Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

Art deco

"Art Deco" is a term that is derived from the words "Arts Décoratifs" used in L'Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which was held in Paris from April to November, 1925. It is also known as "Le Style 1925" (the 1925 style). It is a generic term referring to a decorative style that swept all over Europe, in particular France, between the 1910s and 30s, and extended to all genres of art including industrial arts, architecture, painting, and fashion.

Industrial development prompted the creation of new materials such as plastic, reinforced concrete, and tempered glass. It opened up a totally new age of commercial products and consumption and the mass production of manufactured goods. New values that emerged therewith encouraged artists of applied art, who were searching for art that could satisfy both practical and aesthetic needs, to create new aesthetic forms. Having its roots in the simplest elements of Art Nouveau and cubism, Russian ballet and various other styles, a decorative style consisting of geometric patterns and an intellectual composition combining straight lines and three dimensions was gradually formed.

The 1920s was a time when the framework for modern lifestyle had emerged, where airplanes flew and sightseeing trips on steamboats became popular, where steam locomotives and automobiles ran in faster speed, and almost everything in the world was bustling. This rhythmical and mechanical movement replaced the organic forms of Art Nouveau, and developed into the mineralistic and linear designs of the Art Deco style, as seen in the zigzag patterns that expressed electric waves, the speedy wave patterns, and the water fountain designs.

In this modern time, when all things in social life have become rational and functionalistic, the Art Deco style of the 1920s and 30s, which combines the functional and decorative beauty has received much attention and has once again been appreciated.


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