A major new exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre explores the fabulous style of Art Deco
There’s a major new exhibition in town all about Art Deco by the sea
One of the year’s most exciting exhibitions opens this month at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich. Art Deco by the Sea is an exploration of British coastal culture between the wars and the Art Deco style.
The exhibition will explore how Art Deco transformed the British seaside in resorts like Hunstanton in a new age of mass tourism. It will examine how coastal resorts were modernised, how new resorts were established and how iconic examples of Art Deco architecture from hotels and apartment blocks to cinemas and amusement parks altered the look of British seafronts from the Midland Hotel in Morecambe to the villas of Frinton-on-Sea or Hunstanton.
The show will also explore how the seaside became a site for innovative modern manufacture, featuring companies such as Poole Pottery, ECKO radios and Crysède textiles, all known for their striking modern designs.
The 1920s and 30s also witnessed the advent of the healthy body culture, when sunbathing, swimming and a host of other outdoor activities became fashionable. The development of amenities such as lidos and golf courses changed the look of seaside resorts while holiday camps such as Butlin’s provided new types of holiday experience.
The show will look at coastal amusements and activities featuring Art Deco fashion, and for the first time including the more ephemeral, popular culture of the seaside such as circuses, fairgrounds, pleasure parks, fun fairs and illuminations.
It will include around 150 works in all media including paintings, posters, brochures, drawings, photographs, fashion, furniture, ceramics and textiles and is drawn from public and private collections in the UK.
Ghislaine Wood, acting director of the Sainsbury Centre and curator of the exhibition says, “The exhibition will explore how Art Deco became the key style for pleasure and leisure, transforming coastal resorts and coming to symbolise new values for people experiencing new freedoms.
“Art Deco had enormous appeal for its glamour and accessibility, which still attracts audiences today.”
The Sainsbury Centre is working with architectural and heritage consultancy practice Purcell to produce a brand new Art Deco map of East Anglia, to be launched alongside Art Deco by the Sea.
Art Deco by the Sea: February 9– June 14 sainsburycentre.ac.uk
Summer by Thomas Martine Ronaldson 1928 Oil on canvas © Manchester Art Gallery, purchased from the artist in 1929
ABOVE: Southern: Camping Sites in Southern England Published by Southern Railway Poster 1935 © National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library TOP (INSET): Leaping Deer vase, Carter, Stabler & Adams Ltd, Poole painted by Eileen Prangnell c.1935 © John Clark
The Four Streamliners by Tom Purvis, published by London and North Eastern Railway, printed by Jarrold & Sons Ltd, 1937 © National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library