The art deco museum was founded in December 2014 at the initiative of Mkrtich Okroyan, an entrepreneur and patron of the arts. The museum boasts one of the largest collections of sculptures, furniture, and decorative and applied arts in the art deco style. One of the most sophisticated and attractive styles of art during the 20th century, art deco conveys a special atmosphere and lifestyle that formed in the Western world after the shock of World War I had passed. The triumph of art deco in European art was an international exhibition of decorative arts (Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes) that was held in Paris in 1925. It was from the exhibition’s title that the name of the style originated.
The major (and the most expensive) part of the exhibition is a collection of bronze and ivory sculptures dating back to the 1920s and 1930s – more than 900 works in total. Among them there are over 100 works by Demetre Chiparus (1886–1947), one of the top masters in decorative sculpture of that era. The museum features a nearly complete set of his works including the most famous sculpture by master Chiparus known today – a composition named «Les Girls» depicting five dancers on the stage of a music hall. The museum’s collection includes a number of works by other art deco sculptors – Ferdinand Preiss, Paul Philippe, Otto Poertzel, Pierre Le Faguays, Claire Colinet, and Bruno Zach.
The museum boasts a rich collection of art deco furniture. Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, Jules Leleu, Paul Follot, Louis Sue and André Mare are renowned designers from that time. The unmatched beauty of art deco furniture was achieved through the use of expensive and rare materials: redheart, amaranth, ebony, and palm. This elegant furniture – cabinets encrusted with mother-of-pearl, chairs decorated with narrow ivory strips – had the highest artistic qualities required for museum pieces.
Art deco items were often use to decorate the interiors of ocean liners. Among the most significant exhibits of the museum, one cannot help but point out the decorative lacquered boards by Jean Dunand (1877–1942) which the master created for the first class cigar lounge on board of Normandie. The majority of the original work has been lost, and the museum exhibits their own copies made by the author.
Another pearl in the collection is the works of Edgar Brandt (1880–1960), a famous art deco ironworker.
The unique character of the museum is due to the fact that works by the European art deco masters are poorly represented in national museums, and the Russian public is often not familiar with them.