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Skylines to Hemlines

Curated and displayed for the first time ever from the Appleton’s impressive permanent collection of Art Deco objects, “Skylines to Hemlines” presents more than 150 objects that offer an introductory overview to early 20th century fine and decorative arts, architecture, design, fashion, jewelry and more created in the interwar period.

Art Deco, from the French Arts Décoratifs, originated in France around the time that World War I (1914–1918) began, and spread across the globe for a short-lived but brilliant period of time that ended with the onset of World War II in 1939. Art Deco grew from a hub of design-centric activity happening in France at that time, including artists working in the Art Nouveau style — an ornamental movement that, like Art Deco, was broad-based and streamlined across almost every aspect of life. Propelling the Art Deco movement was France’s desire to compete with Germany, and to develop their own style. This swept across everything from architecture, to furniture and fashion — then across continents.

During this time, new technologies improved worldwide communications and globetrotting gained popularity due to advanced machine-powered travel and transport across air, land and sea. As a result, Art Deco taste-maker trends reverberated across the globe showing that cultures all over the world interacted with and reacted quickly to each other despite the distance. Art Deco at its height was ubiquitous — from the hemline of one’s clothing to the silhouette of a skyscraper punctuating the skyline. Even a century later, the iconic Art Deco style is still beloved and admired.

Art Deco sculpture of a woman

(pictured) Gallery view by Maven Photo + Film. 

Demétre Haralamb Chiparus (Romanian, 1886–1947), “Dourga,” ca. 1925, Parcel-silvered and parcel-gilt bronze and ivory on onyx base, 18 ½ in. Gift of Arthur I. Appleton.

Designer: Norman Bel Geddes (American, 1893-1958)Manufacturer: Revere Copper and Brass Company, Rome, NY (American, founded 1928) “Skyscraper” Cocktail Shaker with Strainer in Lid, along with Cocktail Glasses, 1937. Chrome-plated Metal. Gift of Enrique Conill-Mendoza and AnaMari Goicoechea via Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) 2021 Transfer.


Virtual Tour

Take a virtual tour of “Skylines to Hemlines: Art Deco Design from the Permanent Collection.”


Cocktails and More!
Recipes Inspired by the Art Deco Period

Produced by the Appleton Museum of Art, click here for a compilation of Art Deco era cocktails, appetizers and more, in celebration of the special exhibition, “Skylines to Hemlines: Art Deco Design from the Permanent Collection.”


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