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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

Monique D. J. M. Teunissen

Dutch company of art dealers and interior design and furniture workshop. The Arts and Crafts interior design and furniture workshop was set up in The Hague in 1893. The Art Nouveau character of the furniture produced by the workshop set it very much apart from its competitors. Designs were produced by the artist Johan Thorn Prikker and the architect Chris Wegerif (1859–1920). During the early years of the workshop the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde exercised a strong influence on its designs. After 1900 the designs became more austere, any Art Nouveau character being confined to woodwork and batik upholstery fabrics. In order to ensure the unity of each interior, an effort was made to have all the objects designed by the same artist. The workshop fostered a close relationship with The Hague school of painting.

F. Netscher: ‘Arts and Crafts’, De Hollandsche Revue (1902), p. 211...

Article

James D. Kornwolf

(b Ramsgate, Oct 23, 1865; d Brighton, Feb 10, 1945).

English architect, interior designer, garden designer and writer . He was articled to Charles Davis (1827–1902), City Architect of Bath, from 1886 until 1889 but learnt little and was largely self-taught. In 1889 he started his own practice on the Isle of Man, where he built a number of buildings, including his own Red House, Douglas (1893). He was a leading member of the second-generation Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain and was among the first to build on the simpler, more abstract and stylized designs of C. F. A. Voysey, a refinement of the ideas of William Morris, Philip Webb, R. Norman Shaw and others from the period 1860–90. From about 1890 until World War I, the Arts and Crafts Movement, as represented by Baillie Scott, Voysey, C. R. Ashbee, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Parker & Unwin and others, became the most important international force in architecture, interior design, landscape and urban planning. The work of these architects influenced Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann in Austria, Joseph Maria Olbrich and Peter Behrens in Germany, Eliel Saarinen and others in Scandinavia, and Frank Lloyd Wright, Irving Gill, Greene & Greene in the USA....

Article

Gordon Campbell

English family of furniture designers and artist-craftsmen. Ernest (1863–1926) and his brother Sidney (1865–1926) worked with Ernest Gimson in the design and construction of furniture in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Sidney’s son Edward (1900–87) carried on the business at a shop established in Froxfield (Petersfield, Hants) in ...

Article

Peyton Skipwith

(b London, April 14, 1863; d London, Nov 27, 1933).

English decorative artist and painter. He was articled to an architect and studied at Westminster School of Art under Frederick Brown and at the Royal Academy Schools. Later he worked in the studio of Aimé Morot in Paris and travelled to Italy. Bell belonged to the group of artist–craftsmen who brought about the last flowering of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. He painted in oil and watercolour and was among the pioneers of the revival of the use of tempera. He was an illustrator and also worked in stained glass and mosaic. He is best known for a series of bas-reliefs in coloured plaster, a group of which was used in the interior decoration at Le Bois de Moutiers, a house in Varengeville, Normandy, designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1898. Bell’s understanding of early Italian art underpinned his work in mosaic, a medium he used to great effect in three public commissions in London: the ...

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

Gordon Campbell

Wood curved by machinery, used for making furniture. In the 18th century wood was softened by heating in water or steam and then shaped and clamped onto a mould. In America the principal innovator in bentwood furniture was Samuel Gragg (1772–1855), a Boston furniture-maker who in 1808 patented a bentwood ‘elastic’ chair. At about the same time German furniture-makers working in the Biedermeier idiom began to use plywood for shaped chairbacks. The greatest exponent of bentwork in Germany was Michael Thonet. In Poland, the Bentwood Furniture Company in Jasienica was founded in 1881 by Joseph Hofman, a cabinetmaker from Vienna; the company is still making bentwood furniture. In America bentwood furniture was developed by John Henry Belter. In the 20th century bentwood was an important element in the furniture of designers such as Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Charles Eames and Saarinen family §(2).

D. E. Ostergard, ed.: Bent Wood and Metal Furniture 1850–1946...

Article

Athena S. E. Leoussi

(b Villefranche, Rhône, 1872; d Paris, 1909).

