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.

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Recent News: Art Deco

Source: Google News

Hilfiger buys art deco Miami hotel
Travel Weekly UK, April 17th

Designer Tommy Hilfiger's luxury hospitality arm Raleigh Group has bought an art deco hotel in Miami. The 105-room Raleigh Hotel on South Beach has been acquired for an undisclosed sum. Hilfiger said: "The Raleigh Hotel is a true Miami Beach treasure ...Read more

Art deco pavilion reopens on Worthing Pier after renovation
BBC News, April 16th

An art deco pavilion on Worthing Pier, which has been left empty for three years, has been renovated. Built in 1935, the Southern Pavilion was last used as a night club. The refurbishment began in January and is now complete. The managers hope it will...Read more

Luxury Paris hotel Le Lutetia closes for renovation
Sydney Morning Herald, April 14th

Paris's landmark luxury hotel Le Lutetia, whose guests included Pablo Picasso, Charles de Gaulle and James Joyce, closes Monday for a three-year renovation following similar makeover moves by rivals. The seven-storey Art Deco hotel built in 1910...Read more

COLLECTION: Modern Art Deco designs by Geoffrey's
Professional Jeweller, April 14th

The geometric 18ct gold Binary ring set with diamonds. New UK jewellery brand Geoffrey's specialises in modern 18ct gold designs inspired by architecture and the Art Deco period. Crafted by fine jewellery designer Juliette Collins, the range is a...Read more

13/04/2014Landmark Art Deco Paris hotel closes for renovation
Expatica France, April 13th

Paris's landmark luxury hotel Le Lutetia, whose guests included Pablo Picasso, Charles de Gaulle and James Joyce, closes Monday for a three-year renovation following similar makeover moves by rivals. The seven-storey Art Deco hotel built in 1910...Read more

New book highlights work of Art Deco muralist Hildreth Meiere
Charleston Post Courier, April 12th

NEW YORK - Hildreth Meiere was a prolific Art Deco muralist whose highly stylized figures and geometric patterns adorn New York's Radio City Music Hall, Nebraska's Capitol, the National Academy of Sciences and many other noted buildings. Yet the artist ...Read more

Jacuzzi, art deco theatre and leotards up for grabs in Spanish auction
NEWS.GNOM.ES, April 10th

A Jacuzzi in the Canary Isles, an art deco theatre in Asturias, shares in a second division football club and 50 brassieres are just some of the items on offer at the Spanish inland revenue's annual auction of confiscated goods. About 1 million buyers...Read more

An Artisan's Devotion to Art Deco
Wall Street Journal, April 3rd

German-Brazilian cabinetmaker Ludwig Vogelgesang is preserving France's Art Deco furniture-making tradition one piece at a time from his north Paris workshop. Mr. Vogelgesang, 60 years old, divides his work between restoring original pieces and...Read more