Cubism and its Influence on Art Deco Design

Some links from this site lead to third parties who pay us a commission if you buy something.  This allows us to keep providing the information on this site free of charge! 

Although Cubism as a movement didn't last very long, virtually ending at the outbreak of WWI, it had a lasting influence on the Decorative Arts from fashion to interior design throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

The seeds of Cubism were sown by the Cézanne exhibition in Paris in 1907 and Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon (also 1907) which was inspired by African masks.

Cézanne believed nature could be reduced to sculptural forms such as cylinders, spheres and cones and had developed a flat, two dimensional view of the landscape.

Cezanne - La Montagne de St VictoireCezanne - La Montagne de St Victoire

The old rules of adhering to perspective had gone by the wayside.  Time, space and movement were more important and artists wished to represent many different viewpoints of the same object at the same time. 

This led to the two dimensional geometric style associated with the Cubists and filtered into the design of Art Deco posters, fashion, jewelry, interior design and architecture

The Cubist Movement

The small group of artists which banded together in Montmartre, Paris and formed the Cubist movement were led by Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris. 

Fernard Léger, Robert Delaunay, Albert Gleizes and Jean Metzinger were dubbed the "Salon Cubists" as they exhibited at the tolerant Salon d'Automne and Salon des Indépendants.

Juan Gris - Guitar and Newspaper 1925Juan Gris - Guitar and Newspaper 1925

The brothers Raymond and Marcel Duchamp and Jacques Villon formed another group in the arrondisment of Puteaux, and linked the Cubists to the changes happening in the technological world of the Machine Age. 

Marcel Duchamp later became one the the leaders of the anarchic Dadaist movement and stopped painting to create his world famous "ready mades" - everyday objects renamed to undermine the very notion of "artistic" invention. 

Marcel Duchamp - Mari-E Cubist WorkMarcel Duchamp - Mari-E, 1912

Several of the Cubist artists, Picasso, Braque, Robert and Sonia Delaunay among others crossed over to the world of theatre and designed sets for the Ballet Russes, which were enormously influencial in the world of Art Deco fashion and jewellery. 

Robert Delaunay - Tour EiffelRobert Delaunay - Tour Eiffel

Their geometric shapes and forms were taken up by designers of everything: from functional homewares to decorative objects, from furniture to architecture.  There was huge boom in advertising in the 1920s and 1930s and the design of everything from magazine ads to posters  also reflected the influence of the flat, two dimensional and geometric forms of Cubism. 

Check out the cubist prints on sale at Etsy. 

> > Cubism

Etsy has a surprisingly good range of Art Deco furniture, interior decor, art and prints, 1920s and 1930s fashion, accessories, jewellery and Bakelite.  Click the banner to explore.  

Join our Facebook Page so you never miss a thing!

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Like this Page