French designer and lithographer. He began his training in Villefranche, where he studied painting, and in 1893 he moved to Paris, entering the Ecole Normale d’Enseignement du Dessin. There he became a pupil and disciple of Eugène-Samuel Grasset, the Professor of Decorative Arts, and was also influenced by Luc Olivier Merson. Berthon’s main output consisted of posters and decorative panels. However, he also produced bookbindings and furniture designs, both of which he exhibited at the Salon in 1895; designs for ceramics for Villeroy & Boch in the late 1890s; and a few designs for the covers of such magazines as L’Image (July 1897) and Poster (May 1899). His work is in an Art Nouveau style, and he adopted that movement’s plant and figural motifs, especially the motif of the femme fatale, and also its long sinuous lines. These features can be seen in such works as the poster ...

Article

French family of cabinetmakers, antique dealers and collectors. The dynasty was founded by Jean Beurdeley (1772–1853), who, after service in Napoleon’s armies, opened a small antique shop in the Marais district of Paris and in 1830 bought the Pavillon de Hanovre, 28 Boulevard des Italiens, which was the Beurdeley firm’s principal gallery until 1894. His son (Louis-Auguste-) Alfred Beurdeley (1808–82) dealt in antiques and works of art and was also a cabinetmaker specializing in reproductions of 17th- and 18th-century furniture. His clients included Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie. Alfred Beurdeley’s illegitimate son (Emmanuel-) Alfred Beurdeley (b Paris, 11 Aug 1847; d Paris, 20 Nov 1919) took over the gallery and workshops in 1875 and until 1894 concentrated on making luxury furniture, continuing the models sold by his father. He was one of the most important Parisian cabinetmakers, winning a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

[‘hardened wood’]

Hard, highly polishable material patented in France and England in 1855 by François Charles Lepage. His composition was made of fine hardwood sawdust mixed with albumen (blood from the Paris slaughterhouses, or eggs) and coloured to simulate wood; the mixture was steam-heated and then pressed into a heated steel mould. The invention was bought by A. Latry, who produced it at his factory in Grenelle. La Société du Bois Durci specialized in desk ware (especially ink stands) and plaques, but also made household items such as combs and decorative elements (e.g. medallions) for furniture. In about ...

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

(b 1876; d 1962).

Maltese cabinetmaker and designer. He was trained exclusively in Malta, where one of his teachers was the painter Lazzaro Pisani. He was a gifted wood-carver, but his speciality was wood inlay, for which he developed his own distinctive technique. He designed and executed many items of church furniture, developing and elaborating a richly ornate Baroque style that reflects the Maltese love of exuberant decoration. He also produced designs for liturgical objects in precious metals and for church brocades....

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Saverne, Lower Rhine, March 17, 1862; d Strasbourg, 1932).

French sculptor, decorative artist and draughtsman. He moved to Paris with his family after the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 and worked as an ornamental sculptor in a cabinetmaker’s studio in 1878. In the early 1880s he befriended painters such as Georges Seurat, Claude Monet and Toulouse-Lautrec. He is best known for the small number of pieces of furniture made before he became Director of the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg in 1920. These objects had more in common with sculpture than with the work of traditional cabinetmakers. He often made use of female nudes in his furniture, not as decoration but literally as construction, for example in one of his earliest works, a wooden table (h. 760 mm; Paris, Maurice Rheims priv. col., see exh. cat., p. 98), in place of conventional legs he used carved human figures depicted as if supporting the table-top with their uplifted arms.

Carabin’s interest in the female form is further attested to by life drawings. Apart from the furniture, he also produced small decorative objects and medals (e.g. a commemorative medal for the magazine ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

(b Flensburg, March 6, 1866; d Wiesbaden, Jan 5, 1945).

German designer. After an early career as an interior designer he turned to the design of tapestries (subsequently woven at the Scherbeker Kunstgewerbeschule), porcelain (table wares), drinking glasses (for the Theresienthaler Kristallglasfabrik) and silver cutlery. After 1914 he worked primarily as a painter and writer.

M. Zimmermann-Degen and H. Christiansen...

Article

Hugh Maguire

(b Oxford, March 16, 1840; d Southampton, Oct 7, 1924).

English architect. He studied architecture under R. W. Armstrong and later G. E. Street in London, subsequently working for Collinson & Lock, the fashionable furniture-makers. He designed their premises (1873–4; destr.) on Fleet Street, London, and a tall ebonized ‘Art’ cabinet (London, V&A), exhibited at the International Exhibition in London (1871). Although he worked in a variety of architectural styles, including the Queen Anne Revival for the Town Hall (1877), Wakefield, Yorks, he favoured a Hispano-Renaissance style with strong Moorish motifs, as in his best-known commission, the Imperial Institute (1887–93; destr.), South Kensington, London. The complex, of which only the 90 m campanile survives, combined effective massing with an attention to detail, displaying Collcutt’s debt to his earlier cabinet-making with Collinson & Lock. The exterior was faced with Portland stone and the animated roofline recalled a Moorish palace. The interior planning reflected the purpose of the building, with long arcaded corridors giving access to offices. Hopton Wood stone was used extensively on the interior, and the dramatic grand vestibule incorporated various coloured marbles and floors by the Paris-based ...

