Art Nouveau in France, Belgium, Spain & USA
Nancy School: (Ecole de Nancy)
is a small city in the east of France in territory disputed as German
over the centuries. This regional isolation gave the School of Nancy
a character unique from that of the Parisian Art Nouveau. There is more
of a Gothic influence, as well as a lingering aeclectic and aesthetic
influence. Japonism and Moorish designs were still very much evident
in Nancy designs from this era, although there is also the more typical
influence of nature, with an abundance of biomorphic forms such as seaweed-inspired
cast-iron ballustrades, mushroom lamps and such like.
Emile Gallé (1846-1904)
of the Ecole de Nancy in 1901. He designed both glassware and furniture,
and his glassware in particular is definitive of the Nancy school. French
sites refer to his work as 'poetry in glass'.
Produced hand-made furniture, often using ornate inlaid timber marquetry.
Eugene Vallin (1856-1922)
Nancy designer of furniture with organic forms.
With the patronage of art dealer Samuel (Sigfried) Bing, the Paris school of Art Nouveau developed directly as a result of Hector Guimard's study with Victor Horta in Belgium. The similarities with Belgian Art Nouveau are therefore hardly surprising - for example, twisting organic forms directly inspired by nature. Paris took to Art Nouveau with a passion and even today it's often seen as the signature style of Paris.
Hector Guimard (1867-1942)
Architect Guimard visited Victor Horta in Belgium in 1894, bringing Art Nouveau to France when he returned. His first Art Nouveau building, and one of his great masterpieces was Castel Béranger, built in 1894-1898. He also designed the famous Metro station entrances in Paris, icons of Art Nouveau.
René Lalique (1860-1945)
Jeweller who used biomorphic forms such as dragonflies and floral motifs. Lalique also experimented with glass, combining this with his skill as a jeweller to create the world's first fine perfume bottles that could be mass produced. The first of these called L'Effleurt was produced for Coty Perfumes in 1908.
went on to become one of the foremost designers of the Art Deco era.
De Feure (1868-1943)
in Holland with the name Georges Joseph Van Sluyters, this Symbolist
painter and graphic designer later turned his hand to the decorative
arts, making stained glass and furniture.
Eugene Gaillard (1862-1933)
Furniture designer typical of the Parisian school - plain, bold outlines and well balanced proportions in furniture made of fruitwoods.
Edward Colonna (1862-1948)
designer whose works ranged from jewellery to furniture. He worked in
Paris at the height of the Art Nouveau era and designed a drawing room
for Samuel Bing, Patron of the Parisian Art Nouveau movement. He later
moved to the US.
Art Nouveau in Belgium
Belgium, Art Nouveau was predominantly an architectural style with the
emphasis on functionality. Ceramics, jewellery, furniture and metalwork
were also produced. Belgians claim Brussels to be the "Capital
of Art Nouveau".
a limousine.. take a tour... Look what you can see in just four hours
Victor Horta (1861-1947)
and designer who studied in Paris before returning to Brussels and designing
furniture, buildings and fixtures inspired by nature. His work often
features twining organic forms. Like the Arts & Crafts Movement
in the United Kingdom, he also believed in hand-craftsmanship and using
the very best materials available. His work was therefore very expensive
and never mass-produced.
Gustave Serrurier-Bovy (1858-1910)
Designer who produced early, inexpensive "kit form" furniture. This furniture was known as his "Silex" range. members.tripod.com/russegold/pages/page_020.htm
Henri Clemens Van De Velde (1863-1957) - also spelled Henry Van De Velde
who was important in the development of Art Nouveau, producing furniture,
ceramics, jewellery and metalwork.
Art Nouveau in Spain
Nouveau in Spain was known as Modernismo.
be watching a video on Gaudi called "Antonio Gaudi - To a Dancing
God". Unfortunately it's a very old video, so apologies for the
quality! I was very pleased to hear that this film's currently being
remastered from the original archival stock and soon DVD versions will
be available. The film was made by the Australian architect Theo Mathews
- you might notice a little Gaudi influence in some of his contemporary
Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926) - also spelled Antoni Gaudi
"Nature is God's open book of knowledge from which all science can be drawn"
Architect and visionary. Gaudi was said to have been attempting to imitate Gothic design, but thankfully he pretty much failed in that intention and produced works that are startling in their innovation and creativity. His work is strange, compelling and almost surrealist in style, but also very functional. Some of his organic cave-like interiors were meticulously planned from an enginnering point of view, to the extent that different column supports are made of different materials in order to appropriately distribute the load of the ceiling & roof. He based these parabolic forms on designs from nature, such as the shape of tendons in the hand.
Gaudi was from the region of Catalonia, whose traditions are quite different to those of other parts of Spain and this is evident in his work - for example, in his use of very bright colours. Some of his building exteriors are covered completely in iridescent tiles.
