Art Deco. The France-China Connection
The Art Deco style, which flourished in Europe, Asia, and the Americas from the1920s to the 1940s, was born in France and named after the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts held in Paris. Art Deco came on the heels of Art Nouveau (an elaborate and ornate style) and offered in contrast geometric, simple, and energized shapes that pleased one and all.
Art Deco’s forms captured the spirit of the modern age (cars, aeroplanes, electricity, telephones), and was embraced across the globe. From Canada, the United States and Brazil, to Australia and Asia, French architects and designers built banks, cinemas, grand hotels, even palaces and private dwellings. Over time, local architects adapted the fundamental features of Art Deco to their own culture. Even the young Chinese republic, led by Sun Yat-sen, adopted Art Deco from 1929 on. Therein resided the movement’s originality and resilience.
The history of Art Deco in China, and of the reciprocal influences between French and Chinese artists, still remains to be written. In its modest way, this exhibition hopes to initiate this project, while also proposing fruitful paths for future exploration. The exhibition focuses, first, on the origins of Art Deco in France, then on its shared influences with China (French designers and craftsmen were inspired by Chinese art and techniques), and finally on its development in China.