Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Intro to Art Deco

By Gretchen Sawatzki

The Art Deco style has epitomized what it means to be modern since its inception around the turn of the 20th century. The first solid design movement that broke the revivalist tradition of the same period, Art Deco dominating the market in the post-WWI world. While Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival, and many other "revival styles" were prevalent during the same period, the Art Deco style turned the design world on its head offering new design motifs that were inspired by the modern world, removing itself from past design motifs and styles.

Art Deco style wall sconce circa 1930.
Image by Hannah Manning for Materials Unlimited

While popular after WWI, the Art Deco style hit its peak at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Modernes held in Paris. The exposition hosted nearly 16 million visitors over its 7 month run and was intended to promote French superiority in luxury goods. The exposition featured everything from furniture to fashions, perfumes, and more all aimed at wowing the international market.

Art Deco interior from Jacques Doucet's hôtel particulier staircase,
33 rue Saint-James, Neuilly-sur-Seine, 1929 photograph
 Pierre Legrain (1889 - 1929) (The Red List) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Art Deco style proliferated through the 1930s and continued in rural America to dominate design into the post-WWII era. Many credit the Art Deco design movement as the catalyst for modern design as we know it.

The Art Deco style is characterized by:
              - Geometric lines
              - Delicate proportions
              - Modern materials
              - Clean, not cluttered lines

              Buffalo Architecture and History
              The Metropolitan Museum of Art
              Victoria and Albert Museum

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