Elements of Art Deco - Thomaston Auction
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June 1, 2023

Elements of Art Deco

As we enter into our next topic for our Elements of Art Movements series, we must look back on our previous topic of Art Nouveau. This movement shaped the path towards the next, which we all know as Art Deco.

For those who don’t know the significant differences between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, here are a two major points:

  • Art Deco’s style is more geometric in shape, with rigid symmetrical designs, while its predecessor contained a more natural, organic and flowing style.
  • This movement lasted from 1990 to 1945, whereas the Art Nouveau movement occurred before in 1890 to 1905.
  • Cubism, art nouveau, Bauhaus and decorative accents inspired from the Native Americans and Ancient Egyptians influenced Art Deco as a whole

Like many artistic movements and endeavors, Art Deco, also known as style moderne, originated in 1920s Paris, France. Like Art Nouveau, its popularity spread across not just paintings and prints but also architecture, sculpture, and fabric design.

Now that manufacturing facilities were seeing an all-time boom in demand, the art form quickly spread in popularity on an international basis. Creators and artists of the Art Deco era wanted to quickly move away from the Art Nouveau style, as its originality and luscious, organic designs promoted a type of elite aesthetic that the average middle-man can’t acquire or afford, whereas Art Deco was a more attainable art style for everyone to enjoy and have access to in their home, storefront or gallery.

This distinguished style promotes clean, geometric patterns and shapes that are meant to provoke simple sophistication and elegance. It’s during this movement that products like Bakelite, plastics, silver, chrome and obsidian became popular, as they were frequently used by companies and artists in their designs.

In aspects of architecture, you can still see the Art Deco design in today’s many popular buildings and locations, especially the Rockefeller Center in New York City, which was constructed from 1920 - 1940, the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. And in the 1930s, there soon grew an entire district in Miami, Florida, dedicated to the art movement.

Iconic and noteworthy artists that dominated the movement include Rene Lalique, Louis Cartier, Romain de Tirtoff and Paul Landowski.

Some examples of Art Deco arts and antiques we’ve sold here at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries include this stunning handmade Art Deco period platinum bracelet with diamonds, which sold for $75,000 in our 2013 Summer Feature Auction.

Another Art Deco antique we’ve sold is this Russian 14K yellow gold cigarette case with a sapphire clasp for $3,250 in our 2016 Spring Feature Auction.

And from a more architectural standpoint, we have also sold interior items like this chrome chandelier with frosted glass shades by Verrerie D’Art Degue for $4,000 in the same 2016 feature auction.

While many art movements have come and gone, Art Deco continues to hold design and architecture in an iron grip, as it struck favoritism in America with its sleek simplicity, yet geometric genius that many skyscrapers and metro buildings to this day bear with pride.

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Kaja Veilleux, ME AUC #902
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