ART NOUVEAU Art Nouveau, 1890-1914, explores a new style in the visual arts and architecture that developed in Europe and North America at the end of the nineteenth century. Art Nouveau designers also believed that all the arts should work in harmony to create a "total work of art," or Gesamtkunstwerk: buildings, furniture, textiles, clothes, and jewelry all conformed to the principles of Art Nouveau.
ART NOUVEAU Paul SignacFrench (1863-1935)Portrait of Félix Fénéon, 1890oil on canvasPrivate collection
ART NOUVEAU René LaliqueFrench (1860-1945)Dragonfly woman corsage ornament, c. 1897-1898gold, enamel, chrysoprase, moonstones, and diamonds Metamorphosis, or change from one physical form to another, was a major theme for many Art Nouveau artists. Here, woman and insect are fused into an almost menacing creature with golden claws.
ART NOUVEAU Russian Roller-Printed Cotton;late 19th - early 20th century Flowing lines of floral and nature inspired shapes repeat to create the pattern of the fabric.
ART NOUVEAU Antoní GaudíSpanish (1852-1926)Wall clock from the Casa Milá, Barcelona, 1906-1910gilded wood The leafy, asymmetrical swirls surrounding the timepiece are inspired by the gilded curves of the rococo period, which was an important influence on Art Nouveau designers.
ART NOUVEAU Tiffany StudiosAmerican (firm active 1902-1932)Wisteria table lamp, c. 1902leaded glass and bronze No American designer was more closely linked with Art Nouveau than Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose luminous glass designs wedded bold technical innovations with the highest artistry. Illuminated from within by the newly invented light bulb, his lamps, such as this one designed in 1902, glowed with colorful representations of nature. This lamp is shaped so that the stained glass resembles the drooping purple flowers of the wisteria plant. The striking naturalism is reinforced by the lamp's bronze stand, which is shaped like a thick vine or tree trunk with spreading roots at the base.
ART NOUVEAU Tiffany StudiosAmerican (firm active 1902-1932)Jack-in-the-pulpit vase, c. 1902-1910Favrile glassPrivate Collection Shaped like a slender stalk and open blossom, this glass vase designed by the American glass master Louis Comfort Tiffany was inspired by the Jack-in-the-pulpit plant. Tiffany described its shimmering surface in his 1880 patent application: "The effect is a highly iridescent one of pleasing metallic luster produced by forming a film of a metal or its oxide either by exposing the glass to vapors or gases or by direct application."
ART NOUVEAU Vilmos ZsolnayHungarian (1828-1900)Vase, 1899earthenware with metallic luster glaze
ART NOUVEAU Émile GalléFrench (1846-1904)Dragonfly coupe, c. 1904carved and applied glassArt Nouveau artists were fascinated by the buzzing life of insects, whose life cycle best conveyed the idea of evolution. The dragonfly, a favorite subject in Japanese art, was particularly popular. Here the French artist Émile Gallé portrays one on glass with extraordinary sensitivity. Gallé considered his work to be a "hymn to the glory of Nature and her mysteries." This delicate cup, made in 1904, the year Gallé died, is an excellent example of the lyrical beauty and technical mastery of his glassmaking.