Art Deco: A Style From Renaissance Times to the New Millennium
Art Deco, sometimes called just Deco and sometimes named after the city it originated from – Paris, can be loosely described as an art form whose beginnings can be traced back to the late nineteenth century. Art Deco, sometimes known simply as Deco, was actually born out of the avant-garde artistic trends that arose during the Industrial Revolution and the advent of mass production. Art Deco began to take shape in the decorative markets of fashionable cities like Paris where new materials, like glass, were used to make unique works of art. Throughout Europe and the rest of the world, from the wealthy to the middle class, the art of Deco was sweeping the stage, influencing the fashion, architecture and even the politics of many cities at the time.
When looking at the development of modern art Deco, you will see several distinct elements which can be considered to be its founding father, or progenitor. One of these would be the use of exotic materials in the building of modern buildings and structures, including marble, aluminum and steel. Another would be the use of streamlined, streamline Moderne architecture. And, finally, there was the introduction of color into this exciting new art form. By using metallic drapes, vivid colors were introduced to the world of art Deco.
In order to understand the roots of modern art Deco, one needs to look at the origins of this highly influential design style. Art Deco was a reaction to the excessive ornamentation that was common in the architecture of the day. Its birth was triggered by the modernization of the Paris Stock Exchange, with new and novel ways of deceiving people into believing that stocks would increase in value. As a result, artists found themselves being forced out of the luxurious homes and studios that they had been living in since the turn of the 20th Century, to live in places with stricter social norms and more conservative decor. This led to an urge to create less ornamentation in the arts, to try to make things less complicated.
Art Deco artists looked to natural materials for inspiration. This included the use of gems, glass and the use of wood in interior design. There was also a strong influence from traditional crafts and furniture designs, as well as from the art of the Egyptians. The artists of the time used the colors of nature in order to bring about a unique kind of beauty, as is evident from some of the works of Monet, Noland and Cezanne that are still viewable in galleries. Art Deco architecture makes use of natural forms, such as plants and stones, in order to give the impression of depth. This movement is sometimes called the ‘organic art movement’ and is reflected in the structure of many buildings that are created in the art Deco style.
Although Art Deco was a response to Modernism, it still created quite a unique atmosphere in which a number of different styles could be blended. Many of the modernist artists like Cubists and Dadaism tried to incorporate new technology into their designs, but they still found enough beauty in the natural world to blend with the rest of the artwork. Art Deco art nouveau style continues to be popular today, even though many of the original pieces have long since been replaced by copies of them. Some of the most common modernist favorites include pieces such as The Rose (Roses), Paradise Lost (Lives Forever) and Monet’s Waterfall (Water Lilies).
Art Deco designers were also influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, another group of artists who worked during the golden age of art Deco. These artists had a strong religious following and worked in various religions, including Catholicism, Neocatechism, freethinking, Unitarian, unaffiliated and Reform churches. They often went under the names of Cathedrals, chapels or even monasteries. One of the most famous members of this group waspainter Vitaliano Piccini. Other names included Manfredonia, Giordano and Parmigiano. This era of art Deco often focused on form instead of content, which was one of its trademarks.