This exposition encapsulated the desire of many people in France to promote Art Deco art, design, and architecture as the flagship style of Europe’s elite. Many modernist architects, including Le Corbusier, opposed the exclusive and sometimes frivolous values promoted through Art Deco, and instead envisioned a democratic architecture that would contribute to the dissolution of class divisions and the promotion of egalitarianism. Such debates particularly resonated with women who were fighting for equal rights and suffrage, which was not achieved in France until 1944. Often struggling to gain prominence in artistic circles, many women thrived in fashion design, literature, and philosophy, thanks in part to the increasingly free and liberal society of the Roaring Twenties, documented in the archival footage and audio recordings within this section.
Le Corbusier, Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau, built in 1924. The building was destroyed in 1926, but an exact replica was erected in 1977 in Bologna, Italy. © F.L.C. / VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016. Photo: ADAGP Image Bank