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Art Nouveau

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Autor: reviewessays  •  February 27, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,226 Words (5 Pages)  •  664 Views

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Art Nouveau (French for "new art") is a style in art, architecture and design that peaked in popularity at the beginning of the 20th century. Other, more localized terms for the cluster of self-consciously radical, somewhat mannered reformist chic that formed a prelude to 20th-century modernism, included "Jugendstil" in Germany and the Netherlands, named for the snappy avant-garde periodical Jugend ('Youth') or "Sezessionsstil" ('Secessionism') in Vienna, where forward-looking artists and designers seceded from the mainstream salon exhibitions, to exhibit on their own in more congenial surroundings.

In Russia, the movement revolved around the art magazine World of Art, which spawned the revolutionary Ballets Russes. In Italy, "Stile Liberty" was named for the London shop, Liberty & Co, which distributed modern design emanating from the Arts and Crafts movement, a sign both of the Art Nouveau's commercial aspect and the "imported" character that it always retained in Italy. In Catalonia, the movement was centred in Barcelona and was known as "modernisme", with Antoni GaudÐ"­ as the most noteworthy practitioner.

Though Art Nouveau climaxed in the years 1892 to 1902, the first stirrings of an Art Nouveau can be recognized in the 1880s, in a handful of progressive designs influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, such as the architect-designer Arthur Mackmurdo's often-illustrated bookcover design for his essay on the city churches of Sir Christopher Wren, published in 1883. Some free-flowing wrought iron from the 1880s could also be adduced, or some flat floral textile designs, most of which owed some impetus to vegetal-derived patterns of High Victorian design.

The name "Art Nouveau" derived from the name of a shop in Paris, Maison de l'Art Nouveau, at the time run by Samuel Bing, that showcased objects that followed this approach to design.

A high point in the evolution of Art Nouveau was the Universal Exposition of 1900 in Paris, in which the "modern style" triumphed in every medium. It probably reached its apogee, however, at the 1902 Turin Exposition in Italy, where designers exhibited from almost every European country where Art Nouveau flourished. Ironically, Art Nouveau made use of many technological innovations of the late 19th century, especially the broad use of exposed iron and large, irregularly-shaped pieces of glass in architecture, but by the start of the First World War the highly stylized nature of Art Nouveau design Ð'-- which itself was expensive to produce Ð'-- began to be dropped in favor of more streamlined, simply rectilinear modernism that was cheaper and thought to be more faithful to the rough, plain industrial aesthetic.

The entrances to the Paris Metro designed by Hector Guimard in 1899 and 1900 are notable and famous examples of Art Nouveau.

Dynamic, undulating and flowing, curved "whiplash" lines of syncopated rhythm characterize much of Art Nouveau. Another feature is usage of hyperbolas and parabolas. Conventional moldings seem to spring to life and "grow" into plant-derived forms.

As an art movement it has affinities with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolism movement, and artists like Aubrey Beardsley, Alfons Mucha, Edward Burne-Jones, Gustav Klimt, and Jan Toorop could be classed in more than one of these styles. Unlike Symbolist painting, however, Art Nouveau has a distinctive visual look; and unlike the backwards-looking Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau artists quickly used new materials, machined surfaces, and abstraction in the service of pure designDaum, Nancy (c. 1900).

Art Nouveau in architecture and interior design eschewed the eclectic historicism of the Victorian era. Though, Art Nouveau designers selected and "modernized" some of the more abstract elements of Rococo style, such as flame and shell textures, in place of the historically-derived and basically tectonic or realistic naturalistic ornament of high Victorian styles, Art Nouveau advocated the use of highly-stylized nature as the source of inspiration and expanded the "natural" repertoire to embrace seaweed, grasses, and insects. Correspondingly organic forms, curved lines, especially floral or vegetal, and the like, were used.

Japanese wood-block prints with their curved lines, patterned surfaces and contrasting voids, and flatness of their picture-plane, also inspired Art Nouveau. Some line and curve patterns became graphic clichÐ"©s that were later found in works of artists from all parts of the world.

Art Nouveau did not negate the machine, as other movements such as the Arts and Crafts Movement, but used it to an advantage. For sculpture the principle materials employed were glass and wrought iron, leading to sculpturesque quality even in architecture.

Art Nouveau is considered a "total" style, meaning that it encompasses a hierarchy of scales in design Ð'-- architecture, interior design, jewellery, furniture and textile design, utensils and art objects, lighting, and etc. (See Hierarchy of genres.)

Art Nouveau media

2-dimensional Art Nouveau pieces were painted, drawn, and quite popular in printed material like advertising, posters, labels, magazines and the like.

Glass making was an area in which the style found tremendous expression Ð'-- for example, the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York and Ð"‰mile GallÐ"© and the Daum brothers in Nancy, France.

Jewelry of the Art Nouveau period revitalised the jeweller's art, with nature as the principal source of inspiration, complemented by new levels of virtuosity in enamelling and the introduction of new materials, such as opals and semi-precious stones. The widespread interest in Japanese art and the more specialised enthusiasm for Japanese metalworking skills, fostered new themes and approaches to ornament.

For the previous two centuries the emphasis in fine jewellery had been on gemstones, particularly on the diamond, and the jeweller or goldsmith had been principally concerned with providing settings for their advantage. With Art Nouveau, a different type of jewellery

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  • xlMupmM and the like, were used.

    Japanese wood-block prints with their curved lines, patterned surfaces and contrasting voids, and flatness of their picture-plane, also inspired Art Nouveau. Some line and curve patterns became graphic clichÐ"©s that were later found in works of artists from all parts of the world.

    Art Nouveau did not negate the machine, as other movements such as the Arts and Crafts Movement, but used it to an advantage. For sculpture the principle materials employed were glass and wrought iron, leading to sculpturesque quality even in architecture.

    Art Nouveau is considered a "total" style, meaning that it encompasses a hierarchy of scales in design Ð'-- architecture, interior design, jewellery, furniture and textile design, utensils and art objects, lighting, and etc. (See Hierarchy of genres.)

    Art Nouveau media

    2-dimensional Art Nouveau pieces were painted, drawn, and quite popular in printed material like advertising, posters, labels, magazines and the like.

    Glass making was an area in which the style found tremendous expression Ð'-- for example, the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York and Ð"‰mile GallÐ"© and the Daum brothers in Nancy, France.

    Jewelry of the Art Nouveau period revitalised the jeweller's art, with nature as the principal source of inspiration, complemented by new levels of virtuosity in enamelling and the introduction of new materials, such as opals and semi-precious stones. The widespread interest in Japanese art and the more specialised enthusiasm for Japanese metalworking skills, fostered new themes and approaches to ornament.

    For the previous two centuries the emphasis in fine jewellery had been on gemstones, particularly on the diamond, and the jeweller or goldsmith had been principally concerned with providing settings for their advantage. With Art Nouveau, a different type of jewellery

    ...

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