The Sydney Fair – Homage to Modernism Showcases Gatsby’s Era

Gatsby, the cry has gone out… the past is present and all brand new again.

The visual imagery masterpiece Australian storyteller Baz Luhrmann and his partner Catherine Martin’s The Great Gatsby is an adventure in style and opulence,  a movie interpretation of American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald’s posthumous great literary success filled with effervescent champagne, captivating clothes and stylish cars. It is generating great business around the world for many people as it inspires and motivates current generational change.

The Great Gatsby era of fashion, furniture and films has helped motivate the arrival of The Sydney Fair – Art Deco *Vintage *20th Century, featuring a fabulous array of antiques, art and enticing vintage fashion and objet d’art.

The first homage to Modernism of its kind in Australia, the fair will be held at Sydney from Thursday 13th June to Sunday 16th June 2013 in the Byron Kennedy Hall of the Entertainment Quarter at Moore Park. It will showcase the ‘Gatsby’ era, which Fitzgerald himself gave the title of the Jazz Age.

Highlighting the staggeringly wealthy Art Deco style of Jay Gatsby’s time, which was all about a revolution of art, design and style for the modern age, the organisers are planning a luxury ‘vintage emporium of international scale’.

Great display of Modernism by Virtanen Antiques

There will certainly be a great deal for fashion forward vintage lovers longing to see gorgeous original beaded flapper dresses, rare iconic headpieces, captivating cloches, piles of swinging pearls and jet beads, glorious diamond rings, as well as sensational shawls and not forgetting a bevvy of the very necessary Bakelite bangles and necklaces. Fashion followers will be able to become lost in a sea of sequins, feathers and all sorts of fancies, which are a testament to the roaring ‘20s era.

Art Deco antiques and Retro furniture will be on show side by side with 1950’s Danish sleek and classical Gustavian chic.

One of Australia’s leading gemologists and vintage jewellery experts, Elizabeth Stevens will showcase her own fabulous collection.

Some of her pieces were used in the ‘Gatsby’ movie, while Elizabeth Kwan has a diamond ring inspired by one of the Tiffany‘s number sworn in the movie by actress Carey Mulligan as Daisy.

At its heart is a 4.24 carat diamond, sure to send any prospective bride’s heart a’fluttering and her would-be groom’s heart a pounding at the price!

The era, in which Fitzgerald lived as a young man during the 1920’s, enjoyed unprecedented economic prosperity. “It was an age of miracles,” he wrote, “it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire.”

Art Deco sofa with stained birch arms and hand carved lions feet. It has a gently curved seat. The fabric is original to the piece and in remarkable condition. There are two matching arm chairs available courtesy Virtanen Antiques

A sensational 1930 upholstered suavely and gently curved ‘Gatsby’ sofa with polished birch arms will be part of the show. This piece was really used in the movie, its owners AA&ADA dealers Virtanen Antiques of Melbourne hiring it out for the production.

Fitzgerald’s novel, hailed as a ‘dud’ in his own day, mused on the wealth, successes and excesses of the high society age of flapper culture, jazz music and prohibition that he knew so well. His own hard drinking extravagant lifestyle earned him a reputation as a playboy and he was not taken for the serious literary writer he yearned to be.

During his lifetime he earned his living writing popular pieces for magazines. Today his poetic, resonant text is more likened to an American national scripture ‘recited happily or mournfully, as the occasion requires.’

Sensational 50's Lucite bags - Online AntiquesOn display will be everything from fossils to fashion and from metal to mid-century modern, being the first fair in Australia solely showcasing the various movements in art, design and style that were in the main associated with ‘intellectuals’, which is today collectively known as ‘Modernism’ (1880 – 1940).

Changing cultural norms and new advances in science, industry and technology had F. Scott Fitzgerald’s society, as much as it does our own, racing ahead faster than ever before very like Jay Gatsby in his supercharged car.

