Art Deco Styles
Art Deco is sometimes referred to as French Deco or Post-Impressionism. It is one of the most popular styles of art and architecture from the latter part of the twentieth century. Art Deco is characterized by a stylized approach to design, a bold stance and an abundance of colorful details. The influence of Art Deco can be seen in items such as jewelry, furniture, lighting, fabrics and even architectural structures.
Art Deco, a term which encompassed many stylized approaches to design, was born during the first phase of the Great Depression when consumers started to cut costs due to the world economic crisis. An aesthetic that came to symbolize the feeling of deprivation that people were experiencing at this time, Art Deco sought to create a more aesthetic balance by distilling the eclectic variety of art styles into one. With its rejection of formalism and Cubism, it is no surprise that the term “art deco” conjures up visions of sleek, austere, glass-like buildings. However, despite their modern appearance, Art Deco architecture actually served as a response to the post-war slump of the French economy, which was characterized by excess inventory and high demand for labor and materials.
In reaction to the growing depression, Art Deco designers introduced what they called “minimalism” to emphasize the declivity of simple objects and surfaces. They strove to bring light and color to bare objects, which helped them to express feelings that otherwise would be lost under more conventional designs. This art Deco style became extremely popular among the architects and artists who were either motivated by the post-war economic boom or simply had developed a strong artistic style. Some of the most famous minimalist artists included Renoir, Monet and de Kooning.
A new type of avant-garde architectural design was introduced in the Art Deco movement known as Futurism. Futurists were artists and designers who explored the artistic potential of new materials and environments in order to shock and challenge traditional ideas about beauty and form. Much of this art Deco movement’s influence can be seen in the stylized forms and architecture of the modernist artists of the twentieth century such as Frank Stella, Le Corbusier and Louis Sullivan. Futurists emphasized the importance of the natural world in design, often presenting nature as a major inspiration or even the basis for a particular design concept. Some of the most well-known examples of this type of artistic style include the swooped roof of the Ecstaticon by Le Corbusier, the Futurist concrete sculptures by Louis Sullivan and the Futurist lanterns by Archont Architects.
The Art Deco movement also heralded the incorporation of several synthetic materials in architectural design. Cubic elements, which are shaped like cubes, ovals, hexagons and octagons, formed a large part of the decorative arts of the time which made use of a number of materials that were not available or cost prohibitive to use during that time. One of the most famous of these is the composition Cubus by Lucio Fontana, which he presented in Le Figuerie in 1911. This panel is made from eighty-two individual cubes and, once completed, has a span of twenty-four meters. Other synthetic materials used in Art Deco structures include glass, steel, wood, paper and mosaic tiles.
As indicated earlier, the Art Deco movement had a strong influence on the artists who followed it, many of whom created artwork that would become important landmarks in their respective careers. Several painters who are associated with the movement later became renowned architects or designers, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Green, Ray Eames and Morris Louis. Though there is disagreement among experts on the exact chronology of the Art Deco style, it is beyond doubt that the Art Deco style had a profound effect on the artists and designers who utilized it. Its impact was far-reaching because it touched the hearts and minds of the people who came from all walks of life. Today, you can find many pieces of Art Deco art in Museums all over the world.