You can still pick up some stylish pieces at garage sales, but for high-end named pieces, you will need to pay a lot more and go to reputable dealers and auction houses. Make sure you get a receipt with a proper description of the item and its attribution.
The ziggurats from the Egyptian pyramids. The cult of Tutankhamen. Even the lettering on shop signs was distinctive.
And now for the hard bit. People have been writing about this ever since the 1960s and trying to pin down and define what the style is all about.
There is a lot to choose from in Art Deco Lighting, and there are still lots of pieces available. Always check for condition – chrome often wears off and although pieces can be re-chromed it can be expensive.
There was such a vogue for stylish lighting in the 20s and 30s in Paris that there were special exhibitions set up specially for Art Deco lighting. The “Salons de la Lumiere” exhibition was held no less than five times in the 1930s. There was even a “Société pour le Perfectionement de l’Éclairage” (Society for the Perfection of Lighting)!
In architecture, there were two main styles that scream Art Deco. Skyscrapers and 1930s streamlined. These buildings also influence the furniture that went into them such as Paul Frankl’s skyscraper bookcases.
Trains, planes and automobiles were the new thing. There was a mad craze of everything machine age or mechanical and the design of everything, motorised or not was streamlined, geometric and gleaming with metal, preferably the new materials such as chrome or aluminium.
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See examples of Von Nessen lamps hereCollecting Art Deco Lighting
Steel or chrome with opaque glass are probably the most common of the Art Deco modernist materials, but there are a wealth of shapes and sizes to choose from. Standard lamps, or Torchères were often very tall, and designed to focus the light upwards. Instead of the old fashioned fabric shades with fringes, glass or metallic shades would diffuse the light evenly and upwards. Stands were sometimes made of wood, or Bakelite, and the glass shades were frequently cream or white with stepped design. Though shades were also made in other colours, such as blue and green, and could also be fitted from the ceiling.
Many pieces are being reproduced, or created anew in the Art Deco style. So you need to get your eye accustomed to the original 1920s and 1930s pieces if you want the genuine article. Those will be the investment pieces for the future and they will shortly be real antiques.
Art Deco refers to an era, as well as an artistic style. The era is easy to explain. It covers the 1920s and 1930s mainly, though some forward-looking designers such as Christopher Dresser or Frank Lloyd Wright or even Charles Rennie Mackintosh seem to have created works in pure Art Deco style as much as a decade earlier.
Most pieces and lamps will need re-wiring so always get that done by a qualified electrician.
Towards the end of the 1920s and into the 1930s, lamps were influenced by the more Modernist style which embraced the Machine Age and made use of the new materials such as chrome, nickel, steel, smoked glass, and Bakelite. In the USA this style was taken up by designers such as Von Nessen and Deskey and sold through all the big department stores from 1927 onwards and throughout the depression years.
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There are some good bargains to be had in Art Deco lighting on eBay, and it can really make a huge difference to a room to have a chic and stylish lampshade, sconce, chandelier or lamp.
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Lamps attributed to a specific designer are now getting very expensive and sought after, but will be a great investment. Watch out for fakes though, and buy from a reputable dealer. There are lots of more affordable lamps to choose from, keep a close eye on your local garage sales and auctions, and there are lots to choose from online if you don’t mind paying a little for postage. Art Deco lamps can add a touch of stylish chic to any room. For other types of light fittings, click here.
There was a new opulence as well as a sense of rebellion, a challenge to accepted taste and a frank naughtiness especially from the newly liberated Art Deco heroines of the silver screen.
The new picture palaces were rich and opulent and folk could enjoy a bit of hard earned luxury along with the spectacularly decadent movies. Films such as 42nd Street and Golddiggers of 1933 were huge, supremely theatrical, extravaganzas of music, dance and costume. There was glamour, and new exotic design that could transport people to a new world.
Art Deco Lighting had its birthplace in Paris in the 1920s. It was a period of great elegance, there was a feeling of prosperity and optimism and a huge demand for luxury items and home décor. The wealthy Parisians would engage the new professions of ensembliers, artists decorateurs, – what we would now call interior designers, – to create a complete harmonious look for their homes.
Since it encompasses architecture, fashion, interior design, transportation, advertising and more, and since it infiltrated even the most mundane of home appliances such as the toaster and the coffeemaker, it’s hard to nail it down.
Lalique made over 20 different designs of milky glass table lamps, as well as many larger light fixtures for hotels and businesses.
Flapper dresses and cloche hats, large geometric cocktail rings, big curvy club chairs and animal print rugs. Exotic wallpapers, African artefacts, stripes and circles and parallel lines.
Art Deco style was made up of the following influences: Speed and the Industrial Revolution
When we think of these lamps, one of the most popular designs which springs to mind is the nude figure in chrome or nickel plated metal with a glass shade on top. These are in some ways a throw-back to the naturalistic figural style of the Art Nouveau, but with the twist of the new machine age materials.
Other major glass-makers such as Daum Frères and Tiffany made Art Deco lamps and these all fetch very high prices these days.
