The Art Déco was the style that affected all aspects of design. The term was coined in the 60s making reference to the art emerged during the interwar period. It enjoyed its greatest splendor in the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts, in Paris in 1925, although its influence has even lasted until today. In contrast to the curved lines and sinuosity of the Art Nouveau, the Art Déco imposed straight lines and geometric volumes, a eclectic style that arises from the sum of many trends. One of the most remarkable influences on Art Déco is the avant-garde art, the mechanization and the archaeological discoveries from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
The idealized orientalism based on preconceived topics and ideas kept on attracting the audience, who found in far-off cultures a whole world of mystery and sensuality where any kind of fantasy could come true.The orientalist paintings of the late 19th century and the translation of The One Hundred and One Nights fueled this taste for those reome lands. The Russian ballets were the key to the development of Art Déco, and their performances were really influential: Cleopatre, Le Dieu Bleu, Thamar or La tragedie de Salome had a great impact on fashion design and the interior décor. On the streets, people started wearing harem pants and turbans inspired by Lev Bakst costumes, and chyselephantine authors such as Demetre Chiparus or Paul Phillipe captured that outburst of colour and expresiveness in their works.
‘Russian Dancer’. Paul Philippe. Bronze, ivory and marble. 63 cm. C. 1913.
Photo: Óscar J. González Hernández
Unlike other artistic periods, Art Déco was merely decorative. Authors did not really extect to express feelings or emotions, but to create balanced objects of an attractive design which were reflection of that moment and the society they lived in. This period is characterized by its outstanding technological development with the first skyscrapers, aeroplanes, submarines and cars moving around the streets. All this significant progress is expressed in a style that reflects speed, the machine, enthusiasm, exhuberance and joy of life.
Translation: Beatriz Hernández Gómez