Art Deco is a style of architecture, visual arts, and design that emerged in France just before the World Wars. The Deco movement was a global design movement, spreading over fourteen years. It played a significant role in the progression and the development of Modern Art. The Deco Movement included a blend of modern decorative art styles, mostly from the 1920s. These styles were derived from numerous state-of-the-art painting philosophies, including Constructivism, Neoclassical, Cubism, Modernism, Futurism, Art Nouveau. The Deco movement inspired various decorative arts, such as interior designing, architecture, industrial designing, and visual art forms like painting, fashion, graphic arts, and cinema.
The term ‘Art Deco’ was coined in a show, ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes,’ held in Paris in the 1920s. The show was organized by some French artists to promote a new genre of art, adjusted to the contemporary lifestyle, a clear sense of individuality, and exquisite artistry. The pioneers of this exhibition were the members of the society, ‘La Societe des artistes decorateurs,’ including Eugene Grasset, Hector Guinmard, and Raoul Lachenal.
The term ‘Art Deco’ however, achieved broad recognition only in the year 1968, when art biographer Bevis Hiller, came out with his famous book, ‘Art Deco of the 20s and 30s,’ and arranged an exhibition, ‘Art Deco,’ at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
This movement was distinguished for its manipulation, abstraction, and simplification of fixed geometric shapes, and vivid use of colors. The bold blending curves and color schemes were the selling points of the actual ‘Deco’ creations. The ‘antique arts’ of Ancient Egypt, and Aztec Mexico, inspired this movement. In the age of streamlining technology and machines, the use of materials, such as enamels, plastics, concrete, and a rare type of glass, ‘vita-glass,’ considerably influenced the movement.
The Empire State Building noted for its pyramid-like construction, and the Chrysler Building, known for its multi-arched dome, are the existing models of the ‘Deco’ style. The movement even described the fashion industry of Paris in the 1920s. The dresses sported high chromium buttons, head-hugging cloche hats worn with substantial fur collars, swaying earrings, and ‘bobbed hairstyles,’ all amounting to an entirely new and innovative look. The BBC building in Portland and the vault of the Strand Palace Hotel, London, are the examples of the pure ‘Art Deco’ style.