After being postponed by World War I, the landmark Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratufs et Industriels Modernes opened along the Seine in Paris from April to October 1925. It would alter the course of international design throughout industry, commerce, and culture. The Exposition was the worldwide unveiling of the modern design style that would later be dubbed as collectible “art deco.” For a few decades, the original art moderne style was distinguished from the organic Art Nouveau and the austere rectilinear Modern aesthetics emerging from the early 20th century avant garde.
Deco took seed in all countries on all continents; it began as a neoclassical approach in every realm of fine and applied art, notably graphics and typography, furniture, fashion, architecture, and industrial wares of all genres. It transformed Paris from the epicenter of Art Nouveau into an Art Deco wellspring, the remains of which are still considerably visible, vital to the city’s character, and seductive for tourists and residents alike. In short, it defined the city, and still does to a great extent.
This is certainly true for Arnold Schwartzman, British-born west coast designer, illustrator, filmmaker, and author. He has produced, photographed, and authored a number of books on visual styles and this sneak peek at his forthcoming October 2023 book Paris Art Deco (Palazzo) reveals that the style continues to be as seductive as it always has been.