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Art Deco
Posted by Graphica on 10/6/2008 5:14:47 PM (ET)
Filed Under: General
 
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Art Deco is a movement in the decorative arts and architecture that originated in the 1920s and developed into a major style in western Europe and the United States during the 1930s. Its name was derived from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925, where the style was first exhibited. Art Deco design represented modernism turned into fashion. Its products included both individually crafted luxury items and mass-produced wares, but, in either case, the intention was to create a sleek and antitraditional elegance that symbolized wealth and sophistication.

The distinguishing features of the art deco style are simple, clean shapes, often with a "streamlined" look; ornament that is geometric or stylized from representational forms; and unusually varied, often expensive materials, which frequently include man-made substances in addition to natural ones. Though Art Deco objects were rarely mass-produced, the characteristic features of the style reflected admiration for the modernity of the machine and for the inherent design qualities of machine-made objects.

Among the formative influences on Art Deco were Art Nouveau, the Bauhaus, Cubism, and Sergey Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Decorative ideas came from American Indian, Egyptian, and early classical sources as well as from nature. Characteristic motifs included nude female figures, animals, foliage, and sunrays, all in conventionalized forms.

Most of the outstanding Art Deco creators designed individually crafted or limited-edition items. Although the style went out of fashion during World War II, beginning in the late 1960s there was a renewed interest in Art Deco design.

 
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