With its strong geometric shapes, clean lines and bold colors, Art Deco is one of the most easily recognizable design movements of all time. You can see elements of it just about everywhere you turn — from architecture, to furniture, to jewelry and everything in between. In fact, some of the most famous buildings in the world are built in the Art Deco style, including the Chrysler Building and Radio City Music Hall.
The term “Art Deco” was first used in the mid-1920s when architect Le Corbusier titled a series of articles he wrote about the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes “1925 Expo: Arts Deco”. However, it wasn’t until 1968 that the term came into popular use when historian Bevis Hillier published a book titled “Art Deco of the 20s and 30s”.
The style, which was heavily influenced by Cubism, Constructivism, Futurism, Art Nouveau and possibly even Egyptian and Aztec art, was fashionable throughout the 1920s and 1930s. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, however, its popularity declined as it was seen as being too extravagant for wartime.
Below I’ve listed five of my favorite Art Deco artists along with several pieces of their work. Enjoy!
René Lalique (1860-1945) was a French glass artist who is best known for his jewelry, vases, hood ornaments, perfume bottles, chandeliers and clocks. The dragonfly brooch shown below is probably my favorite of his pieces.
Tamara de Lempicka
Tamara de Lempicka (1898 – 1980) is one of my all-time favorite artists. I absolutely love her bold use of color and the angular composition that is often seen in her pieces. Her style is easily recognizable and is sometimes referred to as “soft cubism”.
Paul Manship (1885-1966) is a well-known sculptor whose work can be found in countless museums and public spaces throughout the United States. Perhaps his best known piece is Prometheus, the large fountain at Rockefeller Center.
Georges Barbier (1882-1932) is a French illustrator who is most known for his fashion illustrations. Throughout his career, he also tried his hand at designing costumes, jewelry, glass and wallpaper. In addition, he wrote a number of articles for the French fashion magazine La Gazette du Bon Ton.
Hildreth Meière (1892-1961) was one of the most prolific Art Deco artists, creating many prominent works throughout the United States. Some of her most well-known pieces include the medallions on Radio City Music Hall, a number of panels and mosaics at the Nebraska State Capitol building, the ceiling of the St. Louis Cathedral and Resurrection Chapel of the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.