Edgar Brandt, famous for his wrought iron, formed partnerships with several glass-makers most notably Daum Frères to create many masterpieces of lighting – for example, an Art Deco chandelier with the most delicately formed wrought iron frame supporting textured opalescent glass shades sending a subtle light upwards from the many arms of the fixture. There was a move away from the bronze and pastel shades of the Art Nouveau movement towards more indirect lighting, where the quality and luminosity of the light were more important than the decoration of the fixture. That’s not to say that there are not many examples of highly decorative light fittings, but the textures of white glass, sandblasted, enamelled, or engraved were prized for the different light effects that could be achieved from them.
The style fizzled out after the Second World War and was definitely out of vogue in the 1950s which had its own unique brand of mid-century modernism.
But lamps were made by the most famous Art Deco designers in Paris throughout the 1920s and encompass a great variety of styles. Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann designed a fabulous lamp with cascading glass beads for his pavilion entitled Hotel d’un Collectioneur at the 1925 Paris Exposition. His lamps are now highly sought after. Edgar Brandt lamps made from wrought iron and glass are also very desirable.
The swinging sixties saw a revival of Art Deco and gave the style its name. The first book was written about it by Bevis Hillier who tried to describe what the style was.
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The master glass-maker Lalique created many lights, from simple glass lamps and wall sconces to huge chandeliers for hotels and businesses. His early examples were decorated with flowers and Art Nouveau maidens, but later he embraced the Art Deco geometric forms and motifs of sunbursts and fountains.
Lighting was more indirect, with Torcheres which directed the light upwards. These were tall, standing lamps, usually with a square nickel or chrome plated column with a geometric or abstract form lamp at the top. Wall sconces in milky opalescent glass were also employed to direct light upwards.
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Of course Art Deco style still influences furniture today, so you can buy new, and still enjoy the geometric and streamlined look.
Check out lots of fabulous Art Deco automobile posters and prints here.
Decolish Home > Art Deco Interior Design > Art Deco Lamps Etsy has a surprisingly good range of Art Deco furniture, interior decor, jewellery and Bakelite. Click the banner to explore.
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Art Deco lamps are a huge style statement for any interior. Read all about them on this page, and then choose from my specially selected listings below.
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If you want to furnish your home, or get started on a collection, check out some of these listings from eBay USA, UK or Australia. You can find some really great bargains online.
Art Deco Lighting soon embraced Modernism and the machine age aesthetic. Lamps were made of brilliant coloured metals such as steel and chrome, with white glass, sometimes decorated with the new Bakelite.
So often I’m asked “What is Art Deco style? Or what does it mean? It’s not all that surprising that there is confusion as the term is misused a lot these days due to it’s popularity.
Other well known lighting designers in Paris included Albert Simonet, Maison Desny, Albert Cheuret, Damon, and Eugene and GL Capon. In the USA the modernist style of lighting was embraced from around 1926 onwards and started to appear in the stores. The most succesful lighting designers were Donald Deskey, who designed the interior of the Radio City Hall in the Rockefeller Center, and Von Nessen. Von Nessen was extremely successful in the early 1930s when most businesses were struggling through the Great Depression. His lamps were a novelty and bright and stylish. Ideal for lighting up the gloom of those years!
Jean Perzel was one of the most important modernist lighting designers of the 20s and 30s. Unlike many artists who designed a range of elements such as furniture, glass, fashion, textiles etc. Perzel was exclusively a lighting designer and manufacturer. He developed a special form of glass that would spread light evenly.
But original Art Deco is still pretty inexpensive for many items, especially furniture so now is the time to start rummaging in your local junkyards and auctions.
There was a feeling of optimism after the end of World War I and that translated into bright bold colours, fun and novelty items and lots of quirkiness.
Shapes became more geometric and linear. Motifs such as parallel lines, sunbursts, fountains, and ziggurats were common. Many lamps were highly abstract with angular lines and mechanisms for directing the light in different directions. Others depicted animals, such as this horse lamp.
So mix all these things together and you have some idea of what this mystery is all about.
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As one commentator recently said it’s like trying to nail down a bubble. But it is unmistakable when you see it and easy to recognise once you have seen a few examples.
So now I hope I have answered your question “What is Art Deco style?”
Decolish Home > Art Deco Interior Design > Art Deco Lighting Etsy has a surprisingly good range of Art Deco furniture, interior decor, jewellery and Bakelite. Click the banner to explore.
Art Deco objects, homewares, sculptures and designs sit so well in the modern minimalist interior. It’s timeless elegance has given it a longevity rare in the history of design.
In 1932 the famous angle-poise lamp was invented, which has survived ever since, and these are still as stylish and functional as ever. They were originally black enamel, but have been made in all kinds of materials including Bakelite.
The movies were a great way to escape the hardship of the Depression years.
Decolish Home > Art Deco Style Etsy has a surprisingly good range of Art Deco furniture, interior decor, jewellery and Bakelite. Click the banner to explore.
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There was a lot of money about, particularly amongst the upper classes, so a good time was the order of the day. Jazz, cocktails, lots of bling, beads, feathers and furs, smoking, drinking and rushing about in open top cars. All these things were illustrated in the magazines of the day, the advertising and the posters, and have left us a legacy of design which has not been surpassed to this day.
Such famous names as Jacques-Emiles Ruhlmann and Paul Poiret better known as a furniture designer and a couturier respectively, would design entire rooms. Lighting was such an important part of the complete design of a room, that yet another new profession – that of lighting engineers and designers was created.
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