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Art Deco

The Art Deco style, introduced to the world at the 1925 Paris Exposition, was influenced by trends that developed in the early part of the twentieth century and became fully blown by the 1920s. Art Deco objects are generally considered to have been produced from the mid 1920s until the start of World War II. Art Deco styles dominated jewelry, architecture, glass, sculpture, furniture, ceramics and home furnishings, as well as graphic design. The Art Deco artists were influenced by the Far East, Greece, Rome, and especially Egyptian history (the result of the finding of tombs and mummies, especially that of King Tut). The influence was also apparent in modern goods such as cars and trains, as well as consumer goods. It blossomed at the height of the Roaring Twenties, continued through the depression era, and up until the onset of the Second World War. There were new objects and new materials, such as bakelite and lucite, all aiming at the theme of self-absorbed sophistication. 

Art Deco was known for its geometric designs, simpler than art nouveau, but with exotic woods and inlays in furniture, and elegant forms with vibrant colors in consumer goods and works of art. Major structures such as the Chrysler building in New York demonstrated the height of Art Deco design, with ornamental gargoyles and a silver spire. The effort extended to movie theatres, motels, gas stations, diners, buses (Greyhound), radios, and vacuum cleaners. Often furniture, statues and handbags were sheathed in exotica, such as sharkskin, gold leaf, ivory, and mother-of-pearl. Plastic made consumer goods inexpensive. Products such as radios were available in such quantities that every family could own one. Trains and cars were designed to be aerodynamic, getting away from the boxes of earlier transportation designs. Artists of the time include Bel Geddes, Frankel, Deskey, Russel Wright, and Ruhlman. Interior design included metals and chrome, all presented in new and exciting ways. The ads of the time reflected the Art Deco movement, the more notable being movie posters and Coca Cola signs, with many items sporting angular shapes and stunning colors.

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