Art Deco

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Art Deco dressing table


Art Deco was a style of design that became popular during the 1920’s and 1930’s. It was used chiefly in furniture, jewelry, pottery, and textiles. Most Art Deco designers created objects that could be mass-produced, rather than such individual works as paintings and sculptures. The term Art Deco comes from Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, the title of a design exhibition held in Paris in 1925.

Art Deco was characterized by geometric shapes, smooth lines, and streamlined forms. It featured a look of sleek elegance that was associated with wealth and sophistication. Many Art Deco works were made of chrome, plastics, and other industrial materials. Art Deco designers also used such expensive materials as crystal, ivory, and silver. The style was inspired by a variety of sources, including cubism and the art of ancient America.

Art Deco also influenced architecture. Many buildings in New York City have the metal ornamentation and geometric patterns typical of the style. One such structure is the Chrysler Building, with its soaring tower formed by bands of stainless steel arches. Radio City Music Hall’s curving stairways and round chandeliers also show the influence of Art Deco.