Themed Book Lists

15 Books on Art Deco

October 21, 2014

Fifteen books on Art Deco—the predominately European and American decorative arts style of the 1920s and ’30s that took its name from the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris. 

Paul T. Frankl, Vanity Stool. Photo: courtesy of Doppelhouse Press
Art Deco Norbert Wolf

From the Publisher. This sumptuous volume salutes everything Art Deco—from historically significant art and design through to the present day. The Art Deco style is so recognizable and widespread that its original influence on the culture in which it emerged has been all but lost in the clutter of imitation. This book draws our attention back to the birth of Art Deco—a period between two devastating world wars when industrialization was flourishing, interest in archaeology was peaking, and movements such as Cubism, Constructivism, Futurism, and Modernism were turning the art world on its head. Brilliantly designed to reflect the style it celebrates, Art Deco is filled with hundreds of examples of painting, architecture, interiors, jewelry, crafts, furniture, and fashion. Author Norbert Wolf traces the chronology of the Art Deco style by looking at the politics and culture of Europe in the 1920s and early 1930s, and the artistic movements that paralleled its popularity. He follows Art Deco’s influence in Europe and its immigration to the Americas and Asia. Most importantly, this wide-ranging volume looks beyond the era of Art Deco’s origination to the present day. Pointing to the numerous revivals and contemporary echoes in painting and even literature, this beautiful volume demonstrates that Art Deco is alive and well today—often in forms where we least expect it.

Art Deco Jewelry Sylvie Raulet

From the Publisher. The creations of the Art Deco period’s haute joaillerie (jewelers such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels) and of the avant-garde designers, including Jean Fouquet, Raymond Templier, Gerard Sandoz, Jean Durand, and Paul Brandt—to whom we owe some of the most daring and brilliant jewels of the period. There is also an exquisite range of accessories: dainty vanity cases fashioned with the maximum of detail in the minimum of space, boxes and cigarette cases, and a spectacular array of clocks. With the addition of succinct biographies of the most innovative and influential jewelers of the day, a select bibliography, and a glossary, this book serves as an essential reference for anyone interested in the period or in superb examples of the jeweler's art. (Out of print)

The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière Catherine Coleman Brawer
Kathleen Murphy Skolnik
Foreword by Richard Guy Wilson
Photographs by Hildreth Meière Dunn

From the Publisher. An unsung heroine of Art Deco art and architecture, Hildreth Meière is the artist behind many of the most spectacular murals of the first half of the twentieth century. The dynamic roundels of Dance, Drama, and Song at Radio City Music Hall, the shimmering glass mosaics in the narthex of St. Bartholomew’s Church, and the rich iconographic designs at the Nebraska State Capitol, the National Academy of Sciences, and elsewhere—all are the work of Meière, a central figure in American decorative art. The first monograph on the artist, The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière examines her distinctive designs within the context of American art and architecture.

Art Nouveau and Art Deco Bookbinding Alastair Duncan
Georges De Bartha

Sumptuous study of art bookbinding that includes a detailed biography and bibliography of every binder included, such as Rose Adler, Georges Crette, Genevieve de Leotard, Rene Wiener, and others. (Out of print)

Art Deco Poster William W. Crouse
Alastair Duncan

From the Publisher. Posters of the Art Deco period, which once graced billboards and walls to advertise every variety of product, service, entertainment, or political cause, are today prized for the richness of their design and ingenuity; they offer inspiration for graphic designers and are highly collectible. Now, William Crouse, a long-time poster aficionado and collector, has selected more than 300 of the most sought-after examples of poster art created between the World Wars to include in this definitive volume. Organized thematically (aviation, communication, fashion, etc.), The Art Deco Poster presents a jaunty cavalcade of international poster design, and includes rare and unique examples by masters of the art form, including Nizzoli, Cassandre, and Beall. Each poster—superbly photographed under carefully controlled conditions—is accompanied by an informative caption that addresses the aesthetic, sociological, economic, and/or political context of the image. The book includes an introduction by well-known Art Deco specialist Alastair Duncan.

Edgar Brandt: Art Deco Ironwork Joan Kahr

From the Publisher. A premier metalsmith in the early 20th-century in France, Edgar Brandt (1880-1960) designed and fabricated some of the most beautiful architectural and decorative ironwork of his age. This elegant book recounts his life and work with scholarly text and photographs. Lyrical gates, doors, and tables, including his most famous screen, L’Oasis, appeared at the seminal 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs, in Paris, which gave the name Art Deco to the new style of designs. Combining motifs from ancient Egypt and classical Greek sources, floral and animals forms, and machine-inspired geometric designs, Brandt created items that became synonymous with the most lavish designs of the time. His workshop and showroom in Paris, along with a gallery that featured works by other contemporary artist-craftsmen, produced luxury goods and private commissions. Grilles, fire screens, doors, tables, andirons, vessels and lighting devices were exquisitely executed, and appear here to be studied and compared. Historians and art collectors interested in this fascinating period will find this book an invaluable reference.

