Of 1920 with 1939, and in reaction to the Art nouveau of before the First World War, the Art déco was a artistic Mouvement extremely influential especially in the Architecture and the Design, but more or less related to in fact all the forms of visual arts.
The style Art déco car its name of the International exhibition of Decorative and industrial Arts modern which was held with Paris in 1925.
1918: end of the First World War, a world had died, a very different company emerged from the décombres. France leaves four years of nightmares, trenches, and intends to catch up with wasted time. The company underwent in four years of conflicts, of the radical changes and irremediable. The established middle-class order rocks, of colossal fortunes were established during the war.
Several artistic events caused major changes in decorative arts and particularly furniture.
Russian Ballet of Serge Diaghilev
The Reinforced concrete becomes of current use. It lends itself to all the forms. The architects rise against eclecticism. They assert simplicity, the geometry and structural coherence. Functional architecture asserts that the form expresses the function of the building, without superfluous ornaments. The architect Adolf Loos will write “Ornament and crime”. With Lyon, Tony Garnier built: the Stage Gerland, the large market, but also the Hospital Edouard-Herriot and the district of the United States. In 1919 Walter gropius creates a school called the bauhaus, school of art multi-field having for doctrines art and technique a new unit, this school belongs to the fronts artistic guards of the Twenties with in other the Dutch group of stijl which influenced the bauhaus dice thereafter arrived at the direction of theo van doesburg.
Note: Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier will go even further with the house of the New Spirit, during the exposure of 1925. But one hides it behind palisades. It will become nevertheless a construction headlight of the modern movement. Le Corbusier will be thereafter the large theorist of this functional architecture. Later, it will organize CIAM (Congress International of the Modern architecture), and will come out from it the Charte of Athens.
CharacteristicsAs much the forms the Art nouveau was undulating, very detailed and took example on nature, as much Art déco turned to purified and primarily geometrical forms. The curve, still very present at the beginnings of this movement, tends to disappear gradually with the profit from the right angle, in particular with the current De Stijl. It was true but short artistic explosion concerning of many artistic disciplines:
- Design: interior installation of the Bus shelter (Strasbourg). Ludwig Crumbs van der Rohe. Amédée Ozenfant .
- Cinema: Inhuman the of Marcel the Herbarium with decorations of Robert Mallet-Stevens.
- Painting: Tamara de Lempicka.
The period Art déco is directly related to the garçonne, term indicating the emancipation of the woman and founding the woman above the man, in the Années 1920. The word comes from the Romance of the same name written by Victor Margueritte. The most beautiful representations of the garçonne are Suzanne Lenglen (tennis), Louise Brooks (cinema), Tamara de Lempicka (painting) or Joséphine Baker (black dancer)…
After one period ostentation during the Years 1920, the current is blown little by little towards the end of the Années 1930, gradually replaced by the growing influence of the Bauhaus and more generally of the international Style which will achieve the dream of the artists of Art déco: series production. And thus was born the first steps from the Consumer society which we know, the beautiful one at less price. One of the topics in architecture was to use the shapes of the objects daily used by the owner of the building in order to explain the function of this last, but the concept was wide. Thus, the roof of the Chrysler Building evokes the bumpers of the cars of the mark. This concept reaches its paroxysm with the style California Crazy where the oversize object is an element or the whole building.
The style Art déco or style 1925 - 1939
Indeed, the reaction against the Art nouveau appears since 1910 in France, and even earlier abroad as in Belgium, in Germany, with the Netherlands, in Austria,… One qualifies the forms Art nouveau of " molles" or of " style nouille". One directs oneself by reaction towards single circuit lines, right forms, inspired by painting cubist and architecture with the orthogonal structures of reinforced concrete.
Two very different tendencies coexist:
- the traditional tendency: it is the style " ART DECO" , for a fortunate elite.
- the modern, functional tendency: it is the beginning of the design, seeking an industrial production, for customers of mass.
Style Art déco, tendency traditionalist
Luxate and perfection
Furniture Art déco is the work of artists decorators for orders on behalf of rich customers, being thirsty for innovation, while remaining conformist. In fact pieces of furniture carried out in cabinet work seek the luxury and the perfection. The pieces of furniture are thus single parts.
FormsThe forms remain traditional, with sometimes recalls with the former styles: Louis XVI, Directory, Louis-Philippe. But art cubist will push with a simplification of the forms.
Volumes parallelepipedic, with the sharp angles, or are rounded, or with cut sides. The circle and the octagone are also appreciated.
The pieces of furniture are often supported by bases.
The mouluration is rare.
