Art Deco encompasses a whole arc of styles, from early, superfluous ornamentation to stark, stripped-down simplicity and geometry. First it swallowed the floriation of Art Nouveau, and as it digested it, Deco stripped it of its gorgeous yet suffocating tendrils and... [more]
Art Deco encompasses a whole arc of styles, from early, superfluous ornamentation to stark, stripped-down simplicity and geometry. First it swallowed the floriation of Art Nouveau, and as it digested it, Deco stripped it of its gorgeous yet suffocating tendrils and curlicues. From artifice to simplicity, the curve to the line, Art Deco was continuously in motion. It drove forward with an unhindered ability to assimilate the past into its agenda.
Influenced by Cubism and Futurism, Art Deco design incorporated fragmentation and abstraction into an overlapping of color and images. It retained Futurism's preoccupation with speed and power -- prints depicting cruise ships and locomotives express aerodynamics with every sleek line. It incorporated standard iconography -- stylized flower bouquets, geometric patterns, zigzags, chevrons, lightening bolts -- in its decorative language. However, images eliminate superfluous detail, transforming reality into an energetic blend of geometric elements. Art Deco placed a definite emphasis on line, form, and pure color, perhaps in a nod to the De Stijl movement before it.
Art Deco design came to being in France, beginning in 1910 but solidifying when the Exposition Internationale des Arts D'coratifs et Industriels Modernes took place in Paris in 1925. For the French, Art Deco was the symbol of post-war prosperity, a merger of Arts and Crafts ambitions with industrial enthusiasm. A.M. Cassandre spearheaded the French movement, introducing Modernist painting into graphic design with nods to Picasso and Braque.
However, America eventually usurped France as the spiritual center of this design movement. As the world's prime locus of zealous consumerism, America was a perfect fit with Art Deco's capability to revolutionize advertising and pop culture. The Art Deco style was ideal for commercial media, as it was deliberate, strong, precise, and eye-catching. It arrived at the dawn of the poster era, as fine art and commercial prosperity collided in the most beautiful way. [show less]