Art deco

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Art déco (short for French art décoratif, 'decorative art') is a style term that is applied to the design in many design areas such as architecture, furniture, vehicles, clothing, jewelry or everyday objects. Paintings and illustrations were also made in the Art Deco style.


Fashion drawing, Paul Iribe for Paul Poiret, Paris 1908

Art Deco lacks a clear underlying stylistic feature or a style-forming conception, which is mainly explained by the merging into one style direction, which was only defined in the 1960s - in contrast to Art Nouveau, for example . Rather, it is a development in the midst of the general awakening of classical modernism , in which the creative combination of the elegance of the form, the preciousness of the materials, the strength of the colors and the sensuality of the subject was in the foreground. Much of it was already laid out in Art Nouveau - especially in French, where one saw the most necessary in the superfluous: " le superflu, chose très nécessaire " (German: " the superfluous, a very necessary thing ").

The name aims at the dominance of decorative elements and design intentions of Art Deco. The stylized and flat representation of floral and organic motifs is characteristic of Art Deco . The lack of naturalness and shadow conveys the modern and often poster-like impression made by the art of this era. The industrial production as well as the carefree, eclectic mix of style elements of different origins are also important features.

Origin and Distribution

Art Deco has its roots in Art Nouveau . One of the origins of Art Deco can be found in the founding of the Munich magazine Jugend in 1896 in the publishing house of Georg Hirth and in the artistic style preferred there, another in the founding of the Wiener Werkstätte by the Secession artists Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser and the industrialist Fritz Wärndorfer in 1903. For their part, influenced by the straight lines of English and Scottish Art Nouveau ( Art Nouveau Charles Robert Ashbee , Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Mackay-Hugh Baillie-Scott ), Hoffmann and Moser took much of this with their orthogonal designs for elegant interior furnishings first of all, what could still be considered modern in the late 1920s and 1930s . When Dagobert Peche joined the company in 1915, the path of the Wiener Werkstätte towards Art Deco was finally determined.

At the same time, various functionalist art movements developed in Europe, such as Esprit Nouveau in France, De Stijl in the Netherlands and Bauhaus in Germany. Although these sometimes interacted with Art Deco, they basically represented opposing movements.

The high point of Art Deco in France

The center of Art Deco and its source of inspiration, however, was without question the metropolis of Paris , where the exhibition entitled Exposition internationale des Arts Décoratifs et industriels modern took place in 1925 . Leading French artists who had already formed the “Société des artistes décorateurs” in 1901 had already planned the event for 1915, but were unable to hold it because of the First World War . Couturiers such as Jacques Doucet and Paul Poiret made their specifications through innovative fashion designs and, above all, had a patronage effect through their collections and the award of interior design contracts.

Art Deco drew its ideas and suggestions from all of the developmental directions of modern art , including those that opposed it, that were concentrated in Paris like no other place: the colors of the Fauves around Henri Matisse ; the splintering of forms in Cubism by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso ; the worship of technology by the Futurists around Umberto Boccioni ; and even the functionalism that dispenses with ornamentation . In France and thus in Europe, Art Deco experienced its peak in the years from 1924 to 1928. However, its influence declined significantly since 1930 due to the consequences of the global economic crisis .

Paul Iribe and others introduced Art Deco to the United States, where it quickly unfolded through architecture , musicals, and film .

Political background

The emergence of Art Deco in the 1920s and the development of the movement to its peak in the 1930s were shaped by the impoverishment of people, especially in Germany and its allied countries , after the end of the First World War , as well as by the spread of political totalitarianism 'in Europe with dictators like Adolf Hitler in Germany, Benito Mussolini in Italy and Josef Stalin in Russia.

In the Roaring Twenties , people gave themselves up to the illusion of a better future through technical progress, with the Art Deco attitude to life spreading particularly among the privileged. At the same time, the economies of the victorious powers of World War I boomed , but this euphoria soon came to a standstill with the Great Depression (1929) and the rapidly increasing inflation . On the western side of the Atlantic , with the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal at the latest, the United States established itself as the new world and economic power, thereby replacing the European nations in their pioneering role.


