Art Deco in the movies

 

 

actress Ann Sothern with circus acrobat on horde statue

Ann Sothern and circus acrobat on horse statue – 1939

 

 

Art Deco, Style Moderne meets Hollywood

 

The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925, had a major impact on the launch of Art Deco, including its name, which was derived from Arts Décoratifs. Art Deco was aligned with both luxury and modernity; combining expensive materials and exquisite craftsmanship adapted to modernistic forms. The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (1910-1913), by Auguste Perret was the first landmark Art Deco building completed in Paris. The Art Deco architectural style, although called Style Moderne in France, was not purely modernist but it had many features of modernism, including reinforced concrete, glass, steel, chrome, and like modernism, it rejected traditional historical models.

 

 

art deco design by Emile Jacques Ruhlmann

1925 interior of The Grand Salon of the Hôtel d’un Collectionneur at the Arts Decoratifs Expo – design by Emile Jacques Ruhlmann

 

Le Corbusier, a student of Augeste Perret, exhibited his purely modernist Esprit Nouveau pavilion at the 1925 Paris Exposition and the USSR had a pavilion featuring the flamboyant futurist style of Konstantin Melnikov. Hollywood designer Cedric Gibbons was also in attendance, and the event provoked an upheaval in movie set design. He brought back with him many of the room designs he had seen there and incorporated them into the MGM films he worked on. Gibbons’s designs were idealized images of a life of luxury and style and the huge cinema audiences were mesmerized and ready to escape into this lavish reality of opulence, especially during WWII and the Depression. At the time this style was known as Art Moderne in the USA, but later became labelled as Art Deco. This radical style of future living was widely embraced and emulated in mainstream decor trends and interior designs.

The evolution of Art Deco was closely connected with the rise in status of decorative artists. This was also reinforced by the Paris department stores who recruited artists like Louis Vuitton, René Lalique, and Louis Cartier to design products in a modern style to compliment their fashion ranges.This was a major influence on the costume designs and chic aura created in Hollywood in the 20’s and 30’s. The screen sirens responded to their elegant and serene surroundings with smoldering, sultry, seductive personas filled with elusive mystique which further enhanced the desirability.

 

 

‘The Wonder of Women’ (1929) Art Direction by Cedric Gibbons. Demetre Chiparus figurine on the coffee table

 

The convergence of the many influences within Art Deco were on display. Futuristic, streamlined forms, angular geometric Cubist shapes and bold Fauvist colours combined with exotic designs that included Persian, Japanese, Egyptian, Mayan and African. The clean stylized lines and geometric details translated seamlessly into the black and white medium of the movies.
Cedric Gibbons had replaced the Russian designer Erte at MGM, who had struggled with translating his creative vision into practical set designs. Gibbon’s architectural finesse and design innovation was tastefully complimented by amazing decorative objects and contributed to defining the visual aesthetic of this era, which is my main interest in this article. Glamorous elegance abounded with polished floors, mirrored surfaces, walnut panels, chrome highlights and art deco sculptures and light fixtures.
The studios employed some of the finest photographers at the time, who created images that did true justice to the stunning sets and actors, which is featured here. They vividly captured the essence of this charismatic era with a timeless beauty.

 

 

Rene Lalique etched glass sculpture

‘Oiseau de_Feu’ –  René Lalique

Dayton Art Institute

 

 

Una-Merkel-in the movie Private-Lives

Una Merkel in the movie Private Lives – ScreenDeco

Orientalist statue by ?

 

 

 

Angelo Basso Art Deco La Luna Sculpture Bronze female nude sculpture

 Art Deco ‘La Luna’ Sculpture – Angelo Basso

 

 

 

Alice-Faye-1935 with black cat sculpture on a pedestal

Alice Faye with black cat sculpture

1935

 

 

Robert-Montgomery-with Art Deco scotty dog

Robert Montgomery

 

 

 

Cedric Gibbons art deco set design from The Kiss (1929)

Cedric Gibbons art deco set design from ‘The Kiss’ (1929)

 

 

Art director Cedric Gibbons used strong, geometric accents to achieve the Art Deco look of Our Dancing Daughters (1928).

‘Our Dancing Daughters’ (1928)  —  Art director Cedric Gibbons used the typically strong geometric accents that were characteristic of Art Deco

 

 

Art-Deco-set---The-Artist--2011 Art Deco recreation by set designer Robert Goulet

Art Deco set– ‘The Artist’ –2011 — Art Deco recreation by set designer Robert Gould

 

 

 

Ann-Harding-hollywood-actress

Ann Harding

 

 

 

Dolores-Del-Rio-face of Art Deco

Mexican actress Dolores Del Rio who was married to Cedric Gibbons. She was known as the face of Art Deco.

