1. Cassandre – Born in the Ukraine and educated in Paris, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre is one of the touchstone artists of the Art Deco period. His Nord Express and Etoile du Nord typify the best of Art Deco design: strong lines, strong colors, strong message – there is nothing namby pamby about Cassandre.
2. Bloody Mary’s. What?? Yes, that’s right folks, the Bloody Mary was invented in the 1920’s and colored (sorry) the decade red, white and blue. Here’s a vintage recipe from the 20s.
3. Cappiello– Senor Leonetto Cappiello was responsible for some of the strongest poster images of the Art Deco period. Whether he was asked to market hallucinogenic alcohol, mundane paint, breath mints for smokers, or rolling paper
Cappiello always managed to come up with an unforgettable visual that created posters that just scream Art Deco…
4. Fashion – I mean really: I would be hard-pressed to find fashion as refined and elegant as this today … unless it was fashion which could trace its roots – either by inspiration or design – back to the 1920’s. These lovely color planches (essentially hand colored stencils) were part of a subscription periodical called the Gazette du Bon Ton.
which was printed in Paris during the Deco years and which was filled with poetry, fashion, stories and gossip (gotta love a subscription magazine with gossip – kind of like the Hello for the bathtub gin set…)
5. Even if you’ve never seen the Fritz Lang film Metropolis, which was shot in 1927 for the modern equivalent of $15 million, you gotta love the poster for the movie: it’s a classic, and with only a handful of originals left on the market, when they do come up for sale, it’s usually for about $400,000. (Yes, that’s a 4 with 5 zeros after it.)
6. Black and White designs – ‘nuff said
7. Air France was formed on 7 October 1933 and these posters were produced for the company shortly thereafter. Both by an artist named Valerio, they capture the
exhilaration and joy which the company’s first passengers must have felt. The colors are as strong as the message: trust us, fly with us, go far… (Yes Peter, I put these in for you…)
8. Really cool typography and fonts – I really love the way that typography and lettering interacts with images in Art Deco advertising and posters. It is almost as if poster artists suddenly recognized that HELLO the way we write things is going to impact the way viewers interact with our message…
9. There is a vast archive of literature written during the Art Deco period: everything from Agatha Christie Poirot potboilers, to Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby (and yes my dears, when Robert Redford was young and more handsome than you can possibly imagine, he made a movie version of this classic American tale. There are some scenes of unimaginable beauty in this movie – which is about to be remade – and you can see some of them here to) Gertrude Stein … the list is endless, and if you really want to get a sense of where poster art came from, you should check out the authors who inspired the artists.
10. Some of the most memorable architecture of the 20th century was produced during the Art Deco era – buildings replete with incredible detail, elaborate metalwork and fine timeless design. Inspiring, no?
*recipe for bathtub gin – we’re not saying you should make it or drink it – for research purposes only!