After a later re-edition of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et industriels moderne as a retrospective under the title Les Années 25 , the term Art Deco was applied to the style predominantly shown there. Up until this point, terms such as Style Moderne , French Style and Style 25 were in use.

The name Art Deco first appeared in 1966 as the title of an article by Hilary Marvin Gelson in The Times newspaper ; shortly thereafter it was used by Osbert Lancaster in the title of a book. With the book Art Deco by Bevis Hillier , the term was fully established in the English-speaking world in 1968 and was able to prevail against Jazz Age and Modern Style .

Art Deco areas

Utensils and industrial design

Chrysler Airflow sedan; Design by Carl Breer , 1934

Especially in the area of ​​art and antiques trade, the term Art Deco quickly caught on and referred to a style that was mainly coined in the 1920s and 1930s and set itself apart from the previous styles, especially Art Nouveau. Characteristic for objects of this style were above all the design elements and an abstract decoration, which went hand in hand with the use of high-quality or new and thus exotic materials. From the industrial design materials were available, due to the mass production were reasonably priced, especially plastics and chrome metals . There were also simplified design features that can be found, for example, in streamlined vehicles, such as the train and automobile design of Art Deco , or in correspondingly shaped kitchen appliances of the time.

In France itself, the style was not only spread through extensive exhibitions, but also through newly established furniture stores and the design departments of some department stores such as Desny, Dominique and the Société DIM (Décoration Intérieure Moderne). In the works of the highest quality, such as those of the great French furniture designer and perfectionist Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann , or those of the silversmiths Jean Puiforcat and Tétard , ornamentation is held back in favor of clear shapes and the pure surface effect of the materials. With porcelain and ceramic decors, fabrics, posters and also with book covers, strong, pure colors contrast with each other.


Examples of a closed city complex in the Art Deco style are Reims , which was rebuilt in the 1920s after its destruction in the First World War , or Napier (New Zealand) , which was rebuilt after the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931 . Also in Mackay in Australia, which was 80% destroyed by a cyclone in 1918, many houses in Art Deco style were built during the reconstruction. The Art Deco district in Miami Beach is also known . What is less well known, however, is that in the capital of West Java , Bandung , which was also called the “Paris of Java” at the time, there are numerous art deco buildings worth seeing, such as the Villa Isola (architect: CP Wolff Schoemaker ) or the Hotel Savoy Hohmann were built. Numerous new buildings in Bandung are still based on the city's Art Deco buildings.

The capital of Eritrea , Asmara , was also built in the 1930s in an Art Deco style.

The Berlin Renaissance Theater is the only completely preserved Art Deco theater in Europe. The last large Art Deco style cinema in Germany in the listed Metropol in Bonn is a thing of the past after a new owner acquired the building in 2005 and converted it into a bookstore in 2010 after the Art Deco interior was demolished. One of the few museum buildings in the Art Deco style is the Grassimuseum complex in Leipzig , whose pillar hall is one of the most important interiors of this architecture. The fifth largest church in the world, the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Brussels, is also built in the Art Deco style. One of the few buildings in Asia that was built in the Art Deco style is the Manila Metropolitan Theater building .


The Second World War brought an abrupt end to Art Deco in Europe; the mood of the immediate post-war period was not such a luxury. The style was most likely to survive in the USA, especially in Hollywood and New York , and was still incorporated into the design of the 1950s, which was also evident in the design of automobiles and motorcycles.


New Grassi Museum
  • The Berlin Bröhan Museum shows furniture, porcelain, glass, ceramics and metalwork from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco era .
  • The Casa Lis - Museo de Art Nouveau y Art Deco in Salamanca
  • The Grassi Museum for Applied Arts in Leipzig shows, in addition to the very typical Art Deco building, an extensive collection of applied arts, with a section on Art Deco.
  • The Clockarium Museum in Brussels displays stoneware grandfather clocks in Art Deco style.
  • The Museum of Applied Arts, MAK Vienna shows handicrafts from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco epochs.



