The exhibition examines the relationship between architecture and Art Deco

Art Deco architecture and heritage are the focus of the city. The Paris museum explores this creative period from the end of the 19th century to the 1930s with its new exhibition Art Déco France-Amérique du Nord. The installation, on view until March 6, 2023, presents a story of transatlantic exchange. intellectuals and artists. In 350 works, he reveals how this artistic movement profoundly marked architecture and other fields, from design to graphics through sculpture and fashion. The visitor is immersed in the spirit of the time, in search of modernity. Emphasizing the importance of curves and lines in the Art Deco style, this collection emphasizes ornamentation and floral motifs.

The work of Jacques Carlu was specially highlighted

Art Deco manifests itself in a thousand ways in France as in the United States. One can think, for example, of the Palais de Chaillot project designed by the architect Jacques Carlou and largely documented in this exhibition. This architect designed a grand esplanade and masterful perspective on Paris and the Eiffel Tower. Two monumental pavilions, extended with symmetrical wings, surround this complex, whose dimensions are reminiscent of the iconic buildings of the city of Washington. The Cité de l’Architecture is now located here. Prix ​​de Rome in architecture in 1919, Jacques Carlu made a major contribution to the Art Deco movement. Therefore, the curators of the exhibition decided to display his portrait at the beginning of the trip together with the American architect, the author of the book Chicago Tribute, Raymond Hood, a 141-meter high office skyscraper.

The exhibition also shows the connections between the First World War and certain features of this art. Thus, a war of images is heard, which aims to highlight the commitment of artists and intellectuals to the preservation of certain buildings and the destruction caused by the Germans. French artists and newspapers also recount the arrival of American volunteers on the battlefields, their determination and courage often symbolized by an American chief. A motif used to decorate Art Deco buildings in the US and Canada, as well as skyscrapers, train stations and public buildings. “We find the motif enlarged on the La Fayette memorial in the Parc de Saint-Cloud near Paris, which commemorates the sixty-eight soldiers who died during the fighting.“, chief curator Emmanuel Bréon explains during a visit to the exhibition.

Poster for the “Art Déco France-Amérique du Nord” exhibition at the Cité de l’Architecture. © City of Architecture and Heritage/Denys Vin

Shared effects

The curators are also looking at the School of Fine Arts at Meudon, which trained 400 American and Canadian architects in architecture, sculpture and fresco during the last two decades of the 19th century. Many influential professionals have been there. Victor Laloux, who signed the Gare d’Orsay, teaches there, and Gutzon Borglum, known for sculpting Mount Rushmore, trains there.

It is thanks to the Meudon School of Art that American architects imagine the Art Deco buildings, these glass skyscrapers, characteristic of the urban landscape along the Atlantic Ocean. Frenchmen such as Paul Cret participated in this trend, notably by creating the “palace” of the Pan American Union headquarters in Washington, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. “But in France, architects avoid building towers“, says Emmanuel Bréon.

In 1923, American Lloyd Warren envisioned the School of Fine Arts at Fontainebleau. American Jacques Carlou taught architecture to 70 American students. Fresco experts also come to teach“, adds security officer Benedicte Mayer.”Lloyd Warren also founds the Institute of Fine Arts Design in New York. In a constant creative journey, France influences the United States and vice versa“, the chief curator continues. It must be said that then “the North American upper class, Francophile and Francophone, is the guarantor of the new Franco-American style.“.

Change of time

Embassies are also vectors of the Art Deco spirit. The Mexican Embassy in Paris, commissioned to French architect André Durand and Mexican artist Angel Zarraga, is a perfect example. Aesthetics and functionality come together in this administrative building. But that’s not all. Fashion, tableware, and jewelry capture this style with their popular aesthetic. We find Art Deco everywhere, in perfume collections, evening dresses, and even in the design of ocean liners. Under the influence of French architects, the liners Île-de-France (1927) and Normandie (1935), “they act as floating embassies of a new style“, emphasizes Emmanuel Bréon.”They are a symbol of an era and the French art of travel.

Art Deco even comes “deco tropical architecture” In Miami Beach, Bénédicte Mayer comments. The hurricane of 1926 that hit the shores of this area and the economic crisis of 1929 prompted architects between the 1930s and 1950s to imagine a refined and simplified Art Deco. The buildings are modern and cheap. concrete, materials such as glass and terrazzo are preferred. Light tones are preferred and buildings between 4 and 6 in height have roof terraces. Seaside resort”very high luxury“It’s becoming a place frequented by billionaires”Mr. Designed for All“.

Art Deco France-North America Exhibition
Greystone Hotel, Miami Beach, Florida, c. 1939 postcard, Curteich CT Photo-Colorit, Chicago, publisher © Lynton Gardiner

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