Art Deco Style

Art Deco was an eclectic decorative arts style that developed in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. It cannot be rigidly defined as a movement of the 1920s and 30s. Characteristics of the style manifested themselves in a range of decorative arts and architecture from as early as 1910, and spread across the Western world until the 1940s. Practitioners of the Art Deco style did not work as a coherent group. The style evolved out of a cross-fertilisation of ideas between artists, architects and designers.

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Dcoratifs et Industriels Modernes was held in Paris in 1925. Architecture and interior design, fashion and jewellery, furnishings and textiles, ceramics and glass, all came together to celebrate a vision of modernity that French designers had been experimenting with and refining for some years. It was here that the Art Deco style made its first large-scale public appearance, drawing an international audience of over 16 million.

At the time, the new style was referred to as 'art moderne', 'jazz moderne' or simply 'modernistic'. The term 'Art Deco' was adopted in the mid-1960s when the style was re-evaluated. It was not until 1968 that Bevis Hillier published the first book of that title. The fact that the name 'Art Deco' was drawn from the title 'Exposition Internationale des Arts Dcoratifs et Industriels Modernes', highlights the significance attributed to the event in launching the style. By the 1970s, the term was widely accepted to refer to a mix of styles from the 1920s and 30s. The debate continues on the exact definition of Art Deco, and the extent of the movement it encompassed. Although its meaning is continually evolving, it is possible to define the style in terms of the sources from which it drew influence, the areas of art and design it influenced, and the characteristic for which it is known.

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