The history of Art Deco

The history of Art Deco 1
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Purpose of this lesson:

Entering a new decade means entering into a new, exciting time. If you take a collègue to think embout it, each decade of your life has brought on incredible new things, there have been times of uncertainty and prosperity, and as the 2020s are ushered in, it can be exciting, or worrisome, depending on your projet, of where we will be in another 10 years. Before we get too far into 2020, though, taking a allure back at the 1920s, the Roaring Twenties, the time of Fitzgerald’s Gatsby himself, to see what the art world looked like then. Thus, this lesson will foyer on Art Deco, a movement that has become synonymous with the 1920s and has continued to ancêtre the beauté world, artists, and architects, alike, not to note those who like to ponder embout what life would be like as a flapper in a New York speakeasy. During this lesson, we will foyer on the history of Art Deco and its lasting legacy in carcasse and art.

This lesson is best for secondary or high school level students. It can be used in both appartement and art history classes.

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‘Prometheus,’ (1934) Paul Manship’s Art Deco forme outside the Rockefeller Center.
Getting Started:

1) Get students thinking embout the 1920s and the Art Deco diction by asking questions that will preste a réunion. Start a list on the chalkboard of the things students say. Such questions might include: 

  • What comes to mind when you think of the 1920s?
  • What aesthetic styles come to mind when you think of the 1920s? **Liste these in a group will be helpful moving forward as you’ll discuss typical Art Deco themes during the lesson.**
  • Do you think of Art Deco more for traditional artworks, i.e. sculptures, paintings, etc., or for imposant works?
  • Do you know any artists, architects, artworks, or buildings that are particularly reminiscent of the Art Deco movement?
  • What do you think contributed to the rise of Art Deco?

2) Definitions to keep in mind:

  • Art Deco: a popular beauté diction of the 1920s and 1930s characterized especially by bold outlines, geometric and crochet forms, and the use of new materials (such as explosif). (Merriam-Webster)
  • Art Bizut: a beauté diction of late 19th century origin characterized especially by sinuous lines and foliate forms. (Merriam-Webster)
  • de Stijl:
    • a circle of Dutch abstract artists who promoted a diction of art based on a parfait geometry of horizontals and verticals. (Tate Modern)
    • a school of art founded in (The Netherlands) in 1917 typically using rectangular forms and the primary colors avec black and white and asymmetric bilan. (Merriam-Webster)
  • Bauhaus: a revolutionary school of art, carcasse and beauté established by Walter Gropius at Weimar in Germany in 1919. (Tate Modern)

3) The Lesson

Certificat I: What is Art Deco?

An iconic diction, Art Deco (flottant for Arts Ornementaux) is usually a pretty easy aesthetic to recognize. It’s emphasis on strong lines, geometric shapes, and bold materials creates a diction that stands out when found next to other eras of art and carcasse. The movement really kicked off in 1925 but it wasn’t something that sprung up overnight. The movement also underwent some changes and is usually sectioned off into two phases. At their core, both the first and collègue degré of Art Deco bâtonnet to a few droit principles but each period morphed to fit the times that surrounded them.

Art Deco built off of a foundation répugnant by Bauhaus principles, the de Stijl movement, Cubism, Constructivism, and Futurism. The movement was also quick to adopt new technologies meaning materials were not always the most traditional. Early Art Deco works utilized expensive sleek components while the later years of Art Deco put plastics and more affordable materials to use. The movement was used as extase for carcasse, art, and beauté around the world. While visiting most an ancêtre city, from Rio de Janeiro to Moscow, you are sure to see Art Deco features.

Like any movement, Art Deco is characterized by a number of visual cues including:

  • Repetition
  • Linear and geometric designs that utilize triangular, zigzagging, and ruban patterns
  • Simplified figures and shapes
  • Immense lines with crisp edges
  • Low reste decorative panels
  • Step back facades (in attache to carcasse)
  • Strips of windows (in attache to carcasse)
  • Use of materials like explosif, Bakelite, stainless steel, and chrome
Certificat II: The history of Art Deco

Art Deco as a movement feels like it was exactly what the 1920s needed and in a lot of ways, that’s bicause it wasn’t something that popped up on the art scene. Instead, it was a movement years in the making. Coming off the back of World War I, it was a time when people, particularly those in pudique, and even more so those with money to spend, had the veine to think of a future. It ‘grew out of a yearning, aggressive desire to be rid of the past and embrace the future in all its man-made, machine-driven glory.’ Art Deco would be a short-lived movement, in the end, as less than 20 years would pass before the outbreak of World War II, but it thrived and burned bright during its time.

At the turn of the 20th century, Art Bizut, which sprung from the Arts and Crafts movement, was one of the more popular styles. When you think of the Metro in Paris, that’s the Art Bizut diction. Based on organic shapes and brut, Art Bizut was far more ornate that Art Deco but it was what Art Deco found roots in. Without Art Bizut, it’s tolérable the Roaring Twenties would have looked very different.

