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Article

Suzanne Tise

Descriptive term applied to a style of decorative arts that was widely disseminated in Europe and the USA during the 1920s and 1930s. Derived from the style made popular by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925, the term has been used only since the late 1960s, when there was a revival of interest in the decorative arts of the early 20th century. Since then the term ‘Art Deco’ has been applied to a wide variety of works produced during the inter-war years, and even to those of the German Bauhaus. But Art Deco was essentially of French origin, and the term should, therefore, be applied only to French works and those from countries directly influenced by France.

The development of the Art Deco style, or the Style moderne as it was called at the time, closely paralleled the initiation of the 1925...

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

Bezel  

Gordon Campbell

In lapidary usage, the oblique sides or faces of a cut gem. A bezel setting is a metal rim that holds the gem in a finger ring. The term is used in a transferred sense by horologists to denote the ring that secures the glass in a watch or clock, and by metal specialists to describe the ring inside the lid of silver and pewter objects....

Article

Cameo  

Design engraved, carved or moulded in relief on gemstones, glass, ceramics etc; it uses layers of different colours, which can be transparent or opaque, so that the background and raised ground contrast. There are often just two colours: one dark colour, the other lighter, often white. The most common form is a medallion with a ...

Article

Citrine  

Gordon Campbell

Article

Franz Müller

(b Solothurn, Dec 9, 1930; d Berne, July 12, 2000).

Swiss sculptor, painter, printmaker and jewellery designer. From 1946 to 1951 he was apprenticed to a maker of stained glass while at the same time attending the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berne. He then studied at the painting school, also in Berne, run by Max von Mühlenen (1903–71). In 1955 Eggenschwiler, Peter Meier (b 1928), Konrad Vetter (b 1922) and Robert Wälti (b 1937) formed the Berner Arbeitsgemeinschaft, which operated until 1971.

Until the mid-1960s Eggenschwiler’s work was essentially Constructivist, although until 1968 he was still regarded as a stained-glass maker. His prints and paintings, as well as his sculptures, were dominated by basic geometric forms, especially the cube, as in the sculpture Stair Cubes (iron, 155×155×155 mm, 1968; Westphalia, priv. col., see 1985 exh. cat., p. 41). From the 1960s he worked with objets trouvés, collecting discarded objects made of metal, wood or other materials, as well as stones and other natural objects. He either worked on these ...

Article

Lawrence Winkworth, Dimitris Plantzos, Mauro Cristofani, Martin Henig, Mary K. Whiting, Nada Chaldecott, Ludvik Kalus, Paul Williamson, Alfred Bernhard-Walcher and Gertrud Seidmann

Engraved gems are gemstones, whether quartzes or the harder, more precious stones, either engraved in intaglio, as for seals, or cut in cameo to give a raised relief image. In a wider sense gem-engraving encompasses shell cameos and moulded glass-paste imitations of engraved gems.

See also Gems and Hardstones.

The use of gems, often set in gold, electrum, and to a lesser extent silver, in ancient Egypt is attested from the Predynastic period (c. 6000–c. 2925 bc). The Egyptians chose the stones for their rich colours, not their reflective powers, and the classic trio were blood-red cornelian, turquoise, and lapis lazuli. It has been suggested that these colours represent blood, vegetation, and water/sky respectively, and certainly the amuletic protection afforded by ancient Egyptian jewellery was as important as any decorative effect.

Cornelian pebbles could be quite easily picked up from the Eastern desert, whereas turquoise had to be mined laboriously in the Sinai desert. A list of craftsmen from a papyrus (London, BM) notes a ...

Article

Phylis Floyd

French term used to describe a range of European borrowings from Japanese art. It was coined in 1872 by the French critic, collector and printmaker Philippe Burty ‘to designate a new field of study—artistic, historic and ethnographic’, encompassing decorative objects with Japanese designs (similar to 18th-century Chinoiserie), paintings of scenes set in Japan, and Western paintings, prints and decorative arts influenced by Japanese aesthetics. Scholars in the 20th century have distinguished japonaiserie, the depiction of Japanese subjects or objects in a Western style, from Japonisme, the more profound influence of Japanese aesthetics on Western art.

