Art History Lab

From Lalique to Lempicka: The Glamorous World of Art Deco

Art Deco: An Era of Modernity and Glamour

Art Deco is an art movement that emerged in Europe and the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. It was characterized by its celebration of modernity, luxury, and extravagance, as well as its embrace of new materials and technologies.

This article aims to explore the famous Art Deco artists and the characteristics that define this prominent art movement.

Famous Art Deco Artists

The Art Deco movement was spearheaded by a group of talented artists who played significant roles in shaping the style. Here are some of the most famous Art Deco artists and their notable works:

Ren Lalique – Best known for his glass pieces, Lalique was an Art Nouveau and Art Deco artist who blended the use of enamel, metal, and glass casting.

His style is characterized by the use of figurative motifs such as animals, plants, and mythical creatures. One of his most famous works is the Bacchantes Vase, a glass vase with female nudes in high relief.

Lon Bakst – Bakst was a Russian artist and theatrical designer who was affiliated with the Mir Iskusstva or the “World of Art” group in St. Petersburg. He created some of the most memorable stage and costume designs for the Ballets Russes, most notably for the Ballets Russes’s productions of Scheherazade and The Firebird.

His style was known for its exotic imagery, powerful compositions, and bold use of color.

Jean Dunand – Dunand was a Swiss lacquer artist who worked primarily with copper and was inspired by Japanese culture and African art.

He often used abstracted shapes and flat planes in his work, which was characterized by its geometric and stylized forms. One of his most famous works is the lacquered screens in the Palais de la Femme in Paris.

mile-Jacques Ruhlmann – Ruhlmann was an interior and furniture designer known for his elegant designs that often incorporated precious materials such as ivory, exotic woods, and lacquer. His style was influenced by classical elements and focused on simplicity, refinement, and proportion.

One of his most famous works is the Bergre chair, marked by its exceptional craftsmanship and sleek lines.

Sonia Delaunay – Delaunay was a Ukrainian-born artist who explored abstract ideas and textile and color combinations in her work.

Along with her husband Robert Delaunay, she founded the Orphism movement, which emphasized geometric designs and the intersection of art and design. She also worked as a Designer of Modern Fashion, and her work laid the foundation for Art Deco fashion.

Demetre Chiparus – Chiparus was a Romanian sculptor best known for his chryselephantine works, a term used to describe the combination of bronze and ivory in sculpture. Inspired by ancient Egyptian art, he also created modern ballet costumes that were characterized by their flowing lines and delicate details.

Le Corbusier – Le Corbusier was a Swiss-French architect who was part of the modernist movement that rejected decorative elements in favor of functional design. He associated himself with Art Deco aesthetics, and his designs incorporated geometric shapes and simple lines.

One of his most famous works is the Villa Savoye, an iconic example of modernist architecture.

Georges Lepape – Lepape was a French illustrator who worked for fashion magazines and designers such as Paul Poiret and Jean Patou.

His style was characterized by the use of slim female figures, Persian miniatures, and theatrical aesthetics. He also designed costumes for various productions, including the Ballets Russes.

Hildreth Meiere – Meiere was an American artist who worked primarily with enamel and metal roundels, creating murals, glass windows, and architectural mosaics. Her work graces the interiors of famous landmarks such as the Radio City Music Hall and the National Academy of Sciences.

Romain de Tirtoff (Ert) – Ert was a Russian artist who gained fame as an illustrator and designer of refined fashion designs. His work reflected an exotic aesthetic characterized by sinuous curves and dramatic ornamentation.

He designed costumes and sets for the Ziegfeld Follies and collaborated with Harper’s Bazaar.

Tamara de Lempicka – De Lempicka was a Polish portrait painter who was highly influenced by the Cubist movement.

Her style was marked by its bright colors, geometric style, and opulence and luxury. Some of her famous works include La Musique, a portrait of Suzy Solidor, and the portrait of the duchess of la Salle.

Characteristics of Art Deco

Art Deco was characterized by a distinct visual language that set it apart from other art movements of the time. Here are some of the characteristics that defined Art Deco:

Modernity and refinement – Art Deco represented a break with the past and celebrated everything modern, from fashion to technology.

It embraced luxury and refinement in every aspect of life. Simple and clean lines – In contrast to the ornate designs of previous movements, Art Deco favored clean and simple lines that emphasized form and function.

Geometrical or stylized embellishments – Art Deco frequently used geometrical shapes or stylized forms as decoration. Varied and expensive materials – Art Deco used a variety of materials, ranging from man-made to natural components, emphasizing luxury and quality.

Glorification of luxury and the contemporary world – Art Deco represented the height of modern living, portraying the most lavish aspects of life in art and design. Influence from various art movements – Art Deco was heavily influenced by a variety of art movements, including Cubism, Fauvism, Orientalism, and Art Nouveau.

Bright colors and contrasts – Art Deco often employed bold and bright colors and contrasts to emphasize glamorous and opulent lifestyles. Themes of human and mythical figures, animals, and geometrical patterns – Art Deco often incorporated figurative elements into design, such as human and mythical figures, and used geometrical patterns to create visual interest.

Influence from modern developments – Art Deco was also influenced by modern developments such as industry and technology. The use of chromium, automobiles, aircraft, trains, and electrical power became major motifs, emphasizing the movement’s embrace of the modern era.


Art Deco remains one of the most iconic visual styles of the 20th century, celebrated for its modernity, glamour, and extravagance. The movement emerged from a group of talented and innovative artists who created some of the most iconic works of their time, infusing everyday objects with elegance and refinement.

The characteristics of Art Deco continue to influence art and design today, offering a timeless aesthetic that continues to captivate viewers. Art Deco is an art movement that emerged in Europe and the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, celebrated for its modernity, luxury, and extravagance.

The movement was spearheaded by a group of talented artists who created some of the most iconic works of their time, laying the foundation for a timeless aesthetic that continues to captivate viewers today. Art Deco is characterized by its celebration of modernity, simple and clean lines, geometrical or stylized embellishments, varied and expensive materials, themes of human, mythical figures, and geometric patterns, influence from modern developments, and more.

The art movement’s legacy remains long-lasting, influencing art and design for generations.

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