MODERN TIMES in Paris 1925: Art and Design in the Machine-age

2023.12.16 — 2024.05.19

Dates: Sat., December 16, 2023 – Sun., May 19, 2024, open daily


Venue: Pola Museum of Art, Gallery 1,2


Organizer: Pola Museum of Art, Pola Art Foundation


Supported by Ambassade de France au Japon / Institut français du Japon



In the 1920s, Paris underwent rapid industrialization in an effort to reconstruct the French capital in the wake of the First World War, ushering in a flourishing and dynamic era known as the Machine Age. This exhibition examines various aspects of the relationship between machines and people in the 1920s and ’30s with a focus on Paris as well as other parts of Europe, the U.S., and Japan. The International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts (the Art Deco Exhibition), a world’s fair held in Paris in 1925, was an important turning point in changing attitudes, as it heralded Art Deco, a geometric style inspired by machines. After the Great Kanto Earthquake, which occurred in 1923, Japan underwent rapid modernization. In the brief period of prosperity between the two world wars, ideas about machines and rationality changed drastically.


With great technological advances such as computers, the Internet, and AI, which promises to transform our lives even further, this is perhaps a good time to revisit the art and design of 100 years ago and reconsider the connection between machines and humans.



Fernand Léger, Woman at the Mirror, 1920, Pola Museum of Art

Bugatti Type52 (Baby) Late 1920s–Early 1930s, Toyota Automobile Museum

René Lalique, Perfume Bottles “Je Reviens”, Worth, Model executed on December 2, 1929, Pola Museum of Art / Marc Lalique, Perfume Bottle “Je Reviens”,  Worth, Model executed after 1952, Pola Museum of Art

Raoul Dufy, Paris, 1937, Pola Museum of Art

Sorayama Hajime, Sexy Robot_Floating, 2019, Courtesy of NANZUKA 6.Mechanical

Worm Wheel Mechanism, The University Museum, The University of Tokyo