How art deco affected society

Roger-Henri Expert and Richard Van Der Boijen. Transatlántico Normandie. Grand Salon 1933-34.

MAJOR exhibition is dedicated to the art deco movement in Paris between 1910-1935

FOR several years the ‘Fundacion March’ in Madrid has been at the forefront of some of the capital’s most original and avant-garde art exhibitions competing with the major art museums of the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemisza.
This spring is no exception with a major exhibition dedicated to the art deco movement in Paris between 1910-1935. Art deco has always been overshadowed by paintings and sculptures. Tim Benton, the British expert on art deco and joint curator of the project, praised March on its initiative, saying that it was an important step to place fine arts and decorative arts on an equal footing. It is the first major exhibition devoted to the subject in Spain, more than a decade after Tim Benton’s major exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2003, and the first to show this form of art outside the traditional museums.
The art deco movement in the 1920s had a profound effect on society, especially in France, where it achieved worldwide attention at the International Decorative Arts Fair in Paris in 1925. It was a period during which growing consumerism and art became almost indistinguishable with designers and couturiers of fashion, furniture, interiors, architecture, jewellery, even perfumes, demonstrating their talent to create innovative products for their clients. The creations of major designers were as sought after as conventional paintings by the leading artists of the period and wealthy clients paid high prices for the latest decorative art.
During the period between the two World Wars, the art deco movement became entwined with commerce and industry. The 20s brought in a new style of living and a transformation of French society, which spread throughout the continent. It was arguably the start of women’s liberation and freedom of expression which allowed stylists and designers like Paul Poiret or Chanel to design and produce high-class fashion, jewellery and perfumes for a more affluent and demanding clientele.
It was the dawn of the age of travel. The great transatlantic liners were floating palaces with interior designers granted freedom to create luxury cabins, lounges and majestic stairways, while the rapidly expanding motor industry was producing individually designed cars. Architects like Corbusier were at the forefront of new concepts in house design and were given artistic licence by wealthy property owners to produce original and exotic interiors, and posters and magazines heralded a new art medium – advertising.
The exhibition comprises more than 350 objects, lent by both national museums and private collections in Europe and the United States. It is divided into eight themed sections including architecture, crystal, ceramics, fashion, furnishings, jewellery, perfume bottles photos, posters and textiles, with unique works by more than 100 artists, designers, couturiers, decorators and craftsmen of the period. The exhibition Art Deco in Paris 1910-1935 runs until June 28.

The March Foundation,
Castello 77 28006 Madrid:

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