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Art Deco: Architecture and Interiors through the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library

This is the second in a series of posts about the Art Deco resources at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum library. Each post will highlight primary resources which contain the styles and designs of the Art Deco era. These resources are divided into seven categories- world’s fair publications, interior and architecture books, trade catalogs, graphic design, pattern books, and picture files. This guide is not an exhaustive summary and these featured resources are just a portion of what awaits Art Deco enthusiasts and researchers in the Cooper Hewitt library collection.

Figure 1. Page 1 in Exposition international des art décoratifs et industriels modernes : avril – octobre displaying the pavillon des grands magasins au printemps and au louvre at the 1925 Paris World’s Fair.

One of Art Deco’s most enduring influences is its architecture. The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum Library’s collection offers insight into this architectural style through both exteriors and interiors.

First and foremost, the World’s Fair collection at the library allows enthusiasts to track the style from its genesis at the 1925 Paris Exposition through the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. While these pavilions were short-lived due to the impermanent nature of the expositions, they can be studied through publications found at the Cooper Hewitt. Below are a few of the publications focused around the architecture and interiors of the World Fair events.

Figure 2. Plate 22 in L’art hollandais à l’exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modern, Paris 1925 detailing an interior created by J.F. Staal in Paris 1925.
Figure 3. Plate 14 in Architecture internationale moderne showing the Pavillon des Pays-Bas by architect H. Th Wydeveld in Antwerp 1930.
Figure 4. Page 87 in Livre d’or officiel de l’Exposition internationale des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne facing the grand staircase a pavilion that featured a section on optics in Pairs 1931.
Figure 5. (Left) Page 59 in Official guide book of the fair, Chicago 1933 showing the entrance of the Hall of Social Science.
Figure 6. (Right) Page 72 in Official guide book of the fair, Chicago 1933 featuring the exhibited houses that used smokeless fuel.
Figure 7. Page 7 in Commemorating Chicago’s 100th anniversary : 1933, a century of progress, Chicago showing the agricultural hall.
Figure 8. Plate 2 in Ensembles mobiliers. v.1 featuring the Atelier D’un artiste sculpture decorated by E.R. Lamy.
Figure 9. Plate 12 in Ensembles mobiliers. v.1 featuring a living space designed by Lucie Renaudot.
Figure 10. Plate 23 in Ensembles mobiliers. v.1 a photograph of sale a manger decorated by Paul Follot

The Art Deco style can be traced through the timeline of the World’s Fair. These events helped the style spread through the first half of the 20th century to American cities like New York, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Miami. Modern buildings incorporated new and improved materials like steel, glass, and terracotta embracing modernity along their skylines.

To help their cause, companies like Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company (Figures 11 and 12), Sherwin-Williams (Figure 13), and Atlantic Terra Cotta Company filled their catalogs with not only their products but, in following the ensembles model embraced at the Paris World’s Fair of 1925, demonstrations of how to use them. These companies, through their customization options filled homes, offices, and public buildings with the modern Art Deco style. These choices followed new trends like ornamental friezes, zigzag details, and interior accessories out of aluminum and glass.

Figure 11. Page 33 and 34 in Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company catalog explains their product and shows how it can be used.
Figure 12. Page 37 in Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company catalog displays more examples of where their product can be used.
Figure 13. Pages 14 and 15 in Sherwin-Williams Co. Home Decorator and Color Guide offering different color schemes to update your traditional or modern home.

Other volumes compiled during the height of the style’s popularity capture renderings of the ultimate product – building, interior and decorative arts designed in unison. Volumes like Répertoire du goût moderne demonstrated this, frequently featuring side-by-side images of the same spaces with different modern decor.

Figure 14. (Left) Plate 7 in Répertoire du goût moderne  featuring a design for a salon by Dominique.
Figure 15. (Right) Plate 8 in Répertoire du goût moderne  featuring an alternative salon design for the same space again by Dominique.
Figure 16. Plate 27 in Répertoire du goût moderne  featuring a library interior by J.-CH. Moreux.
Figure 17. Plate 13 in Répertoire du goût moderne  vol 4 showing two options for a man’s study both designed by E. Kohlmann.
Figure 18. Plate 25 in Répertoire du goût moderne  vol 4 illustrating bathroom spaces designed by J. Ruhlmann.

 

 

Selected Bibliography:

Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes : avril – octobre.
Call Number: NK520 .F8P3 1925
Published/created: 1925, Paris, France

Exhibition catalog from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris, France 1925, which includes photographs and illustrations of pavilions and highlight features of the fair. With captions in French, English, German, Spanish and Italian.

L’art hollandais à l’exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modern, Paris 1925.
Call Number: NK520 .F7P3 1925Z quarto
Published/created: 1925, Paris, France

Catalog of the Dutch pavilion at the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes in Paris, France 1925. Features photographs of the architectures, interiors, textiles, decorative arts, and graphics, organized by designer. Available in French.

Architecture internationale moderne
Call Number: NA680 .A73 1930 quarto
Published/created: 1930, Antwerp , Belgium

Photographic plates of the exhibition buildings at l’exposition internationale: coloniale, maritime et d’art flamand in Antwerp, Belgium 1930. Organized by designer. Available in French.

Livre d’or officiel de l’Exposition internationale des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne.
Call Number: T805 1937.B1 E96 folio
Published/created: 1937, Paris, France

The official guidebook produced by the French Ministry of commerce and industry featuring dramatic photographs of the different pavilions and detailed text about each exhibition. From the l’Exposition internationale des arts et techniques dans la vie moderne in Paris, France, 1937. Available in French.

Commemorating Chicago’s 100th anniversary: 1933, a century of progress, Chicago.
Call Number: T501.A2 C66 1932
Published/created: 1932, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Photographs and illustrations of the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, 1933-34. Images include architecture, interiors, and installation shots of exhibitions with accompanying text. Available in English.

Ensembles mobiliers. V.1-V.2
Call Number: NK2049 .E6X folio
Published/created: 1937, Paris, France

Two volumes which include photographs of interiors with furniture, decorative arts, design, and art from the Exposition international de 1937, in Paris, France. Available in French.

Libbey-Owens-Ford Co and Blue Ridge Glass Corporation Trade Catalog
by Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company
Call Number: 049998
Published/created: Late 1930s, Toledo, Ohio

Features glass products that will provide a “symphony of line and light” for your home or business. Illustrations of businesses including stores, gas stations, and restaurants, government buildings, and homes using the various types of glass offered including but not limited to; sheet glass, polished plate glass, figured and wire glass, safety glass, Vitrolite opaque structural glass, Vitrolux color fused tempered plate glass, and Louvrex glass. Dense with text, available in English.

Home decorator and color guide 1938, 1939, 1940
by SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CO.
Call Number: 019985 019987
Published/created: 1938-1940, Cleveland, Ohio

Trade catalog for Sherwin-Williams Co. giving examples of how to decorate your home whether it is a colonial revival or a more contemporary style. Illustrations of exteriors and interiors offer different color palettes for any type of American home with text explanations. Available in English.

 

 

One Comment

  1. Robert Addington

    Hopefully, we will get to read more of this through similar posts. I express my thanks and gratitude to the writer and the website for uncovering vital information.

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