Prints and drawings, including fashion illustrations, architectural drawings, design drawings, watercolours, posters and much more, not on display in the galleries, can be seen in the Prints & Drawings Study Room. To make it easier for lecturers and teachers to access the material with groups, we’ve developed study room resources that contain drawings and prints. The 1890 saw the birth of a brand-new style in design and art. What we call Art Nouveau emerged in states under different names simultaneously and in different disciplines. The drawings of the architecture of Victor Horta Aubrey Beardsley in England and Paul Hankar in Brussels as well as the poster layouts of Alphonse Mucha in Paris are Some of the samples of the Art Nouveau style.
That they became completely determined between 1895 and 1893 shows it’s spread out over Europe and how Art Nouveau arose. The Paris International Exposition of 1900 marked that the heyday of Art Nouveau. By this time there have been nations in the world with no hint of its style. From England, from the United States to Russia Art Nouveau had become the age’s first cosmetic style. The new artwork took many forms. The development of the Art Nouveau style in all these disciplines could be seen to reinvent methods and their products. The drive to make a brand new form of art for a brand new age had never been stronger.
The drive towards the new’s outcome was the Art Nouveau type: the bottom-line. That is a decorative line that appears to have a life of its own. Architectural ironwork, decorative borders, textile motifs as well as that the flowing hair of that the poster girls all seethe with an excess of feverish energy. The whiplash form may be viewed as a metaphor. Japanese art became especially influential. With its bare, minimal design of drawing and flattened space, Japanese press is an obvious ancestor of that the graphic works of Art Nouveau. The complex Arabic layouts of that the Middle East also had considerable influence, as did ancient Western forms like Celtic decoration.
Does this wealth of historic influences contradict Art Nouveau’s claims to being modern? If it does, it’s perhaps only since the age wherein it flourished is confounding in itself. Spanning both the 19th and 20th hundreds of years, Art Nouveau looks to its own future and its own past in equal measure. These resources contain a selection of Art Nouveau work from the collection of the Word & Image Department. Some designs for flat pattern and 3 dimensional objects are also included.