The design movements and styles generally embraced under the collective term Modernism are known in the world of design history and the decorative arts as the Arts and Crafts 1875-1915, L’Art Nouveau (1890-1910), Northern European Jugendstil (1899-1910) Vienna Secession (1897-1906), Wiener Werkstatte (1903-1933), German Bauhaus, Modernists (1919-1933), Art Deco (1906-1940) and the Union des Artistes Modernes (1929-1940).

The dates are a guide, as styles overlapped each other at their creation, and again at their demise.

After World War II there was an immediate significant period of Retro, harking back to the Art Deco age.

That is until the fabulous and very elegant Christian Dior led fifties melded into the seductive sex-focused swinging sixties and on to the sideburn oriented bell-bottomed Abba driven seventies.

Meanwhile the bouffant big shoulder padded eighties finally deflated as the sometimes not so nice nineties came along.

Art Deco German chaise c1930 from Online Antiques

At the heart of the Art Deco style was not a desire to return to the past or an imitation of it, but rather a deeply felt need to invent a new form of classicism, a lasting design style that would help to ward off the threat of a civilization dominated by industry. ‘It sought to integrate contemporaneity while preserving the will to art’… it was a reaction against those who consciously worked for the undoing of art, and its purpose was enjoyment’.

It is an era we can easily feel an empathy for because it helped to invent our modern world.

To be sure all the fashionistas will be out in full force hoping that they can find a beautiful diamond bandeau also like the amazing Tiffany number actress Carey Mulligan as Daisy wears in the movie.

Art Deco style Sideboard, Poster and Clock - Online Antiques

Out of all the styles the Art Deco movement of the twentieth century is only now beginning to be seen as the first universal design style to be based on legitimate principles of design for over 125 years.

It was all about confidence in execution, structure, form and style and began as a reaction to the overblown overstuffed excesses of the Victorian age.

It embraced the two extremes of historical continuum, from the ancient past to the distant future and from the secular to the sacred. Designers who espoused the Art Deco style added an important element to the mix – that of emotionalism.

This ensured that it gained favour with the greater public and as a result their designs affected the burgeoning market for home furnishings being driven by the expansion of great department stores across America, England and Europe at the time.

Art Deco drew some of its original inspiration from the extreme architectural statement of celebrated Austrian architect come designer Josef Hoffmann 1870 – 1956, whose fabulous villa the Palais Stoclet was built at Brussels between 1905-11. It was a holistically designed geometrically inspired architectural masterpiece. Likened to a jewel box in which Belgian financier Adolphe Stoclet displayed his ‘jewels’ a fabulous and extensive art collection highlighting the works of Gustav Klimt, the Stoclet was inspired by a thousand years of architectural history.

The 1925 L’Exposition International des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris after whom the Art Deco Movement or modern style has been named, was conceived in the first decade of the twentieth century but rescheduled many times as the first World War came and went.

Sensational Art Nouveau Mirror - Circa Collectibles

The style drew on purity of form and refinement and its cabinetmakers applied an opulent mix of newly fashionable and exotic materials to a plethora of equally exotic and rare timbers, the like of which had not been seen before. They were of a quality that had not been seen since the days of the cabinetmakers to the old ancien regime had held the title ebeniste du roi.

During the first decade of the twenty first century simplicity of line once again has universal appeal. Together with nature, economy, quality of materials and craftsmanship, simplicity has become the hallmark of a generation seeking to reflect their own sophisticated approach to issues that affect the future of our world.

Over twenty-seven retailers, all of whom are animated by the ‘spirit of the age’, will be at The Sydney Fair to offer for sale furniture, lighting, sculpture, art, jewellery, silver, glass, ceramics and vintage couture so that collectors, as well as those curious about the past, will have great choice.

If like Gatsby, we need pleasure to be incessantly renewed and excited by new impressions, we can perhaps gaze at them in a great mirror, which is an instrument of social hierarchy. Circa Collectibles has one that reflects modernism’s sensuous seductive Art Nouveau taste.

