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Term used to describe a movement of the 1870s and 1880s that manifested itself in the fine and decorative arts and architecture in Britain and subsequently in the USA. Reacting to what was seen as evidence of philistinism in art and design, it was characterized by the cult of the beautiful and an emphasis on the sheer pleasure to be derived from it. In painting there was a belief in the autonomy of art, the concept of Art for Art’s Sake, which originated in France as a literary movement and was introduced into Britain around 1860.

The Aesthetic Movement was championed by the writers and critics Walter Pater, Algernon Charles Swinburne and Oscar Wilde. In keeping with Pater’s theories, the artists associated with it painted pictures without narrative or significant subject-matter. Dante Gabriel Rossetti took his inspiration from Venetian art because of its emphasis on colour and the decorative. This resulted in a number of half-length paintings of female figures, such as the ...

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Spanish, 19th century, male.

Born 19th century, in Madrid.

Painter, decorative designer, architect.

Arraez was a pupil at the Real Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. In 1848 he restored some parts of the Alhambra in Granada and from 1858 to 1862 he exhibited in Madrid several plans and designs suggesting the influence of Arabic art....

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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 ...

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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....

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James D. Kornwolf

(b Ramsgate, Oct 23, 1865; d Brighton, Feb 10, 1945).

English architect, interior designer, garden designer and writer . He was articled to Charles Davis (1827–1902), City Architect of Bath, from 1886 until 1889 but learnt little and was largely self-taught. In 1889 he started his own practice on the Isle of Man, where he built a number of buildings, including his own Red House, Douglas (1893). He was a leading member of the second-generation Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and was among the first to build on the simpler, more abstract and stylized designs of C. F. A. Voysey, a refinement of the ideas of William Morris, Philip Webb, R. Norman Shaw and others from the period 1860–90. From about 1890 until World War I, the Arts and Crafts Movement, as represented by Baillie Scott, Voysey, C. R. Ashbee, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Parker & Unwin and others, became the most important international force in architecture, interior design, landscape and urban planning. The work of these architects influenced Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann in Austria, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Peter Behrens in Germany, Eliel Saarinen and others in Scandinavia, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Irving Gill, Greene & Greene in the USA....

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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...

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French, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 1744; died 1818.

Watercolourist, draughtsman, decorative designer, designer of ornamental architectural features. Architectural interiors, architectural views.

London, 25 June 1981: Interior Section of the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Saturn and the Temple of Priapus (pen and wash...

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Peyton Skipwith

(b London, April 14, 1863; d London, Nov 27, 1933).

English decorative artist and painter. He was articled to an architect and studied at Westminster School of Art under Frederick Brown and at the Royal Academy Schools. Later he worked in the studio of Aimé Morot in Paris and travelled to Italy. Bell belonged to the group of artist–craftsmen who brought about the last flowering of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. He painted in oil and watercolour and was among the pioneers of the revival of the use of tempera. He was an illustrator and also worked in stained glass and mosaic. He is best known for a series of bas-reliefs in coloured plaster, a group of which was used in the interior decoration at Le Bois de Moutiers, a house in Varengeville, Normandy, designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1898. Bell’s understanding of early Italian art underpinned his work in mosaic, a medium he used to great effect in three public commissions in London: the ...

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(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 ...

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French, 19th century, male.

Born 30 January 1782, in Bordeaux; died 21 February 1863, in Paris.

Painter (including gouache), engraver, lithographer, illustrator. Historical subjects, mythological subjects, genre scenes, architectural interiors. Wall decorations, low reliefs.

Studied initially in Bordeaux under Pierre Lacour the Elder, then became a pupil of Vincent and David. He exhibited on a regular basis at Salons between ...

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Flemish School, 18th – 19th century, male.

Active in Louvain (Brabant).

Died 1819.

Painter, decorative designer. Architectural views. Ornaments.

Berges' work included views of convents and monasteries in Louvain, but these have been lost since 1789.

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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 (...

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German, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA.

Born 15 March 1883, in Stuttgart; died 29 May 1972, in New York.

Painter, sculptor, graphic designer, poster artist, illustrator, architect, designer, decorative artist. Designs for carpets, advertising art, furniture, lamps, wallpaper.

Jugendstil.

Deutscher Werkbund.

Lucian Bernhard studied painting at the Kunstakademie in Munich, but taught himself design. He was active in Berlin. In ...

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Italian, 18th – 19th century, male.

Active in Ferrara.

Born 1749, in Ferrara; died 1823.

Painter, decorative designer, engraver, architect.

