Salvaged hotel foyer will usher in giant Art Deco exhibition at the V&A
Friday 20 September 2002
The Victoria and Albert Museum is to follow its record-breaking exhibition on Art Nouveau with a giant show dedicated to the movement that succeeded it, Art Deco.
The centrepiece of next spring's event will be a 1930s foyer rescued from the Strand Palace Hotel in London more than 30 years ago and not seen in public since. The museum is spending £100,000 on renovating the glass, marble and steel interior, which was saved from demolition at the 11th hour.
Carol Hogben, the now retired curator who was in charge at the time, said yesterday: "There were people ready with sledgehammers to destroy it the next day and we literally had to go in and save it overnight following a last-minute agreement with the hotel group.
"Realising the urgency of the situation and with the support of the Strand Palace Hotel the V&A team responded very quickly to safeguard one of London's best-known Thirties interiors."
The foyer recalls the glamour of Hollywood and is one of the finest Art Deco hotel interiors in the world.
Mark Jones, the V&A's director, announced the forthcoming exhibition. He said 230,000 people had attended Art Nouveau in London and one million had seen it on tour worldwide. "I think Art Deco is going to have the same kind of broad appeal."
It will focus on the years 1910 to 1939, which included the Depression, and will include examples of the hugely influential Art Deco style from Europe, America, India and the Far East.
Ghislaine Wood, the curator, said she hoped the exhibition would change people's perceptions of Art Deco.
"For much of this century Art Deco has been dismissed as a purely hedonistic and frivolous style. The exhibition will explore how Art Deco in fact represented new values and responded to human needs through the conscious celebration of fantasy, fun, glamour and commerce."
More than 300 works including paintings, sculpture, furniture, textiles, glass, jewellery, fashion and film will be on display. A large number of objects that appeared in an Art Deco grand salon exhibited at an international exhibition in Paris in 1925 have been brought together for the first time since then. They include Cartier jewellery, fashion by Coco Chanel, paintings by Fernand Leger and sculptures by Constantin Brancusi.
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