Art Deco

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1978-146-469-a,b
Cartier Deco Matchsafe
The development of friction matches in the early nineteenth century was a major discovery as it allowed for instantaneous and reliable fire on demand for the first time in history. The design of matchsafes arose as the early friction matches were both highly combustible and unstable. These decorative boxes allowed bulk matches to be protected...
Trade Catalogue. Katalog Nr. 60 [&65].  Art Deco Lighting. Meissen-Glas.  Dresden: Circa, 1930.  Smithsonian Libraries
Uplighting, Deco Style
Two rare Art Deco period catalogues, newly acquired by the CHM library, include illustrations with accompanying specifications and cost for more than 100 glass lighting fixtures manufactured by Meissner Glasraffinerie of Dresden dating circa 1930.  Their factory was located at Coswig on the river Elbe situated between Meissen and Dresden, Germany. Not much is recorded...
3920 Vanity, 1939; Designed by Gilbert Rohde (American, 1894 – 1944); east indian laurel, sequoia burl, oak, acrylic, brass, patinated steel, leather, mirrored glass; H x W x D: 127 × 127 × 43.2 cm (50 × 50 × 17 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2016-5-19-a/d
A Modern Beauty
Whether you call it a dressing table or a vanity, during the 1930s and 1940s this furniture form expressed the glamour and mystique of femininity. A woman sitting at her vanity—preparing to go out or to entertain in her home—connotes the vanity’s cultural associations with beauty, self-image, and preparation. Designed by Gilbert Rohde for Herman...
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A Subtle Scandal
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Cooper Hewitt is dedicating select Object of the Day entries to the work of women designers in our collection. A pioneer of graphic design in New York City, Louise Fili is known for stylized, retro-inspired work that strongly favors Art Deco motifs. Her work is lauded for its creative...
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Pessimistic Optimism
Written by Joseph McPartlin There are many ways you can look at the modern world. Do you take a pessimistic or optimistic view? John Vassos questions his view of modernity in his 1931 illustrated book, Phobia. He uses “optimistic” Art Deco forms to convey twenty-three phobias as a “pessimistic” look into the modern world. John...
1991-59-11
New Metal
It is no coincidence that many of Lurelle Van Arsdale Guild’s 1930’s designs for aluminum tableware reflect his honed knowledge of traditional forms and ornament.  Before becoming one of America’s top industrial designers of the early to mid-twentieth century, Guild was an antique furniture dealer and throughout his entire life, a collector and connoisseur of...
This is a table lamp. It was designed by Ruth Gerth and manufactured by Chase Brass & Copper Co.. It is dated 1931. Its medium is chrome-plated metal, plastic.
American Art Deco Goes Down the Tubes
Ruth Gerth’s 1931 “Glow Lamp” for Chase Brass and Copper Company is a gleaming example of American modernism with a bit of a dirty secret. The conical shade is topped by a globular finial and clips on to an incandescent bulb, nestled into its fitting atop a spherical base with a horizontal band running around...
This is a clock. It was designed by Gilbert Rohde and manufactured by Herman Miller Clock Company. It is dated 1933. Its medium is glass, chrome-plated metal, enameled metal.
True Blue
The Model 4083A clock made its debut at the 1933 A Century of Progress Chicago World’s Fair. Designed by Gilbert Rohde and manufactured by the Herman Miller Clock Company, a division of the Herman Miller Furniture Company, this sleek circular clock was one of seven modernist clocks designed by Rohde that were on display in...
1969-97-15
Silver and Circular: Jean Luce’s Art Deco Modernism
This sweet little glass bowl evokes the shining, art deco optimism of the 1930s. Designed by Jean Luce and exhibited at the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, it speaks to the period’s interest in democratic materials and tells a story of increasing simplicity of form and decoration in design....