How to ensure your purchase is authentic art deco

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When decorating your home or office, adding art deco furniture can be an excellent way to add a unique decorative touch. Art deco furniture has unique geometric and natural aspects that make it stand out from other furniture pieces. They can take you back to the time of the Great Gatsby, where deco designs were inspired.

How can you tell if your furniture is original art deco furniture or a beautiful imitation? With such a style being so popular, plenty of furniture pieces are made to copy the art deco style. Here are a few ways to tell if you have one of these unique antique pieces.

Check the Unexposed Areas

Original art deco furniture is made of wood, not particle board. Antiques are often made of several different types of wood. When you look at a piece, check in the unexposed places, such as under the chair or within the drawers to see if the construction has a different type of wood than the rest of the art deco piece. On the other hand, reproductions or newer pieces likely have the same wood throughout the piece.

Signs of Wear and Tear

Genuine art deco furniture and other antique pieces will show signs of wear in the usual places. For instance, where someone’s hands naturally rest on a chair is likely to be more worn than other areas handled less frequently. The original piece’s scratches, stains, and dents will not be evenly distributed and reflect its normal use. On the other hand, if the patina or wear is too perfect or even, then you might be looking at a reproduction.

What Materials Were Used Inside

Synthetic materials were not introduced and used by furniture makers until the 1920s. Pre-1920 upholstery is stuffed with natural materials, such as horsehair. If you find synthetic materials in your art deco piece, it is less likely an original piece of art deco furniture.

How Was It Constructed?

Original Art Deco furniture reflects its hand-made construction, including the use of reinforced joints. Look for signs of dowels, tenon, or mortise. If the piece only has glue, then it might be a reproduction. Also, if you find modern construction materials, like staples or Phillips screws, you are likely dealing with a replica.

Does It Have Art Deco Furniture Characteristics?

Art deco furniture was influenced by earlier styles and took on decorative aspects of American Indian, Egyptian, and other classical sources. You might find nudes and motifs from nature, such as trees, animals, and sun rays.

Some Art Deco furniture has bold geometric shapes, angular lines, zigzags, and pyramid shapes. By looking over your furniture piece, you can observe the craftsmanship and determine how it was made.

Art Moderne and art deco furniture pieces have much in common, so it can be difficult to distinguish between them. Moderne pieces are typically bigger and bolder than Deco pieces because the style reflects mass-production and a machine-made aesthetic. Art deco furniture tends to reflect its unique, one-of-a-kind design and construction, not having signs of being made in a factory.

Our team works with our clients to help them find beautiful Art Deco furniture that fits their space and style. Contact us today to find out what options are available.

Paul Stamati Gallery specializes in 20th Century decorative arts and is the world’s leading source for Art Deco lighting by Lalique.