Pierro Arrigoni , Éric Bagge , Erich Basarke , Alexander Beer , Alexandre Bordigoni , Theo Burlage , Irwin Chanin , Pierre Chareau , Ernest Cormier , Ludwig Deichgräber , Djo-Bourgeois , Jacques Gréber , Wladimir Georgijewitsch Hel Reich , Jorge Herrán , Fritz Höger , Raymond Hood , Béla Lajta , William F. Lamb , Alfred Liebig , Adolf Loos , Conde McCullough , Olier Mordrel , Enrique Nieto y Nieto , Pierre Patout , Julian Peabody , Michel Polak , Michael Rachlis , Werner Retzlaff , landlord C. Rowland , Otto Rudolf Salvisberg , Henri Sauvage , Otto Schönthal , Theodor Schreier , Karl Schwarz , Heitor da Silva Costa , Giuseppe Sommaruga , Robert B. Stacy-Judd , Edward Durell Stone , Joseph Sunlight , Paul Ludwig Troost , Joseph Urban , William Van Alen , Eugène van Dievoet , Llewellyn Williams (Architect)

Automobiles and Locomotives

Norman Bel Geddes , Raymond Loewy

Sculpture and Sculpture

Dominique Alonzo , Just Andersen , Émile-Jean Armel-Beaufils , Maurice Ascalon , Ursula Bach-Wild , Daniel-Joseph Bacqué , Johannes Antonius Bakkers , André Vincent Becquerel , Rudolf Belling , Franz Xaver Bergmann , Max Blondat , Ary Bitter , Berthold Boeß , Marcel Bouraine , Rembrandt Bugatti , Bessie Callender , Jean-Marie Camus , Ernesto Canto da Maia , Louis Albert Carvin , Édouard Cazaux , Dorothea Charol , Georges Chauvel , Demétre Chiparus , Ugo Cipriani , Claire Colinet , Stephan Dakon , Fernand David , Léon Delagrange , Victor Constantin Delaigue , Joé Descomps-Cormier , Édouard Drouot , Paul Du Bois , Georges Duvernet , Erté , Maximilien Louis Fiot , Mariano Fortuny , Henri Fugère , Ignacio Gallo , Ganu Gantcheff , Amedeo Gennarelli , Maurice Gensoli , Gerdago , André Gilbert , Armand Godard , Affortunato Gori , Georges Gori , Raymonde Guerbe , Maurice Guiraud-Rivière , Franz Hagenauer , Georges Halbout du Tanney , Hans Harders , Arminius Hasemann , Gaston Hauchecorne , Cons aunt Holzer-Defanti , Erlefried Hoppe , Franz Iffland , Nathan Imenitoff , Gotthilf Jaeger , Karl Janssen , Alfred Jorel , Emil Jungblut , Rudolf Kaesbach , Augusta Kaiser , Hans Keck , Alexandre Kéléty , Antoni Kenar , Raoul Lamourdedieu , Richard Lange , Léo Laporte- Blairsy , Georges Lavroff , Lee Lawrie , Pierre Le Faguays , Max Le Verrier , Paul Leibküchler , Pierre Lenoir , Céline Lepage , Hugo Leven , Samuel Lipszyc , Josef Lorenzl , Rudolf Marcuse , René Paul Marquet , Jan and Joël Martel , Sibylle May , Edward McCartan , Giacomo Merculiano , Charlotte Monginot , Paul Moreau-Vauthier , Charles Arthur Muller , Adolf Müller-Crefeld , Willi Münch-Khe , Raphaël Nannini , Georges Omerth , Aurore Onu , Jean Ortis , Alexandre Ouline , Josef Pabst , Roland Paris , Franz Peleschka , Paul Phillipe , Otto Poertzel , François Pompon , François Popineau , Michael Powolny , Ferdinand Preiss , Louis Prodhon , Maurice Prost , Wilhelm Karl Robra , Irénée Rochard , Jean de Roncourt , Ena Rotten berg , Jean Rouppert , Constant Roux , Fanny Rozet , Jean Charles Ruchot , Charles Cary Rumsey , Willy Ruß , Marius Saïn , Édouard-Marcel Sandoz , Antoine Sartorio , Honoré Sausse , Lodewijk Schelfhout , Gustav Schmidt-Cassel , Julius Paul Schmidt-Felling , Otto Schmidt-Hofer , Ida Schwetz-Lehmann , Lucille Sévin , Louis Sosson , Peter Tereszczuk , Pierre Traverse , Karl Tutter , Georges Van der Straeten , Jean Verschneider , Ludwig Vierthaler , Georges van de Voorde , Katharine Lane Weems , Helene Maynard White , Vally Wieselthier , Paul Wunderlich , Bruno Zach


