When someone mentions the Roaring Twenties, it conjures up the Jazz Age, flappers, Prohibition, the Charleston, gangsters, The Great Gatsby, Mary Pickford, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Designers and architects also remember the 20’s for the Chrysler Building, the luxury liner Normandie, and the interior of Radio City Music Hall, all outstanding examples of the decorative arts style called Art Deco. To many designers of jewelry, furniture, clothes, fabrics, and ceramics, Art Deco of the 20’s with its geometric motifs and bright, bold colors represents the best and purest forms of that decorative art period.
Art Deco, a classical, symmetrical, rectilinear style that reached its high point between 1925-1935, drew its inspiration from such serious art movements as Cubism, Futurism, and the influence of the Bauhaus. In Paris, it was a dominant art form of the 1920-1930 period.
Tamara and Tadeusz in Cannes, 1928
Of all the artists pursuing the style “Arts Decoratifs”, one of the most memorable was Tamara de Lempicka.
She was born Maria Gorska of well-to-do parents in turn-of- the-century Poland. After her mother and father divorced, her wealthy grandmother spoiled her with clothes and travel.
By age 14 she was attending school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Tamara vacationed in St. Petersburg with her Aunt Stephanie, whose millionaire banker husband had their home decorated by the famous French firm Maison Jansen.
All this high living gave the young girl an idea of how she wanted to live and what her future should be.