Two “revolutionary” schools
In 1919 opened in Germany a known esthetic training center under the name of Bauhaus. Under the direction of Walter Gropius, it became one of most influential of this century, and was active until 1933. Its only goal was to train artists to be worked for industry, and even if his influence were sometimes exaggerated, Bauhaus printed its mark on the design of the twentieth century. Starting from modern industrial materials reduced to their form most elementary and stripped of any ornament, the creators of the Bauhaus tried to create products removed from all historical references. This objective was not always achieved. The famous chair Wassily of Marcel Breuer presents number of the associated characteristics " with the style Bauhaus " : out of tubular steel, of stripped geometrical form, it owes its construction with the talent of the craftsman and machine. The greatest success of the Bauhaus was its methods of teaching, which were copied from all planet. Gropius attracted famous artists, like Wassily Kandinsky, Josef Albers and Paul Klee, and of the architects recognized like Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
School of design of avant-garde which opened with Moscow in 1920. Its name was the initials of the technical workshops of state like the Bauhaus, the goal of the school was to train artists with industry. It shared the characteristics of the German school, Wassily Kandinsky and El Lissitzky took part in the two organizations. Alexandre Rodtchenko, drew pieces of furniture for the circle of the workers to the exposure of Paris of 1925. However none the prototypes of pieces of furniture created by this school, became an industrial reality.
Decoration and textile
If the line is purified, furniture posts a neat and often luxurious decoration.
The sculpture is very flat. It uses a geometrical, floral or animal repertory, very stylized, geometrized. The pink is very present in bouquet, basket, garland.
Surface treatment: gilding, lacquer.
The Marquetry and the incrustation of nets, ivory plates (negro art) of mother-of-pearl or metal (money, copper, brass, aluminum).
The figures are stylized, the regularly repeated reasons. The fabric often saturates the interiors of jerked and sharp rates/rhythms which point out those of the light music of the time. All the reasons and influences already quoted are repeated with a constancy which contributes, certainly, with the unit of the style, but also ends up returning the interiors choking.
Le Corbusier and the modernistic ones preach as for them, " the law of the Ripolin " : the return to the simple white wall, which will be essential gradually.
Materials and techniques
The frames are generally in oak. The profiled or plated structures use the mahogany tree, the purple wood, the thuja, the amaranth, the lemon tree… Clear contrasts of wood (lemon tree) and wood dark (amaranth), colors and matters.
Principal creatorsJean Dunand, dinandier of exception very as much as Master of the art of the lacquer, creates vases of all forms, ornamental panels, folding screens, pieces of furniture, jewels, fashion accessories.
The man of the time, it is Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. He works on order, for a fortunate elite. He takes as a starting point the last but stretches the lines, tapering the forms and creates erudite decorations. He uses wood rare and draws with an amazing precision each detail so that the execution (by the craftsmen) is perfect.
Pierre Legrain, Pierre Chareau, also marked by the influence of negro art and the cubism, creates pieces of furniture with the strict lines. Nevertheless these pieces of furniture are not for a mass production, but for customers of exception. The luxury of materials contradicts the sobriety of the lines.
Spirit and variety of the pieces of furniture
The seats are often of Directoire inspiration or Restoration. A preoccupation with a comfort is to be noticed in the armchairs, inspired of the leather easychair, with the major forms. Wood not very apparent and is often dissimulated by a covering of leather or textile.
The corner divan, creation of the time, fact fury. It is a couch of angle, embedded in a woodwork with various racks.
The convenient ones and pieces of furniture of support have a frontage very often bent, even corpulent.
The tables are is round, oval, rectangular with the broken angles. The hairdressers and offices of ladies are particularly refined.
It will be retained that the style Art déco was that of restricted and fortunate customers. He hesitated between new esthetics (under the influence of the cubism, the fauvism and negro art) and tradition in the inspiration of the styles of the past, in the ornamentation.
Last witness of a French long tradition, it will sink since 1939 with Hitler and the Nazism.
While the traditionalists of Art déco make receipt near the middle-class and of the artists in vogue, some ignored workshops, kept away, are interested in the series production of cheap pieces of furniture: the functionalist ones, prophets of the " style contemporain" , the bases of the design will throw while moving away from artisanal esthetics to let itself gain by the industrial design. Since 1917, a group of painters, architects, designers and philosophers Dutch created a collective baptized De Stijl, the style. Moving away from the natural forms of architecture and the design, the group De Stijl tried to create a visual language able to express a new industrial design by using a reduced pallet and while being limited on lines.
- Alexandre Léonard
- Maurice Ascalon
- Vadim To mix
- Alexandra Ekster
- Christian Fjerdingstad
- Periods with architecture
- Rockefeller Center: complex architectural Art Déco with New York
- Tamara de Lempicka
- Museum Alice and David van Buuren: Old house of the husbands Van Buuren in Brussels
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