INTRODUCTION TO
EUROPEAN ART DECO

Many names (respectful and derisive) have been applied to the enormous range of works produced during this period, but Art Deco is the one that survives. Taken from the great Paris exhibition of 1925--Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes--it was at this exposition that the style was first introduced to the world as something new, if not yet fully formulated. Growing out of Art Nouveau, this highly absorbent style eventually became its antithesis. In its broadest definition, it comprises numerous influences, many at odds with one another. It drew inspiration from such diverse sources as Cubism, Egyptology, Ballet Russe, American Indian culture, the Bauhaus and Hollywood. Favorite motifs included the sunray, rainbow, spilling fountain and the electric flash. The French high style was epitomized in the luxurious furniture of E.J. Ruhlmann and the exquisite silverwork of Jean Puiforcat.