Art Deco, a Style From Another Era

Detail: Timothy Pflueger's 450 Sutter in San Francisco, a twenty-six-floor Art Deco skyscraper on Union Square since 1929.I like Art Deco.

Partly because I see it as one of the 20th century’s better ideas.

One of the more upbeat ones, anyway.

“…During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress….”
(Art Deco, Wikipedia)

Then we got Modernist architecture, hula hoops and the Sixties.

I’ve talked about that before.

“Folks who saw virtue in unquestioning devotion to established values didn’t like the 1960s. No institution, custom or belief seemed safe from scrutiny.

“Even the idea of progress — a cherished heirloom from the Age of Enlightenment — was challenged, disputed, and ultimately rejected.

“Visions of a technotopia, where our greatest challenge was deciding how to spend our leisure time, were fading….”
(“Homer, Hegel, History and Hope” (May 12, 2018))

Assuming that progress is inevitably progressive wasn’t and isn’t a good idea. Neither, I think, is assuming that we can’t learn. I put the usual links to more of my take on this and other topics at the end of this journal entry.

The photos show Timothy Pflueger’s 450 Sutter in San Francisco’s — lobby, I think. The first is from The Art Deco Society of California.

This next is from Harsch Investment Properties.

450 Sutter, San Francisco. From Harsch Investment Properties, used w/o permission.

I made a point of visiting 450 Sutter when I lived in San Francisco. What I remember wasn’t as shiny as these photos. Maybe they didn’t have all the lights on when I was there.


About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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2 Responses to Art Deco, a Style From Another Era

  1. Speaking of Art Deco, I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen more primary sources, so to speak, from that style/school/movement. I only know about it because of a fighting video game called Skullgirls, which has an art style that draws a lot from Art Deco. Anyway, Art Deco looks both old and new at the same time, no? :O

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