A dramatic self consciously ‘new’ decorative style, L’Art Nouveau was named for a shop opened at Paris in 1895. It originated during the 1880’s, characterized by fluid, curvaceous lines inspired by nature.

These included tumbling tendrils and flower and leaf motifs.

Rare Bronze Sculpture of Titan Clock from Online Antiques

Ladies with flowing hair were rendered in shallow relief on silver boxes and all manner of items as well as posters, illustrations etc.

L’Art Nouveau  style particularly lent itself to work in glorious glass and ceramics. Beautiful items were produced by French manufacturers such as Daum, Gallé and Majorelle to name but a few.

The style favoured asymmetry and the very best of Art Nouveau design was produced by the French, although its influence was wide ranging throughout Europe, reaching over to England and America where it took on variety and different nuances everywhere it was produced.

In England it provided inspiration for providing ‘new ‘interiors for the also ‘newly designed and misnamed Queen Anne House’.

It was also affected by a taste for Japonaiserie and the English Arts and Craft Movement under the leadership of guru William Morris (1834-1896) who also used Celtic symbols as he embraced legendary Arthurian themes.

Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928), who was a great hit in Vienna, was greatly influenced by Celtic art. His style was much more puritanical and simple and in his turn he did much to heavily influence the development of industrial design.

At this level however, it would be a Belgian designer and painter Henry Van de Velde (1863-1957), who would prove to be an influential link between both. His influence on German architecture and design would be profound. He wanted artists always to retain their individuality. He also realized the importance of education in gaining an appreciation for the arts of history and his own time.

20th century Modernism - Swan Suite c1960 - produced by Republic of Fritz Hansen, Denmark courtesy Virtanen Antiques

‘All art and design is modern at the time it is made’, explained Cennino Cennini in his Il Libro dell’Arte (“The Craftsman’s Handbook”) of 1437.

Great design that pleases the eye and connects with the soul in any age is worthy of our admiration and attention, conservation and considered investment.

A suite of sofa and chairs that may appeal was designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1958 for the lobby of the Royal Hotel Copenhagen.

Curvaceous and smart, they have become icons of 20th century design.

Amazingly the suite was brought into Australia during the early sixties and was given to a young Melbourne barrister in the early seventies where it remained in chambers until Virtanen Antiques acquired it. The covering is the original wool in an aubergine/chocolate colour.

Selection from Jacinta Christian of Circa Vintage Hats

Jacinta Christian from Circa Vintage Hats, a contemporary Australian hat stylist, will showcase her personal collection of more than 150 original hats from New York to Chicago dating from 1920 – 1970. Every hat has a story attached, which is integral to its vintage appeal.

There will also be a display of authentic 1920s silent movie cameras, cinema projection units and microphones as well as early radios and phonograms from a time when movies were big business. Some 20 Hollywood studios and the demand for films ensured they became bigger, longer, costlier and more polished during the 20’s.

It was the arrival of The Jazz Singer (1927), the first feature-length motion picture in which people talked and sang, that changed the industry forever and once again brought the whole world of fashionable costume back into focus, but on a global scale.

The novel about The Great Gatsby, born at a time of great wealth as in our own day will, like the wares at this fair remain, culturally, historically and aesthetically significant. The use of antiques and vintage pieces in traditional or modern settings will always be desirable; the lure of the past is strong.

The very nature of their delightful idiosyncrasies is very appealing.

Online Antiques - Dining in Style

If as a society we take the well-regarded definition of the word antique ‘something made in an earlier period and collected and valued because it is beautiful, rare, old or of high quality’, literally we would recognize and value anything that would prove valuable to society to conserve, whether for its intrinsic value or investment value.

Those wanting to find out more can interact with those dealers exhibiting at The Sydney Fair and discover both unique and special pieces for their homes or to wear. Great dealers are always happy to talk with people who share their passion.

