People from Bucharest’s Art Deco era

People from Bucharest's Art Deco era: afternoon dance at the Restaurant Flora, on the Chaussée in the 1930s. (old postcard, private collection)

The two photographs presented in this post are snaps of 1930s Bucharest life, which in my opinion wonderfully capture the ethos of the era when the Art Deco and also Modernist architecture was developed on a large scale in Romania’s capital, imprinting for decades to come the character of the city. The people depicted there belong to the emerging and increasingly prosperous middle classes of the inter-war period, when Romania benefited from large oil exports and a considerable internal market achieved after the country doubled in size and population following the territorial gains in the aftermath of the Great War. These people, clerks, teachers, bureaucrats, small businessmen or entrepreneurs of all sizes and trades, of very cosmopolitan ethnicities from Romanian, Jews, Greeks to Germans, Italian or Bulgarians, were highly sophisticated and cultured and had substantial disposable incomes, which many invested in building their homes in the Art Deco architectural style. I wrote some weeks ago an article about the economic background that made possible the development of the Art Deco architecture in Bucharest and Romania in general, which can be accessed at this link. The WWII and the communist regime dealt a deadly blow to these people and their dreams, when many of them were killed during the world conflagration or had their health and spirit broken through imprisonment in communist labour camps. Their property was in almost all cases confiscated, given to the proletarian masses brought by the regime from the countryside to staff the communist sponsored heavy industries.  Those wrongs have only partially been addressed in contemporary Romania, where the architectural heritage suffers terribly at the hands of a population that after seven decades of communism and post-communist transition has not yet managed to attain even a fraction from the degree of culture and sophistication of their inter-war counterparts.

People from Bucharest's Art Deco era: horse races at the Baneasa hippodrome in the 1930s. (newspaper cut, private collection)

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I endeavor through this daily series of daily articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.