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Saturday, September 16, 2006

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Art Auctions: Art Deco

In the field of modern art, art deco plays a large and impressively lavish role. The strong colors and sweeping curves lend art deco the trademark boldness that expressed much of the progress and modern advances of the twentieth century. Art auctions around the world still move many art deco pieces of various kinds. If you’re interested in collecting art deco, there are many art auctions both online and off that deal primarily in art deco.

In the twentieth century the decorative arts converged in what is known as the art deco movement, which grew to influence architecture, fashion, the visual arts as well as design. The term ‘art deco’ was derived from a World’s Fair held in Paris, France, called the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in the year 1925.

Though the movement and term comes from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, the term was not widely used until the late 1960s. Especially pre- World War I Europe influenced the art deco movement, though many cultures influenced and were influenced by this art movement. Much of the world was experiencing similar shifts in modern technological advances.

For the most part, the art deco movement was brought about and inspired by the rapid advances of technological and social facets of the early twentieth century. As culture responded to these increasingly changing times, the art deco movement was an outgrowth of these modern phenomena.

Art deco is considered generally to be an eclectic type of decorative modernism that was influenced by a variety of artists and particular art forms. Art deco includes furniture, metalwork, clocks, glasswork and screens as well as paintings and other fine art types of pieces.

The art deco style is known for its lavishness and epicurean flairs that are attributed to the austerity of culture brought about by World War I. Strong patterns and bold colors and shapes were used, as were many particular motifs used universally.

For example, the sunburst motif was used in everything from the Radio City Music Hall auditorium, images of ladies’ shoes, the spire of the Chrysler Building and several other pieces of art, architecture and design. Other ubiquitous motifs found in art deco were stepped forms, the zigzag, chevron patterns and sweeping curves.

In the West, art deco lost its steam around the Second World War, but continued to be used all the way into the 1960s in colonial countries such as India, where it served as a gateway to Modernism. Then in the 1980s art deco made a comeback in graphic design. Art deco’s association with 1930s film noir led to its use in both fashion and jewelry ads.

Today art deco is revered by many and dismissed as old news and overly gaudy by others. Though it undoubtedly played a major role in art history, as with most art, individual taste frames the individual’s interpretation and like or dislike of art deco styles.

Art deco is one of the most well known art movements. This is mostly due to its wide base of influences and influenced art forms and cultures. Since much of the world was experiencing many of the same advances in technology and mass production, many of the same ideas and symbols were relevant in various parts of the world.

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