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"Sergio Leone and the Spaghetti Western"
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Art Deco and Its Enduring Popularity

Additional Reading

Elegance and geometrical shapes are among the hallmarks of many of the art deco objects which are still popular today. The art deco movement was at its height during the years between World War I and World War II, roughly 1920 to 1939. The style took its name from the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, so "deco" is short for "decorative."

Art deco became widespread in architecture, interior design including furniture and dishes, clothing, jewelry, poster art, and practically any art form. It started in Europe, but was used even more in the United States.

It drew widely on the many forms of art from the past: Oriental and Middle Eastern art (including Egyptian), Greek and Roman works, Mayan shapes and designs. But it was considered extremely modern and used many machine and automobile design elements like wheels and gears. Rooted in some of the avant-garde painting styles of the era, art deco is characterized by abstraction, distortion, and simplification. Very intense colors were common, as were geometric shapes.

Above all, art deco was a celebration of modern life, an elegant and sophisticated look which was available in many ways. There were luxurious items for the wealthy, and mass-produced items for the middle class. In architecture, there were theaters, restaurants, hotels, ocean liners, and even World's Fair exhibitions. It may seem bittersweet to us so much later, but it represented a joyous delight in the rise of commerce, technology, and speed.

Some design elements were stepped forms, rounded corners, triple-striped decorative elements, vivid colors, and black decoration. The overall format had a clean simplicity to it. For book and poster printing, type faces such as Futura and Broadway were simple and geometrical.

In poster art, the sense of sophistication and suave elegance are often strong elements, as is sensuality. Art deco posters, printed using our modern techniques, are still widely used for decorating today. Art deco posters go well with virtually any style of furnishings, as they themselves draw on so many different things and there is such a wide variety available.

About the Author

Rosana Hart is a reference librarian turned webmaster. Visit her site at http://www.infoandhelp.com/posters/ for a selection of popular posters and articles about their subjects.


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