Art Deco and Art Moderne: Is there a Difference?


If you’re new to the antique collection world, you may have a number of questions regarding the styles known as Art Deco and Art Moderne. Both seem like they apply to furniture and artwork made between 1920 and the 1940s. So, what’s the difference? If you’re going to buy and sell pieces from this period, it’s important to know how they differ.

Art Deco and Art Moderne

Art Deco

The Art Deco style became popular in Paris in the 1920s. As its clean lines and style spread around the world, more and more collectors began purchasing Art Deco pieces. It built on the Art Nouveau style that preceded it, but antique paintings from this time also include influences from Asia, Egypt, and the Greco-Roman period.

Art Moderne

While Art Deco began in France, Art Moderne is a style created in the United States. It rose to prominence a little later than Art Deco. Most vintage paintings done in the Art Moderne style date back to the 1930s and 1940s. Art Moderne took the basic ideas of Art Deco and pushed them even further. The style is more streamlined and focused on shape than Art Deco is. Furniture from the Art Moderne period was designed so that it could be mass-produced and enjoyed by everyone.

The Differences Are There

While it can be difficult to tell some of these pieces apart just by looking at them, the differences are there. Art Deco pieces tend to appear more organic, while Art Moderne has a more mechanical or industrial look to it. That’s not to say that these pieces are all functional, but they do focus on simple, clean lines.

Overall, it often comes down to looking at the designer or artist and determining where the piece was created. If it was made in the 1930s or 40s in the U.S., it’s more likely to fall into the Art Moderne category.

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