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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Art Nouveau vs. Art Deco

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau began in the 1880s as a reaction against the historical emphasis of mid-19th-century art. Art Nouveau is an international style of art, architecture and design that peaked in popularity at the turn of the 20th century (1890―1905) and is characterized by highly-stylized, flowing, curvilinear designs often incorporating floral and other plant-inspired motifs. The name 'Art Nouveau' derived from the name of a shop in Paris, Maison de l'Art Nouveau, at the time run by Siegfried Bing, that showcased objects that followed this approach to design. Despite the presence of the Maison de l'Art Nouveau, the style was not an immediate success in Paris. In the United Kingdom Art Nouveau developed out of the Arts and Crafts Movement. A high point in the evolution of Art Nouveau was the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris, in which the 'modern style' triumphed in every medium. It probably reached its apogee, however, at the Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Decorativa Moderna of 1902 in Turin, Italy, where designers exhibited from almost every European country where Art Nouveau flourished. Art Nouveau made use of many technological innovations of the late 19th century, especially the broad use of exposed iron and large, irregularly shaped pieces of glass in architecture. The style was richly ornamental and asymmetrical, characterized by a whiplash linearity of syncopated rhythm, reminiscent of twining plant tendrils. Its exponents chose themes fraught with symbolism, frequently of an erotic nature. They imbued their designs with dreamlike and exotic forms. Dynamic, undulating, flowing. Another feature is the use of hyperbolas and parabolas in windows, arches, and doors. Conventional moldings seem to spring to life and 'grow' into plant-derived forms. Like most design styles, Art Nouveau sought to harmonize its forms. Unlike the backward-looking Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau artists quickly used new materials, machined surfaces, and abstraction in the service of pure design. In design Art Nouveau was characterized by writhing plant forms.

Here are examples of Art Nouveau:

This is the Tassel House in Brussels, Belgium.

The Victor Horta House in Brussels, Belgium.

A detail of the House of the People in Belgium.

Grand Palais in Paris, France.

Porte Dauphone Station edicule in Paris.

Music School in Brussels, Belgium.

These are in Latvia.

Art by Alphonse Mucha.

This gives you view of Art Nouveau graphics, fashion, and home interior.

Again this shows you Art Nouveau graphics and fashions. By Alice Wanke.

An example of jewelry influenced by the Art Nouveau movement.

An Art Nouveau tile.

Art Nouveau vases.

This sculpture is by Francois Raoul Larche.

Art Nouveau furniture.

Art Deco

Art Deco was a major design force that flourished between the two World Wars. It evolved from earlier artistic movements, and developed in direct response to the revolutionary changes in scientific, social and political events of the early 20th century and was generally referred to as Art Moderne. it was inspired by both the 1922 discovery of King Tut's tomb, and the fascination it generated with ancient cultures, as well as the machine age. Also known as Style Moderne, Art Deco was a popular international design movement from 1925 until 1939 (and some push it back to the 1900's) which affected architecture, home design, furniture, decorative accessories, fashion, fashion accessories, visual arts, etc. It's influence peaked in Europe in the roaring '20's but continued strongly in the United States during the 1930's. At the time, this style was seen as elegant, functional, and ultra modern. Various French artists formed a formal collective known as, La Société des artistes décorateurs (the society of the decorator artists). Founders included Hector Guimard, Eugène Grasset, Raoul Lachenal, Paul Follot, Maurice Dufrene, and Emile Decour. They organized the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Art), which would feature French art and business interests. The term Art Deco was derived from the Exposition of 1925, though it was not until the late 1960s that this term was coined by art historian Bevis Hillier, and popularized by his 1968 book Art Deco of the 20s and 30s. This movement was, in a sense, an amalgam of many different styles and movements of the early 20th century, including Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism, Bauhaus, Art Nouveau, and Futurism. The structure of art deco is based on mathematical geometric shapes. Some fractionated, crystalline, faceted forms of decorative Cubism and Futurism. characterized by use of materials such as aluminium, stainless steel, lacquer, inlaid wood, sharkskin (shagreen), and zebraskin. The bold use of stepped forms and sweeping curves (unlike the sinuous, natural curves of the Art Nouveau), chevron patterns, and the sunburst motif are typical of Art Deco. A parallel movement called Streamline Moderne, or simply Streamline, followed close behind. Streamline was influenced by the modern aerodynamic designs emerging from advancing technologies in aviation, ballistics, and other fields requiring high velocity. The attractive shapes resulting from scientifically applied aerodynamic principles were enthusiastically adopted within Art Deco, applying streamlining techniques to other useful objects in everyday life. Art Deco slowly lost patronage in the West after reaching mass production, when it began to be derided as gaudy and presenting a false image of luxury. Eventually, the style was cut short by the austerities of World War II.

During the Depression, very few buildings (especially houses) were constructed. One exception was New York City where rectangular skyscrapers next to narrow sidewalks were being built, the result of which was that very little light was reaching the pedestrian sidewalks. Thus, in 1924, a "setback" ordinance was passed: upper stories of a tall building were stepped back from the lower stories to allow more light to reach the street. Art Deco buildings in other cities imitated the setback feature to the extent that it became a common feature for Art Deco buildings.

The largest concentration of Art Deco buildings is in New York City (skyscrapers) and Miami (apartment houses and hotels).

Common Art Deco features:

Vertical emphasis
Steel frames
Flat roofs
Setbacks (steplike recessions in a wall) emphasizing the geometric form
String courses
Geometric ornament: parallel straight lines, zig-zags, chevrons, lozenges (diamondlike shape, but not a square)
Stylized (abstracted) floral motifs
Stylized figure sculpture
Octagonal lamps, clocks
Sunrise and floral patterns in ornamentation
Intense colors in terra cotta, glass, colored glazed bricks, mosaic tiles, and colored mirrors
Hard-edged low relief ornamentation around door and window openings, e.g. stepped frontispiece and stepped window head
Volutes in door surrounds
Strips of windows with decorated iron grille work in surrounds to add vertical feeling
Metal windows: sash, casement
Although straight-headed windows are more popular, an occasional circular window or rounded window and door jamb is found
Buildings are" stripped down" to their purest forms

Here are examples of Art Deco:

This is a gorgeous tile.

Fashions of the Art Deco period.

Art Deco architecture.

This is at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital.

This is found at the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies and Performing Arts.

Here is the Marine Building in Vancouver.

This is the Asheville, NC City Hall in my part of the woods.

The Gleason Theatre.

Art Deco influence on household items.

An Art Deco jukebox.

Art Deco jewelry.

Art Deco graphics are still very popular.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

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