Art Deco reflects confidence, vigor and optimism by using symbols of progress, speed and power - Robert McGregor (founder, Art Deco group, Napier)
Art Deco influenced, fashion, art, design, and architecture in the 1930'sPart tribal, part geometry, part Cubist, part Bauhaus, Art Deco is a style of combined visual art, not to be confused with Art Nouveau, its more decorative cousin, Deco, as it is sometimes called, is more streamlined, minimalist, emerging from the Industrial Revolution, and the Jazz Age respectively. It first appeared in France just before World War I taking its name, short for Arts Dècoratifs. It was the most fashionable international design movement in modern art from 1925 until the 1940s. Derived from the earlier Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Deco owed something to several of the major art styles of its time. The geometric forms of Cubism, the machine-style forms of Constructivism and Futurism,
the exotic styles of Native American, Asian and Mayan art, also borrowing from Egyptian art, as well as Classical Antiquity. It embraced all types of art, decorative art, interior design, furniture, jewelry, textiles, fashion, architecture, and visual arts including film. Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis' is rife with Art Deco style. Spanning the globe Deco was the backdrop to the "Roaring Twenties" and the Great Depression of 1930 up to the second World War. Art Deco was initially a style depicted in costly materials like silver, crystal, ivory, jade and lacquer evolving later with cheaper and mass-produced sources like chrome, plastic, etc., catering to the growing middle class' taste for a design style that was elegant, glamorous, and functional, influencing everyday objects such as cars, vacuum cleaners, as well as movie theaters, trains, and ocean liners.
The Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers of New York built during the 1920's and 30's are dedicated to the Art Deco style. Its distinguishing features are clean lines, simple shapes with a streamlined look. During it's heyday, this style represented luxury, glamour, social status and technological progress. Characteristic motifs included nature, nude female figures, animals, foliage, and sun rays in conventionalized forms. Its popularity saw decline during the late 30's and early 40's seeming too ostentatious for wartime, after which it quickly fell out of fashion but saw a resurgence in the 1960's heavily affecting the Pop Art movement, and again in the 1980's, amid growing interest in graphic design, the style appearing in numerous jewelry and fashion ads.