A board of furniture characteristic for Art Deco I created - click to enlarge
I really like ancient furniture. And if one is allowed to appreciate one style more than another - because there were talented artists and beautiful pieces of art in all of the the historical periods - one of my favourite is Art Deco. I love the geometric, simple shapes of the Art Deco furniture, its glossy exotic woods, fantastic mosaic floors (that are waiting for their own post here on my blog).
The period itself - the twenties and thirties of XXth century - is also fascinating. Poland was a young, reborn after 123 years of country, with the first generation of free Poles, full of energy, unconcious of yet another terrible war to come. In Europe and the United Stated it was a golden time for the art, the artists were very active members of the society, had big influence. People, tired of the IWW wanted to relax and have fun. A lot of fun, just like in The Great Gatsby. After all, there must have been the reason the period is being callled the Roaring Twenties :-)
Art Deco is a movement in decorative arts and architecture, popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Art Deco doesn't really have its own aesthetic - its an eclectic style, combining influences of Art Nouveau, Cubism, Futurism, Modernism, Neo-Classicism and Bauhaus (source: www.art-deco-style.com). Artists were fascinated with the modern city, skyscraper became an American symbol of modernity and its form was often used for furniture (look at Paul T. Frankl's bookcase below) as well as "zgigzags", symbolising electricity.
|Art Deco interior. Donald Deskey, Radio City Music Hall|
Ocean liners, the only mean of transportation across the continents between the wars, are where we can often see pure Art Deco interiors (ex. Normandie). In Poland there were liners "Batory" (photo below) and "Piłsudski" (its interiors here)
If you love old furniture and want to know what you buy - here are the most important features of Art Deco furniture:
Characteristic features: clean, minimal design, curvy shapes, pure geometric forms, stepped forms (from skyscrapers), zigzags (electricity), coloristically contrasting materials, African and Indian motives, no sculpted decoration
Materials: exotic woods, ebony, mahogany, chestnut, zebra wood, metal finishes, black glass, mirrors, inclays of ivory and leather
2) Eileen Gray, "Dragos" armchair - sold in 2009 for $28,341,909 !!
4) Couch in the shape of a mouth - the famous "Mae West Sofa Lips", Salvador Dali, 1937
Other interesting Art Deco pieces found on the internet:
A charming piece I found on an auction (for less thank 100$)
And at the end - Art Deco furniture in a contemporary interior
I hope that this text helps you recognize Art Deco furniture immiediately :-)
sources: tablica.pl, britannica.com, John Pile - A History of Interior Design, pinterest.com, starychmebliczar.pl, www.metmuseum.org