What is Art Deco?

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From our mailbox: Could give me a definition of Art Deco?

-- Joel Shprentz (jshprentz@adsw.org), April 02, 1999


Response to Definition of Art Deco

Here is the description that our cofounder and first president, Richard Striner, wrote for one of our publications.

Art Deco is an abbreviation (introduced in the 1960s) for a design movement that flourished in the years between World War I and World War II. The term derives from the title of the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris. In Art Deco can be discerned an amazing combination of diverse ingredients and influences: earlier design movements like Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secession, Greco-Roman classicism, radical modernism, streamlined industrial design and the allure of exotic non-western cultures, both ancient and modern. Some Deco designers aspired to develop a jazzy form of modern design tat would possess far broader appeal than the austere, unornamented works of Bauhaus modernism. Other Deco designer entertained a more ambitious objective: to use architecture and design as a form of historical commentary through imagery suggesting the ancient past, the distant future and the contemporary era.

-- Joel Shprentz (jshprentz@adsw.org), April 02, 1999.

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