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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 Rouen, Nov 11, 1738; d Paris, May 7, 1826).

French painter, illustrator and writer. He began his studies in Rouen and, at 17, won first prize for drawing at the city’s Académie. Shortly afterwards he travelled to Paris, entering the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture as a student of Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre. In 1767–8 he was in Rome, a fact confirmed by a number of dated and inscribed drawings and paintings, including the pen, ink and wash drawing Landscape Inspired by the Gardens of the Villa d’Este at Tivoli (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). He was in Switzerland in 1776, where he spent several years drawing illustrations for Beát Zurlauben’s Tableau de la Suisse ou voyage pittoresque fait dans les treize cantons du Corps Helvétique (Paris, 1780–86). In 1780, having returned to France, he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale and received (reçu) in 1785 with Jupiter Asleep on Mount Ida (Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). Thereafter he regularly exhibited moralistic pictures at the Salon until ...

Article

[Christiaan]

(b Amsterdam, May 26, 1878; d Dachau, April 2, 1945).

Dutch painter, designer and applied artist. He trained in design and decorative painting at the Quellinus school and the Rijksschool voor Kunstnijverheid (National School of the Applied Arts) in Amsterdam from 1892 to 1899. He was assigned to assist with the decoration of the Dutch pavilion at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. A number of his designs for the pavilion were executed in batik, a Javanese technique that had been recently introduced in the Netherlands. In subsequent years Lebeau developed a very personal approach to batiking and within a short time became the leading Dutch artist in this field. His batiked screens in particular were widely acclaimed (examples in Assen, Prov. Mus. Drenthe) and are considered masterpieces of Dutch Jugendstil.

Lebeau is one of the most important representatives of the severe, geometrical trend in Dutch applied arts of the early 20th century. From 1903 he designed damask tablecloths and household linen for the ...

Article

Antoinette Le Normand-Romain

(b Banyuls-sur-Mer, Oct 8, 1861; d Perpignan, Sept 24, 1944).

French sculptor, painter, designer and illustrator. He began his career as a painter and tapestry designer, but after c. 1900 devoted himself to three-dimensional work, becoming one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. He concentrated almost exclusively on the nude female figure in the round, consciously wishing to strip form of all literary associations and architectural context. Although inspired by the Classical tradition of Greek and Roman sculpture, his figures have all the elemental sensuousness and dignity associated with the Mediterranean peasant.

Maillol first intended to become a painter and went to Paris in 1881, where he lived in extreme poverty. Three years later the Ecole des Beaux-Arts finally accepted him as a pupil, where he began studies under Alexandre Cabanel. He found the teaching there discouraging and his early painted work was more strongly influenced by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Paul Gauguin, and the Nabis group which he joined around ...

Article

(b Paris, May 21, 1846; d Paris, Nov 14, 1920).

French painter and illustrator. He was the son of the painter and art critic Charles-Olivier Merson (1822–1902) and trained initially at the Ecole de Dessin in Paris under Gustave Adolphe Chassevent (1818–1901) and then at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Isidore-Alexandre-Augustin Pils. He made his début at the Salon in 1867 and won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1869 with the melodramatic work, the Soldier of Marathon (1869; Paris, Ecole N. Sup. B.-A.). As a prizewinner he then spent five years in Italy, where he was impressed and influenced by the works of the Italian Primitives, as is apparent in such works as St Edmund, King and Martyr (1871; Troyes, Mus. B.-A. & Archéol.), with its muted colours and rigid composition. In the Salon of 1875 he exhibited Sacrifice for the Country, St Michael, which had been commissioned as a design for a ...

Article

Peter Stansky

(b Walthamstow [now in London], March 24, 1834; d London, Oct 3, 1896).

English designer, writer and activist. His importance as both a designer and propagandist for the arts cannot easily be overestimated, and his influence has continued to be felt throughout the 20th century. He was a committed Socialist whose aim was that, as in the Middle Ages, art should be for the people and by the people, a view expressed in several of his writings. After abandoning his training as an architect, he studied painting among members of the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1861 he founded his own firm, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (from 1875 Morris & Co.), which produced stained glass, furniture, wallpaper and fabrics (see §3 below). Morris’s interests constantly led him into new activities such as his last enterprise, the Kelmscott Press (see §5 below). In 1950 his home at Walthamstow became the William Morris Gallery. The William Morris Society was founded in 1956, and it publishes a biannual journal and quarterly newsletter....

Article

Phillip Dennis Cate

(b Lausanne, Nov 10, 1859; d Paris, Dec 13, 1923).

French illustrator, printmaker, painter and sculptor, of Swiss birth. After studying at the University at Lausanne and working as an apprentice designer in a textile factory in Mulhouse, Steinlen arrived in Paris in 1881 and quickly established himself in Montmartre, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. In 1883 the illustrator Adolphe Willette introduced him to the avant-garde literary and artistic environment of the Chat Noir cabaret which had been founded in 1881 by another Swiss expatriot, Rodolphe Salis. Steinlen soon became an illustrator of its satirical and humorous journal, Chat noir, and an artistic collaborator with writers such as Emile Zola, poets such as Jean Richepin, composers such as Paul Delmet, artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and, most important, the singer and songwriter Aristide Bruant, all of whom he encountered at the Chat Noir. Bruant’s lyrics incorporate the argot of the poor, the worker, the rogue, the pimp and the prostitute, for whom Steinlen’s empathy had been awakened on reading Zola’s novel ...

Article

Daniel Robbins

(b Moscow, July 31, 1879; d Paris, Oct 30, 1968).

Russian painter, designer and illustrator. He was directed to enter the piano factory operated by his Finnish father, and besides learning the piano he took a commercial diploma in 1897. After becoming severely ill at the age of 22, he rethought his career and entered the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Introduced to the modern movement through the collections of Sergey Shchukin and Ivan Morosov, he joined the ranks of the Moscow avant-garde and by 1906 was close to the circle associated with the magazine Zolotoye runo (see Golden Fleece). He also met Alexander Archipenko, exhibiting with him in the company of David Burlyuk, Vladimir Burlyuk, Mikhail Larionov and Natal’ya Goncharova. With Hélène Moniuschko, whom he subsequently married, he travelled to Western Europe, visiting Paris in July 1908. The following August the couple settled in Paris, where Survage worked as a piano tuner and briefly attended the short-lived school run by ...