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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

Gordon Campbell

(b Boston, MA, July 10, 1868; d La Mesa, CA, Jan 25, 1962).

American book-illustrator and designer of posters, typefaces and furniture. In 1893 Bradley began designing for Vogue magazine. He subsequently worked for Ladies’ Home Journal, and in 1901–2 published an influential series of eight articles on ‘The Bradley House’; the designs in these articles (and another three in 1905) seem not to have been implemented, but they nonetheless exerted a seminal influence on public taste and on subsequent furniture design; his designs for pianos were used by Chickering & Sons of Boston. Bradley also designed two series of plates for Royal Doulton: ‘Golfers’ (...

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

(b Frankenstein nr Breslau [now Wroclaw], Dec 15, 1868; d Munich, 1940).

German painter, illustrator and interior designer. He studied at the Kunstschule in Breslau under the German painter Albrecht Bräuer (1830–97), and later at the Pinakothek in Munich, absorbing the work of the Old Masters. He continued his training in Paris at the Académie Julian (1892–4), and established a studio in Munich (1895). With other non-academic painters of the period he rejected the influence of the French Impressionists and allied with the Symbolist painters of the late 19th century. He drew inspiration from wild places and as a young man travelled to the Baltic Sea and to the Riviera and Brittany coasts. He was fascinated by Norse legends, Grimms’ fairy tales and Johann Gottfried Herder’s Stimmen der Völker, all of which had an impact on his subject-matter. His early paintings of bucolic landscapes with figures were executed in flat, calm colours with well-defined outlines, reminiscent of the work of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. In a long, prolific career he designed costumes and stage sets, stained glass, ceramics and bookbindings....

Article

John Mawer

(b Bodiam, E. Sussex, Feb 17, 1849; d London, Aug 21, 1930).

English designer. He was educated at Marlborough College and New College, Oxford, where he studied drawing under John Ruskin. Although he took Holy Orders in 1873, he continued to practise as a designer and eventually gave up his clerical duties in 1882, the year in which Arthur Mackmurdo founded the Century Guild of Artists, London. In 1883 Mackmurdo and Image opened the Century Guild Workshops. Image painted panels and inscriptions and designed inlaid decoration for furniture made by the Guild and also produced the title-page woodcut for its magazine The Hobby Horse, first published in 1884, which he co-edited from 1886 to 1892. The Guild itself was dissolved in 1888. He undertook design commissions in several fields—stained glass, typography, mosaic and embroidery (for the Royal School of Needlework). He also became active within the Art Workers’ Guild, London, of which he became master in 1900. In the same year he began working for the Glasgow furniture manufacturers ...

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

Katalin Gellér

(b Németbánya, May 18, 1869; d Gödöllő, March 14, 1950).

Hungarian painter, draughtsman, designer and illustrator. He studied at the school of design drawing, Mintarajziskola, Budapest, under Bertalan Székely. In 1890 he travelled to Rome on a two-year scholarship, where he met the Hungarian painters Ferenc Szoldatics and Aladár Körösfői-Kriesch. From 1892 he attended the Académie Julian in Paris and in 1900 returned to Hungary, settling in Veszprém. From 1907 he worked at the Gödöllő colony with his wife, the artist Laura Kriesch, the sister of Körösfői-Kriesch. Nagy’s works are characterized by a zeal for experimentation, particularly with materials and techniques. He was especially concerned with the edifying role of art for the individual and society. He was influenced by Ruskin and Tolstoy and also by anarchism. His works of art incorporate a mystical symbolism, while some designs use a Secessionist style incorporating elements of Hungarian folklore.

In his early drawings and paintings Nagy sought to represent the road to moral and spiritual purification (e.g. ...

Article

Sjarel Ex

(b Zaandijk, May 28, 1885; d Wassenaar, Sept 27, 1977).

Dutch designer and typographer . After working in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement, he came into contact in 1917 with De Stijl, which fundamentally changed the course of his work. Through Vilmos Huszár and Jan Wils, he met H. P. Berlage, for whom he worked as a draughtsman, and international artists working in typographic design, such as Kurt Schwitters, El Lissitsky and Jan Tschichold. His international importance is based on typographical works, such as those he made between 1923 and 1930 for NKF, the Dutch cable works, and for PTT, the Dutch postal service. His advertisements, inspired by Dada, often used a wide range of typography and could be read as messages, poems or advertising slogans, while being appreciated simply as designs. Zwart was also active as an interior designer; his most successful work in this field was the kitchen (1938) that he designed for the ...