Jacques Adnet , Cor Alons , René Kieffer , Pierre Legrain , Germaine Schroeder

Glass art

Gabriel Argy-Rousseau , François Décorchemont , George Despret , Simon Gate , Edward Hald , René Lalique , Henri Édouard Navarre , Alexander Pfohl , Ena Rottenberg , Irene Schaschl-Schuster , Amalric Walter

Interior design

Friedrich Adler , Mariano Fortuny , André Groult , Josef Hillerbrand , Henri Rapin , Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann


Jean Barol , Charles Catteau , Paul Follot , Hans Guradze , Kawai Kanjirō , Emile Lenoble , Robj , Friedrich Wilhelm Spahr

Art and design

Jakob Bengel , Edgar Brandt , Adolphe Mouron Cassandre , Edmond Etling , Meinrad Burch-Korrodi , Dodo , Jean Dunand , Jean Dupas , Hayno Focken , Louis Gigou , Eileen Gray , Arthur Goldscheider , Carl Paul Jennewein , Georg Jensen , Jules Leleu , Tamara de Lempicka , Les Neveux de Jules Lehmann , Claudius Linossier , Paul Manship , André Mare , Victor Mayer , Vadim Meller , Harald Nielsen , Jean Puiforcat , Otto Stüber , Süe et Mare , Walter Dorwin Teague , Herbert Zeitner

See also


Web links

Commons : Art Deco  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Art Deco . In: Duden online, (last) accessed on May 4, 2016.
  2. a b c d Style or fashion? In: Norbert Wolf : ART DECO. Prestel Verlag, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-7913-4763-9 , p. 22. - Cf. Michael Weisser (editing: Thomas Borghoff): “In terms of time, the 'Art Deco' phenomenon is to be located between the First and Second World Wars. However, there has never been an art style of the same name. The term came up very late, namely on the occasion of an exhibition 'Les Annees 25' in the Paris Museum of Decorative Arts in 1966. This referred to an exhibition in 1925 (Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes), on which handicrafts as Style Moderne celebrated its last and most pompous climax. ”In: , accessed on May 4, 2016.
  3. a b Art Deco. In: Harald Olbrich (Ed.): Lexicon of Art. Architecture, fine arts, applied arts, industrial design, art theory. Volume 1 (A - Cim). Revised edition, Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, Munich 1996, ISBN 978-3-423-05906-0 (digital edition: Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2006, ISBN 978-3-89853-743-8 ).
  4. a b c The political background. In: Norbert Wolf: Art Deco. 2013, p. 33.
  5. ^ Bevis Hillier: Art Deco of the 20s and 30s. Studio Vista / Dutton pictureback, London 1968, ISBN 0-289-27788-4 .
  6. a b c Cult of the decorative. In: Norbert Wolf: ART DECO. 2013, pp. 22-25.
  8. Bettina Vaupel: The art of sensual rigor. Art Deco in Germany . In: Monumente Online 2.2012, (last) accessed on May 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Lexicon: Grassi Museum. In: Berliner Zeitung , July 15, 2005.
  10. ^ Official website of the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart , (last) accessed May 4, 2016.
  11. ^ History of the Manila Metropolitan Theater ( Memento June 23, 2011 in the Internet Archive ).