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Art Deco, a popular international art design movement of the 1920’s to 1940’s influenced the decorative arts like architecture, interior design and industrial design along with visual arts such as fashion, paintings, the graphic arts and films. This style came across as elegant, glamorous, functional and modern in those times.
The movement was a blend of many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Neoclassical, Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Art Nouveau, and Futurism. Its popularity peaked in Europe during the Roaring Twenties and continued strongly in the United States through the 1930s. Art Deco was purely decorative, although many other design movement had political or philosophical roots or intentions.
A decline in the popularity of Art Deco was seen in the late 30’s and early 40’s, but later in the 1980’s revived with the popularization of graphic design. Art Deco had a profound influence on many later artistic movements, such as Memphis and Pop art.
Linear decorative designs that were reminiscent of modern technology were characteristics of Art Deco, also known Art modern. In order to symbolize the expanse of the machine age, emphasizes was laid on long, thin forms, curved surfaces and geometric patterns. Although the movement was popular in the 1920’s and 30’s, the movement received its gained its name in the 1960’s derived from the 1925 Paris expositions of decorative arts.
Art Deco was a modernization of many diverse artistic styles and themes from the earlier period. It took inspiration from Far and Middle East design, Greek and Roman themes, and also Egyptian and Mayan influence. The movement emphasized abstraction, distortion, and simplification by use of geometric shapes and intense colours, it derived these characteristics from the avant-garde painting styles of the early twentieth century, including Cubism, Constructivism, and Italian Futurism. Art Deco is distinguished from Art nouveau and precisionist movement by a more modern look.
Art Deco was influenced arts and architecture, primarily the decorative, industrial, and graphic arts. It was also a well-liked style in fashion, furniture, jewelry, and textiles. The most renowned Art Deco artist is glassmaker and jeweler, Rene Lalique. Two well-known U. S. buildings executed following the Art Deco approach include Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.
Art Deco, an opulent style, credits its lavishness to the reaction to the forced sternness imposed by World War I. Its rich, festive character fitted it in the modern contexts, including works such as the Golden Gate Bridge, interiors of cinema theaters and ocean liners such as the Île de France, Queen Mary, and Normandie.
To reflect the modernity and efficiency of the train in the united states, Art Deco was employed extensively throughout the train stations in the 1930s. The most significant feature of Art Deco was its dependence upon ornaments and motifs alongside making use of many other distinctive styles. The style is said to have reflected the tensions in the cultural politics of its day, with eclecticism having been one of its defining features.
As quoted by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the distinctive style of Art Deco was shaped by ‘all the nervous energy stored up and expended in the War’.
The style that Art Deco employs is the description of eclecticism. It draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources and has its own unique look that is difficult to define. Its range of characteristics makes it an extremely versatile style, and an enjoyable one to work with, since Art Deco is easily integrated into a wide variety of personal styles making it liked by many and a favorite among collectors.
1860 – 1945
Rene Lalique, one of the few artists who successfully made the transition from the mannered, self-consciously opulent and sinuous Art nouveau(1800’s-1900’s) artistic culture to the sweeping modern elegant functionality of Art Deco (1910-1940), for which periods he is considered to be one of the world’s greatest glass artists and jewellery designers. His superb work features naturalistic elements inspired by nature, Greek classical themes, and social pursuits of his time such as hunting.
Lalique in his work retained the handmade look while he also employed the most modern manufacturing techniques and equipment of his time to mass-produce his work. Museums and glass enthusiasts still collect his clear and frosted glass creations, which were also very popular during his lifetime.
Early Years & Jewellery Career
Born on April 6, 1860 in the village of Aÿ in the Champagne region of France, Lalique family moved to Paris when he was two years-old.
Beginning at age of 16, Lalique began to work as a trainee with Louis Aucoc, one of the best jewelers of Paris, while continuing his drawing classes at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Paris. He developed a unique naturalist style which was to influence his style as a jeweler while he studied drawing at Sydenham College in London.
Lalique worked as a designer for a relative while freelancing on the side for jewelers such as Aucoc, Boucheron, Cartier, Destape, Gariod, Hamelin and Jacta, in Paris. He also studied sculpture modeling and etching.
It all began in 1885; Lalique began manufacturing his jewellery designs out of his own workshop. For these he employed non-conventional materials such as translucent enamel, semiprecious stones and ivory.
Success followed in 1893 when he won second prize in the Centrale des arts Décoratifs goldsmiths’ competition for his Chardon glasses and an honourable mention for his Pampas and Satyrs vase. The following year, Lalique exhibited at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français in the sculpture section and began creating jewellery for Sarah Bernhardt. Four years later, he won the Grand Prix at the International Exhibition in Brussels and was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
In 1902, Lalique was living, manufacturing and showing out of his mansion in Paris, which featured his designs on the balconies, entrance and hall. By 1908, he had begun creating fashion accessories such as handbags, scarves and belts as well as perfume bottles for François Coty.
These bottle designs, which evoked the enclosed fragrance, revolutionized the perfume industry and led to work for other leading perfumers such as Roger & Gallet, Houbigant, Molyneux, d’Orsay, Molinard and Worth.
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