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Article

Ingeborg Wikborg

(Sigurd)

(b Inderøy, Nord-Trøndelag, April 21, 1933).

Norwegian sculptor, designer and medallist. He became familiar with handicraft in his father’s furniture workshop. In 1954 he began five years’ study as a commercial artist at the Håndverks- og Kunstindustriskole in Oslo and from 1957 to 1963 he worked as an illustrator for a newspaper. He studied at the Kunstakademi in Oslo from 1959 to 1962 under the sculptor Per Palle Storm (1910–94) who advocated naturalism in sculpture. As an assistant to Arnold Haukeland from 1961 to 1964, Aas lost his apprehension of the untried and cultivated his sense of daring, as he gained experience with welding techniques. Highly imaginative and versatile, Aas worked in both abstract and figurative modes and is reckoned one of the foremost sculptors in Norway; in 1990 he was honoured with St Olav.

Aas’s first sculpture was an equestrian monument in snow, made in Inderøy while he was a schoolboy. His first public project was the abstract steel figure ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

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

Gordon Campbell

Article

Bauhaus  

Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...

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

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

Fabian Stein

[Bühler]

German family of goldsmiths, furniture-makers and engravers. Lorenz Biller (i) (fl c. 1664–85) achieved prominence with works for Emperor Leopold I, for whom he made a centrepiece with a knight on a horse (1680–84; Moscow, Kremlin, Armoury) that was sent to Moscow as an ambassadorial gift. Lorenz Biller (i)’s sons, Johann Ludwig Biller (i) (1656–1732), Albrecht Biller (1663–1720) and Lorenz Biller (ii) (fl c. 1678–1726), supplied silverware of the highest quality to several German courts, especially that of Prussia, for which Albrecht made large wine-coolers and ‘pilgrim’ bottles (1698; Berlin, Schloss Köpenick). The strongly sculptural style of these pieces suggests familiarity with the work of Andreas Schlüter. Albrecht Biller’s abilities as a sculptor are also evident in his reliefs and in seven splendid silver vases he supplied to the court of Hesse-Kassel (c. 1700; Kassel, Hess. Landesmus.). The silver vases ordered by the court usually followed French fashions, yet the form and lavish decoration of these pieces are quite different. A pair of vases by ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Term applied to mouldings, usually ogee in section, which project before the face of the work which they decorate, as in a raised moulding around a panel. The purpose of bolection mouldings is to cover the join between two members with differing surface levels. The term is used both in architecture and in the decorative arts, such as cabinet-making and silverwork....

Article

Peter Hornsby

Portable stand for a candle. From the ancient Roman period until the introduction of gas and oil lighting in the 19th century, artificial light was primarily provided by candles, though oil lamps and partly-stripped rushes soaked in fat or wax were also used (see Lighting §2). Candles were shaped from a dough of fat, cast in moulds, rolled out from sheets of wax or dipped. Wicks were made of cotton, flax or rushes; candles were made from beeswax, tallow (animal fat), bayberry wax and, later, mineral wax.

One of the earliest extant candlesticks is of silver and was made in the reign of the Emperor Justinian I (ad 527–65; London, BM). Medieval candlesticks, however, were made from iron, brass or wood and had a pricket—a thin spike of metal—on which the candle was impaled. Few pricket candlesticks dating before 1400 survive. Some 12th-century candlesticks include representations of beasts and human figures, for example the ...

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 ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Lighting fixture suspended from the ceiling, equipped with multiple lamps or candles. The massive, crown-shaped, Romanesque chandeliers, for example that made c. 1166 for Frederick I, King of Germany and Holy Roman Emperor, for the Palatine chapel in Aachen Cathedral, were gradually superseded by a form that emerged in the 15th century in the Low Countries. This type comprises a central moulded shaft, from which 6–36 upward-curving branches radiate, embellished with Gothic ornament and sometimes human, bird or animal figures. These bronze chandeliers were used in public buildings, churches and the houses of the wealthy, as depicted in the Arnolfini Marriage by Jan van Eyck (1434; London, N.G.). In the later 15th century the solid shaft was replaced by a traceried niche containing a figure, often a Virgin and child (e.g. Amsterdam, Rijksmus.). Expensive silver versions were less common, but designs exist, for example an early 16th-century Florentine silver, rock-crystal and topaz chandelier (priv. col., see ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

Article

Term used to describe the continuation in the decorative arts of the Neo-classical style (see Neo-classicism) in France between 1800 and 1805 under Napoleon Bonaparte (First Consul; 1799–1804). His Consulate was an era of renewal in the furniture, porcelain and metalwork industries in France (see France, Republic of, §VI, 4), greatly encouraged by the patronage of Napoleon, who sought a model for his position in the magnificence of ancient Rome. While little actual building took place, the period was important for such changes in interior decoration as the lavish use of draperies—begun during the 1790s—that established the Consulate and the Empire styles (for illustration see Empire style); although these terms were invented by later art historians to denote the change in political systems, in fact the styles to which they refer are virtually indistinguishable. Furniture was similar to that of the preceding Directoire style...

Article

Clare Le Corbeiller

French family of silversmiths. René Cousinet (c.1626–92) was made a master in 1652 or 1654. An Orfèvre du Roi, he received payment between 1666 and 1684 for silver furniture (destr. 1689) made for Louis XIV, including mirror-frames, large repoussé chargers, containers for orange trees and chandeliers.

Two of René Cousinet’s sons were associated with the Swedish court of Karl XII (reg 1697–1718). Jean-François Cousinet (fl 1686–c. 1711) became a master in Paris in 1686, but lived in Stockholm from 1694 to 1711. While there he executed a silver baptismal font (1696–1707; Stockholm, Kun. Slottet), designed as three caryatid putti emerging from a triangular pedestal and supporting a large shell-form basin. His brother, Nicolas-Ambroise Cousinet (fl 1696–c.1715), became a master in Paris in 1696, but no silver by him is known. In 1703 he moved to Versailles, having been employed the previous year by ...

Article

Bet McLeod

(b Todi, Italy, c. 1635; d ?Paris, 1704–5).

French cabinetmaker, bronzeworker and carver of Italian birth. He may have trained in Rome and was summoned to France c. 1660, probably by Cardinal Mazarin, to work at the Gobelins. In 1664 he became a naturalized French citizen. He was granted lodgings at the Gobelins, where he was the head of the workshop that produced opulent, Italianate display cabinets of superb workmanship (see Gobelins, §3). Cucci can be seen presenting such a cabinet in the tapestry of Louis XIV Visiting the Gobelins (c. 1667; Versailles, Château). This cabinet is probably one of a pair of ‘large ebony cabinets inlaid with pewter’ with ‘four large twisted columns in imitation of lapis and vine scrolls of copper gilt supported by lions’ paws’, made between 1667 and 1673, described in the royal records. The records provide detailed information on the cabinets produced by Cucci and his workshop, among them the War and Peace cabinets, and the Apollo and Diana cabinets with columns of aventurine marble and jasper. These four cabinets were considered old-fashioned by ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(fl 1797).

French bronze-caster who established a factory in Paris c. 1797. He produced sculptures, candelabra and furniture (both bronze furniture and wooden furniture with gilt-bronze mounts), but increasingly came to specialize in clocks, sometimes in collaboration with a bronze-caster called Matelin, with whom he made various objects for the American president James Monroe, including the Hannibal clock (...