The international design style art deco originated near the outset of World War I and remained popular through the end of World War II (circa 1915-1945). As this time frame fluctuated dramatically between years of want and plenty, art deco was an elegant, contemporary interpretation of the standards and expectations, fascinations and frivolities of each culture in which it developed. The paintings that Ted Geisel created during this period reflected that roller coaster of dreams and desires.
Many of Ted’s paintings of the 1930s and ’40s used an artistic element derived from his most successful work as a commercial illustrator. Referred to here as Geisel’s Deco Period, these years allude to his instinctive use of saturated black backgrounds combined with art deco elements often found within the architecture of his artworks. Ultimately, he created a new visual language that accentuated the muted pallets so characteristic of this period. From signature smoke rings billowing from Seussian mountaintops to architectural labyrinths decorating otherworldly landscapes, elements such as these reflected Ted Geisel’s creative interpretation of the art deco movement.