Art Deco movement: the cornerstone of modern art

‘Art Deco’ was a dominant international design movement, spanning fourteen years, from 1925 to 1939. It played a crucial role in the development and progression of Modern Art. The Deco movement embodied a combination of the different styles of modern decorative art, largely from the 1920s and 1930s. These styles were those derived from various avant-garde painting philosophies of the twentieth century, including ‘neoclassical’, ‘constructivism’, ‘cubism’, ‘modernism’, ‘art nouveau’ and ‘futurism’. The Deco movement influenced various decorative arts, including architecture, interior design, industrial design, and visual arts forms such as fashion, painting, graphic arts, and film.

The term ‘Art Deco’ was coined at an exhibition, ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’, held in Paris in 1925. The exhibition was organized by some French artists to promote the creation of a new genre of art . , adapted to contemporary lifestyle, a distinctive sense of individuality and fine workmanship. The organizers of this exhibition were the members of the society, ‘La Societe des artistes decorateurs’, which included Hector Guinmard, Eugene Grasset, Raoul Lachenal, Paul Follot, Maurice Dufrene and Emily Decour. However, the term ‘Art Deco’ gained widespread recognition only in 1968, when art historian Bevis Hiller published his popular book, ‘Art Deco of the 20s and 30s’, and organized an exhibition,’ Art Deco , ‘at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts.

This movement was distinguished by its abstraction, manipulation and simplification of defined geometric shapes and a vivid use of colors. Bold color schemes and blending curves were the focal points of the true ‘Deco’ creations. The so-called ‘ancient arts’ of Africa, Ancient Egypt, and Aztec Mexico prominently inspired this movement. In the age of machines and aerodynamic technology, the use of materials, such as plastics, enamels, hardened concrete, and an unusual type of glass, “vita glass”, greatly affected movement. There is sufficient evidence to indicate the use of materials, such as aluminum, stainless steel, lacquer, inlaid wood, along with exotic materials, such as zebra and sharkskin.

The Empire State Building, famous for its pyramidal structure, and the Chrysler Building, known for its multi-arched dome, are living examples of the ‘Deco’ style. The movement even described the Paris fashion industry in the 1920s. The dresses sported large chrome buttons, head-hugging bell hats with huge fur collars, dangling earrings, and so-called ‘updos’ all. which equates to a completely new and revolutionary look. The BBC building in Portland Place and the basement of the Strand Palace Hotel, London, are examples of pure “Art Deco” style. The popularity of this movement took a beating in the late 1930s and 1940s, but regained its lost luster with the rise in the following of “graphic design” in the 1980s.


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