Art Déco

The name Art Déco – one of the stylistic trends between the two wars – was derived from the name of the great world exhibition the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. Numerous Croatian artists showed their works at the Paris exhibition: in the pavilion of the Kingdom of the SCS, designed by Zagreb architect Stjepan Hribar, the display was designed by Tomislav Krizman. Prominent Croatian artists including Joza Kljaković, Zlatko Šulentić, Marijan Trepše and Vladimir Becić took part in the exterior and interior decoration of the pavilion. A large number of exhibits from the Paris show as well as the architectural drawings of the national pavilion and the set-up of the theatre section were brought to the Museum of Arts and Crafts on the ending of the exposition, and are still kept in its collections today.

The set and costume designs of Ljubo Babić, awarded a Paris Grand Prix, were exhibited in the Grand Palais as a part of the anthological exhibition set up of the theatre section designed by the architect Drago Ibler.

The achievements of Croatian design shown at the Paris exhibition are illustrated by a ceramic service decorated after drawings of Tomislav Krizman. Artist members of Djelo, a society for the promotion of fine crafts, are represented in this room by ceramic works (Hinko Juhn, Jelena Babić), glass (Marijan Trepše’s stained glass) and paper (sketches for fabrics and ornaments of Neli Geiger, Jelena Babić and Vjera Bojničić).

The armchairs on show exhibit some of the fundamental features of Art Déco furnishing, characterised by cubic and elegantly stylised forms, produced with remarkable craft skill from expensive and exotic materials. Elements from heterogeneous sources are combined: from Neoclassicism, African and Egyptian art, Cubism and Futurism, even functionalism. In design of an armchair of an earlier date (1925 – 1930), antique-style motifs were used: lion paws, meanders, a female figure with widespread arms in classicising clothing. Another armchair was produced in the Crafts School after a drawing by Srećko Sabljak for the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937.

The exhibited examples of graphic design document the work of the Zagreb Atelier Tri, one of the most productive professional studios for graphic design in Croatia between the wars. The founder was Vladimir Mirosavljević, who was assisted by Zvonimir Mirosavljević and Božidar Kocmut. Although they represent just a small part of the ample production of Atelier Tri, the works on show (trademarks, stationery, wrapping paper and posters) have all the features of Art Déco.