Art Deco
By: Winnie Qian
Victoria Humphreys
Megan Yeung
Niru Gunabalasingam
Art Deco
• Popular in 1920’s and 1930’s (immediately after
• New mood for a rigorous, clean-cut look
• Spread through every aspect of daily life between
Art Deco
Design of building, furniture, jewelry and interior décor
Modern through it’s:
– Abstract design
– Colour
– Use of nature for inspiration
– Portraying animals
– Beauties of the female form
Sleek, symmetrical streamlined forms
Elegance and sophistication
– Rise of commerce
– Technology
– Speed
Used abstraction, distortion & simplification
Flapper, the Jazz and the Machine Age
– Rubies
– Gold
– Pearls
– Plastic
– Chrome
– Steel
 More accessible
compared to
previous styles
Art Deco
• - First true 20th century style
- International
- Style could be adapted to
every single man-made object
- Arrived at a time when new
technology/ communication
ensured rapid spread
- Last total style
• E.g. could ornament a house, yacht or
• Influences:
Pharaonic Egypt
Tribal Africa
Graphic Design
• Later named after
Exposition des Arts
Décoratifs et Industriels
Moderns held in Paris in
• Took place between the 1920s and 1930s
• After the social and economic pressures of
• Definition was an innovative design style
• Common designs in art deco consisted of:
- Sleek, streamlined forms, which displayed
elegance and sophistication
• Picasso, Matisse, and the Surrealists pushed
forward the limits of painting
• Paintings mostly figurative
• Gave the impression of vulgar and modish, plus a
clear taste of character
• Abstract art strengthened during this period
• Paintings often used intense colours that collided with one
• Greatest art deco painters
– Paul Colin
– Cassandra
• Advertised railways and luxury liner voyages
• Painters also painted nude women
• Portraits would often portray women with pointed breasts
behind thin layers of diaphanous silk or thin coverings of
black Spanish lace
• Tamara de Lempicka
• Artwork ranged from stained
glass windows to educating
and informing an illiterate
• Conveyed messages that were
down to earth
• Time period was a booming
time for advertisements
• Great success in the
promotion of all products
• Everything simple and bold
• Artists message could be
easily read at a glance
• Artists:
– Raymond Hood (1881-1934)
• American Architect
– Jean Dunand (1877-1942)
• Swiss Designer
– René Lalique (1860-1945)
• French Glassmaker
• Daywear
– Eastern dress shapes has
evolved into straight and
flat dresses
– Female body became
almost abstract
 focus on hips
– Flat and straight dress
provided an ideal canvas
for the artists motifs of
the period
• Exoticism
– Art Deco drew its inspiration form many
different sources E.g African Art
• Evening Wear
– Early 1920s dresses - Sleeveless, long and
• Coats
– Long collars, worn on the shoulders or big
padded collars known as ‘boule’
– large shawls of hand-painted silk and long
• Sportswear
– increase popularity of sports
– - Greater demand for freer more
comfortable yet elegant clothes
• Vionnet
– 1920s was all about Madeline Vionnet and
Gabrielle Chanel launching a new style
Vionnet with a cut and Chanel with a style
– Designs based on ridged geometry
– Designed the famous blouson dress
• Chanel
– Designed the costume for the Ballet Russes
– Established the ‘basics’ of modern fashion
• Underwear
– Straighter and flatter dresses dictated an
androgynous silhouette
– Legs became a new focus and attention fell
on stockings
– In 1929 women started wearing a
‘combination corset’
• Hats
– Black veils, tricornes and bicorns were first
worn by war widows but later adopted as
– Often worn with elegant suits
– Most popular hat in 1930s
• Bags
– Absence of pockets on slim dresses gave new
importance to bags
– Bags had to carry everything and look
fashionable not bulky at the same time
• Shoes
– Short dresseslegs and feet were made the
focal point
– In the 1920s most shoes were high-heeled
– Later styles included tongues, cutaways, Tbars and crossover straps
More Fashion
Changes in jewellery took place in the 1920s
and 1930s because:
New style in Women’s clothing
Short Hair styles
Simple Hats needed small brooches and clasps
Make up
In the end of the war ideal feminine beauty
remained anaemic and androgynous
1920s had a tanned garçonne look
1925 evolved into a pale languid look
Late 1920s had a sophisticated femme fatale
• Fashion and the Avant-Garde
• Artists of the avant-garde were highly influential
in the development of Art Deco fashion
• Directly involved in the design of textiles and
• Avant-Garde artists were commissioned to create
