Jugendstil Art Nouveau: Floral and Functional Forms

Siegfried Wichman, Author Little Brown and Company $44 (238p) ISBN 978-0-8212-1607-1
If Art Nouveau, with its sinuous, agitated lines, floral shapes and organic patterns, is reminiscent of a growing plant, the resemblance is not coincidental. Biologists' investigations of flora and fauna, as shown in illustrated scientific books and popular magazines, served as visual inspiration to Art Nouveau pioneers. The metaphor of natural growth was what the movement needed to break free of academic styles and invent new forms. This strikingly illustrated study (144 color, 77 black-and-white plates) focuses narrowly on the Jugendstil school of Germany and Austria. A Tiffany lamp in the form of a flowering apple tree, the spirals of Bentwood furniture, a moth-shaped brooch, phosphorescent vases, even Josef Hoffmann's geometrical baskets and silverware prove the point. Some Jugendstil artists created mythic landscapes of the birth of the universe; in one, a dragon amidst a rotating cosmos suggests the Big Bang. November 15
Reviewed on: 11/01/1985
Release date: 11/01/1985
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