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Who was one of the most versatile artists of the Art Nouveau Movement?

Victor Horta
Vincent Van Gogh
Emile Gallé
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Art Nouveau
by Uta Hasekamp

Art Nouveau was a phenomenon with many faces. Between 1890 and 1910, artists developed a variety of styles from the plant-like forms of the Belgian-French Art Nouveau to the ornamentation of the Viennese Secession. They were all striving to create a new, modern style and pursued a comprehensive renewal of art and, in some countries, a renewed national identity.


                                   
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LATEST MUSEUM__________________________________________

The Museum of a Style
by
Bob Brooke

 

The Ecole de Nancy Museum is one of the few museums dedicated to an artistic movement----Art Nouveau. It’s located in the heart of Nancy, France, in the former residence Eugène Corbin, an important collector of artworks from the Ecole de Nancy.

The City of Nancy acquired the Corbin residence between 1951 and 1952. On June 26, 1964, the museum opened to the public. However, at the time, people considered the Art Nouveau style ofd-fashioned.

Inside the house, furniture, works of art, glassware, ceramics, stained glass, paintings and fabrics illustrate the diversity of techniques worked by artists from the École de Nancy. Representative of “Art for all”, these are small inlaid pieces of furniture, acid-etched glass or mass-produced ceramics.



The museum presents the essence of the Art Nouveau Era. Visitors enter the world of Art Nouveau. This isn’t a reconstruction of the 1900 era but an interpretation of the time by restoring the atmosphere of the period. Many of the works on display are by Émile Gallé, including over 400 pieces of art glass, as well as works of ceramics and furniture.

The museum also contains the dining room designed between 1903 and 1906 by Eugène Vallin, in collaboration with Victor Prouvé for the painted ceiling as well as the leather hangings and the Daum Glass factory for the lights. In addition to the great names of the Ecole de Nancy , the museum offers an overview of the French Art Nouveau movement with works by Guimard, Chaplet, Selmersheim and Carabin.

Villa Majorelle is a great example of the Art Nouveau unity of art concept advocated by the artists who are members of the Ecole de Nancy. It was the first Art Nouveau house in Nancy. Built between 1901 and 1902 for the artist Louis Marjorelle. A collaboration between Parisian and Nancy artists and the architect Henri Sauvage, who solicited the work of Jacques Gruber for the stained glass windows, Alexandre Bigot for the sandstones, Francis Jourdain and Henri Royer for the paintings, and Louis Majorelle, himself, for the ironwork, woodwork and furniture.

Nearly 100 pieces of furniture, paintings and works of art from the collections of the Ecole de Nancy museum. It contains some pieces originally from the house, plus others chosen to recreate the atmosphere of an Art Nouveau interior.

The Museum’s Collections
The extent of the museum's collections reflects the diversity of fields developed by the Ecole de Nancy . The Art Nouveau Movement was able to excel in the decorative arts, but it also distinguished itself in painting, sculpture, graphic arts and photography.

Glass
The Ecole de Nancy was best known for its art glass, which benefits from ancient know-how in Lorraine. The Museum displays glass—both objects as well as stained glass---associated with furniture and works of art, with the exception of pieces by Émile Gallé which have their own gallery.

The museum houses more than 400 works by Émile Gallé, including pieces chosen by him in 1903 which makes it possible for visitors to view the evolution of the artist from transparent glass, decorated with painted or gilded motifs, towards increasingly colored glass, playing on material effects and applications. Galle combined innovation and artistic research drawing on the nature. The museum's collection contains masterpieces such as the vase Les hommes noirs, displayed at the Exhibition Universelle of 1900, and the Roses de France cup, made in 1901 .

Brothers Auguste and Antoin Daum followed Émile Gallé’s example, developing their own glass creations, experimenting with other techniques such as glass paste and adapting them to methods of mass production. The museum 's Daum collection includes more than 150 pieces, from the creation of an artistic department within the company in 1891 until the 1920s, as well as showing the range of techniques they used, including colorings, powders, applications, hammering, and engraving.

Stained Glass
The artists of the Ecole de Nancy wanted to renew all the decorative arts and stained glass benefitted from this. The Museum has around 150 stained glass windows dating from the end of the 19th century to the eve of the Second World War.

Stained glass acted as a barrier between the outside and the inside. It absorbed the sun's rays and restored part of it, creating a colored light, giving interiors an atmosphere often likened to an aquarium. It may have been necessary to mask a mediocre environment using opaque glass. Or give the illusion of a garden for the Les Roses stained glass window designed for the Corbin house. On the other hand, architects lined the openings of the verandas, bow windows or windows overlooking the garden with non-opaque stained glass, which made it possible to take advantage of the surrounding nature.



Technical innovations contributed to the decorative rendering of the glass. Artists superimposed layers of glass, etched it with acid, plus used different types of glass together to create decorative paintings. Although many Art Nouveau stained glass windows featured plant motifs, the human figure was often present.

Lamps
With the advent of electricity, the artists of Nancy created the first models of lighting, to be placed or suspended. The permanent collections present several examples, which contribute to the restoration of the atmosphere of a 1900 dwelling. Émile Gallé became interested in lamps in 1902 and turned to nature for his inspiration. The stem and leaves of a plant inspired its frame, while the flowers and seeds decorated the base and its support.



Pottery
Even though potters in the Lorraine region long had a mastery of ceramics well before Art Nouveau, Artists Émile Gallé, Louis Majorelle, the Mougin brothers worked with local potteries to modernize techniques. The permanent collections allow visitors to discover the diversity of stoneware and earthenware produced at that time.

Gallé's collection of ceramics includes more than 250 works. Until 1893, the artist designed earthenware pieces of great diversity in shapes and decorations. The latter draw as much from the Middle Ages and Rococo as from ancient Egypt and Japan.

Furniture
Furniture played a major role in the renewal of Art Nouveau living environments. Furniture is on display in various living rooms: dining room, bedroom, office, and library settings.

Émile Gallé not only created art glass but also pieces of furniture inspired by nature, both in the inlaid patterns and in the shapes. The centerpiece of the museum, the Dawn and Twilight bed, made between 1903 and 1904, is an example of the cabinetmaker's latest technical and artistic advances.

The Majorelle collection includes furniture decorated with inlaid panels. A desk, a pedestal table and a bookcase combining mahogany and gilt bronze on the theme of water lilies, is an example of the evolution of Majorelle's production in 1900.


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