There has been wide debate over who was the first artist in the West to discover Japanese art and over the date of this discovery. According to Bénédite, Félix Bracquemond first came under the influence of Japanese art after seeing the first volume of Katsushika Hokusai’s Hokusai manga (‘Hokusai’s ten thousand sketches’, 1814) at the printshop of ...

Article

Catherine Brisac

(Jules)

(b Ay, Marne, April 6, 1860; d Paris, 1945).

French jeweller, glassmaker and designer. He began his studies at the Lycée Turgot near Vincennes and after his father’s death (1876) he was apprenticed to the Parisian jeweller Louis Aucoq, where he learnt to mount precious stones. Unable to further his training in France, he went to London to study at Sydenham College, which specialized in the graphic arts. On his return to Paris in 1880, he found employment as a jewellery designer creating models for such firms as Cartier and Boucheron. His compositions began to acquire a reputation and in 1885 he took over the workshop of Jules d’Estape in the Rue du 4 Septembre, Paris. He rejected the current trend for diamonds in grand settings and instead used such gemstones as bloodstones, tourmalines, cornelians and chrysoberyls together with plique à jour enamelling and inexpensive metals for his creations. His jewellery, which was in the Art Nouveau style, included hair-combs, collars, brooches, necklaces and buckles (e.g. water-nymph buckle, ...

Article

Peter Bermingham

(b Richmond, VA, Nov 10, 1827; d New York, March 31, 1912).

American painter and stained-glass designer. He grew up in Clarksville, TN, where his stepfather was a tailor and his mother a milliner. In 1846 his request to be accepted as Asher B. Durand’s pupil was turned down, but Newman managed three years later to exhibit in the American Art-Union in New York. In 1850 he studied with Thomas Couture in Paris for five months. On a second trip to Paris in 1854, he visited Jean-François Millet in Barbizon. He worked as a portrait painter and occasional teacher of drawing, before serving briefly as an artillery lieutenant in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, he apparently remained in New York, apart from a trip to Barbizon in 1882 and to Paris in 1908.

Although in 1872–3 he advertised himself as a portrait painter in Nashville, TN, and in the 1870s worked briefly as a stained-glass designer, Newman was primarily a painter of small compositions with a few figures, usually with a well-known religious, literary, or secular theme. One of his favourite subjects was the Virgin and Child (e.g. ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

[objets de vertu]

Decorative work in a fine material (e.g. glass, porcelain, semi-precious stones, silver or gold) that is attractive because of its antiquity, beauty and quality of workmanship. ‘Vertu’ (It. virtù) refers to a taste for curios or other works of art. The traditional form objets de vertu combines French and English spellings; as the Italian sense of ...

Article

Fringes, tassels and trimmings applied to Upholstery, especially to window curtains and bed-hangings. Also used to decorate textiles for clothing and other purposes, passementerie covers seams and outlines edges and contours. It greatly enhances the finished appearance of furnishing textiles, and in the 17th and 18th centuries it often represented considerable extra expense.

The finest passementerie was produced in France by master trimming-makers (passementiers), who followed an apprenticeship of up to five years: Diderot’s Encyclopédie shows passementiers at work on specially constructed looms. Simple trimmings were often made at home, for example the white linen knotted fringes popular in England in the late 17th century and early 18th.

Passementerie is made from silk, linen, wool, cotton and metal thread (gold and silver). The flat, narrow trims take various forms. Gimp is made from very stiff, wrapped or overspun silk cord, which holds its shape when bent into loops or points. ...

Article

Strass  

Gordon Campbell

Term used in several continental languages for cut leaded glass that is faceted to resemble gems; the usual English term is ‘paste’. The term ‘strass’ derives from its inventor, the Alsatian jeweller Georges Frédéric Stras (s) (1701–73), who c. 1730 established a workshop in Paris and quickly became world-famous for his imitation stones, which were known as ...