Art Deco


^Movie: the movie includes some examples of Art Deco architecture while incorporating music from the time period.

What is Art Deco?

The Art Deco style was at its height in the time between the two world wars (1920-1939). This type of art is mainly referred to in architecture (such as the Chrysler Buliding) but the style of design affected all of the "fine and applied arts" just the same, including furniture, clothing, jewelry, handicrafts, and graphic design. In a nut shell, Art Deco was a "modernization" of existing art styles and themes of the past, which is what makes it so very unique. The Far and Middle East, Greek and Roman, and even Egyptian and Mayan themes and designs had much influence upon Art Deco and can easily be pointed out in many examples of this type of artwork. Also affecting Art Deco was Cubism, Russian Constructivism, Italian Futurism, and pre-Columbian art and architecture of the Americas. Modern elements in the art include stylized machine and industry parts, patterns, and shapes or natural elements. The ornamentation of this style of art consists of low-relief geometrical designs most oftenly in the form of parallel lines, zigzags, chevrons, lozenges, and floral patterns. (

Why Art Deco?

Users of the Art Deco style attempted to portray the compactness they thought was expressive of the growing machine age. The ever-increasing impact of machines upon Art Deco is evident in many images from 1925 and the 1930s in streamlined forms of the principals of industrialization in America.

What’s in a name…

The name "Art Deco" originated from the Exposition Internationale Des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Modernes, held in Paris in 1925. This celebrated life in the "modern world." Begining in France, America soon became the Center of the Art Deco artistic movement.

Commonly featured in Art Deco:
-Vertical emphasis
-Steel frames
-Flat roofs
-Setbacks emphasizing geometric form
-String courses
-Figure sculpture
-Octagonal lamps, clocks, etc.
-Sunrise and floral patterns
-Intense colors in: terra cotta, glass, colored glazed bricks, mosaic tiles, and colored mirrors
-Hard-edged, low-relief ornamentation around door and window openings
-Volutes surrounding doors
-Strips of windows surrounded by decorated iron grille work
-Metal windows
-Occasional curcular or rounded windows
-Buildings "stripped down" to purest form

Art Deco Photo Gallery

Famous Artists of Art Deco:

William van Alen

Tamara de Lempicka

René Jules Lalique

Raymond M. Hood


Works Cited