32¢ Art Deco Style
Celebrate the Century – 1920s
Issue Date: May 28, 1998
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
American exuberance during the 1920s was reflected in the development of a new type of design – art deco style. Characterized by smooth lines, geometric patterns, and streamlined forms, art deco featured a look that was associated with elegance, sophistication, and wealth.
The style was first exhibited in Paris in 1925, and began to appear on textiles, pottery, jewelry, and furniture soon after. Most art deco designs were used on items that could be mass-produced, rather than individual works such as paintings and sculptures.
Art deco also influenced architectural design. With its stainless-steel, sunburst-patterned tower piercing the Manhattan skyline, the Chrysler Building is often described as the epitome of the art deco style. Designed by William Van Alen and commissioned by Walter P. Chrysler, the building was constructed between 1926 and 1930. Both the interior and exterior are largely geometric, with stainless-steel, decorative features incorporated throughout. At 1,048 feet, it was briefly considered the tallest building in the world until the Empire State Building, which also exhibits the style, opened in 1931. By World War II, designers were no longer influenced by the art deco movement.