striking hand-printed fabrics using: unusual colour
-Bold and colourful contrast schemes
-Geometrical shapes
• Quickly spread from Europe to U.S
• Largely built between end of WWI
in 1918 and mid 1930s
• New York’s soaring skyscrapers of
late 1920’s and early 1930’s
• Some of greatest buildings and
landmarks built during this era
• Chrysler Building by William
Van Alen
• Empire State Building by Shreve,
Lamb & Harmon
• Tallest Art Deco building
• Sometimes known as depression
moderne—many art deco buildings
built during Great Depression
• Famous architectures:
– Raymond M. Hood, Ralph Walker,
Ely Jacques Kahn
Famous Architects
Raymond M. Hood (1881-1934)
• Set standard for much of future skyscraper
– Radiator Building (1924)
– New York Daily News Building (1930)
– McGraw-Hill building (1931)
– Rockefeller center (1933)
• Largest design effort in New York City
• Ralph Walker
• Designs made up of massive geometric forms
– Seemed almost sculpted out of clay
• Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building (1923-1926)
– Situated on a trapezoidal site
– Feature towers cut into blocks
• Ely Jacques Kahn
• Two Park Avenue Tower (1927)
– Delicate ornamental designs inside and out
• Used wide range of materials
– Metal, glass, brick, several colours of tiles
• featured
– bold
– colourful designs
• that emphasize technology
– daring structural design
– bold sculptural form
– shimmering glass curtain walls
stylized animals
nature, foliage
nude female figures
and sun rays.
Streamline Moderne
• Streamline Moderne
• Late branch of Art Deco
• Sharp angles replaced with simple, aerodynamic curves
– “rounding the corners” designer KEM Weber
• Exotic woods and stones replaced with cement and
• Not necessarily art deco’s opposite
• Streamline Moderne buildings with a few Art Deco
elements were not uncommon
• Prime movers behind streamline design (Raymond
Loewy, Walter Dorwin Teague, Gilbert Rohde, Norman
Bel Geddes) all disliked Art Deco
• Seeing it as a fraud
Canadian Art Deco
• Aldred Building (1929-1931)—Montréal by E. I.
• Marine Building (1929-1930)—Vancouver by
McCarter and Nairne
• Toronto Stock Exchange (1936-1937) by George
and Moorhouse with S. H. Maw, now the Design
– features a flat facade and a decorative pattern
of tall, narrow windows.
• Montréal architect Ernest Cormier designed his
own home (1930) in the art deco style
– Composed of two blocky masses
– The Cormier house is built of reinforced concrete
and faced with granite
– elegant flat relief sculptures as decoration.
• The Radio
• Great invention of the
• Most common thing
one could hear
– Voices
– News
– Music
• Made lives easier
during the roaring
• Links rural countries
and cities (urban)
• Expensive
• Wooden cabinets
Nicknamed the “Horse-less carriage”
1920 saw growth of automobile
New type of transportation
No other machine has changed our world
Attractive because of art deco style
By 1927 there was one motor vehicle for every
3.31 persons, and automobiles were responsible
for 85 percent of total highway traffic in the
• Advantages:
– A new way of
– Faster way to
– Cheaper
– Easier for police to
catch criminals
• Disadvantages:
– Difficult to sell b/c
houses at that time
didn’t have garages
and driveways
– Casues Pollution
– Traffic jams
– Accidents
Modern Aviation
• Modern aviation invented
during 1920s.
• refers to flying aircraft
designed by humans for
atmospheric flight.
• Biplanes were brought home
after World War I
• In 1927, mail was distributed
to far off communities in
Canada by pilots.
• Biplanes decorated
- People recognized it
because of its style
Electric Lightning
• Includes both artificial light sources
– Gas lighting, candles, oil lamps and natural light
• Gas lightning used in the 18th century before
electricity came widespread.
• Candle light source used in the mid 19th century
• Oil lamp—simple vessel used to produce light
continuously for a period of time from a fuel
• Used during 19th Century and mostly in rural
• Influenced by Art Deco
– Highly intense colors
Art Deco Metalwork
• Metals used during time of
Art Deco.
• Metalwork is the history of
changing materials
• In 1920
– Iron, Copper, and Bronze.
• By early 1930s designers
favored more aluminum,
stainless steel, wood, and
chrome (fabric)
• 1930: Room had mirrored
walls with metal border
• Ironwork became famous
during the roaring twenties.
• With metal, anything was
– Virtual tour of the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts
Decoratifs in Paris!
Book-Spotlight Canada (Pages 150-155)

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