What is the difference between Art Deco and International Moderne?

IdleRich

IdleRich
Not a joke. I think I've been mixing these up all my life. I get that AD originated in France and IM in US (apparently) but if I see a building, ornament etc how do I know which it is?
 

Rudewhy

Well-known member
Art Deco is more elaborate and decorative in it's inclusion of detailing and historical influences whilst International Modernism is a rejection of the ornate and encompasses total ideological adherence to the straight line and the flat surface. As a general rule, if a building looks like it belongs to the 1920s, it's probably Art Deco, whilst if it looks like the 1950s, it's International Modernism.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
So... although they both started around the same time IM is more kinda forward looking and AD is perhaps looking to the exotic Egypt and so on? Thanks for answer but can you show me some examples of each to contrast?
 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Thanks @Rudewhy, a distinction I was not aware of.

Didn't even know International Modernism was a thing, frankly. How much of what we call modernist, aesthetically, is traced back to this? Was anything lost along the way? Was any baggage picked up, along the way, that wasn't sent by the progenitors of modernism? You know, connotational baggage?
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Thanks @Rudewhy, a distinction I was not aware of.

Didn't even know International Modernism was a thing, frankly. How much of what we call modernist, aesthetically, is traced back to this? Was anything lost along the way? Was any baggage picked up, along the way, that wasn't sent by the progenitors of modernism? You know, connotational baggage?
What do you mean? What do we call modernist aesthetically?
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
From my very limited understanding, Art Deco was, if not originally American, then it flourished most significantly in the USA, and to some extent in the UK, and it looks extremely capitalist. It's about opulence and luxury, and is very much a design by the elite, for the elite. Even in buildings that were used by ordinary people, like theatres and cinemas, it gives the impression of wanting to make you think you're in a hotel in Manhattan or LA. It makes you think of Bertie Wooster in his top hat and coat-tails, and flappers in shimmery golden dresses, drinking champagne. It's associated with the first great flowering of Hollywood, with aviation when it was strictly a luxury for the very rich, and with the jazz age - but jazz very much in the sense of a band of black musicians in tuxedos playing at a soiree in a hotel ballroom organised by some moneybags industrialist, not jazz as it actually evolved, as music that black people danced to in clubs in Harlem.

This is probably better summed up in the very name of this building than by anything I could write:

250px-Empire_State_Building_(aerial_view).jpg

Whereas international modernism was associated with the Bauhaus school (as Rudewhy points out), which had an ideology that was, if not Marxist exactly, then at least socialist-leaning and very much geared towards mass-produced objects that ordinary people could afford, and buildings that were public and municipal, and not just these great phallic monuments to personal success. So it had more currency in the USSR and in parts of central and eastern Europe that had left-wing governments or at least widespread leftist movements than it did in America or Britain.

So you had Malevich designing buildings that would have looked like this, for example:

malevich.jpg

At least, that was the case in the 20s. After Stalin assumed the dictatorship, international modernism was deemed a bit too international (i.e. possibly capitalist and/or Jewish) and the USSR swung into a more culturally conservative phase, following that brief early period of radicalism and relative artistic freedom.

And then not long after that, the movement also ended in Germany, for obvious reasons.
 
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constant escape

winter withered, warm
I mean whatever we call modernist aesthetically, but I had architecture in mind, given this thread. I have a pretty blunt understanding of it, and was curious as to how the popular understanding of modernism lines up with the ideas of its initial practitioners. Does the common sense of the word do justice to the original ideas
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
From my very limited understanding, Art Deco was, if not originally American....

Whereas international modernism was associated with the Bauhaus school....
This is kinda what I thought... but if you look it up its the other way round. Art deco started in France and Arte Moderne in the US.

Art Moderne
If Art Deco has its roots in France, Art Moderne (also known as American Moderne or Modernist) is native to the United States, dating approximately from the early 1930s and lasting until the 1940s. And it shares many of the qualities associated with the country in that period: bigger, bolder, and brassier—literally.
Think of Art Moderne as Art Deco on steroids. Art Deco placed an emphasis on shape and absence of superfluity, but Moderne was positively streamlined (a hot new scientific theory of the time: the shaping of objects along curving lines to cut wind resistance and make them move more efficiently). The furniture is much more pared or stripped down, making all the more prominent its geometric outline (especially beloved: a swelling curve, like a teardrop or torpedo). Moderne designers often conceived pieces as a series of escalating levels—breakfronts were big—similar to a staircase or the setback effect of those newfangled skyscrapers that were arising in every city. Some of Moderne's most iconic pieces, designed by Paul Frankl, were actually called "Skyscraper" furniture.
Certainly the teardrop thing sounds like what I think of as art deco.
Or is Art Moderne different again?
 
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luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I mean whatever we call modernist aesthetically, but I had architecture in mind, given this thread. I have a pretty blunt understanding of it, and was curious as to how the popular understanding of modernism lines up with the ideas of its initial practitioners. Does the common sense of the word do justice to the original ideas
i dont know what the popular understanding is
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
"The modernists wanted to strip the world of mystery and emotion. No wonder they excelled at the architecture of death, says JG Ballard."
 
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