 

Dolore’s beauty wisdom:

“Take care of your inner beauty, your spiritual beauty, and that will reflect in your face. We have the face we created over the years. Every bad deed, every bad fault will show on your face. God can give us beauty and genes can give us our features, but whether that beauty remains or changes is determined by our thoughts and deeds.” ~ Dolores del Rio

“Exercise, diet, beauty treatments– these things are all a complete waste of time because everyone must get older. If women were more sensible they would cease going to beauty parlors for facials and would instead lie down quietly in the peace of their bedrooms for the same length of time and arise more beautiful in face and more peaceful in spirit. The fact that I’m aging makes me a part of life, a part of the bigger scheme of existence… It is my mind, not my body, that I am trying to preserve, because it is through the mind that I can stay young.” ~ Dolores del Rio, 1964

 

“The two most beautiful things in the world are the Taj Mahal and Dolores del Río.” –George Bernard Shaw

 

 

delores del rio in long floral gown

Dolores del Rio in ‘I Live For Love’

 

 

Ann-Sothern and white female figurine statue

Ann Sothern

 

 

 

The art deco interior of a house which served as the set for the film ‘Our Modern Maidens’, with a sweeping staircase leading from the lounge area. Art direction Cedric Gibbons, MGM

 

 

 

art deco future movie

Futuristic ‘Things To Come’ – 1936

 

 

 

Art-deco-tablelamp-by-Pierre-le-Faguay, Kneeling female sculpture figure

Art deco tablelamp – Pierre le Faguays, signed Guerbe ( pseudonym)

 

 

 

paramouont theatre Oakland

Art Deco Paramount theater. Oakland

 

 

 

Egyptian Art Deco in Hollywood

 

 

Demetre-Chiparus-art-deco-female figure sculpture

Art Deco dancer –  Demetre Chiparus

 

 

Frankenstein-holding maiden

‘The Bride Of Frankenstein’, 1935

 

 

 

Carole lombard with winking greek bust sculpture

Carole Lombard publicity still for ‘Rhumba’, 1935

 

 

 

Spirit-of-the-Centennial-statue-at-Fair-Park-in-Dallas,

Spirit of the Centennial statue at Fair Park in Dallas, 1936.

Designed by Raoul Josett and Jose Martin. Carlo Ciampaglia designed the mural behind the statue.

 

 

 

-Josef-Lorenzl.--stylish-lady-sculpture in gold gown

‘Chryselephantine Lady’ –  Josef Lorenzl.

 

 

 

 

Carole-Lombard with nude figure sculpture

Carole Lombard

 

 

Carole-Lombard-hollywood-actress

Carole Lombard

 

 

 

art deco lobby for GrandHotel

Grand Hotel, 1932

In the book Designing Dreams: Modern Architecture in the Movies, author Donald Albrecht writes, “Circles are prominent in every aspect of the Grand Hotel’s design– an appropriate image for the spinning-wheel-of-fortune scenario. The circular motif appears in the hotel’s round, multilevel atrium with open balconies, in the continually revolving doors, and in ornaments on balcony railings. It also appears in the round reception desk, which acts as a pivot for the curving shots that follow the movement of the film’s characters, who travel across the black-and-white floor like pawns in a chess game. Movie plot and architecture have seldom been so closely harmonized.”

 

 

Art Deco fire screen

Art deco fire screen with Art Nouveau floral motif -Rose Iron Works of Cleveland

1930

 

 

 

Claudette-Colbert in harlequin costume

Claudette Colbert

 

 

 

Claudette-Colbert on a throne as Celopatra

Cleopatra – Claudette Colbert

 

 

 

Claudette Colbert in ‘The Sign of the Cross’

Director Cecil B Demille.  1932

 

 

Corinne Griffith. Lilies of the Field (1924)

Corinne Griffith. ‘Lilies of the Field’ (1924)

 

 

 

Bronze sculpture figure – Erte

 

 

 

Elissa-Landi at huge white fire place

Elissa Landi and monumental sculptured fireplace

 

 

 

Fay-Wray posing with white art deco sculpture

Fay Wray

Photo Ray Jones

 

 

Flying Down To Rio dance scene

‘Flying Down To Rio’ dance scene, 1933

 

 

 

French-Art-Deco-reclining females with large fans Bookends

French Art Deco fan dancer bookends

 

 

 

Genevieve-Tobin posing with white art deco bust

Genevieve Tobin and a white art deco bust

 

 

 

Art deco staircase

Impressive Art Deco staircase and vase pedestal

 

 

 

 

Genevieve-Tobin-in art deco set

Genevieve Tobin

 

 

 

Giant-piano-set-from-King-of-Jazz movie

Giant piano set with 4 piano players and orchestra from the movie ‘King of Jazz’

1930

 

 

 

Czech-Deco geometric-cut-glass-design-and-ruby-overlay-trim

Art Deco spherical vase with geometric cut glass design and ruby overlay trim – Continental (Czechoslovakia)

 

 

 

GRreta Garbo hollywood mystique

Greta Garbo – ‘Mata Hari’

 

Grace-Bradley-chatting on the phone

 