This should be a fun, fashionable, socially and culturally relevant event, displaying a great deal of razzmatazz.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2013

Dealer’s Exhibiting at The Sydney Fair

Chilton’s Antiques and Jewellery
Specialists in antique & custom made engagement rings & antique jewellery. We also sell Decorative smalls, fossils, collectables, vintage fashion pieces and accessories.
02 9524 0360
579 Kingsway, Miranda, NSW 2228

Circa Collectables
We specialize in decorative arts metal ware from the Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts and Art Deco periods. We also sell mid century furniture, lamps, clocks and pottery and porcelain. Vintage and Retro costume jewellery from around the world is also available
Sydney, and trading at Fairs around Australia

Circa Vintage Hats
Circa imports genuine Vintage Hats. Stocking a majestic array of beautiful one of a kind hard to get vintage hats with a history and quality only ever seen from the 1910 through to the 1960’s when true fashion really started.
0425 777093

Classic Lines International
French Antique Furniture & Decorative Art
02 9327 6781
P.O. Box 876, Double Bay N.S.W. 1360

Couture Vintage
Beautiful vintage clothing and accessories
0488 623448
By appointment

Deco Diva
Art Deco Collectable Antique Store
Shop 10, Sydney Antique Centre, 531 South Dowling St, Surry Hills 2010

Despard Gallery
Despard Gallery is Tasmania’s leading contemporary Fine Art and Sculptural Objects Gallery. Many of our artists have national and international profiles.
03 6223 8266
16 Castray Esplanade, Tasmania 7000

Elizabeth Kwan
Specializing in Art Deco and Edwardian jewellery. Located in Sydney, NSW.
0418 976 457
By appointment

Third generation antique dealers from the United States with 40+ years experience. We deal in Great design from the 20th Century. Furniture, Art, Jewellery, Vintage, Glass & Pottery – American Bungalow to Mid Century Modern.
19 Hughes Street, Unit 2, Batemans Bay, NSW 2536

Leigh’s Collectables
Modern and Antique jewellery
0419 149743
Trading at fairs around Australia

Mackley Fine Art
Fine art and ceramics
0427 821 233
9160 Western Highway, Horsham Victoria 3400

Mooney Collectables
20th century ceramics, glass and furniture
0407 945 951
PO Box 163, Port Macquarie, NSW, 2444

Online Antiques
Specializing in Art Deco, Art Nouveau
P.O. Box 89, Harcourt Victoria 3453

Vanity and sewing items, portrait miniatures, ceramics, vintage glassware, collectables and curios. Specializing in small items of tortoiseshell and pique jewellery
03 98222767
Armadale Antique Centre, 1147 High Street, Armadale 3143

The Black Sheep
An eclectic mix of fabulous pieces
0411 286440
71 Walker Street. Helensburg N.S.W. 2508

Three Rooms
Antiques – Art – Design
02 89649111
94 William Street, Paddington 2021, Sydney N.S.W.

Thrifted and Modern
Fabulous vintage fashion and accessories from San Francisco, U.S.
San Francisco

Vampt Vintage Design
Authentic vintage classics imported from Scandinavia and Europe. Furniture made to last a lifetime, and then another – for you to furnish your home – establish a collection. Vampt Vintage has stores at Surry Hills and Brookvale in Sydney.
02 9699 1089
486-490 Elizabeth Street ?Surry Hills N.S.W. 2010

Virtanen Antiques and Modern
Specializing in Scandinavian furniture and decorative arts From C1780 to C1960 including Beidermeier, Art Deco and the Gustavian style pieces.
0412 125173
933 High Street, Armadale 3143

You can ALSO Like and Follow the Fair on Facebook


Watch our Videos

What is Art Deco?

What is an Antique?

PS: Collecting antiques do have special considerations, and so we have put some of them down for you to discover, or confirm in our definition of, and introduction to, the world of antiques – Download Introduction to Antiques 2013

Check out the rest of our art, design and style videos on our You Tube Channel

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.