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The Paris 1925 Exhibition

Robert Bonfils: poster for the Paris 1925 Exhibition Pierre Turin: medal Pierre Turin: medal

Robert Bonfils: poster for the Paris 1925 Exhibition.

Pierre Turin: medal

Pierre Turin: medal

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Many international exhibitions helped promote Art Deco, but none was more important than the Paris Exhibition of 1925.

Officially entitled the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, it was dedicated to the display of modern decorative arts. The exhibition brought together thousands of designs from all over Europe and beyond. With over 16 million visitors, it marked the high point of the first phase of Art Deco.

The exhibition was shaped by France's ambitions in the years immediately after the First World War. Its aim was to establish the pre-eminence of French taste and luxury goods. French displays dominated the exhibition and Paris itself was put on show as the most fashionable of cities.

The pavilions of major manufacturers, department stores and designers, together with avenues of boutiques, enticed visitors to the fairground by day. By night, its monumental gates, bridges and fountains, as well as major landmarks in the surrounding city, were a blaze of light. The Eiffel Tower bore the Citroën logo. A triumph of nineteenth-century engineering, the tower was transformed into a giant advertisement for twentieth-century consumerism.

The exhibition regulations stressed the need for 'modern' inspiration. There were many novel designs, but designers and manufacturers were reluctant to abandon tradition altogether. Nevertheless, whether the exhibits were 'modernized traditional' or 'modernistic' in character, they helped establish the themes and formal repertoire of Art Deco. The exhibition had an immediate and worldwide impact.

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Art Deco 1910 - 1939

Art Deco