Art Deco 1920 – 1939

Descriptive term applied to a style of decorative arts that was widely disseminated in Europe and the USA during the 1920s and 1930s Derived from the style made popular by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, the term has been used only since the late 1960s, when there was a revival of interest in the decorative arts of the early 20th century Since then the term ‘Art Deco’ has been applied to a wide variety of works produced during the inter-war years, and even to those of the German Bauhaus But Art Deco was essentially of French origin, and the term should, therefore, be applied only to French works and those from countries directly influenced by France

Art Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewellery, fashion, cars, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners It took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925 It combined modernist styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress

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Art Deco was a pastiche of many different styles, sometimes contradictory, united by a desire to be modern From its outset, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism; the bright colors of Fauvism and of the Ballets Russes; the updated craftsmanship of the furniture of the eras of Louis Philippe and Louis XVI; and the exotic styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art It featured rare and expensive materials, such as ebony and ivory, and exquisite craftsmanship The Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers of New York built during the 1920s and 1930s are monuments of the Art Deco style

In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, the Art Deco style became more subdued New materials arrived, including chrome plating, stainless steel and plastic A more sleek form of the style, called Streamline Moderne, appeared in the 1930s; it featured curving forms and smooth, polished surfaces Art Deco is one of the first truly international styles, but its dominance ended with the beginning of World War II and the rise of the strictly functional and unadorned styles of modernism and the International Style of architecture that followed