Monday, October 11, 2010

Art Nouveau Movement

  Jules Chéret
French (1836-1932)
La Loïe Fuller, 1893
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
"One of the means through which Art Nouveau reached a mass audience was the poster. It was used to promote products and entertainment and assumed new heights of artistic expression in the late nineteenth century. Printing technologies such as multiple-color lithography allowed for a more sophisticated range of tones, attracting painters to the medium.
One of the most successful poster designers was the artist Jules Chéret. In this 1893 poster he shows the American dancer Loïe Fuller performing at the Folies-Bergères. A wildly popular figure, Fuller used diaphanous veils of silk to transform herself on stage into a flower, butterfly, or bat, and she was one of the first performers to use colored electric lights in her act.
Here Chéret captures the freedom of Fuller's movement through swirls of color. The strong contrast between the silhouetted figure and the black background recalls Japanese prints, an important source of inspiration for graphic artists of the period.
Fuller described her flamboyant dancing in her autobiography "My dress was so long that I was always treading on it. I automatically lifted it up with both hands, then lifted both arms high in the air and went dancing around the stage like a winged spirit. Suddenly a voice called out from the auditorium: 'A butterfly! A butterfly!' I turned in circles. Another voice cried out, 'An orchid!'"
Called the "idol of the symbolists" by Oscar Wilde, Fuller was seen as embodying the energetic spirit of the modern age and even had a special theater designed for her at the Paris World's Fair of 1900. Because electric lights played such an important role in her performances, Fuller was depicted on lamps wired for electricity."

Original article and photo come from here.

Art Nouveau

Casa Milá, Barcelona, by Antoni Gaudí, 1905–10.

"An international style of decoration and architecture which developed in the 1880s and 1890s. The name derives from the Maison de l'Art Nouveau, an interior design gallery opened in Paris in 1896, but in fact the movement had different names throughout Europe. In Germany it was known as 'Jugendstil', from the magazine Diejugend (Youth) published from 1896; in Italy 'Stile Liberty' (after the London store, Liberty Style) or 'Floreale'; in Spain 'Modernista', in Austria 'Sezessionstil' and, paradoxically, in France the English term 'Modern Style' was often used, emphasizing the English origins of the movement.

"In design Art Nouveau was characterized by writhing plant forms and an opposition to the historicism which had plagued the 19th century. There was a tension implicit throughout the movement between the decorative and the modern which can be seen in the work of individual designers as well as in the chronology of the whole. Its emphasis on decoration and artistic unity links the movement to contemporary Symbolist ideas in art, as seen in the work of the Vienna Secessionists, but the movement was also associated with Arts and Crafts ideas and, as such, Art Nouveau forms a bridge between Morris and Gropius (recognized by Pevsner in his book, Pioneers of the Modern Movement, 1936).

"In Britain the style was exemplified by the architecture of Rennie Mackintosh, and the design work of the Macdonald sisters. The lingering impact of Morris in England slowed down the progress of the new style in design although Mackmurdo, Godwin, Townsend and even Voysey were influenced towards Art Nouveau. It was in illustration that the ideas were most keenly felt, through the new periodicals and presses - the Yellow Book, the Studio, the Savoy, the Hobby Horse - and though the work of Beardsley, Ricketts and Selwyn Image.

"In France, despite Guimard's famous glass and iron Metro designs, the movement was best expressed in the applied arts, especially the glassware of Lalique (1860-1945) and Galle (1846-1904). In Belgium, the style was promoted through the Societe des Vingts (Les Vingt) established in 1884, and including Ensor as well as the more characteristically Art Nouveau architects Horta and Van de Velde in its members. In Spain the style was concentrated in the eccentric hands of Gaudi in Barcelona. In Vienna, architects like Wagner, Hoffmann and Olbrich, and artists such as Klimt gathered to promote the style through the Secessionist magazine Ver Sacrum. In Germany, the movement split between the decorative tendencies of Otto Eckman (1865-1902) and the Pan magazine, and the streamlined design of Behrens. In America architects like Sullivan and Wright were influenced by European ideas but conceived Art Nouveau in different terms, whilst designers like Tiffany enthusiastically embraced the movement.
- From The Bulfinch Guide to Art History

Original article come from here.
Original photo come from here.

