This exhibition was on display from April 07, 2017 to August 20, 2017.

There were 409 objects in this exhibition but right now we can only show you 400 of them. Some objects may not be viewable because they were on loan; this might be due to issues involving image rights or simply because there is no digitized image for the objects.

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A creative explosion in design and art lit up the 1920s. The Jazz Age explores the dynamic changes in American taste and lifestyles during this period through a broad range of furniture, jewelry, fashion, textiles, decorative arts, and architecture, as well as art, film, and music. The influences that fueled this burst of innovation, exoticism, and modernity were manifold and flowed back and forth across the Atlantic. Jazz music, a uniquely American art form that sprang from African American musicians who preserved and improvised on its historic roots, also found a ready audience in Europe. An apt metaphor for the era’s embrace of urbanity and experimentation, jazz captured the pulse and rich mixture of cultures and rhythms that brought a new beat to contemporary life.
Significant influences from Europe included avant-garde artistic movements; the Paris 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts décoratifs et industriels modernes; recent immigrant designers, primarily from Austria and Germany; traveling exhibitions featuring the latest designs, many available for sale; and fashion and jewelry acquired overseas. At home, new modes of transportation and the development of industrial design with its impact on consumer products and the interior profoundly shaped American taste. Equally exciting and important as these influences were the rapid growth of American cities and architecture—most notably the soaring American skyscraper—which awed Americans and Europeans alike and inspired unprecedented dynamic forms in design.
New freedoms abounded. Women gained the right to vote in 1920 and enjoyed more independence, bending traditional social rules of decorum and engaging in new professions such as interior design. This freer spirit also appeared in art and design through vibrant colors, bold geometric forms, and the use of new materials and experimental production methods. These changes became increasingly visible as the decade progressed and are explored in the exhibition’s six thematic sections: The Persistence of Traditional "Good Taste," A New Look for Familiar Forms, Bending the Rules, A Smaller World, Abstraction and Reinvention, and Toward a Machine Age.

  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 4 images of this object.
  • Necklace (France), ca. 1930
  • molded and carved glass, white metal; leather, silk, brass (case).
  • Gift of Jacques Jugeat.
  • 1968-163-1-a,b
  • Lamp, ca. 1930
  • steel, copper, bronze, nickle, glass.
  • Gift of Mrs. Paul Dahlstrom.
  • 1978-7-4
  • Ribbons (France)
  • silk, metal strips wrapped around cotton core.
  • 1938-82-184-a/e
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 11 images of this object.
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 3 images of this object.
  • Sandows No. 5 Side Chair, 1929
  • bent chromium-plated tubular steel, fiber, rubber.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Esme Usdan and from General Acquisitions....
  • 2006-17-1
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 4 images of this object.
  • Mocha Pot, ca. 1929
  • molded and glazed porcelain with enameled rim.
  • Gift in memory of Ladislav and Iska Sutnar.
  • 2014-33-15-a,b
  • Globe Radio, 1933
  • molded phenolic plastic (catalin), metal, fabric.
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2011-44-1
  • Book, The Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930
  • printed paperboard binding, gilt-lettered cloth spine.
  • Smithsonian Libraries, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Library, TX951.C76 1930.
  • 43.2016.17
  • Charger, ca. 1923
  • molded and glazed earthenware.
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2015-41-7
  • Cubic Coffee Service, 1927
  • silver with gilding and ivory.
  • Lent by Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, The Gorham Collection.....
  • 51.2016.1a/d
  • Bracelet, 1925–30
  • platinum, diamonds, sapphires.
  • Lent by Tiffany and Company, Archives, A2004.17.
  • 62.2016.3
  • Bracelet, 1925–30
  • platinum, diamonds, sapphires.
  • Lent by Tiffany and Company, Archives, A2004.17.
  • 62.2016.3
  • Door, ca. 1923
  • iron.
  • Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift,....
  • 66.2016.8
  • Cubic Coffee Service, 1927
  • silver with gilding and ivory.
  • Lent by Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, The Gorham Collection.....
  • 51.2016.1a/d
  • Evening Dress And Underslip, 1926
  • blue silk chiffon with applied blue ombré silk fringe.
  • Lent by Kent State University Museum, The Helen O. Borowitz Collection, KSUM....
  • 70.2016.2
  • Evening Dress And Underslip, 1926
  • blue silk chiffon with applied blue ombré silk fringe.
  • Lent by Kent State University Museum, The Helen O. Borowitz Collection, KSUM....
  • 70.2016.2
  • This object is part of the Textiles collection.
  • There are 3 images of this object.
  • Cache-pot, ca. 1920
  • oxidized repoussé copper, colored lacquer.
  • Stephen E. Kelly/Kelly Gallery, New York.
  • 38.2016.4