What is Art Déco?
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ART DÉCO – a term representing elegance, luxury and glamour, embodying a movement of decorative arts, architecture and fine arts in its whole complexity and also reflecting an attitude toward life, which has been labelled by history as "The Roaring Twenties".
Never before had the pleasures of life been enjoyed to such a dissipated extend, had conventions been swept aside or had there been a dramatic change in lifestyle involving a shift from tradition to modernity. This new perception of life found expression by exploring more liberal forms of life and it embraced all areas of life including fashion, music, entertainment and sports to sexual permissiveness.
The term "Art Déco" derived from the abbreviation of the "Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes" held in Paris in 1925 where the distinctive and sophisticated modern style emerging from around 1909 till 1939 was at its peak. It was not until 1966, however, that the name Art Déco became the official term when the Musée des Arts Decoratifs held the exhibition "Les Années 25" by which it has since been known.
The topic of the Paris exhibition in 1925, which introduced Art Déco to the world, was a perfect combination of architecture and interior design at its highest level of creativity. Boasting an interior decoration of richness, elegance and harmony the 1925 exhibition presented furniture of classical elegance veneered in sumptuous exotic woods, galuchat, shagreen or parchment, inlaid silver and ivory, fancy lighting fixtures, excellent glassworks, exuberant bronze sculptures and silver works. Famous artists and decorators included Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, Jules Leleu, Maurice Jallot, Maurice Rinck, DIM (Décoration Intérieure Moderne), Pierre Legrain, Pierre Chareau, Edgar Brandt, Jacques Adnet, Demeter H. Chiparus, Sabino, Etling, Edouard Marcel Sandoz, Boris Lacroix, Petitot, René Lalique, Muller Frères Luneville, Degué, Le Verre Francais, Pierre le Faguays (pseudonyms Fayral, Guerbe), Max le Verrier and Verlys. It was at this time that this elegant style took the world by storm, particularly North America, and became a global stylistic phenomenon.
Art Déco found its way into hotels, cinemas, public buildings and also into the entire style of home décor ranging from porcelain and ceramics, clocks and radios to kitchen utensils. Also, exquisite jewellery created by European and American avant-garde artists blossomed in the art world.
Art Déco is characterized by smooth curves, futuristic streamlining of forms, geometric or cubistic shapes but also displays rectilinear, angular and stepped forms combined with the richness of exotic wood, inlays, stylized floral designs or fancy chromed-metal details – Art Déco exudes an atmosphere of elegance. It incorporates elements from Art Nouveau, baroque and Egyptian and African cultures combining them with the modernist Art Déco style of the 1920s to the 1940s.
The outbreak of World War II brought an end to the era. The revival of Art Déco began in the late 1960s and has not lost any of its allure down to the present day.
ART DÉCO – timeless classics.