He was more than a little eccentric, and apparently he died from being hit by a vehicle when he stepped back to look at his Sagrada Familia (which after 40 years was still a Work In Progress - "God is my client, and he's in no hurry"). He was so scruffily dressed and unwashed that his body laid unclaimed and unrecognised in the morgue for days even though he was, at the time, the most famous architect in Spain.
Gaudi is the only
architect in the world to have THREE buildings with World Heritage Listing
status: Güell Park and Palace, and Mila House (but
interestingly, not his "Life's Work" of the Church of La
Josep Maria Jujol (1879-1949) - also called Josep Maria Jujol i Gibert
of Gaudi whose unusual architectural style, like Gaudi's, was deeply
affected by his relationship with his native region of Catalonia. His
designs were naturalistic and anti-geometric.
Art Nouveau in the USA
Glassware, in particular lamps, are an important feature of Art Nouveau in the US. Domestic electricity was a new thing, and overhead lighting wasn't immediately taken on as the primary way to illuminate a room. Hence... lots and lots of lamps.
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933)
stained glass artist, glass artist & jewellery designer. Developed
"Favrile" method of iridescent art-glass through experimentation
with molten glass and metallic powders. His family founded "Tiffany
& Co" jewellers, and for a period he was artistic director
of the company. Dragonfly motifs and floral forms dominated in Tiffany
art glass pieces of the Art Nouveau period.
Art Glass & Decorating Co
- the main feature of Quezal (also spelled Quetzal) glassware is the
internal decoration, often formed by feathered striation (stripes) of
differently coloured glass.
Another very significant aspect of Art Nouveau in the US was architecture. The development of high-rise commercial buildings was rapidly accelerated after the CBD of Chicago was destroyed by a great fire in 1871, and an entire commercial district had to be reconstructed as quickly and efficiently as possible. lib.niu.edu/ipo/iht419734.html
William LeBaron Jenney (1832-1907)
inner steel frame allowed the development of high-rise buildings such
as the later Chrysler Building. He is credited with designing the world's
first "skyscraper" - the Home Insurance Building in 1885.
Louis Sullivan (1856-1924)
and developer of the large "Chicago Windows" that revolutionsed
high-rise design and laid the foundation of skyscrapers. This type of
architecture because known as Sullivanesque. He built the Wainwright
Building, the Guaranty Building, the Carson, Pirie & Scott Store.
His basic principal was that "form follows function" - organic
Other members of the Chicago School of architecture included: H H Richardson: Marshall Field Store; Burnham & Root: Reliance Building, Monadnock Building.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
the US's best-known architect of domestic dwellings. Although he was
a unique individual, his career spanned and was influenced by a variety
of styles. He's often included in US Arts & Crafts Movement, Art
Nouveau and also Art Deco (mentioned in more detail in that lecture).
His earliest style, which fits into the time period of Art Nouveau,
is his Prairie Style eg "Robie House" - low, horizontal
lines reflecting landscape, geometric shapes, flowing interior space,
ribbon windows, integration of house and surroundings, hearth at centre.
Lloyd Wright also made furniture, such as the very modern looking modular
chair to the left. modernclassics.com/wright.htm
Walter Burley Griffin (1876 -1937)
architect dismissed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a mere 'draftsman', but
who is also credited with developing the Prarie Style. He achieved
more than mere houses, though. Along with his wife Marion, he won a
competition to design Australia's capital city, Canberra, in
Australia became a Federation in 1901, a capital city had to be designated
between rivals Sydney and Melbourne. How to choose? Aha! How about neither?
Make a brand new city from scratch, half way between the two? And so,
a competition was begun to find the plan for the ideal city to be the
centre of government for our new country.
surprise winner of that competition was the virtually unknown American
architect, Walter Burley Griffin. The Griffins believed that architecture
was more than mere buildings. Their spiritual beliefs, including Theosophy,
are now thought to have influenced their design for the city to a large
extent, although they kept very quiet about such influences at the time.
Provincial, practical Australia was hardly likely to accept such ideas,
especially in regards to the development of their capital city.
Marion Mahony Griffin (1871-1962)
for Frank Lloyd Wright for 14 years, taking over the completion of a
number of important commissions FLW left behind when he abandoned his
wife and children and ran off to Europe with a mistress. Mahoney then
went to work for Walter Burley Griffin. At first they were just colleagues,
but then it became more and they were married in 1911. They worked together
on the submission of the winning competition entry for Canberra, and
it's acknowledged that her beautiful drwings and impressive draftsmanship
played an important role in the win. They collaborated for the remainder
of their professional life together, and after Walter's death in 1937
she went on to concentrate on work as a town planner.
Contextual factors to consider:
Some key technical innovations:
Meanwhile, in Fine Art:
Like Art Nouveau? Got a computer? You might want to download some free Art Nouveau style fonts: bibliofile.mc.duke.edu/gww/fonts/ArtNouveau.html
graphics, text and design: copyright retrokat.com 2001-4
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