The Sydney Fair, 2016 – Celebrate Modern Art Design & Style

The Sydney Fair, 2016 – Celebrate Modern Art Design & Style
Art Deco Furniture Selection Virtanen

Selection of furnishings in the ‘Art Deco style from Virtanen Antiques

Art Deco is a design style that has always appealed to me, as it emerged gradually out of the elegance of the first decade of the twentieth century in England and Europe, a watershed for the modern age.

It embraced several different approaches to classical design while projecting a vision for the future, becoming fashionable during the inter war-period (1918-1939), although it was more aligned with the Modernist movement, which is mostly considered anti-historical.

Art Deco was the first universal design style to be based on legitimate principles of design for over 125 years by embracing the two extremes of historical continuum, from the ancient past to the distant future.  It was inspired by a search for an authentic response to a much-changed world brought on by the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century, one catering to the demands of mechanised production and machine-like forms.

Tango 2

It takes two to Tango, Royal Dux figure from Deco Diva Antiques

In particular New York property developers turned the sleek, streamlined very chic style that emerged in France where proponents wanted life to be idyllic, simple, self sufficient, practical and in close contact with nature, and refashioned their city.

They set about producing a pared down version of classicism that accommodated our needs both aesthetic and practical.

A success since its first year 2013, The Sydney Fair 2016 showcasing styles from the 20th century ‘age of modernism’ including Arts and Crafts 1875-1915 | Art Nouveau (1880-1910) | Vienna Secession | Wiener Werkstatte (1903-1933) Bauhaus (1919-1933), Art Deco (1920-1940) and post-Modernism will be bigger and better than ever before.

The Sydney Fair 2016 will present an array of decorative arts including furniture, art, lighting, porcelain, silver, glass, textiles and fashionable costume, which includes clothes, hats, shoes, handbags and jewellery.

Chanel Dress

The indispensable ‘little black dress’ will be featured in spectacular array at The Sydney Fair

If you are looking to fit out your ‘castle’ then the selection of household items for your dream house will help you to ensure it materialises into a tangible reality.

No matter your budget, connoisseurs, collectors, enthusiasts and those wanting to learn more about ‘antiques’ and what constituted the ‘modern style’, will discover a diverse selection of unique and very special finds.

Running from Thursday evening special cocktail opening event on the 26th May, The Sydney Fair 2016 will be open each day, finishing Sunday 29th May, 2016.

Held in the Byron Kennedy Hall at the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park in Sydney, there will be some thirty dealers exhibiting.

Fashionable personal style is indeed a focus, the growing demand for ‘vintage’ looks spurring it on.

No doubt the famous French fashion designer Coco Chanel (1883-1971) would thrill to know she has now become a ‘classic’, since launching her radical sporty, elegant classy fashions in the 20’s.

She introduced her now famous ‘little black dress’ in 1926 which soon became an indispensable garment for all up to the minute fashionable women.

This year Sydney Fairgoers will be able enjoy a very special couture exhibition, The Little Black Dress, highlighting clothes from Chanel to Christian Dior (1905-1957) and Jean Paul Gaultier (b.1952).

There will be a vintage Chanel 2.25 bag to covet and wear with your vintage ball gown, or a huge Art Deco engagement ring to wear.

Sydney Fair bracelet

Stunning bracelet from Jennifer Wren Antiques, The Sydney Fair 2016

A piece of jewellery is the symbolic object par excellence. Today it has become to be appreciated as much for its aesthetic qualities, for what it represents as well as for its intrinsic value.

The ideal jewellery of the 1920’s was mean to complement a particular dress, or a particular woman and chosen to suit her tastes, lifestyle and features.

Raymond Templier brooch

Fabulous Art Deco brooch by Raymond Templier featuring cabochon cut emerald

The androgynous, yet sexy, woman enjoyed heavy make up in the form of bright red lipstick, white powdered and heavy black pencil strokes around the eyes which gave their faces and exotic and mysterious appearance enhanced by soft cloche hats worn low over the eyebrows

Above all she wore very avant-garde jewellery, most especially a brooch in yellow gold and white gold by Raymond Templier, while promoting a ‘social art’ or better still, to associate art with modern industry and establish a close relation between the two, which recently has become a world wide trend.

