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Art Deco and Modern: 1918-1940s

Posted by Malindi Pender on May 30, 2018
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After World War I, Paris saw a boom in arts and culture like never before. Art was created as a form of therapy and revolt against the war and artists from the world were inspired by the Parisian lifestyle and culture.  Parisians were going out, writers like Hemingway were writing, Picasso was experimenting and an obsession with Paris was beginning to emerge with the release of An American in Paris.  This was what as known as aaka the Crazy years.  For the average person, the introduction of the elevator was a huge improvement on daily life. The more wealthy residents were now able to live on the upper, and thought to be, more sanitary floors whereas the workers moved downstairs. The lower-income residents in the outer arrondissements of Paris lived in new housing projects called Habitation à Bon Marché. If Art Nouveau was more about decorative accents the Modern movement was about purity and freedom from the weight of yesteryear.

One of the great artists and architects of the time was Le Corbusier who introduced France to a more modernized; he has been quoted saying in 1925: “now is a turning point  turning point in the quarrel between the old and new. After 1925, the antique-lovers will have virtually ended their lives…” 

Le Corbusier’s modern Paris can be categorized by pure colors, flat roofs, roof gardens, open floor plans and floor to ceiling and horizontal windows, often mixing the indoor and the outdoor in an unprecedented way. You can thank Le Corbusier for the first air conditioned building in Paris as well- this man was truly ahead of his time! You can find some of his remaining buildings in the 13, 14 and 15th arrondissements and his most famous, Villa Savoye in the Paris suburb, Poissy.