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Article

Michèle Lavallée

[Fr.: ‘new art’]

Decorative style of the late 19th century and the early 20th that flourished principally in Europe and the USA. Although it influenced painting and sculpture, its chief manifestations were in architecture and the decorative and graphic arts, the aspects on which this survey concentrates. It is characterized by sinuous, asymmetrical lines based on organic forms; in a broader sense it encompasses the geometrical and more abstract patterns and rhythms that were evolved as part of the general reaction to 19th-century historicism. There are wide variations in the style according to where it appeared and the materials that were employed.

Art Nouveau has been held to have had its beginnings in 1894 or 1895. A more appropriate date would be 1884, the year the progressive group Les XX was founded in Belgium, and the term was used in the periodical that supported it, Art Moderne: ‘we are believers in Art Nouveau’. The origin of the name is usually attributed to ...

Article

Alan Crawford

Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsman, and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself.

The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs, and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. Although quixotic in its anti-industrialism, it was not unique; indeed it was only one among several late 19th-century reform movements, such as the Garden City movement, vegetarianism, and folksong revivals, that set the Romantic values of nature and folk culture against the artificiality of modern life....

Article

German, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 14 April 1868, in Hamburg; died 27 February 1940, in Berlin.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, architect, designer, decorative artist, graphic designer. Posters, furniture, wallpaper, carpets, glassware, ceramics, table services, jewellery, silverwork, objets d'art, typefaces.

Jugendstil, functional school.

Die Sieben (Group of Seven), Deutscher Werkbund...

Article

(b London, Oct 17, 1854; d Manorbier, Dyfed, July 5, 1924).

English designer. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford, and in 1877 he was articled to the architect Basil Champneys. Encouraged by William Morris, in 1880 Benson set up his own workshop in Hammersmith specializing in metalwork. Two years later he established a foundry at Chiswick, a showroom in Kensington and a new factory at Hammersmith (all in London), equipped with machinery to mass-produce a wide range of forms, such as kettles, vases, tables, dishes and firescreens. Benson’s elegant and spare designs were admired for their modernity and minimal use of ornament. He is best known for his lamps and lighting fixtures, mostly in copper and bronze, which are fitted with flat reflective surfaces (e.g. c. 1890; London, V&A). These items were displayed in S. Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau, Paris, and were used in the Morris & Co. interiors at Wightwick Manor, W. Midlands (NT), and Standen, East Grinstead, W. Sussex. Many of Benson’s designs were patented, including those for jacketed vessels, which keep hot or cold liquids at a constant temperature, and for a ‘Colander’ teapot with a button mechanism for raising the tea leaves after the tea has infused. Benson sold his designs, labelled ‘Art Metal’, through his showroom on Bond Street, which opened in ...

Article

Swiss, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in Germany.

Born 31 December 1849, in St Gall; died 1921, in Planegg.

Architect, painter, decorative designer, theorist. Designs (furniture/fabrics/metal objects/ceramics).

Jugendstil.

From 1868 to 1871 Hans Eduard von Berlepsch-Valendas was a student of architecture with Gottfried Sempers in Zurich. After graduating he abandoned architecture while he was living in Frankfurt, to go and train as a painter in Munich (...

Article

Donna Corbin

(b Lacochère, Orne, April 29, 1764; d Paris, March 26, 1843).

French cabinetmaker and silversmith. The silver and silver-gilt produced in his workshop rivals that of his contemporaries Henri Auguste and Jean Baptiste Claude Odiot. By 1789 Biennais had established himself at 283, Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris, as a cabinetmaker and tabletier (a dealer in and maker of small objects). After 1797 Biennais, no doubt encouraged by the dissolution of the guild system, expanded his business to include the manufacture of silver. During the Consulate Biennais became Napoleon’s personal silversmith, although he may have provided Napoleon with silver as early as 1798, when it is said that he supplied him with a nécessaire de voyage prior to his Egyptian campaign (1798–1801) and trusted him to pay for it on his return.

Biennais produced large amounts of silver for Napoleon and his family, including, in 1804, the crown and sceptre for his coronation and a number of nécessaires of different types, remarkable for the combination of forms of varying shapes and sizes that are ingeniously accommodated in a restricted space. One (...

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 23 October 1875; died 13 September 1945, in Paris.

Decorative artist, goldsmith.

Bizouard's gold-plated models were exhibited at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in 1925 and were award-winners. They were also exhibited at the Exposition Nationale des Beaux-Arts, the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs and at the Salon d'Automne ...

Article

Dutch, 19th century, male.

Born 1793, in Rotterdam; died 1854, in Rotterdam.

Painter, decorative artist, draughtsman. Landscapes with figures.

Bouwmeester began working under the auspices of his father, who was a goldsmith. He was subsequently a pupil of Zangendyck and was active at Utrecht. He was a decorative painter and a painter of landscapes with figures....

Article

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 27 March 1862, in Saverne (Bas-Rhin); died 1932, in Strasbourg.

Sculptor, goldsmith, decorative artist. Animals. Statuettes.

Symbolism.

Carabin was a pupil of Jacques Perrin and a founder member of the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1884. His main preoccupation was to revitalise the art of industrial sculpture and he is noted for a number of compositions, particularly those which now feature in the Musée Galliera collection. He also produced numerous statuettes of animals, portraits, groups and genre compositions....

Article

Stuart Evans

English group of painters, designers and craftsmen, active between c. 1883 and 1892. It was one of the earliest Arts and Crafts groups and initiated the practice of attributing designs to individual craftsmen, which became a firm principle of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Its platform was the ‘unity of the arts’, and its aim was ‘to render all branches of art the sphere, no longer of the businessman, but of the artist’. Although output was limited and sporadic, the group had considerable influence by exhibiting its products and publishing a quarterly magazine, the Century Guild Hobby Horse (1884–92). Perhaps 20 craftsmen in all were associated with the Guild, but the only members were A. H. Mackmurdo, Herbert Horne and Selwyn Image.

The Guild’s work was mainly domestic. It offered textiles, wallpapers, furniture, stained glass, metalwork, decorative painting and architectural design, all of which were displayed at the ...