Friday, April 10, 2009

Arty Farty Friday ~ Art Deco

Fast-forward from last Friday's look at Art Nouveau to the next arty cycle, the style now known as Art Deco. Art Nouveau declined rapidly with the outbreak of the First World War. After that dreadful bloodbath when so many young men perished, a new attitude, new designs and new approaches to almost everything emerged.

Art Nouveau's delicate organic curves and beautiful images gave way to angular, geometric design in architecture, furniture and graphic arts. Some designers drew on classical motifs from Egyptian or Greek art and sculpture, and merged these with their new, sleek, brittle and urban designs. Art Deco spanned the years between the two World Wars, approximately 1920 to 1940, and its influence is seen most easily in the architecture of that period. While artists proper experimented with cubism, abstract and surrealist art, the architects and poster painters left a clearly identifiable imprint of the style known as Art Deco.

It's not surprising that this abrupt change took place. During the period of the first World War Uranus had transited Aquarius, its own sign, brewing up change of all kinds - change which wasn't able to permeate everyday life until the war had ended , with Uranus' transit of Aquarius in its last degrees.

As Uranus moved into Pisces, that new creativity, brewed during the Aquarius transit, was given its head. With Neptune (Pisces' ruler) in flashy,sophisticated, urban Leo, this new style was born.

Once you "get your eye in" it's easy to spot architecture from the Art Deco period. There's a lot of it still around in American cities, even as far afield as Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was no doubt the influx of money from oil in the 1920s and 30s which brought on a flurry of new stylish building in Okie land. New York's skyscrapers are good symbols of Art Deco, of course, as are old movie theaters to be found in almost every American town. Just this week, we were round and about in Oklahoma and I spotted this building in a little town called Purcell. The husband dutifully stopped the car, leapt out and obliged me with a photograph.

In Europe and Britain it's not quite as easy to find this style because of the destruction during World War II. There are still some examples though.
I've spotted private houses or blocks of apartments displaying the style, and many cinema frontages have survived. For many years I lived in an apartment, constructed in 1938, attached to a building which was originally a cinema with a clearly Art Deco frontage. The apartment definitely had elements of Art Deco - flat roof, long narrow horizontal-paned windows. The whole structure was destroyed by fire in 1996, sadly my photographs of it were inside.

Art Deco houses are often found in English seaside towns for some reason, and usually they're painted white. The style does appeal to me. I used to joke that one day I'd find an Art Deco house that I could afford, and live in it in my old age. Instead, I find myself in Oklahoma in a house with not even a whisper of Art Deco about it. Never mind!

A good 3 minute video: ~~~


David Thompson said...

A great collection of arty farty deco images.

Wisewebwoman said...

I too love that art deco white house, T. Great post!

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Twilight said...

David Thompson ~~ Hello, and thanks for the visit. Oh my! I love your blog - I've had a quick look but will be back for more!

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ thanks. Yes, it'd by my dream house. Maybe in my next lifetime? ;-)

Twilight said...

MonkAre ~~ Hello, and thank you for visiting. I'm glad you enjoy!
You seem to be from a very beautiful part of the world !

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Helen said...

Does anyone know the name of the achitect of the of the white house, or which british seaside town it is in? Part of my course work is on English Art Deco and this is a beautiful example.

Twilight said...

Helen ~~~ Hello! I now cannot find any trace of the photograph I "lifted" from Google Image when I wrote this post, some time ago. I suppose the source article or blog has been deleted since then, or maybe I didn't search carefully enough.

Sorry I can't be of help. There are one or two other examples of Art Deco English houses in Google Image which do at least give location - there's one house in Herne Bay, and another building in Morecambe I notioced as I skimmed through - but I'm sure you've already done so yourself.

Have you investigated David Thompson's blog on Art Deco buildings yet? He was the first commenter here - URL:

He might be able to help with your enquiry, and if you search his archives there might be other items of interest there.

Good luck with your researches - that's a lovely topic you've chosen! :-)