If the Art Deco movement finds its richest fulfilment in the plastic arts of marble, metal, wood and stone, this is in large partly because Art Deco is the most fully embodied of aesthetics, taking as its first study and central object of admiration the female body.
Sex and death, decay and renewal: the pervasive themes of Viennese Expressionism took their place alongside elements of Cubism, Bauhaus and Constructivism in the art of sculpture between the wars.
As so comprehensive a list of influences would suggest, Art Deco gloried in pastiche no less than the Art Nouveau which was its most conspicuous progenitor, and with an adaptability which secured its popular appeal long after niche preoccupations of Modernism had bloomed and withered.
Artists from across Europe were drawn to Paris like bees to a honeypot: the native Alfred Janniot, Hungarian-born Gustave Miklos, Brazilian Victor Brecheret and Russian Ossip Zadkine principal among them. Zadkine was queen bee in the hive that became an artists’ colony in Montparnasse, as the art of Art Deco shifted focus from abstraction to animalier sculpture. Before long, however, these turbulent times saw another change of emphasis from form to movement as the Art Deco centre of gravity shifted during the 1920s from Paris to the US.