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Work of the Week: French Library of the Modern Period, 1930s

The Art Deco style of design, seen in this Thorne Miniature Room, gained prominence during the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Moderns, held in Paris in 1925, where the exposition directors stressed the need for “modern” inspiration after World War I and sought to establish France as a leader in taste and luxury goods.

One of the 16 million visitors to the exposition was Chicago artist and sculptor John Storrs, best known for his contributions to the Art Deco–style Chicago Board of Trade Building, including the statue of Ceres that adorns the top. This Thorne Miniature Room, which features a replica of Storr’s sculpture Madonna and Child on the mantelpiece, has been decorated to recreate preparations for a holiday party: festoons of chrome circles and garlands hang from the wall sconces while a bottle of champagne chills on the table. As a special treat, partygoers can go out to the balcony and ring in the New Year with an unimpeded view of the Eiffel Tower covered in lights.

Find this Art Deco library and other festive Thorne Rooms in Gallery 11.


Mrs. James Ward Thorne. E-27: French Library of the Modern Period, 1930s, c. 1937. Gift of Mrs. James Ward Thorne, 1941.1212.