Die Jugend 1896Art Nouveau is an art movement that was very popular in the 1890’s up until the first years of the 20th Century. The term means ‘New Art’ in French and in other languages it is known as “Jugendstil” (Germany), “Sezessionstil” (Austria), “Modernismo” (Spain), and “Floreale” or “Liberty” in Italy. Art Nouveau has been applied to all of the decorative arts, architecture, painting and sculpture.

Art Nouveau was charged with an ideology to break the standards of the 19th Century Academic Art and to bring down the barriers between the fine arts and applied arts. It was a movement to combine all the arts in an attempt to create new art based on natural forms that could be mass-produced by the technologies of the industrial age. Additionally, the artist should be able to work on various different approaches from painting to metalwork and everything in between. 

A central element in Art Nouveau is the organic, plant-inspired motif which is often expressed with floral patterns and themes. Such themes are highly stylized with flowing curved forms. Other primary themes are birds, insects and femme fatales. The use of abstract lines and shapes as well as the lack of vivid shading is applied in order to eliminate the sense of depth thus most Art Nouveau paintings are presented in a two-dimensional manner.

Many Art Nouveau artifacts such asArt Nouveau Champenois vases, bowls, plates, lights, various furniture etc are beautiful objects but not necessarily very practical to use. During the first years of the movement, advertising posters were introduced into art providing a new space for the exhibition of this new art. Additionally, architects like Antoni Gaudν (although he has his own distinct style) have stretched the limits of design into astonishing and magnificent forms.

Art Nouveau remains an extraordinary form of art until today.Countless artifacts from the period 1890-1914 are constantly reproduced and many contemporary artists identify themselves as Art Nouveau artist. It is indeed the boldness, the sense of adventure and the desire to revolt that makes Art Nouveau such a pleasant trip for the senses!
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Latest Art News

Merkel at Fiac (but just in make-up)

Angela Merkel (courtesy: Kleinschmidt / MSC)
Last week, we spotted the maverick UK artist Simon Fujiwara poring over one of his paintings at the Fiac fair in Paris (until 23 October). Fujiwara pointed out that the particularly abstract work, entitled Masks (Merkel F6.1, 2016), depicted a famous facethat of the German chancellor Angela Merkel. The artist explained that the politicians very own make-up assistant outlined the face of Merkel in her own foundation powder, which Fujiwara amplified and converted into a varied range of images. Its like a modern-day Turin shroud, he said.

What to see at Tefaf New York

A visitor at the preview of Tefaf New York
The European Fine Art Fair (Tefaf) opened its first edition in New York to VIPs on Friday including CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper, who quickly snapped up a Portrait of Mariana de Silva y Sarmiento, Duquesa de Huescar by Anton Raphael Mengs from New York Old Master dealer Otto Naumann for $275,000. The fair, which opens to the public today and runs until Wednesday 26 October, brings together 94 international exhibitors in the Park Avenue Armory. Here is our selection of stands you cannot miss:

Les Enluminures, the Medieval specialist dealer based in New York, Paris and Chicago, has brought a selection of fine manuscripts and finger-rings, including an 18th-century Jewish wedding ring and an ancient Egyptian ring that depicts a cat and her kittens (around sixth-first century BC) (prices range from $8,500 to $150,000). One highlight of the booth is an illuminated Perugian Book of Hours (around 1450-1475) ($525,000) with provenance tracing it back the late English collector and bibliophile Charles William Dyson Perrins. The book, written in Latin, includes four full-page miniatures, and is attributed to the artist Tommaso di Mascio Scarafone.

The London-based dealer Ronald Phillips, who focuses on 18th- and 19th-century English furniture, has two antique tables (1803-1806) (more than 500,000) that were commissioned by George Granville Leveson-Gower, the marquess of Stafford from 1803 to 1833 and the first duke the Bridgwater House (then known as the Cleveland House) in Westminster from 1758 to 1786. The porphyry dolphin tables, which have a pink granite top, are believed to have been part of a set of more than 12, and belonged in a picture gallery at the aristocrats home.

Marking the Chinese jewellery designers first participation in Tefaf, Wallace Chan is showing 40 piecesincluding necklaces, pendants, brooches and ringsas well as a 2.2m-high titanium-gemstone sculpture titled the Rise of Heart, which greets visitors as they enter the fair. One highlight of the booth is a brooch (around $7m) that depicts the Hindu deity Apsara, who is celebrated by various Asian cultures. The work, which took three years to design and was finished in 2016, comprises crystal, emerald, gold, and yellow, pink and green diamonds.

