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.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Art Deco 1910-1939

Art Deco 1910-1939

This Victoria and Albert Museum has a terrific collection of Art Deco objects. On the VAM's website, you can learn … [read review or visit site]



Randy Juster's survey of Art Deco imagery and reference on all things Deco. Includes pages on murals, houses, gov… [read review or visit site]



This archived overview produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers thumbnail sketches of the design moveme… [read review or visit site]

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Recent News: Art Deco

Source: Google News

Mother and son detective team's bid to save art deco home
ITV News, September 3rd

Rollins House is a building in Peckham of two halves, one cherished - the other forgotten. The dilapidated side is owned by Renewal Group developers, who'd like to replace the former factory with 16 flats. If planning permission is given, the family...Read more

A cramped art deco apartment in Potts Point is redesigned to make it more spacious
Domain News, September 3rd

A cramped art deco apartment in Potts Point is redesigned to make it more spacious. Sep 4, 2015 Jenny Brown Domain Reporter. The dining room is the central point of the Potts Point apartment. Photo: Peter Bennetts. Architect Stephen Collier used his ...Read more

Schoolboy turns detective in bid to save art deco home
Evening Standard, September 3rd

Sami Kardos, 15, spent two years poring over old maps and records to compile a 27-page dossier with which he hopes to tonight convince council planners that the art deco former factory in Bermondsey has “heritage” value. The block in Rollins Street is...Read more

Step Back in Time During the 11th Annual Art Deco Festival at the Queen Mary
Long Beach Post, September 2nd

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles will make its 11th annual return to the Queen Mary to host a festival for the ages aboard the historical ship. Attend at least a day of the revered Art Deco Festival and have a gaze and a gander at the murals...Read more

Art Deco Movie Theater on Detroit's East Side to be Restored
WDET, September 1st

The non-profit Friends of the Alger Theater is raising money to restore the art deco building on Detroit's East Side.Organization Vice President Mike Gentile says it's taken a couple of decades to reach this point. “A group started back in the 80's...Read more

New DTLA Boutique Hotel Will Take Over Stunning Historic Art Deco Building
LAist, September 1st

The art deco building was built in 1929 and sold in 2012 to a Kyung Ku Cho, a Los Angeles doctor. Initially, DTLA Rising heard that Cho was in talks with the Gansevoort Hotel in New York. Hyde Hotels and Residences is still a pretty vague plan, but the...Read more

Le Bristol Paris To Host Art Deco Furniture Exhibit And Classical Music Concerts
Forbes, August 31st

The exhibition is part of the hotel's 90th Anniversary celebrations and is significant, as the property opened its doors in 1925, about the same time the International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts introduced Art Deco design...Read more

Art Deco Villa Exemplifies '20s French Style, Asks $4.4M
Curbed National, August 31st

For the worthy buyer with a spare $4.4 million, this alluring interwar treasure offers undiluted, perfectly-preserved Art Deco delights. Commissioned by bon vivant fashion designer Paul Poiret, the mansion was designed by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens...Read more