Portuguese Art Deco - ART DECO EM PORTUGAL - Chiado Museum Exhibition, Lisbon

ART DECO EM PORTUGAL - Portuguese Art Deco Exhibition, Chiado Museum, Lisbon

ART DECO EM PORTUGAL - Portuguese Art Deco Exhibition, Chiado Museum, Lisbon

I went to the ART DECO EM PORTUGAL Exhibition at Lisbon's Chiado Museum. Out of maybe a hundred pieces on display, I photographed the few that may possibly have fit into the Pulchrist purview.

Art Deco's function was the mechanization of art. 

Art bottomed-out during the twentieth century, and Art Deco was the slow death of Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau was, arguably, the pinnacle of the Renaissance - surpassing even the rococo in luxurious asymmetrical beauty. 

Cubism was a milestone - rather than an invention - in the not-so-gradual program of decay foisted upon the art world by industry, beginning in full force in the mid-nineteenth century. By the time Tony Smith's Die (pictured right, from this link) came into being, all artistic form had been reduced (killed) to nothing, or perhaps to the distilled perfection of the cube.

It's interesting and beautiful to note that Sol Lewitt started rebuilding with cubes at just about the same time that Smith had reduced three-dimensional art even further than it had been murdered in two-dimensional form by the Suprematists.

In the early 1960s, LeWitt first began to create his "structures," a term he used to describe his three-dimensional work. His frequent use of open, modular structures originates from the cube...

Overall I found the Art Deco exhibition uninspiring, and there was an aroma of socialism in the air. To sum up, I think Art Deco is communized, socialized, and geometricized Art Nouveau.

Tony Smith
"Die"
1962
Steel

Sol Lewitt
"Four-Sided Pyramid"
1999
Concrete blocks

Jose de Almada Negreiros
"O Beijo" [Five O'Clock Tea]
1912
India ink, watercolor and wash on paper

The transition between Art Nouveau and Art Deco can be seen in all its obviousness in the above illustration entitled "O Beijo" ("The Kiss") by Jose de Almada Negreiros, and below in the rather attractive vase by Ernesto Canto da Maya.

Ernesto Canto da Maya
"Vase"
1917
Polychrome terracotta

Untitled
1926
Watercolor, graphite and India ink on paper

Eduardo Viana
"Rapaz das Loucas"
1919
Oil on canvas

Eduardo Viana
"Palmeira"
c 1923
Oil on canvas

Diogo de Macedo
"L'Adieu"
1920
Bronze

Joao Ameal and Luiz d'Oliveira Guimaraes
[Anonymous design]
Cover for "As Criminosas do Chiado"
c 1925

Ernesto Canto da Maya
"Tragedie"
1926
Patinated bronze

Dordio Gomes
"Eguas de manada"
1929
Oil on canvas

Ernesto Canto da Maya
"Flora"
c 1922
Clay

Ernesto Canto da Maya
"Adao e Eva"
1929-1939
Polychrome terracotta

Ernesto Canto da Maya
Canto da Ilusao
c 1929
Polychrome terracotta

Jorge Barradas
"Anunciacao"
1936
Oil on canvas

The above religious painting - Anunciacao by Jorge Barradas - stood out as genuinely beautiful, while being fully in the Art Deco style.

Antonio Soares
"Senhora da Rosa"
1945
Oil on canvas

Eden Theater / Teatro Eden
Lisbon

Although there are relatively few Art Deco buildings in Lisbon, the Eden Theater (Teatro Eden) stands out as one of the best, and most beautiful examples of the style in the world - with its arborious recessed atrium.