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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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Morocco  

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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 ...