Stile Floreale: The Cult of Nature in Italian Design

Gabriel P. Weisberg, Author Wolfsonian Foundation $0 (127p) ISBN 978-0-295-96670-0
This slim but sharply focused volume's concern is the stile floreale , or floral style of master furniture-maker Agostino Lauro and others, originally displayed at the First International Exposition of Modern Decorative Art in Turin in 1902. The exhibition and the floral style, characterized by motifs from nature, was a catalyst for the continued reformation of the decorative arts in Italy, contends Weisberg, art history professor at the University of Minnesota. Many stile floreale works are held by the Mitchell Wolfson Jr. collection in Miami, and color photographs of furniture from that assemblage are included here. And to help document the exhibition, vintage photos of complete Turin exposition room installations by Peter Behrens, Josef Olbrich and Lauro are presented, as well as an in-depth review of press notices of the event. But by failing to place the style into the context of European design at the time, Weisberg never convinces that the movement revitalized Italian design or helped move it toward modernism, and his book is more a catalogue of the fine Wolfson collection than a definitive study. Nonetheless, he explains Lauro's influence in creating the modern Italian home, and the research into the 1902 exhibition is valuable for scholars. The work is well designed, as keen pictures accompany the text on uncrowded pages. While the stile floreale is a minor movement in art history, those who appreciate Italian design will enjoy this volume for its elegance. (August)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Hardcover - 127 pages - 978-0-295-96671-7
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