Art Nouveau

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Image features brooch in butterfly shape made of thin gold wire, with face of woman and hair coiled into butterfly’s wings; small diamonds and emeralds throughout. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Two Creative Eras, One Design Aesthetic
This brooch, entitled Melusine, was designed by Marie-Claude Lalique and dates to about 1965. Made of thin gold wire, the brooch features the face of a woman whose hair swirls and coils into the wings of a butterfly. The piece is enhanced with a scattering of diamonds and emeralds. The date of 1965 may be...
Desk Ware from a Simpler Time
In this age of electronic assistants, it is hard for many to fathom a time when telephone service was limited and mail, or what today is referred to as “snail mail”, was the order of the day. During the early decades of the twentieth century written letters were the most common form of communication, and...
Art Nouveau, the New Rococo
Stylized tulips and acanthus leaves flow skywards through this sidewall from the early eighteen nineties as though they are caught in a fast running stream. Their dynamic movement captures the eye and draws it along the sinuous curves of lithe stems and broad fronds that weave their way across the paper. Such a design is...
This Grain is Not For Your Table
This roll of embossed imitation leather wallpaper is a beautiful example of Art Nouveau design. The pattern is a repeating design of a single motif, a stylized ear of wheat or other grain, lined up in offset horizontal rows. The leaves have been delicately rendered with the tip ending in a scroll, while the top...
Bats in the Dining Room
This tall slender backed chair is by Hector Guimard and dates back to 1908, the height of the Art Nouveau movement.  It is from a suite of dining room furniture originally used in the Paris home Hector Guimard designed in 1909 to share with his new wife, Adeline Oppenheim. Throughout his career Guimard was interested...
A Groovy and Gear Paper
On this sidewall, strange enormous flowers drawn in blue are scattered on a green ground. Their tortuous curling stems are highlighted in bright orange and yellow. It is these bright highlights that catch our eyes first, so that our first thought is that what we are seeing is a purely abstract paper of swirling forms....
Building up Affordable Housing in Interwar France
In the 1920s, architect Hector Guimard, a pioneer of the stylized natural forms and curving lines of late 19th century Art Nouveau, turned his attention to socially conscious design as France struggled to recover from the widespread devastation of the First World War. The impact of the “Great War” on French infrastructure, agriculture and housing...
An Art Nouveau Freak
Floating trees with foliage like red clouds form the dominant motifs of this unusual, slightly psychedelic early twentieth-century sidewall. This excellent example of an Art Nouveau-style paper was made by Benton, Heath, & Co. of Hoboken, New Jersey. American wallpaper producers first started making papers in the Art Nouveau style in the mid-1890s, after examples...
Jardin d’hiver
A snowy terrace, ebullient pink-tinged amaryllises, and a scarlet-coiffed maiden distinguish this winter-themed print by Eugène Samuel Grasset (Swiss, 1841-1917, active Paris, France, 1871-1917).  The print, which spells out “Décembre” in the upper left-hand corner, was a part of a set of calendar prints, organized by month.  Cooper Hewitt has eight of these prints in...