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Art Deco Antiques – Guest Blog

By March 11, 2016September 13th, 2017Blog, Guest Blogs

I am fascinated by Art Deco: the style of 1930s cinemas, ocean liners and flamboyant Manhattan architecture. Interior design has been largely influenced by the Art Deco style that began in Europe, particularly Paris, in the early years of the 20th century. By the 1930’s Art Deco furniture design took the form of ornate, extravagant detail and bold geometric forms.

I’m handing over today’s blog to Art Deco Antiques,  a high end supplier of art deco era furniture and lighting. Products are hand picked by their knowledgeable craftsmen for their sleek and smooth aesthetic, rounded lines and opulent design that art deco is famous for.

If there is one hallmark of Art Deco-era furniture, it is the use of lacquer. Lacquered furniture was highly sought due to its sleek design. The shine of lacquer fit well with two other features of Art Deco, the use of chrome highlights and mirrors.

While black lacquer is the stereotypical color for Art Deco furniture, there was actually a wide range of colors used. One just has to look at the work of Jean Dunand, one of the finest furniture makers of the era. Here are ten of his creations:


This is a fireplace surround attributed to him. Note the sharp geometric designs used throughout the piece. This is an important feature of Art Deco.



This is a fireplace surround attributed to him. Note the sharp geometric designs used throughout the piece. This is an important feature of Art Deco.



This piece is an exquisite folding screen designed by Dunand. The high-up view could have been inspired by early photos of air travel over the coastline



Here is another folding screen. This one is a more classical black lacquer screen with gold highlights showing off a meadow scene. Despite Art Deco being associated with geometric shapes and the pursuit of progress, some natural themes were used.



This piece, on the other hand, is very Art Deco. It is a set of six nested tables. It would have been an amazing piece of precision machining during the era. All of these tables are made of lacquered wood, and was sold by Christie’s for $62,500!



This is an eggshell and lacquer table that has been dated to 1925, and was signed by Dunand. It is clearly Art Deco. Note the overlapping squares on the legs growing gradually upward. This “sunburst” design was highly desired in the era.



This is an example of one of his chairs. Thick upholstery was common then. Note the curves coming up and forward out of the front. This is another example of Art Deco’s “projection of power” principle.



Dunand was also well known for his vases. This is an eggshell lacquered vase that’s meant to depict the falling of snow. An outstanding piece.




This is one of his metal vases. The African influences come in very strongly with the highly-repetitive geometric shapes. Yet there is an extremely modern feel about this vase even nearly 100 years after its creation.



Finally, we have a bed that was designed by him. Art Deco was fond of using rectangular plinths for large pieces like these, and then combining them with smooth curves.


What do you think of these pieces, and of the Art Deco period? Do the techniques and shapes grab you, or do they seem rather old-fashioned?




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