The term “Jazz Age” was made popular by American expatriate writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and describes the period between the end of World War I and the end of the 1930s. Notable for its “anything goes” sophistication, the era was closely identified with a new, free-form kind of music: jazz. Characterized by improvisation, syncopation, and a lively rhythm, jazz was as modern, exuberant, and decadent as the age it came to define.
Deco Nights: Evenings in the Jazz Age celebrates the glamour and luxury of the period through objects from the Museum's collections, along with select works on loan. Photographs, prints, drawings, books, cameras, glassware, couture costumes, and evening accessories explore nighttime pursuits in the United States and Europe in the 1920s and 1930s.
Music, nightclubs, cocktails, the ballet, and evening dress are among the themes represented in the exhibition. Perhaps the most familiar symbol of the Jazz Age was the flapper: a young woman who bobbed her hair, wore shorter skirts, danced, drank, smoked, and enjoyed unprecedented freedom. Numerous working women could now afford to participate in the burgeoning consumer culture, buying expensive perfumes, beaded evening bags, and jeweled cigarette holders for chic nights on the town.