A pupil of Ghedini, Luigi Bertelli painted frescoes and an oil entitled Demon in the Flames for the Chiesa Nuova; he also made etchings for Arrivo...

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Rosamond Allwood

(fl London, 1865–82).

English furniture designer and manufacturer. He may have been trained by the Gothic Revival architect and furniture designer J. P. Seddon, whose work certainly influenced his first published design, a davenport in a geometric Reformed Gothic style, in the Building News of 1865. That year he also advertised a ‘New Registered Reclining Chair’, made by Marsh & Jones of Leeds, whose London showrooms were near his own premises off Cavendish Square. In 1865 Marsh & Jones supplied the Yorkshire mill-owner Sir Titus Salt with a large group of furniture, including a bedroom suite, and in 1867 with the case of an Erard grand piano (all Leeds, Temple Newsam House) designed by Bevan; described at the time as ‘medieval’, the pieces are decorated with geometric marquetry ornament. Bevan designed a bookcase for the Manchester firm James Lamb, which was shown in the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867, and by the following year was also designing for ...

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German, 19th century, male.

Born 29 July 1798, in Cottbus; died 23 July 1840, in Berlin.

Painter, engraver, lithographer, decorative designer. Landscapes, landscapes with figures, seascapes, ruins, architectural views. Stage sets.

Biedermeier.

Karl Blechen studied at the Berlin Akademie der Künste under the landscape artist Lütke. As an impoverished young painter, he came to the attention of the architect and stage designer, Schinkel, who found him a job as scene painter at the Königstadt Theatre in Berlin in ...

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N. A. Yevsina

(b Florence, 1745; d Dresden, May 17, 1820).

Italian architect, interior designer and decorative painter. He studied in Rome under Stefano Pozzi from 1766 to 1768 and then in Paris. On his return to Italy he studied antiquities, copying frescoes (with Franciszek Smuglewicz) and measuring and sketching the Baths of Titus (1774) and the villa of Pliny the younger at Laurentinum. He occasionally worked in Poland, where he showed his skill as an interior decorator. A designer of painted arabesque decoration, he combined classical architectural and landscape compositions with Baroque decorative effects. Notable examples include works at the palace of Izabella Poniatowska-Branicka and the royal palace in Warsaw, the Czartoryski Palace (the Pheasantry) at Natolin, and other great houses in Poland.

In late 1783 or early 1784 he was invited to St Petersburg by the heir to the Russian throne, Paul Petrovich (later Tsar Paul I, reg 1796–1801) for the building of his country residence at ...

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Brian Austen

(Hicks)

(b ?Sheffield, 1785; d Port of Spain, Trinidad, Nov 1846).

English sculptor, designer and architect. In 1810 he exhibited at the first Liverpool Academy Exhibition and showed models and drawings there in 1811, 1812 and 1814. These included designs for the restoration of the screen in Sefton church, Merseyside, and for a chimney-piece for Speke Hall, Liverpool, and two drawings of Joseph Ridgway’s house at Ridgmont, Horwich, Lancs. Bridgens designed furniture and furnishings in Gothic and Elizabethan styles for George Bullock. In 1814 he moved to London with Bullock, using his address at 4 Tenterden Street, Hanover Square, and prepared designs for Sir Godfrey Vassal Webster (1789–1836) for improvements to Battle Abbey, E. Sussex, and similarly for Sir Walter Scott’s home, Abbotsford House, at Melrose on the Borders. Two chair designs for Battle Abbey were published in Rudolph Ackermann’s Repository of Arts in September 1817, and Bridgens was also involved in the design of chairs supplied to Abbotsford House in ...

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Brian Austen

(fl 1804–45).

English architect, designer and drawing-master. He appears to have had strong connections during his early life with South Devon: his earliest known design, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1804, was of a Villa with a Distant View of the Catwater, Plymouth, and other designs (1807–12) also relate to this county. However, Brown may have been living in London during this period as he ran an architectural academy at 4 Wells Street. There the importance of perspective drawing was taught, and in 1815 he published the Principles of Practical Perspective. He also became increasingly interested in furniture design, and in the need for designers in this discipline to master the art of perspective. Drawing is one of the main themes in his work the Rudiments of Drawing Cabinet Furniture (1820), which consists of 24 coloured plates, each accompanied by commentary. The designs are in the Classical style and acknowledge the work of Thomas Hope (ii), George Smith and Charles Percier. Brown also praised the quality of George Bullock’s cabinetmaking, and the plates appear to have been derived from Bullock’s designs. One plate depicts a sofa made in ...