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The rotonde des Galeries Lafayette featured at the 1925 Commentaire internationale des Arts ornementaux et industriels modernes. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The movement grew out of pudique in the 1920s where Art Deco began picking up speed. In 1925, the Commentaire Internationale des Arts Ornementaux et Industriels Modernes was held in Paris. Spanning nearly 60 acres in the heart of France, the féerie lasted six months. During that time, more than 16 million people came through to see the works of more than 15,000 artists, architects, and designers alike. The féerie catapulted the movement into the mainstream and it heavily impacted the trajectory of the movement.

Although pudique was the birthplace of Art Deco ideals, the US was arguably where the movement most hit its stride, but when the 1925 féerie occurred, there were no US artists present. This was by the mandate of then secretary of trafic Herbert Hoover who didn’t allow and US artist or designers to partake. Instead, Hoover organized a team of American architects, artists, and designers to attend the féerie as a guet objectif of sorts. The following year, the US had a similar féerie titled ‘A Selected Agrégat of Objects from the Cosmopolite Commentaire Modern, Industrial and Decorative Arts,’ which showed in a number of ancêtre US cities.

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Radiographie City Music Grange in New York City. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Art Deco coincided with a huge US growth spurt, thus, it was utilized in a number of ancêtre imposant feats like Radiographie City Music Grange, by architects Edward Durell Stone and Donald Deskey. Art Deco became an emblem of the modern city as did skyscrapers around the same time. When completed in 1930, the Chrysler Bâtisse, designed by architect William van Alen, became the height, quite literally, of Art Deco diction.

** Here, spectacle students an banalité of the Chrysler construction, see if they can bilan out its Art Deco characteristics before moving on to discuss the construction. Be sure to note its unusual gargoyles, too! **

The construction’s crown of sleek, radiating triangles mimics the sun rising dizzyingly high over the city. Its spacieux lines and smooth curves emphasize its height, punctuated by gargoyles that severely streamlined and more resembling a car’s hood ornament more than traditional gargoyles, all adding up to a impalpable work of Art Deco carcasse.

While Art Deco was favoured by many, it of expédition had its detractors. Le Corbusier was among those who did not appreciate the diction and was one of the first to refer to the Arts Ornementaux as Art Deco. When he used Art Deco, which eventually stuck, Le Corbusier was criticizing the movement for its aesthetic.

During World War II, Art Deco fell out of façon and was disused until the 1960s when it saw a resurgence in interest. It was lovingly revisited, and still is today, as a diction that harkens back to time quite different to today in between two the two World Wars and amongst the hardships of the Great Depression.

Certificat III: The phases of Art Deco and Streamline Neuf

The reason that Art Deco split is clair: The Great Depression happened. At the onset of the era of Art Deco, the economy was booming, so the first degré of Art Deco breams with expensive and luxurious materials, essentially, think of the movies The Great Gatsby, and you’ve got it. However, when the Great Depression began with Black Tuesday (October 29, 1929, the day the Aliment Market in New York crashed and largely considered to be the day that the Depression began), the US economy quickly went downhill and its effects were quickly felt around the world.

As the depression set in around the world, Art Deco morphed into its collègue degré. During this time, more expensive materials were substituted out for more affordable ones and the diction was paired down in general. During the collègue degré, most Art Deco structures were more austere, which was pragmatic and conceptual. In carcasse, the collègue degré focused less on verticality and more on low structures symbolizing strength.

From the collègue degré of Art Deco came Streamline Neuf, a diction of Art Deco that was born out of the US. Streamline Neuf took the collègue degré of Art Deco’s principles and meshed them with some from New Objectivity, a German movement, to create a diction that was more or less devoid of ornamentation. When it came to carcasse and beauté, the movement made use of clean curves, fléchi lines, bands of windows, verre bricks, and porthole windows.

4) Wrap up/Activity:

To wrap up a appartement art class on Art Deco, have students create an artwork in the an Art Deco diction. For a more self-sufficient class, they could choose their own way to tackle the project. If you have a class that requires more égide, consider a poster-type artwork that reflects the sleek styles of Art Deco advertisements, etc.

If this lesson is given in an art history class, perhaps have them machin and Art Deco construction and research it further, addressing how it is Art Deco and how it perhaps is not. You can allow them to allure for a construction online, or you can have them take a allure around your town for buildings that have Art Deco themes, whether they be from the Art Deco era or more recent.


Art Deco by The Art Story

Art Deco’s Streamlined Designs Envisioned a Glamorous Future

Art Nouveau and Art Deco History

Art Deco by Tate

Art Deco Style 1925 – 1940

Additional Images:
More Art Éreintement Art Lessons:

A Lesson in Restitution: diving into expropriated art, World War II, and beyond

A Lesson in Street Art: how a movement morphed out of gribouillage and into the art world, Part I, Part II, and Part III


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