Article

Merrill Halkerston

(b Portland, ME, March 4, 1832; d New York, March 26, 1920).

American painter, interior designer and writer. Colman grew up in New York, where his father, Samuel Colman, ran a successful publishing business. The family bookstore on Broadway, a popular meeting place for artists, offered Colman early introductions to such Hudson River school painters as Asher B(rown) Durand, with whom he is said to have studied briefly around 1850. Having won early recognition for his paintings of popular Hudson River school locations (see Storm King on the Hudson), he was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design in New York in 1854. Most of Colman’s landscapes of the 1850s, for example Meadows and Wildflowers at Conway (1856; Poughkeepsie, NY, Vassar Coll., Frances Lehman Loeb A. Cent.), reveal the influence of the Hudson River school. An avid traveller, he embarked on his first European tour in 1860, visiting France, Italy, Switzerland and the more exotic locales of southern Spain and Morocco. His reputation was secured in the 1860s by his numerous paintings of romantic Spanish sites, notably the large ...

Article

Betzy Dinesen

Term applied to an architectural and interior design style prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the USA and Australia, countries formerly colonized by Britain. The style, used mostly for domestic architecture, was based on buildings of early colonial periods and had much in common with the contemporary Neo-Georgian tendency in Britain (e.g. Annie Longfellow Thorp House, 1887); later developments on the west coast of the USA drew on Spanish styles. It became popular in response to a reaction against the ornate eclecticism of late 19th-century architecture and the search for a new aesthetic: Colonial Revival was promoted as a ‘national’ style, rooted in the foundations of the nations and suited to their environment and culture. A similar stimulus produced revivals of colonial styles in other countries, such as South Africa, where the Cape Dutch style was revived in work by Herbert Baker around the end of the 19th century, and Brazil, where features of Portuguese colonial architecture appeared in the work of ...

Article

Elke Ostländer

[Klönne, Eduard; Colonna, Eugène]

(b Mülheim, nr Cologne, May 27, 1862; d Nice, Oct 14, 1948).

German architect and designer. He studied architecture from 1877 to 1881 in Brussels and in 1882 went to New York where he worked briefly as a designer for Tiffany’s Associated Artists. From 1884 to 1885 he worked with the New York architects Bruce Price. From 1885 onwards he produced railway wagons for Barney & Smith, Dayton, OH, and for a Canadian railway company, and he also worked in the field of interior decoration. In 1893 Colonna went to Europe, settling in Paris, where in 1898 he started work as a designer for S. Bing’s Galerie Art Nouveau. His heyday came between 1898 and 1902, when he produced designs for jewellery, textiles and furniture, including exhibits in the famous Art Nouveau Bing pavilion (destr.) at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.

In 1902 Colonna returned to Canada, and for 20 years he worked as an interior decorator and designer there and in the USA. In ...

Article

Arnold Berke

(b Pittsburgh, PA, April 4, 1869; d Santa Fe, NM, January 8, 1958).

American architect and designer. Raised in St Paul, MN, Mary (Elizabeth Jane) Colter graduated in 1890 from the California School of Design in San Francisco, then taught mechanical drawing at a St Paul high school and contributed to local Arts and Crafts societies as lecturer and craftswoman. These pursuits nourished Colter’s love of Native American art and the Southwest, interests also fostered by her first professional projects—the interior of the Indian Building at the Santa Fe Railway’s Albuquerque station (1902) and the Grand Canyon’s Hopi House (1904), modeled on an Indian village. She completed both for her lifelong employer, the Fred Harvey Co., the famous purveyor of travel services, which hired her full-time in 1910.

Colter designed hotels, train stations, tourist attractions, restaurants and shops—at the Grand Canyon and along the Santa Fe line. She based her designs on Native American and Hispanic cultures and on the western landscape, and, through rigorous research, fashioned environments to charm the leisure traveler. The most dramatic is the Watchtower (...