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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

(b Leiden, Oct 19, 1877; d Zoeterwoude, Oct 23, 1933).

Dutch potter and sculptor. He trained as a drawing teacher but took a particular interest in bookbinding, decorative woodcuts and household pottery. From the example of the Arts and Crafts Movement he learnt the value of traditional techniques and craftsmanship. In 1898 he settled in Gouda in order to perfect his technical knowledge of pottery-making. Three years later he started his own ceramics firm in Leiderdorp. His ceramics are characterized by their intentionally plain shapes, combined with mostly geometric linear ornament and frequently with sculptural decoration applied in low relief. His work attracted international attention and gained awards at several exhibitions, including the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa in Turin (1902) and the Exposition Universelle et Internationale in Brussels (1910). Around 1907 Brouwer began to experiment with large-scale ceramic decoration. His terracotta ornaments and façade sculptures were greatly admired by contemporary architects, who secured him important commissions in this field, for example the ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b Horsham, 1829; d St John’s Wood, London, March 22, 1904).

English book illustrator and painter. He trained as a surgeon, but never practised, instead working as a writer and illustrator of books on natural history and as a painter of watercolour landscapes. In 1869 Coleman embarked on a new career when he joined Copeland’s (see Spode Ceramic Works) as a painter of china plaques. Later that year he moved to the Minton Ceramic Factory, attracted by the opportunity to work with their well-known turquoise colour. At Minton he designed table services, which were transfer-printed in colour with his scrupulously accurate depictions of flora (e.g. ‘The Naturalist’) and fauna (e.g. ‘Game Place’) and people (a series of dessert services with orientalized ladies). In 1871 he became head of the new Minton’s Art Pottery Studio in Kensington Gore; there he designed porcelain plaques, many of which depict flora, fauna and lighly-clad girls and women. He resigned as director in 1873...

Article

Christopher Newall

(b Liverpool, Aug 15, 1845; d Horsham, W. Sussex, March 14, 1915).

English painter, illustrator, designer, writer and teacher. He showed artistic inclinations as a boy and was encouraged to draw by his father, the portrait painter and miniaturist Thomas Crane (1808–59). A series of illustrations to Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott (Cambridge, MA, Harvard U., Houghton Lib.) was shown first to Ruskin, who praised the use of colour, and then to the engraver William James Linton, to whom Crane was apprenticed in 1859. From 1859 to 1862 Crane learnt a technique of exact and economical draughtsmanship on woodblocks. His early illustrative works included vignette wood-engravings for John R. Capel Wise’s The New Forest: Its History and its Scenery (1862).

During the mid-1860s Crane evolved his own style of children’s book illustration. These so-called ‘toy books’, printed in colour by Edmund Evans, included The History of Jenny Wren and The Fairy Ship. Crane introduced new levels of artistic sophistication to the art of illustration: after ...

Article

David Blayney Brown

(b London, Jan 31, 1769; d Oxford, Oct 5, 1847).

English painter, illustrator and designer. He studied for seven years under Philip Reinagle, one of whose daughters he later married, and entered the Royal Academy Schools, London, in 1788. His ambitions were as a history painter in the manner of Reynolds. His Caractacus (untraced), which won a gold medal in 1790, was highly praised by Reynolds, then almost blind. In 1791 Howard went to Rome, where he became a close friend of John Flaxman whose Neo-classical figural style helped to form his own. In 1794, after three years study, he returned to England via Vienna and Dresden. Howard’s exhibiting career began at the Royal Academy in 1794, and from 1806 to 1844 he also showed at the British Institution. His portraits and especially his historical compositions based on classical and literary themes, relatively late manifestations of the traditions of Reynolds, Fuseli and Flaxman combined in a diluted form, proved extremely popular. He was made an ARA in ...

Article

Gitte Valentiner

(Andreas)

(b Oldenburg, Jan 25, 1846; d Copenhagen, July 28, 1906).