A. M. Cassandre Henri Mouron
Peter Weiermair

From Publisher’s Weekly. For Cassandre, designing a poster meant telling a story. He would take an objectthe Normandie ocean liner, a locomotive, a record, a wine bottle, or whateverand make it the center of attraction through bold geometry and witty pictorial drama. Aside from their strong nostalgic appeal, his famous posters of the 1920s and 1930s are memorable for their innovative graphic solutions and their frequent references to such painters as Ernst, de Chirico and Picasso. Cassandre, whose real name was Adolphe Mouron, was a highly influential commercial artist. This oddly impersonal biography by his son shows us the frustrated but prolific easel artist, successful theatrical designer, and creator of elegant typefaces and magazine art.

Eileen Gray: Objects and Furniture Design Introduction by Carmen Espegel
Sandra Dachs Editor

From the Publisher. Neglected in her lifetime, Eileen Gray (1878-1976) is now regarded as one of the most important furniture designers and architects of the early twentieth century. She first worked as a lacquer artist, then as a furniture designer and finally as an architect. At a time when other leading designers were almost exclusively male and adherents to one movement or another, Gray remained stalwartly independent. Her design style was as distinctive as her way of working; Gray developed an opulent, luxuriant take on the geometric forms and industrially produced materials used by International Style designers such as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Mies van der Rohe. Her voluptuous leather and steel Bibendum Chair and chic E-1027 glass and tubular steel table are now familiar icons of modernity. Part of the By Architects series, Eileen Gray highlights the work of this singular designer-architect.

Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes Fernand David
Paul Léon

The official illustrated “general reports” from the time of the 1925 International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts (Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes) in Paris.

Italian Art Deco Steven Heller
Louise Fili

From the Publisher. Survey of Italian commercial graphic design during a period of both creative artistic vitality and extreme political turmoil. The first English-language book to showcase the bold typography and streamlined imagery of modern Italian design motifs on comercial products of the day, this fascinating and important resource for designers, history buffs, and collectors includes a discussion of the Futurist influence on the Italian Art Deco style and the success of such individualized expression despite a ruthless Fascist regime.

Jean-Michel Frank Adolphe Chanaux
Léopold Diego Sanchez

Monograph on the work of Jean-Michel Frank by Frank’s former studio assistant Adolphe Chanaux—the first comprehensive survey of the furniture and interiors by the renowned Parisian master of Art Deco. Designed by Andrée Putman, and with new color photographic documentation by Jacques Boulay.

Joseph Urban John Loring

From the Publisher. Joseph Urban is a lavish celebration of this prolific artist, architect, and designer, whose accomplishments include magnificent Art Deco buildings, spectacular Ziegfeld Follies productions, and dramatic sets for the Metropolitan Opera. Joseph Urban (1872–1933) began his career as an architect and artist in Vienna before moving to America in 1911. In 1914 he moved to New York, where he ultimately signed on as set designer of the Metropolitan Opera. He also became immersed in an astonishing array of outside projects, designing nightclubs, hotel lounges, skyscrapers, theaters, stage and film sets, and even children’s books. Though his creative output was immense, little remains of his work except the Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, and the New School and the base of the Hearst Tower in New York.

Paul T. Frankl: Autobiography Paul T. Frankl

Viennese émigré Paul T. Frankl (1886-1958) was one of the pioneers of early modern design in the United States known for his “Skyscraper” furniture of the 1920s, his work for New York trend-setters and the Hollywood élite in the 1930s and early 1940s, as well as his many original pieces in rattan and work for the Johnson Furniture Company. A prolific and influential writer about design, Frankl was the author of five books, including Form and Re-Form (1930) and Machine-Made Leisure (1932). When Frankl died of cancer in 1958, he left his nearly complete autobiography. This never-before published work, written at the end of Frankl’s long career in a captivating style, is a vivid account of his early life, his rise in the profession, and his many travels in search of ideas and forms. Accompanying Frankl’s text are eighty-five photographs and drawings, many of which have never previously been published. The book also includes an introduction by the noted design scholar Christopher Long and a remembrance written by his daughter Paulette Frankl.

Popular Art Deco Robert Heide
John Gilman

From the Publisher. Production-line objects from the 1920s and '30s are increasingly sought after as icons from a crucial era in American industrial design. The ornate style promoted by the 1925 Paris exposition dramatically affected design down to the most utilitarian level, ranging from dime store rouge pots to kitchen utensils, from advertising graphics to book and fabric design, from wallpaper to furniture. This richly illustrated volume, with its comprehensive survey of the style that revolutionized mass marketing, will appeal not only to collectors, designers, and decorators but also to the general reader who seeks guidance to the increasingly important Art Deco marketplace.

Ruhlmann: Master of Art Deco Florence Camard

#1 Most Popular Design Seller at Modernism 101 (November 2013). From Modernism 101. This is still the major reference work on the renowned French modernist architect and interior designer Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann. Known as “The Master of Art Deco,” Ruhlmann created opulent, exquisitely designed furniture, homes and showrooms for the Parisian beau monde in the twenties and thirties.

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