Author’s Note: I tell you right now I am too lazy to put accents in every time I type the word “Faberge” so just imagine them.
I love the works of Mucha, Lalique, Faberge, Tiffany… I just got back from the Artistic Luxury exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art (going through January 18 – hurry, if you want to see it! Next it moves to San Francisco, I believe.)
That exhibit was worth every penny! Never since 1900 have the works of Lalique, Faberge and Tiffany been together like that. It was jaw-dropping to see so many gold, diamond and platinum encrusted items.
My folks went too, and my mom would have liked to walk out with the House of Faberge Snowflake Brooch (c. 1900, diamonds, platinum) as did so many other people there. It was one of the most appealing items and so images of this brooch were on the signs advertising the exhibit. We were curious exactly how many carats were in that brooch (and other things), but museum cases don’t list details like that. Probably so fewer people are tempted.
Another amazing thing in the display was the “Adams Vase”. It was on loan from the Metropolitan Museum so I will send you to their page (it has the information, and close up photos – for some reason we weren’t allowed quite that close to the 23 lbs of gold and gemstones).
But what I love is not the material, but the form! The organic whiplash curves, the suggestions of feminine shapes, the naturalistic leaves and blossoms, the snakes and herons, the butterflies, bats, frogs, wasps! Nature re-imagined.
If you are looking for references to make your own Art Nouveau-inspired designs, I highly recommend looking for the economical books by Dover press. Dover prints many books, most of which contain copyright free art you can even use as clip-art. Here (But when I bought them, they didn’t come with fancy-shmancy CD ROMs of the art) and Here and of course Amazon (Hmm I just saw a book I don’t have. Oh the pitfalls of browsing the web! Uh…well now my cart has about three things in it…)
Another great Art Nouveau resource is this online exhibit from the National Gallery of Art. This site contains an “audio tour” of 18 beautiful pieces. It also shows a timeline of the Art Nouveau movement, which really only spans about 15 years.
Finally, here are some links to information on specific artists.
Alfons (Alphonse) Mucha
House of Faberge
Louis Comfort Tiffany
http://www.jlsloan.com/lct1.htm (interesting article about rivalry with John La Farge)
But before I attempt to name EVERY Art Nouveau artist, just check out this list that good volunteers at Wikipedia already compiled: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Art_Nouveau (I tried not to link you to Wikipedia over and over, but I couldn’t help this one.)
When I got home I started bidding on Lalique perfume bottles on ebay. Keep your fingers crossed!
Edit: Just swept to remove “Fabrege”.