Art Nouveau and Symbolism

May 17, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: History, European History, Europe (1815-1915), Industrial Revolution
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Fin de Siecle Styles Symbolism 1880-1910

Art Nouveau 1890-1905 Klimt, Pallas Athene, 1898 •decadence, opulence •paint is the carrier of symbolic meaning •Athena usually holds figure of Nike (Victory) but this Athena holds a woman with a mirror, for modern man to see his reflection

What artists of the past can we think of who used symbolism to interject meaning into their artwork?



Durer Bosch


Wagnerian heroic symbolism also had a huge impact on many artists

Jupiter and Semele, 1878 …she dies by seeing great god

Gustave Moreau 1826-98 “the beauty of inertia” love of symbolism of Hindu art

The Apparition, 1874 Salome viewing the head of John the Baptist

But the “New Symbolism” of the turn of the century rejected representations of: virtue morality progress history seascapes domestic animals still life orientalism realism rationalism

What was left? “Suggestion, that is the Dream…” De Chevannes, The Dream, 1893

To the Symbolists, great art should be:

•ideative (stating an idea) •symbolist (the idea comes in a form) •synthetic (the idea is generally recognizable) •subjective (as seen through the artist and interpreted through the viewer) •decorative (visually suggestive and interesting)

Cyclops, 1914

Guardian Spirit of the Waters, 1874

Odilon Redon looked through the microscope of the mind to create his images

Crying Spider, 1881

Henri Rousseau Sleeping Gypsy, 1897 •personal fantasy •sleeping subconscious •also naïve, also fauve

Poet Rimbaud, in 1874: “To be a seer, you must be deranged”

Heroes of the Symbolist movement (coming from many different “schools”) were:

Paul Gauguin, Vision after the Sermon, 1888

Madonna, 1902

Edvard Munch Norwegian Yes, he could be called an Expressionist, but Symbolism also applies…emotion and subject matter are intertwined

The Cry, 1893

“I believe in a last judgement where... (Romantics, showing sentiment, will all go to hell)... while the faithful disciples of Great Art will be glorified and surrounded by …rays, perfumes and melodious sounds…for all eternity in the divine source of harmony.” ---Wagner

Interested in the endless, not the immediate

Paul Serusier

Talisman, 1888

part of the Nabi (“prophet”) School of painters that included Vuillard and Denis

Gustav Klimt an Art Nouveau artist from Austria --- the Secessionists who saw beauty in the dream

The Kiss, 1907

Aubrey Beardsley an Art Nouveau artist from England, sometimes referred to as a “decadent artist” who leaned on the occult and mystical in his graphic designs

Paganism was experiencing a revival now that Darwin had opened the debate of the origin of mankind Peacock Skirt, 1893

Art Nouveau 1890-1914 Art Nouveau was a concerted attempt to create an international style based on decoration “The New Art”

. Lalique’s Dragonfly Pin Art Nouveau was a response to the Industrial Revolution. Some artists were excited by the new materials and potential of the Industrial Age, while others feared the destruction of culture and beauty with the emergence of mass production.

Gesamtkunstwerk!! Unified art Art is in everything …furniture, clothing, fabrics, jewelry,


Japanese art, with its beautiful, flowing lines and focus on nature, was inspiration for the Art Nouveau movement

Hokusai, Waterfall, 1832

Hiroshige, Plum Estate, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 1856 Lautrec’s copy is on the right; Edo=Tokyo

The Paris Exhibition of 1900 A mammoth, chaotic event, the Universal International Exhibition held in Paris in 1900 was a late celebration of nineteenth-century values, imperialism and eclecticism. It included displays of real live “natives” from African colonies compete with camels and exotic animals. But the exhibition was also intended to look forward to the new century: an elevated electric railway surrounded the site, and it held examples of what the general public considered to be the last word in modern architecture and design, epitomized by Art Nouveau.

A true international style, Art Nouveau stretched itself around the world Louis Tiffany (American, 1848-1933) Louis Sullivan (American, 1856-1924)

Antonio Gaudí (Spanish, 1852-1926) Alphonse Mucha (Czechoslovakian, 1860-1939) Gustav Klimt (Austrian, 1862-1918) Mackintosh window Glasgow

Rene Lalique (French, 1860-1945)

Mucha bust, Czech

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1861-1901) Hector Guimard (French, 1867-1942) Charles Mackintosh (Scottish, 18681928) Aubrey Beardsley (English, 18721898) Guimard Metro sign, Paris

Artists were inspired by the organic….

Zsolnay vase, 1899

…including insects...

Tiffany Lamp

Galle, Dragonfly bowl, 1904

Furniture was part of the “Gestamkunstwerk” of Art Nouveau

Wallpaper, clothing and jewelry were organically designed

Louis Tiffany American craftsman stained glass jewelry lamps, glassware

Art Nouveau posters and prints, inspired by Lautrec, displayed the elegance of the new, turn-of-the century art...

Toulouse Lautrec, 1890

Mucha, JOB cigarette paper poster, 1898


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