Bevis Hillier

Last of the Total Styles

Art Deco 1910-1939

By

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FOR REASONS THAT will become clear, this review will inevitably be a bit of an ego trip. This month the Victoria & Albert Museum is putting on a most ambitious exhibition of Art Deco – the decorative art of the 1920s and 1930s. (The organisers stretch back the boundaries of the style to 1910: more on that in a moment.) In 1968 I wrote the first book in English on Art Deco. In 1971 I organised a big exhibition of Art Deco at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts: the catalogue was published as a book, The World of Art Deco. And in 1998 – thirty years after my first Deco book – I wrote, with Stephen Escritt, a further book, Art Deco Style; my contribution, headed ‘Art Deco Revisited’, was a retrospect of the adventures I had had in helping to identify, anatomise and popularise the style.

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