Design styles in architecture and interiors have been strongly influenced by spiritual and intellectual ideas as well as social and moral concerns in every age.

When these are taken into consideration with regard to fashionable concerns, the materials available at the time, scientific and technological advances, as well as the skill of the artist or craftsman employed to carry out the work, you begin to appreciate that learning about the decorative arts in all its forms is a lifetime study, as is learning about antiques.

Modernism is a term the art and design community of our contemporary world adopted to describe a diverse range of architectural and interior decorative styles, as well as applied and graphic arts created between approximately 1880 and 1940 on an international scale.

Art Deco EntranceThe dates for any style are only a guide because all so-called design styles overlap each other at their creation and again at their demise as over the span of these movements, artists increasingly focus on the intrinsic qualities of their media including line, form, and colour, while moving away from inherited notions of art.

Art-Deco-DetailingArt Deco the style’s name was taken from the first major international exhibition of decorative arts held after the first World War – L’Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which was held in Paris in 1925.

At the exhibition French architect Charles Edouard Jeanneret aka Le Corbusier (1887-1965) in his Pavillon de l’Esprit displayed chairs by German furniture maker Michael Thonet (1796-1871), whom he admired, but generally his display aroused little interest and often scornful comment.

One could almost say Le Corbusier was a traditionalist inspired as he was by established forms such as the English club chair, which he reduced it to its simplest design element or outline, much like English architect Sir John Soane (1753-1837) had done one hundred years previously.

Le Corbusier however, used a combination of manmade products such as tubular steel with a natural product, leather. Art Deco the style merits our attention, particularly in its purest sense, not only for its great artistic merit but also for its ability to deal with and face up to immediate contemporary needs, starting as a reaction against tradition, but ending up becoming an integral aspect of it.

The finer household items produced during its period are highly collectable and very pleasing both in form and choice of materials.

Art Deco ConsoleArt Deco relates strongly to the history of private life and was a reflection of the concerns of the time in which it evolved. It documents a society struggling with the added pressures of limited space, rising costs and the immense emotional impact of global warfare on a scale never before imagined, World War One.

Deco Vase 1Art Deco is a style in the best traditions of, and in keeping with, the whole history and evolution of Design, the Decorative Arts and society.

It abounded until World War Two, which changed the face of the world forever and brought Modernism to a screaming halt.

If you are a collector then condition is the single most important aspect of an antique object be it furniture, ceramics, art or glass etc., and most desirable.

Pieces that come from a collection that has been well documented and can be traced back to its origins, or coming from collections of famous persons, always fetch a higher price.

The Sydney Fair 2016 has everything you can think of under the one roof across fashion, jewellery and interiors and so there is sure to be something to suit everyone!

And, the bonus is they are available to purchase.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016

The Sydney Fair

26-29 May, 2016

Byron Kennedy Hall
Entertainment Quarter
Moore Park, Sydney


What is Art Deco – Watch our Video



1851         Great Exhibition in London. William Morris and John Ruskin in England and Viollet-Le-Duc in France rejected the excess in materialism on display and laid the foundations of the so-called Aesthetic Movements.

1859         Thonet Bros of Austria first produced the “No. 14” bentwood chair.

1873          Principles of Design published in England by Christopher Dresser.

1874          Emile Gallé takes over family glass and faience works at Nancy, Alsace-Lorraine, France.

1875          Liberty’s & Co. established in Regents Street, London.

1882          Antoni Gaudi begins the Sagrada Familia Church, Barcelona.

1888          Guild of Handicrafts founded in England by Robert Ashbee.

1889          Emile Gallé triumphs with his first major glass and furniture exhibit at the Paris Universal Exposition, showing cameo glass for the first time.

1892          Georg Jensen exhibits first silver pieces in Denmark.

1893          “Studio” magazine begins publication in England.

