Key Moments in Art Deco

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1925 The Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes takes place in Paris from April to October. It is believed that the name “Art Deco” originated at this fair, where major designers Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Jules LeLeu showed their work.

1928 Construction begins on New York’s Chrysler Building on September 19. Designed by William Van Alen, the building was one of the first clad with a stainless steel façade. Its terraced crescent shapes and automobile motifs make it a symbol of the era.

1932 Radio City Music Hall opens to the public on December 27. Its neon lights, lettering, and interior design by Donald Deskey would become quintessential examples of the American take on the style.


1933 On January 5, construction begins on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. The design features street lights, railing, and walkways in the Art Deco style.

1934 The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s landmark Contemporary American Industrial Art exhibition opens. Works by Deskey, Gilbert Rohde, and Walter von Nessen are included.

1935 S.S. Normandie makes its maiden voyage from Le Havre to New York in May. Its interior was a high point of Streamline Moderne, a variant of Art Deco. In 1942, a fire onboard caused the ship to partially capsize in New York Harbor. The interiors were salvaged and sold at auction.

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