Hildreth Meière and the Classical Roots of Art Deco by CADS Magazine Editor and Roosevelt University Adjunct Faculty Professor Kathleen Murphy Skolnik.
The modern approach to decoration now known as Art Deco represents an amalgam of a myriad of artistic movements. Cubism, exoticism, and the Ballets Russes are the most frequently cited influences, but Art Deco also incorporated elements of Art Nouveau, Futurism, and Constructivism. In addition, many designers of the Deco era, including the American muralist Hildreth Meière, often looked to the classical past for inspiration.
Meière was one of the most talented, prolific, and versatile American muralists of the twentieth century. During her forty-year career, which extended from the early 1920s to her death in 1961, she completed approximately one hundred commissions. She designed murals for office buildings, churches, government facilities, theaters, restaurants, cocktail lounges, ocean liners, and world’s fair pavilions, and she designed for a wide variety of mediums that included paint, ceramic tile, glass and marble mosaic, terra cotta, tapestry, leather, metal, and stained glass.
Despite her extensive body of work, Meière is not well known, even among art and architectural historians. But even though her name may not be familiar, many of her designs areundefinedthe medallions representing Dance, Drama, and Song for the Fiftieth Street façade of Radio City Music Hall, the color scheme of the stunning red banking room at One Wall Street in Manhattan, the interiors of the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln, and the whimsical bronze silhouette of Mercury and the winds for the Logan Square Post Office here in Chicago.
Kathleen Murphy Skolnik, co-author with Catherine Coleman Brawer of The Art Deco Murals of Hildreth Meière, scheduled for publication in May 2014, will acquaint you with this talented artist and her modern interpretations of classical themes.