Grace Bradley under a Cubist Xmas tree

 

 

Helen-Twelvetrees posing with to art deco figure sculptures

Helen Twelvetrees

 

 

Jean-Harlow-Waylande Gregory art deco statue

Jean Harlow – Theo Vos art deco statue ( see below)

 

 

 

Theo-Vos---Ballerina---c.-1927---white porcelain statue

Art Deco white porcelain ‘Ballerina’ statue by Theo Vos for the German ‘Hutschenreuther Porcelain’

height 37cm  c.1927

Museum of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, Salamanca

 

 

 

ODYV-French-Art-Deco mantle clock with black panther figures

ODYV French Art Deco mantle clock with gold panthers

Chateau Antiques

 

 

Joan-Bennett-movie actress

Joan Bennett, ‘She Couldn’t Take It’

1935

 

 

 

Joan Marsh posing in a bathing suit

Joan Marsh

 

 

Art Deco panel

French Art Deco screen – A Soleau

Table—Jules Leleu   Chairs—Andre Arbus

 

 

 

Joan Marsh posing with beach ball

Joan Marsh

 

 

Josephine Baker sitting on tiger skin rug

Josephine Baker

Also see Josephine Captivates The Jazz Age

 

 

Juliette-Compton with art deco panel

Juliette Compton

 

 

masked Kay-Johnson-in-Madam-Satan

Kay Johnson in ‘Madam Satan’

 

 

Aelita: ‘Queen of Mars’

Russia 1924

 

 

 

Art-Deco-bronze-and-ivory-figure-by-J-Ulrich

Art Deco bronze and ivory figure – J Ulrich

 

 

 

Lois-Moran-1939

Lois Moran

Photo George Hurrell, 1931

 

 

Carole-Lombard pouring a cocktail

Carole Lombard

 

 

 

Loretta-Young in long black evening gown

Loretta Young

 

 

 

Marguerite-Chapman with black sculpture head bust

Marguerite Chapman

 

 

Mark-Stevens-and-Cathy-Downs,

Mark Stevens and Cathy Downs in ‘The Dark Corner’, 1946

 

 

 

Raymond-Léon-Rivoire-Women-with-Hound-1920

Raymond Léon Rivoire – ‘Women with Hound’

France, 1920

 

 

Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles: ‘La Quadriga’, 1929,

 

 

Merna-Kennedy with tall black cubist statue

Merna Kennedy with a stunning tall Cubist Deco statue

 

 

Monkey-Business---Marx-Brothers playing saxaphones

Marx Brothers saxophone quartet in ‘Monkey Business’

 

 

Myrna-Loy with a black cat sculpture

Myrna Loy

 

 

 

Myrna-Loy with mirror refkection

Myrna Loy

 

 

 

Night-Owls-with-Laurel-&-Hardy

‘Night Owls’ – Laurel & Hardy

1930

 

 

 

Norma-Shearer-in-The-Divorcèe

Norma Shearer in ‘The Divorcèe’ directed by Robert Z.Leonard

1930

 

 

Rene Buthaud-ovoid vase with art deco motif of a naked Europa riding a bull

Rene Buthaud – ovoid vase with a naked Europa riding a bull

 

 

 

Our-Dancing-Daughters vintage movie

Art Deco Jazz Age movie, ‘Our Dancing Daughters’, 1928

 

 

Our Modern Maidens

Our Modern Maidens, 1929

 

 

Rita-Flynn in Art Deco movie set

Rita Flynn

 

 

 

Ruth-Taylor in-Gentlemen-Prefer-Blondes

Ruth Taylor  in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’

1928

 

 

Pâte de Verre, Figure designed by Marcel Bouraine

Pâte de Verre, Figure designed by Marcel Bouraine for Gabriel Argy Rousseau

c.1920

 

 

 

Jean-Harlow-in-'Platinum-Blonde'-1931

Classic Art Deco fireplace – Jean Harlow in ‘Platinum Blonde’

1931

 

Speed_-_Harriet_Frishmuth art deco figure sculpture

‘Speed’ – Harriet Frishmuth

 

 

 

art deco movie The Hatchet Man

‘The Hatchet Man’

1932

 

The_Sign_of_Cross

‘The Sign of Cross’ – Cecil B DeMille

1932

 

 

 

Max-Le-Verrier-art deco-bookends

Max Le Verrier Art Deco bookends

 

Movie art deco Kay-Francis-(1934)

Kay Francis-(1934)

 

Jan-et-Joël-Martel-Art deco sculpture female figurine

Jean and Joël Martel

 

 

 

 

NEXT POST  —  Pottery Arts Feed – innovative simplicity

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------More Posts

2 Comments

  1. Posted March 4, 2017 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Absolutely fabulous material. Inspiring…well done and as is said in France…Chapeau!

  2. sue barstow
    Posted April 7, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    interesting- lived in LA and mother-in-law was in some movies so it brought back memories of their photos and tales

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.