The Art Deco Museum Moscow

by Scott P. Cordrey

I had heard someone talking, on TV one evening, about the beauty of the Art Deco style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France and became popular in the 1920s and 1930s, influencing the design of buildings, furniture, jewellery and so much more. So I looked on the internet one Saturday morning, to see if there was an Art Deco exhibition anywhere in Moscow that weekend and, voilà, I discovered an Art Deco museum and decided to make a visit.

I took the metro to Vorobyovy Gory station, located on a bridge over the Moskva and then spent ten minutes walking along Luzhnetskaya Quay, next to the river, enjoying the late autumn colours of the trees until I reached the Museum, a little hidden from the main streets.

Entering, on a Saturday afternoon, felt a little odd as there was no-one waiting to greet visitors in the main reception. So I wandered through the outer doors, and eventually found myself entering a very large room full of paintings and some glass panels in the style of Alfons Mucha, the Czech Art Nouveau painter.

On the left I found the entrance to a similarly large room which houses a considerable collection of sculptures, furniture and decorative arts all in the Art Deco style. This is the Art Deco Museum, founded in 2014 by Mkrtich Okroyan, a businessman and Art Deco collector for more than 15 years.

Here I discovered a beautiful exhibition of bronze and ivory sculptures representing an extensive display of the work of Demetre Chiparus, but also including Ferdinand Preiss, Claire Colinet, Bruno Zach and many others. These beautiful objects are so delicate and tactile with wonderful attention to the details of that time. Each piece seemed to consume my complete attention for minutes at a time as I searched to understand the method, the magic and the rhythm of these creations.

I also enjoyed the decorative lacquered panels by Jean Dunand, who produced gilded lacquered wood panels for the legendary French ocean liner SS Normandie.

There is a collection of the most elegant furniture featuring works by Paul Follot (my own particular favourite), Jacques-Emile Ruhlman, Jules Leleu, and others.

The final items that caught my eye are some wonderful pieces of wrought iron works including floor and table lights by the famous French blacksmith Edgar Brandt. He produced the gates at the entrance to the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris from where Art Deco took its name.

After an emotionally fulfilling tour of the exhibition, there was a comfortable seating area with Art Deco books available to peruse, read and purchase before saying goodbye and heading home. I felt I had discovered yet another little pearl of delight in Moscow and if, like me, you are captivated by the Art Deco style then I can recommend a visit without hesitation.

Art Deco Museum

Luzhnetskaya quay 2/4,
building 4. MOSCOW