Art and Craft Movement - William Morris

 William Morris

English craftsman, poet, and early socialist, whose designs generated the Arts and Crafts Movement in the later half of the1900th century. Morris encouraged to return to handmade objects and rejected standard tastes. He was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and a close friend of the painter-poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his sister Christina Rossetti, also a poet.
"If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe tom be beautiful." (from 'The Beauty of Life', 1880)
William Morris was born in Walthamstow, Greater London, the son of William Morris, a successful business man, and Emma Shelton Morris. He attended Marlborough College in 1848-51 and in 1853 he entered Exeter College, Oxford, where he met Edward Burne-Jones and Charles Faulkner. Morris thought for a while of taking Holy Orders, but he renounced the Church, and after taking his B.A. in 1856 Morris began his studies in architecture. Morris's early poems were published in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine – he also financed the publication. In 1858 Morris worked with Rossetti, Burne-Jones, and others on the frescoes in the Oxford Union. He published THE DEFENCE OF GUENEVERE AND OTHER POEMS (1858), which contains much of his best work, including 'The Haystack in the Floods', 'Concerning Geffray Teste Noire', 'Shameful Death', and 'Golden Wings'. They all have medieval settings - Morris was obsessed with medieval world. In the prose fantasy 'The Hollow Land' (1856) an unjust knight enters an eartly paradise. He departs it, becomes aged, and finally regains the land through devotion to pictorial art.

In 1859 Morris married Jane Burden and worked as a professional painter (1857-62). Their home, Red House at Bexley, was designed by Philip Webb. It was an important landmark in domestic architecture. Literary fame Morris gained with the romantic narrative THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON, which appeared in 1867, and was based on the story of Jason, Medea, and the Argonauts. It was followed by THE EARTHLY PARADISE (1868-70), and BOOK OF VERSE (1870). Morris's visits in Iceland in the 1870s inspired The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Nibelungs (1876), which is regarded his principal poetic achievement. This period in Morris's life was marked by marriage problems - his wife had an affair with Rossetti and he was involved with Georgiana Burne-Jones.

In the 1860s Morris started revolutionize the art of house decoration and furniture in England after founding the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. The firm first specialized in providing stained glass and fittings for churches, but gradually won a cliente for domestic wares. Morris himself was an energetic craftsman, who learned to dye for himself, when he decided that the firm should turn to printing of textiles. His "Daisy" wallpaper, designed in 1862, became famous - his wallpapers have never gone out of fashion. Other sought-after products were tapestries, carpets, stained glass and stencilled mural decorations etc. "I do not want art for a few, any more than I want education for a few, or freedom for a few," he once said. In 1877 he founded the Society for the protection of Ancient Buildings in protest against the destruction being caused by the restorers.
Morris defined art as "the expression by man of his pleasure in labor". In the Middle Ages art, according to him, artist were plain workmen. The things which are today's museum pieces, where common things earlier. Art should become this again: "a happiness for the maker and the user." Morris derived his art theories partly from Ruskin, who hated contemporary style and has said that a railway station could never be architecture. Ruskin advocated free schools, free libraries, town planning, smokeless zones, and green belts – ideas that presupposed social reforms.

The Morris family moved into Kelmscott House at Hammersmith in 1878. In 1883 he joined the Social Democratic Federation and subsequently organized the Socialist League, with its own publication, The Commonweal. In 1887 he and George Bernard Shaw led a political demonstration in London.

Morris's love for old handsome books and illuminated manuscripts resulted in the founding of the Kelmscott Press. It produced from 1891 to 1898 53 titles in 66 volumes, among others The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. He also designed three typestyles for his press, and translated Virgil's Aeneid (1875), Odyssey (1887), and Beowulf (1895). Morris's novel The Well at the World's End (1896) was a forerunner of J.R.R. Tolkien's kind of secondary word fantasy literature. The protagonist is Ralph who drinks from the youth-giving and life-prolonging well. The utopian romances A Dream of John Ball (1888) and News from Nowhere (1891) were first published in serial form in The Commonweal, the newspaper of the Socialist League. Both were cast in a dream setting. Erich S. Rabkin dismissed News from Nowhere as "a Communist tract" but C.S. Lewis praised Morris's style and language. "No mountains in literature are as far away as distant mountains in Morris," he wrote about the author's fantasies.
"The Kelmscott Press reduced the matter to an absurdity – as seen from the point of view of brute serviceability alone – by issuing books for modern use, edited with the obsolete spelling, printed in black-letter, and bound in limp vellum fitted with thongs. As a further characteristic feature which fixes the economic place of artistic book-making, there is the fact that these elegant books are, at their best, printed in limited editions. A limited edition is in effect a guarantee – somewhat crude, it is true – that this book is scarce and that it therefore is costly and lends pecuniary distinction to its consumer." (from The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen, 1953, originally published 1899)
The narrator of News from Nowhere, William Guest, wakes up in twenty-first-century London, in a radically changed society. The socialist revolution has abolished capitalism, money does not play any role in the bucolic harmony, there are no factories or industrial waste in the word of artisans, which evokes the spirit of the Middle Ages. Because the whole people is the parliament, the Houses of Parliament have lost their former function, and they been turned into a dung-market. Like Thoreau in Walden, or a Life in the Woods (1854), Morris rejects mass society and argues for the ideal of the simple life.

