Art Deco Chicago Designing Modern America Robert Bruegmann, Jonathan Mekinda, Teri J. Edelstein, Lisa D. Schrenk, Neil Harris

Publication date:
27 Nov 2018
Chicago Art Deco Society
412 pages: 305 x 229mm
207 color + 118 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

An expansive take on American Art Deco that explores Chicago's pivotal role in developing the architecture, graphic design, and product design that came to define middle-class style in the twentieth century

Frank Lloyd Wright’s lost Midway Gardens, the iconic Sunbeam Mixmaster, and Marshall Field’s famed window displays: despite the differences in scale and medium, each belongs to the broad current of an Art Deco style that developed in Chicago in the first half of the twentieth century. This ambitious overview of the city’s architectural, product, industrial, and graphic design between 1910 and 1950 offers a fresh perspective on a style that would come to represent the dominant mode of modernism for the American middle class.

Lavishly illustrated with 325 images, the book narrates Art Deco’s evolution in 101 key works, carefully curated and chronologically organized to tell the story of not just a style but a set of sensibilities. Critical essays from leading figures in the field discuss the ways in which Art Deco created an entire visual universe that extended to architecture, advertising, household objects, clothing, and even food design. Through this comprehensive approach to one of the 20th century’s most pervasive modes of expression in America, Art Deco Chicago provides an essential overview of both this influential style and the metropolis that came to embody it.

Robert Bruegmann is distinguished professor emeritus of architecture, art history, and urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“Stand aside, Radio City. Though New York was a center of 20th century Art Deco, the Second City held its own. ‘Art Deco Chicago: Designing Modern America’ (Chicago Art Deco Society, $75, 412 pp.), edited by Robert Bruegmann, accompanies a coming exhibition at the Chicago History Museum on Chicago’s hefty role in marketing the Depression-era movement. The 101 examples — including accordions, pedestrian overpasses and the Hostess Twinkie — demonstrate the appeal of jagged edges and racy curves.”—Jeremy Allen, New York Times

“The book is, quite simply, fantastic. It’s a deep dive into not just the explosion in Art Deco architecture, but also its effects in fashion and industrial design. Some pages will leave you wistful for masterpieces that have been destroyed, while other hidden gems highlighted in it will have you adding them to your architecture bucket list.”—Daily Beast

“A sumptuous volume” —David Brady, C20 Magazine

 “[A] well-timed and valuable contribution”—Timothy Brittain-Catlin, World of Interiors