Jan M. Lorys: “Art Deco Advances in Poland” | Lecture at the 16th World Congress on Art Deco

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Jan M. Lorys lecture

On Saturday, April 22, Jan M. Lorys spoke at the Jewish Museum of Florida for the 16th World Congress on Art Deco lecture series.

In his lecture, Lorys discusses Poland’s ties to the Art Deco movement, from participation in the 1925 Paris Exposition to the nation’s first exhibitions on the style.

He notes that interest in the Art Deco style and modernism was tied to the nation’s search for independence from the Soviet regime from 1945 to 1989.


Seventy-one years ago, Jan Lorys’ family arrived in the United States from England as Polish Displaced Persons. Part of their cultural baggage was an attachment to the IInd Polish Republic, which had been re-established in Poland in 1918 after 123 years of partition.

He was raised in a Polish-speaking home, attended Polish Saturday language courses, and was active in Polish Scouting, all things connected to interwar Poland. So traveling to Poland as a young teenager, he was presented with the contributions of people in that era.

He and his wife Carleen have been members of the Chicago Art Deco Society (CADS) since 1983. They’ve attended every Congress beginning with Los Angeles, except South Africa and Melbourne. In February 1999, he presented a talk in Napier, New Zealand on the Polish Pavilion at the 1925 Paris Exposition and in May 2009 in Montreal on the Polish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair of 1939.

During that period, he was director of the Polish Museum of America in Chicago, one of the oldest and largest ethnic museums in the United States for 18 years, and currently is employed part-time as their historian. During his tenure as director, in 1999, he organized an exhibit on the 60th anniversary of the New York World’s Fair. “Art Deco Poland: Designing a New Nation”.

The 16th World Congress on Art Deco was made possible with the support of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, the State of Florida, the International Coalition of Art Deco Societies, and the Art Deco Society of the Palm Beaches.

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