On his death, Morris was widely mourned as 'our best man' by his fellow socialists. His view that the true stimulation to useful labor must be found in the work itself is still relevant. His designs brought about a complete revolution in public taste, though he was aware that only the rich could afford the products of his firm.
For further reading: Life of William Morris by John W. Mackail (1889); William Morris, A Critical Study by John Drinkwater (1912); Rehabilitations and Other Essays by C.S. Lewis (1939); William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary by E.P. Thompson (1955); William Morris: His Life, Works, and Friends by Philip Henderson (1967); The Work of William Morris by Paul Thompson (1967); William Morris by Holbrook Jackson (1971); William Morris: The Man and the Myth by Robert P. Arnot (1976); Worlds Beyond the World: The Fantastic Vision of William Morris by Richard Mathews (1978); William Morris: A Reference Guide by Gary L. Aho (1985); William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary, ed. by E.P. Thompson (1988); The Romances of William Morris by Amanda Hodgson (1987); William Morris: A Life for Our Time by F. MacCarthy (1994); William Morris: The Critical Heritage, ed. by Peter Faulkner (1995); Art, Enterprise and Ethics: The Life and Work of William Morris by Charles Harvey, Jon Press (1996); William Morris: Redesigning the World by John Burdick (1998); William Morris and the Aesthetic Constitution of Politics by Bradley J. MacDonald (1999) - See also: Snorri Sturluson

Selected works:
  • The Defence of Guenevere and other Poems, 1858
  • The Life and Death of Jason, 1867
  • The Earthy Paradise, 1868-70
  • Books of Verse, 1870
  • Love is Enough, 1872
  • Aeneid, 1875 (translation)
  • Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Niblungs, 1876 (4 vols.)
  • The Decorative Arts, 1878
  • Chants for Socialists, 1884-85
  • Odyssey, 1887 (translation)
  • A Dream of John Ball, 1888
  • The House of the Wolfings, 1889
  • The Story of the Glittering Plain, or the Land of Living Men, 1890
  • News from Nowhere, or, An Epoch of Rest, 1890 - Ihannemaa (suom. J.K. Kari, 1900-1901) / Huomispäivän uutisia (suom. Ville-Juhani Sutinen, 2008)
  • Poems by the Way, 1891
  • The Wood Beyond the World, 1894
  • Child Christopher, 1895
  • Beowulf, 1895 (translation)
  • The Well at the World's End, 1896
  • The Sundering Flood, 1898
  • The Collected Works of William Morris, 1910-15 (24 vols., ed. May Morris)
  • Stories in Prose, Stories in Verse, Shorter Poems, Lectures and Essays, 1934
  • William Morris, Artist, Writer, Socialist, 1936 (2 vols., ed. May Morris)
  • The Letters of William Morris to his Family and Friends, 1950 (ed. Philip Henderson)
  • Unpublished Letters, 1951
  • Selected Writings, 1963
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris, 1984
  • Political Writings of William Morris, 1984 (ed. by A.L. Morton)
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris, Part B: 1885-1888, 1987
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris, Part A: 1881-1884, 1988
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris: 1889-1892, vol III, 1996
  • The Collected Letters of William Morris: 1893-1896, vol. IV, 1996 
Original article come from here.
Original photos come from here.

Formations of the Modern Movement 3

Reading response from Graphic Design History; a critical guide - chapter 8.

When Art Nouveau banalized by population, artists and consumers were thirst for new style in the end of the nineteenth century. The ‘modern’ design spread through German, Belgian, and Dutch designers and they developed a workshops to explore the fundamental modern elements such as geometric shapes and line elements, etc, it convinced that modern graphic designers should adopt the industrial methods into formal account. One of sponsored artiste at this time was Peter Behrens who designed AEG new type designer in 1907. One of his posters of AEG is made in 1910 and it clearly shows that he had a innovative vision for use of geometric pattern and fundamental elements in here. He used repeated use of circle shapes to illuminate the echo of light sparkling and those circle or dots forms circle, square, and triangle shapes creates overall shapes of monumental stability. His poster ad inspired many graphic artists and this style dominated for decades and obviously, it sat the base for modern graphic design for us. While I was looking at this poster, I again realized how you can play with simple geometric shapes and fundamental elements to great interesting patterns and how simplicity powerful is without saying a lot. 

Formations of the Modern Movement 2

Reading response from Graphic Design History; a critical guide - chapter 8.

The Jegendstil movement came along in late nineteenth century by graphic designers who were struggle with solving problems in from, function, and decoration. Jegendstil movement comes from an idea of gesamkunstwer that means total, unified work of art, in German and graphic designers integrated this idea in the use of patterns and models. This popular German movement represents the contemporary lifestyle and it embraced industrial production include poster design, mass-produced furniture, and typography. The characteristic jegendstil movement was sensual freedom, female form, floral, organic motifs, and sense of eroticism. It emphasized a spiritual, holistic integrity, and organic unity.