A museum-quality ancient Egyptian granodiorite portrait of the Pharaoh Amenhotep II (around 1427-1401 BC) ($2.1m) is being offered at Daniel Katz, the London-based dealer who usually shows Old Master sculptures and fine antiques. The nearly six-inch-tall sculpture, which uncommonly avoided iconoclasts and has its nose intact, was acquired before 1981 by the French collectors Andr and Zeineb Levy-Despas. It was sold at Christies in Paris earlier this year for 661,500.

The London-based dealer Peter Finer, who specialises in antique arms, armour and related items, has brought a selection of weapons including an engraved glaive made for the guard of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian II (1564)  and a steel, silver and wooden pistol bearing the British Royal Crown (around 1770-3). A highlight of the booth is a pair of bronze cannons (1747) ($630,000) that were given by King George III for the general John Graves Simcoe that feature ornamental foliage and the engraving Violati Fulmina Regis (Thunderbolts of an Outraged King). The cannons previously sold at Christies in 2005 for 90,000.

How collectors made silver all their own

The exhibition Silver: Light and Shade at the Holburne Museum in Bath brings together 500 years worth of silver-making, from the earliest surviving English drinking vessel, the Cassel Beaker (around 1496-97), to contemporary pieces such as a water beaker made in 2013 by the UK silversmith Rod Kelly. The survey aims to explore whats unique, whats different and what people often miss when looking at silver, says the shows curator, Catrin Jones.

Through a number of techniques such as gilding and patination, silver can often not look like itself, Jones says. Different artists can bring such different approaches to the same form, she says, and the exhibition will show the range of possibilities. As an example, Jones cites a collection of slices, used to cut fish or cakes, commissioned by the collector and chemistry professor Seymour Rabinovitch, around the turn of the 21st century. Rabinovitch gave 100 silversmiths in the UK and North America the task of making him a slice using the same amount of silver, emphasising that he was more interested in creativity than function. The resulta small selection of which will be on show at the Holburnewas an absolutely extraordinary variety of shapes for what is ostensibly a functional object, Jones says.

The exhibition is the third and final in a series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the museum at its current site, and takes as its starting point from objects in the collection amassed by William Holburne in the 19th century. Holburne was not averse, as was customary at the time, to shaping objects in the collection to his liking. An extremely rare bell salt, dating from before the English Civil Warwhen a lot of silver was melted down to fund the conflictwill be shown as an example of how Holburne had some items work gilded all over, in a quite a brash colour. Like many of his contemporaries, he would have had no problem doing this, Jones says. Were now so precious about how we treat these things she adds.

The exhibitions main sponsor is the University of Bath.

Silver: Light and Shade, The Holburne Museum, Bath, 22 October-22 January 2017

Ai Weiwei returns to New York with four solo gallery shows

A young Ai Weiwei outside Tompkins Square Park, New York in 1986
The ever popular Ai Weiwei will return to New York in November with four big gallery shows, two at Mary Boone, one at Deitch Projects, and one at Lissons recently opened US outpost in Chelsea. Three of the shows, organised under the title Roots and Branches, feature tree-inspired sculptures, while the fourth will incorporate clothing from the refugee camps the Chinese activist-artist has visited.

Though Ai lived in New York for many years in the 1980s, the artist was unable to attend many of his own popular exhibitions in the US because of his falling out with the Chinese government, which led to his passport being confiscated for nearly two years. His last significant show in the city was a Brooklyn Museum retrospective in 2014.

Lissons installation will feature felled, cast-iron tree trunks, nearly 16 feet in length, and a series of iron root sculptures set against the backdrop of a new wallpaper installation, according to a press release. The gallery notes that the work should aesthetically intermingle nicely with the beams of the High Line, under which the gallery is located.

The show at Mary Boones Chelsea gallery will also play with these ideas through Tree, weathered sections of dead trees that have been brought down from the mountains of Southern China and bolted together in the form of a whole. Uptown, Boone will host a room-sized installation in wood, porcelain, wallpaper and Lego bricks.

Deitchs show Laundromat, at his newly reopened gallery on Wooster Street in SoHo, will present cleaned, cast-off clothing left by refugees after Greek police evacuated the makeshift Idomeni camp along the Macedonian border in May.

I wish I had known him in New York in the 1980s when he was here for a whole decade, and it turns out that many of my friends knew him, Deitch said in a phonecall. Deitch had in fact wanted to do a show of work from that early period, but Ai is very engaged in the presenthence the show on the current refugee crisis, a cause the artist has championed.

Not only has Ai spent time in exile in adult life but, Deitch pointed out, he and his family were sent to internal exile in China during the Cultural Revolution. He identifies with people in these challenged situations who dont have the support of the state like a conventional citizen, Deitch said.

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