The Evolution of Stained Glass in the Art Deco Movement

The nice thing about the Northeast (places like Philly, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, New York City) is how much it grew in the 1920s and 1930s, to the point where many buildings from that era still stand today, showcasing the Art Deco period’s masterpieces like the Chrysler Building in NYC or Buffalo’s grand City Hall.

Before Art Deco, there was Art Nouveau, which was minimalistic and emphasized nature. Ho hum. Then Art Deco took over with elegance, glamor, and a newfound modernity that helped shape the look of America for decades to come.

Stained Glass Windows Art Deco involved making big, bold statements– with symmetry, geometric patterns, gold, steel, glass, wood, chrome, and colors. It was, in one word, “rich.”

Stained glass was an integral part of the Art Deco movement, from the 1920s to the 1950s. Thematically, if you were making a building and wanted your interior or exterior windows to “stand out” from boring, plain windows, you commissioned a stained glass creator to design glorious windows featuring things like sunbursts, trapezoids, feathers, zigzags and/or pointed/jagged edged lines inspired by skyscrapers.

Besides windows, during this time it wasn’t unusual to find lamps incorporating bold stained glass designs, a la Frank Lloyd Wright– see examples here.

Color was very important to Art Deco style. Bright colors like red, yellow, green and blue were often mixed with silver, black and/or the chrome look. Art Deco liked being noticed– it wasn’t a style that just blended in with the background!

Art Deco got its start in France after World War I. “Stained glass” of that time, made by Frenchmen in France, ended up gracing the ceilings of luxury ocean liners, as well as vases, bowls, lamps and ornaments. Glass got treated as a form of sculpture– more than just windows! Frenchmen have had a reputation for loving women, and at the time it was popular to make colorful, sculpted nudes. The decorative glass industry had its heyday thanks to a number of wealthy clients both in Europe and abroad.

While Art Deco fell out of favor after the mid-1950s, it never totally went out of style. Even today, the Art Deco look remains popular. Cumberland Stained Glass Windows is an expert in the field of style glass artwork– you’re welcome to call 717-691-8290 with any questions you might have.