Anna Marrow is a British printmaker who often draws on the fragmented linearity of Art Deco. Marrow playfully juxtaposes urban structures with natural elements in her cityscapes and compositions. In State of Mind (2018) Marrow represents the iconic Art Deco style Empire State Building and uses jagged and angled lines to demonstrate the towering skyscrapers of the New York City skyline.
Mychael Barratt is a London-based Canadian painter and printmaker who draws influence from multiple sources to create his witty and bold prints. Wes Anderson’s Dog – Hoover Building (2018) makes reference to the Art Deco movement as The Hoover Building is an iconic example of Art Deco architecture, opened in 1933 as the UK headquarters and manufacturing plant of The Hoover Company. The building exemplifies the linear and geometric style, while the building’s use reflects the celebration of modernity. Wes Anderson’s dog acts as an additional reference to the artistic style, as Wes Anderson is notorious for his Art Deco sets in his films.
Art Deco flourished in Europe and the USA in the 1920s and 1930s. Originally named after the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, held in Paris in 1925, the movement was inspired by the modern world. This included modern art movements, mechanical inventions and modern architecture. Art Deco artists blurred the lines between crafts and the fine arts to produce ceramics, jewellery, fashion, furniture, architecture and prints.
Inspired by mechanical progression and modernity, Art Deco became characterised by its geometric forms, linearity and fragmentation. It was often seen as a reaction against the Art Nouveau movement which was inspired by natural elements and favoured curvilinear. Although sinuous lines and natural motifs can be found in Art Deco designs, the style drastically departed from Art Nouveau in favour of simplicity.
While the movement celebrated modernity, it was also highly eclectic, taking inspiration from ancient Egyptian and Aztec art. This juxtaposition perhaps demonstrates the tension felt in departing from tradition and the fears associated with rapid modernisation.
Art Deco became particularly popular in Paris throughout the glamorous 1920s, where the style was used for fashion or travel posters. Eduardo Benito was a Spanish fashion illustrator and painter who became well known for his elegant Art Deco Vogue covers, which optimised simplified lines and geometric forms. Travel was a popular subject for prints as new developments in transport were considered glamorous and highly exciting at the time.