2013—Art Deco Style: Elegance, Innovation and Excitement

Frank Peers | Untitled Cityscape, c.1920s | woodcut | Gift of Ester L. Peers

In this period of economic prosperity, social attitudes were relaxing. Women cut their hair shorter, raised their hemlines, and openly disregarded social norms. Jazz music blossomed. The era saw the spread and use of cars, telephones, motion pictures, electricity, unprecedented industrial growth, accelerated consumer demand and aspirations, and significant changes in lifestyle and culture.

All of this led to the emergence of a design style known as Art Deco, a term coined in the 1960s to describe the influence of Machine-age materials and imagery on architecture and its eventual spread into decorative arts, fashion, and fine art.

These objects from the Library’s permanent collection show the influences, characteristics, and style that was Art Deco.

A note to “Big Readers”

As you read The Great Gatsby, keep in mind that Nick, Jay, Daisy, and Jordan would have been surrounded by this new, modern style. Clothing, jewelry, appliances, cars, furniture—nothing went untouched.

Clarice Cliff | Newport Pottery, England | Bizarre tea set, (crocus pattern), c.1928—1964 | Porcelain; 1980.019