Art Deco (c.1908 to 1935)
Art Deco began in Europe, particularly Paris, in the early years of the 20th century, but didn’t really take hold until after World War I. As the world let its hair down after the hell of WW1, Deco truly reigned until the outbreak of World War II. This particular era of decorative arts seems more nostalgic than most. Perhaps because it yielded such creativity, or maybe because it is reflective of a time where so many things happened on the historical time line. A sampling of this active time in history: the Empire State Building “scraped the sky”, assembly lines were created, Edison invented the first talking films, Lindbergh forever changed aviation with the first solo flight across the Atlantic, Penicillin was discovered, Pluto was discovered, Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered, the “unsinkable” Titanic fatefully set sail, jazz was born, the Charleston and the Tango were the rage, Cubism was the hip art style and Picasso was leading the way. It was the era of Prohibition, Fascism, Darwinism, Surrealism, the Great Depression and gangsters. Certainly not dull. How did all of this translate into the decorative arts of the time?
The early days of Hollywood were in the Deco Era – the glamorous world of the silver screen filtered through to design using shiny fabrics, subdued lighting, and mirrors. Cocktail cabinets and smoking paraphernalia became highly fashionable – as did stylized images of airplanes, cars, cruise liners, skyscrapers.
Hollywood glamour is synonymous with this era. Greta Garbo (above) was legendary, along with Marlene Dietrich, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
Egyptian accents (sphinxes, pyramids) became popular after Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered. Lalique was popular. Art Deco reacted against the fussiness of the previous Art Nouveau style, going for a more streamlined, bold, geometrical approach-chrome, glass, shiny fabrics, mirrors and mirror tiles.theatrical contrasts – highly polished wood and glossy black lacquer mixed with satin and furs. Mass production made this style more accessible.
One of the things I love about the Deco style is that it mixes beautifully with many other styles. Personally, I am a sucker for Deco tables. One stunning Deco table can transform a room, and if you can find more, all the better. The woods and veneers of this era are magnificent, and the lines handsome, architectural and unfussy. As we all know, originals always hold more value than reproductions, so if you are going to spend the money, spend it wisely and invest in quality. Deco antiques are not easy to find, but if you know where to look, glamorous treasures can be yours. The good news is that I can point you to a great resource- The Highboy.com has incredible Deco antiques (along with other styles and periods represented in their Fine Art and Antiques inventory). Here are some stunning original Deco pieces I found at TheHighBoy.com:
Well proportioned side table.
A two level construction supported by an off centered square column. Resting on a chromed square base. Walnut veneer.
WIDTH: 21 in | HEIGHT: 27½ in | DEPTH: 17 in
French Art Deco desk.
Circa 1920’s. Top is high gloss lacquered mahogany with an ebonized wood base trim. Two drawers. Raised on cartouche pillars. Original leather footrest. This impressive desk is pure French Art Deco. Elegant and functional.
WIDTH: 83 in | HEIGHT: 31 in | DEPTH: 43¼ in
French Art Deco round side table
Made of macassar veneer is supported by a fluted like base that is accented by ebony and chrome- ending on a sloping square base.
DIAMETER: 28 in | HEIGHT: 26 in
Art Deco Period Circular Palisander Wood Table, France c.1930.
The combination of superbly grained timber visible in the palisander material as well as the strict architectural simplicity of the profile make this a striking table. The table has a dynamic presence when viewed from any direction and is equally suited as a side table or as a drink’s table when placed in front of a sofa. The absolute clarity of the lines of this table epitomize the allure of the Art Deco period and reinforce the desirability of this design for contemporary interiors.
DIAMETER: 26 in | HEIGHT: 24 in
ART DECO Console Table
Rectangular top. Crab leg supports. Back prop attached to a sloped base. Wrapped in macassar veneer. Restored to its original beauty.
WIDTH: 77 in | HEIGHT: 31 in | DEPTH: 15 in
The pieces of this era are so sleek, so chic, and they radiate the energy of their era. Getting a taste of the historical context only heightens the glamor of owning the originals- oh, the stories they could tell….
Do these pieces make you want to redo your home? Well, you can, because they are available for purchase through TheHighboy.com. There is more than what I showed you of this style, and an impressive representation of other styles as well. If you go onto their site and do a search for something you might be looking for, you will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of what you will find, and the detailed information and photos of the pieces listed. Enjoy virtual shopping spree over at TheHighboy.com and keep up with them on social media as well- Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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