Danish painter, illustrator and ceramicist of German origin. He trained in Copenhagen at the Akademi, graduating in 1868. In his early years as an artist he was much in demand as a portrait painter: his skill is clear in examples such as Partikulier Kunze and his Son (1871; Copenhagen, Hirschsprungske Saml.). The subjects of this and later portraits are clearly marked by their environment, their way of life and their occupations. Jerndorff also painted historical portraits, such as the full-length figures of officers from the war of 1848–50 and the war of 1864: Claude du Pat (1855), General Bülow (1890), Colonel Lunding (1892) and General Rye (1895; all Hillerød, Frederiksborg Slot). Jerndorff’s biblical compositions are rather arid and academic, but his landscapes, such as Autumn on the Heath (1895; Randers, Kstmus.), seem fresh and spontaneous in treatment. Most of Jerndorff’s landscape paintings are small, intimate studies with careful rendering of flowers and plants. He was also an imaginative illustrator, notably for editions of Danish folk tales. He also produced ceramics, working together with the ...

Article

Giulio V. Blanc

(b Yaguajuay, nr Placetas, Jan 5, 1896; d Havana, April 8, 1968).

Cuban painter, ceramicist and illustrator. She studied under Leopoldo Romañach (1862–1951) at the Academia de S Alejandro in Havana, where she was influenced by Impressionism. She graduated in 1924 and lived in Paris from 1927 to 1933, studying at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole du Louvre. She also studied composition and colour with the Russian Constructivist and stage designer Alexandra Exter. She held an individual exhibition at the Galerie Zak in Paris in 1933 and in 1934 returned to Cuba.

Peláez applied her Parisian experiences, particularly of Cubism and of her apprenticeship to Exter, to a personal style based on the forms and colours of the luxuriant tropical vegetation and the Baroque colonial architecture of Cuba. Like Víctor Manuel, she combined modernism with native elements in a style at once Cuban and cosmopolitan in paintings such as Still-life in Red...

Article

Karen M. Gerhart

[Ōtagaki Nobu]

(b Kyoto, 1791; d Kyoto, 1875).

Japanese poet, calligrapher, potter and painter. Shortly after her birth, she was adopted by Ōtagaki Mitsuhisa who worked at Chion’in, an important Jōdo (Pure Land) sect temple in Kyoto. In 1798 she was sent to serve at Kameoka Castle in Tanba, where she studied poetry, calligraphy and martial arts. She returned to Kyoto in 1807 and was married to a young samurai named Mochihisa. They had three children, all of whom died shortly after birth; in 1815 Mochihisa also died. In 1819 Nobu remarried, but her second husband died in 1823. After enduring the tragic loss of two husbands and all her children, Nobu, only 33 years old, cut her hair off and became a nun, at which time she adopted the name Rengetsu (‘lotus moon’). She lived with her stepfather, who had also taken vows, near Chion’in. After his death in 1832 Rengetsu began to make pottery, which she then inscribed with her own ...

Article

Joellen Secondo

(b ?N. England, ?1840–50; d 1894–7).

English illustrator and designer. He received architectural training under William Salmon of Glasgow. He began his career as a designer in the London studio of Christopher Dresser, where he executed countless designs for furniture, decorations, wallpapers, carpets, tapestries, metalwork and pottery, which according to Smith were passed off as the work of Dresser. Smith contributed some of the designs and lithographed the plates for Sketches of Artistic Furniture, the 1871 catalogue of the London furniture-makers Collinson & Lock. His first publication, Studies for Pictures: A Medley (London, 1868), is dedicated to Dresser. His next two books, Album of Decorative Figures and Ancient Greek Female Costume (both London, 1882), reveal his interest in figurative designs. His most scholarly work was a history of interiors, Ornamental Interiors, Ancient to Modern (London, 1888).

Smith’s penchant for drawing literary, allegorical and historical figures in historical costumes is evident in the themes of the books he chose to illustrate and in his designs for tiles. During the 1870s and 1880s he produced illustrations for Greek myths, fairy tales and the writings of Plutarch and Shakespeare. Smith was a prolific designer for ...