1894          Louis Comfort Tiffany creates the “Magnolia” vase for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. René Lalique exhibits his first jewellery at the Paris Salons

1895          Samuel Bing opens “L’Art Nouveau” shop in Paris. L’Ecole de Nancy begins to function as a group.

1897          Charles Rennie Mackintosh begins work on the Glasgow School of Art. Munich Werkstatte founded. Archibald Knox begins work for Liberty’s with his “Celtic Revival”. Founding Vienna Secession with Gustav Klimt, President.

1899          Darmstadt Artist’s Colony founded in Germany with Peter Behrens and Josef-Maria Olbrich as founders.

1900          Parisian Exposition Internationale acts as showcase for French art nouveau designers. Hector Guimard designs Metro entrances for Paris system.

1902          Turin International Exposition features Vienna Secession, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and fantasy room by Carlo Buggati of Italy.

1903          Wiener Werkstatte founded by Josef Hoffman and Koloman Moser (extant to 1932)

1904          American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple opened in U.S.A – the first building designed entirely for poured concrete construction. In France Emile Gallé died and Georg Jensen opens his Copenhagen shop. Wiener Werkstatte exhibition in Berlin, Otto Wagner designs Post Office Savings Bank in Vienna.

1905          Josef Hoffman and the Wiener Werkstatte design the Palais Stoclet at Brussels. Samuel Bing dies. First Fauvist exhibition Paris.

1906          Founding of Wiener Keramim under Michael Powolny.

1907          First Cubist painting – “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” by Picasso. Founding of Deutscher Werkbund and Eileen Gray settles in Paris.

1908          René Lalique begins glass production with perfume bottles for Coty.

1909          Sergei Diaghilev founds “Ballets Russes” in Paris. Peter Behrens designs AEG Electrical’s factory and appliances in Berlin. First Cubist exhibition at Parisian Salon d’Automme.

1910         Austrian Werkbund founded,

1911          Atelier Martine opened by Paul Poiret of Paris. Maurice Marinot begins glass production.

1913          William Moorcroft leaves Macintyre Potteries and starts his own factory at Cobridge in the English Midlands

1914          Outbreak of World War 1. Walter Gropius conceives idea of Bauhaus.

1915          Suprematist Manifesto published in Russia by Malevich. British Design and Industrial Association formed.

1916          Le Corbusier designs the Schwab House in Switzerland

1917          Gerrit Rietveld designs the red-and-blue “De Stijl” chair in the Netherlands.

1918          War ends. Spanish Influenza sweeps through Europe, in Austria alone kills Otto Wagner, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Koloman Moser.

1919          Bauhaus founded in Weimer by Walter Gropius. First Parisian Exhibition of African Art,

1920          Marcel Breuer joins Bauhaus.

1921          Maurice Dufreene sets up “La Maitrise” studio boutique at Galleries Lafayette in Paris.

1922          Tutankhamen’s tomb opened in Egypt.

1924          Bauhaus moves to Dessau.

1925          Parisian Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes acts as showcase for “art deco”. Two pavilions, the Russian Constructivists and Le Corbusier’s L’esprit nouveau reveal the first public glimmerings of Modernism.

1927          Colonial Exposition in Paris.

1928          Le Corbusier, his brother Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Parriand design the tubular chromed adjustable chaise longue exhibited at the Salon d’Automne.

1929          Mies van der Rohe’s “Barcelona” chair first shown at the Barcelona International Exhibition, in his Modernist pavilion.

1930          The French Modernists band together by forming the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM). Initial members included Rene Herbst, Robert Mallet-Stevens and Raymond Templier. The Chrysler Building completed in New York.

1932          The “Normandie” launched – lighting and glass panels by Rene Lalique, lacquer by Jean Dunand, murals by Jean Dupas and Paul Jouve, furniture by Jules Leleu.

1933          Bauhaus defunct. Many designers, including Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, move to the United States.

1935          Clarice Cliff Exhibition at Beard Watson’s, Sydney.,

1936          Surrealist exhibitions in London and Paris.

1937          Paris International Exhibition acts as showcase for surreal classicism.

1939          Outbreak of World War 11.


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