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Deco Nights: Evenings in the Jazz Age December 12, 2015–June 5, 2016


Stafford - Stage Design for Liebestraume

Frederic Stafford, Stage Design for Balanchine’s “Liebesträume,” c. 1931, watercolor on paper, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of an anonymous donor in memory of Efrem Kurtz.

House of Lanvin, Dance Dress, 1921, faconne velvet and silk crepe, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Costume Institute Founders’ Fund.

Brassaï, Misia Sert, Antonio Canovas del Castillo, Helena Rubinstein, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Serge Lifar at a Party at Helena Rubinstein’s Apartment, Ile Saint Louis, Paris, July 1938, 1938, gelatin silver print, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Arnold, Jr. © Estate Brassaï - R.M.N.

John Vassos, Alfred Weiland, and Selden T. Williams, manufactured by Radio Corporation of America Manufacturing Company, Portable Phonograph, RCA Victor Special, Model M, c. 1935, aluminum, chromed steel, and flocking, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Jeffrey A. Shankman.

Nickolas Muray, [Leon Barte], 1921, gelatin silver print, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Sonia and Kaye Marvins Portrait Collection, gift of Mike Marvins. © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

I. Miller Shoe Company, for I. Magnin, Pair of Evening Shoes, c. 1920s, silk and leather, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by the Textile and Costume Institute in honor of Susanne Dawley.

Napier Company, Cigarette Case, c. 1935–41, sterling silver, gilt, and enamel, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum purchase funded by Sheldon R. Erikson and T. William Porter at “One Great Night in November, 1998.”

Unknown German Manufacturer, Purse, c. 1929, beads, enamel, silk, and sterling silver, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Francesca Galloway.

Norman Bel Geddes, manufactured by Revere Copper and Brass Co., “Manhattan” Cocktail Set, designed 1934, chrome-plated brass, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the American Institute of Architects, Houston Design Collection, Museum purchase funded by the American Institute of Architects, Houston; Glassman Shoemake Maldonado Architects; Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc.; Watkins Hamilton Ross Architects; Kirksey & Partners Architects; Powers Brown Architecture; Rey de la Reza; Lonnie Hoogeboom, AIA; Heights Venture Architects, LLP; Martha Murphree, Hon. AIA; Chris Hudson; Griesenbeck Architectural Products, Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Searight; Martha Seng; John Hawkins; Dan Brents; Pam Vassallos; Palmer and Merry Schooley; and an anonymous donor.


 

Walter Dorwin Teague, manufactured by Eastman Kodak Co., “Beau Brownie” Cameras, Model 2A, designed 1930, manufactured 1930–33, leather, metal, and glass, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gifts of John and Jean Geresi.

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.


Location

Caroline Wiess Law Building
1001 Bissonnet Street
Houston, TX 77005
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