art deco

art deco (ärt dĕkōˈ; är dākōˈ, ärt) [key] or art moderne är môdĕrnˈ, ärt, term that designates a style of design that originated in French luxury goods shortly before World War I and became ubiquitously and internationally popular during the 1920s and 30s. Coined in the 1960s, the name derives from the 1925 Paris Exposition of Decorative Arts, where the style reached its apex. Art deco is characterized by long, thin forms, curving surfaces, and geometric patterning. The practitioners of the style attempted to describe the sleekness they thought expressive of the machine age. The style influenced all aspects of the era's art and architecture, as well as the decorative, graphic, and industrial arts. Works executed in the art deco style range from skyscrapers and ocean liners to toasters, furniture by designers such as France's Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879–1933), and accessories such as the elegant glass works of René Lalique. Since the 1960s and 70s the style has undergone a resurgence of popularity. Napier, New Zealand, which was rebuilt after a 1931 earthquake, has the largest unmixed concentration of art deco architecture in the world. Noted U.S. monuments to the style include New York's Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Building, the South Beach section of Miami Beach, Fla., and Fair Park, in Dallas, Tex.

See B. Hillier, Art Deco (1968), Y. Brunhammer, Art Deco Style (1984); V. Arwas, Art Deco (1985); A. Duncan, ed., Encyclopedia of Art Deco (1988); P. Bayer, Art Deco Architecture (1999); T. and C. Benton and G. Wood, ed., Art Deco: 1910–1939 (2003); C. Breeze, American Art Deco (2003); B. Hillier and S. Escritt, Art Deco Style (2003); G. Wood, Essential Art Deco (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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