In Season 4 of Mad Men, there is a black and golden peacock art print hanging in the office lounge of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. I did a lot of research to find out more about the artist or the era in which it was created, but unfortunately: no luck.
I would venture to make an educated guess, however, that the peacock print is inspired by the Art Deco era which began in France in the 1920s and gained international credibility in the ‘30s and ‘40s. The Art Deco style visualizes the age of social wealth, technical progress, glamour, faith and abundance.
The golden color of the peacock might be also a nod to the L’Age d’Or, a term derived from the comedic French film with the same title, created in the 1930s by surrealist artists Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali.
The film is about the insanity and sexual double standards of the middle-class people. This radical and provocative movie also cites the book 120 Days of Sodom or the School of Libertinism (1785) by Marquis de Sade. Due to the plot and radical visuals, the film was viewed as an artistic stroke of genius (except by the conservatives, who viewed it as an affront against the Catholic Church).
In a nutshell, the movie was a huge popular success and the title became a world-famous dictum for a decadent period in time.
Overall, I think the golden peacock print in Mad Men is an awesome yet subtle metaphor for the narcissistic ad industry in which Don Draper and his colleagues work with almost no concern for morality.
*Little filmfact side note: This peacock poster also appears in the movies ‘Jane Austen’s Mafia' (1998) & in Zodiac (2007) at time 0:23:30.
This article already appeared on MadMenReplay
Picture Source: Art DepartMENTAL
Copyright by AMC TV
Picture Source Art Print: Amazon.com