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Art Deco Reflects Principles of Modernism, Essence of Fashion

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS REPRINTED FROM THE "NEW YORK TIMES" ON JUNE 24, 2011.


Art Deco the term refers to the popular styles and designs of the period originating around World War I and running through World War II (circa 1915-1945). The Art Deco movement began in France but extended into Britain, Italy, North America and other European countries.

However, the term "Art Deco" was not used until the style's revival in the 1960s.

Art movements often change with the times. Art Deco grew out of the principles of modernism; it sought to portray, through design, the essence of modern living. It was typically identified by stylistic features such as extravagant ornamentation and decorative geometry.

Art Deco furnishings frequently used marquetry, enameling and other techniques to create surface interest. Vivid color was often used in the 1920s, and the designs were reminiscent of Impressionist and post-Impressionist techniques.

After the First World War and Great Depression, human rights increased, resulting in design streamlining; a simpler form of Art Deco become fashionable.

The color palette in the 1930s became more subdued with white, black and metallic surfaces combined with softer hues. Combining smooth curves and angles was characteristic; this was the style associated with high technology in American culture.

The popularity of Art Deco peaked at the 1930 World's Fair in New York City. After that, tastes changed.

Overly decorative geometry had dropped from fashion by World War II, and simple geometry in furnishings became the norm.

Pioneering designers such as Jacques Adnet, Andre Arbus, Edgar Brandt, Michel Dufet, Dominique, Paul Kiss, Rene Lalique, Jules Leleu, Louis Majorelle, Sue et Mare, Rene Prou, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann and Raymond Subes replaced the heavy, stylized work of the past with furniture that was simpler in concept, geometric in form, and highlighted by dramatic lines and elegant curves.

In the 20th century, the lifestyle changed too fast for artists to look for appropriate ways to represent the "new world." Therefore, they looked back at some relatively recent styles and found that Art Deco could be used for representing the new world.

Art Deco made a comeback in the 1970s and 1980s as well. Even now, Art Deco as a design style is still in fashion.

Source : Gail Weinbrum for the Palm Beach Post dated Friday, March 10, 2006

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