Missing'The New Indian Express, September 1st
From the buildings on NSC Bose Road to Alliance Francaise and unoccupied houses, Sujatha Shankar, architect and convenor of INTACH Chennai, in her lecture on Sunday, took the audience through the vestiges of the Art Deco buildings in Madras...Read more
For a taste of Art Deco, head to New Zealand's NapierThe Globe and Mail, September 1st
Mairs is speaking of Napier's Art Deco Weekend, an annual celebration of the city's architectural and cultural heritage. On the Friday afternoon of the four-day summer (our winter) festival, he adds, “all modern vehicles are voluntarily removed from...Read more
Boch Frères art deco beautiesTelegraph.co.uk, September 1st
Collectively, Catteau's highly creative interwar designs are in the art deco style, but they provide a very varied, eye-catching, and unique take on it. Over and above the diverse and pleasing shapes of the vases, it is the hand-painted imagery that...Read more
Around and about: Museum guild members see piece of art deco historyOmaha World-Herald, August 30th
In a rare occurrence, guests at the annual luncheon sponsored by the Durham Museum's On Track Guild got to see one of the original art deco chandeliers in the Suzanne and Walter Scott Great Hall up close. The chandeliers were lowered to viewing level ...Read more
Downtown Tulsa Gift Shop Inspired By City's Art DecoNews On 6, August 27th
Franklin said he loves the art deco period. "As an artist, I find it so intriguing, it crosses over from classical art to contemporary art and it merges right at that intersection,” he said. His shop is right in the center of the deco landscape...Read more
For Art deco lovers, your ship has come inLos Angeles Register, August 26th
Fans of art deco will get a full-immersion experience beginning Thursday as the Queen Mary and Art Deco Society of Los Angeles stage the 10th annual Art Deco Festival aboard the iconic ship. The Queen Mary, herself a “deco-licious” delight from bow to ...Read more
Chanel's Art Deco-Inspired JewelsWall Street Journal, August 5th
This fall's Art Deco–inspired collection, dubbed Café Society in honor of the artistic beau monde in which Chanel herself traveled, is one of the first to have been completely produced by the artisans there. (The group of 77 pieces includes classic...Read more