Formations of the Modern Movement 1

Reading response from "Graphic Design History; a critical guide - chapter 8.

"London: The Studio. 1893-1910., A complete run of the first 17 years, with 100 original graphic works. The preeminent art journal of the Arts and Crafts movement. All volumes with original graphics are present including the five lithographs by Whistler. The Studio commissioned original graphic works for inclusion in its periodical magazine (as opposed to the Special Numbers).The artists include Whistler (5 original lithographs), Pennell, Nicholson, Brangwyn, and Riviére, among others. 20.5 x 28.5 cm. Original cloth. Some front covers dampstained. A list of all the prints is available."

Source from here.

When this chapter started with explains the art and crafts movement, I was wondering what’s the relationship between art and crafts and it was interesting that this early nineteenth art and crafts movement evolved into productive dialogue and how it developed into my favorite movement, which is Art Nouveau. The interesting part was where described relationships in the industrialism, first thing said the gap between aesthetics and production methods that are form and surface between means and materials, the second things are the distinction between made and designed in terms of traditional or production way. Fine art and mass media tried to resolve the contradictions between them during this industrial era and they developed stylistic graphic art form and this arts and crafts movement was reaction to the industrialization. The first independent art journal ‘The studio’ cover in 1893 show the movement of arts and crafts well in terms of organic and decorative motifs along with stylized layout.

“Renaissance Design: Standardization and Modularization in print”

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, ca. 1497–98
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)
15 3/8 x 11 in. (39.2 x 27.9 cm)
Gift of Junius S. Morgan, 1919 (19.73.209)

"The third and most famous woodcut from Dürer's series of illustrations for The Apocalypse, the Four Horsemen presents a dramatically distilled version of the passage from the Book of Revelation (6:1–8): "And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and its rider had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, 'Come!' And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword. When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come!' And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and its rider had a balance in his hand; … When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, 'Come!' And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given great power over a fourth of the earth; to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth." Transforming what was a relatively staid and unthreatening image in earlier illustrated Bibles, Dürer injects motion and danger into this climactic moment through his subtle manipulation of the woodcut. The parallel lines across the image establish a basic middle tone against which the artist silhouettes and overlaps the powerful forms of the four horses and riders—from left to right, Death, Famine, War, and Plague (or Pestilence). Their volume and strong diagonal motion enhance the impact of the image, offering an eloquent demonstration of the masterful visual effects Dürer was able to create in this medium."
Source: Albrecht Dürer: Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (19.73.209) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you look at the ‘Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ by Albrecht Durer in 1498, his delicate will amuse you and beautifully woodcut print. During seventeenth century, only small portion of European could read even though the visual and typographic texts established in printing industry, in order to produce information for European, the visual literacy grow rapidly. During letterpress era, typographic texts printed separated from visual imagery and the artist’s level of skill got improved through copperplate engraving developed. Copperplate engraving allowed them to explore in intaglio printing which is the various lines are carved in the clean plate surface and the lines were the one where the printed so that it brings the close effect to the drawing. Durer’s illustration is great example of this and his illustration depicts biblical apocalypse with indelible figures with his line work technique produced lighting effect of tonal differences through density, which brings his imagination well captured in his print. During Renaissance era, majority prints illustrate the concepts of bible along with faith and culture behind in it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hippie Patchwork Clothing

"Hippie Patchwork clothing was first seen at Grateful Dead concerts in the 60's. First worn by a group called "The Spinners." The Spinners were known back then as The Family of Unlimited Devotion. They were a communal group of young people who would twirl in circles at Grateful Dead shows. The Spinners would be the first to wear, make & sell these handmade items at the concerts. At that time, a group of them would make the items together & all were sewn by hand. This unique style of clothing had alternating colors & patterns of materials, sewn together in pannels on skirts, pants, shorts, dresses & tops that resembled aprons. Today, Hippie Patchwork is a great way to recycle fabric scraps. The style is still very popular & is in great demand. Most Hippie Patchwork today is sewn by machine but still designed & created by independent artists."

Original article from here.

Steampunk eyecandies

Gelaskins offering steampunk look in your ipod with their vinyl skin.

"Jake von Slatt (not his real name) is quickly becoming something of an icon on the steampunk scene. In his Steampunk Workshop, he's constantly cranking out fabulous fabrications and conducting thoughtful experiments in brass etching, electrolytic machining, kerosene lamp making and other steam-era arts. But Jake's probably best known for his computer mods, namely his steampunk keyboard, and most recently, his steampunk monitor."

"Steam-Driven Dreams: The Wondrously Whimsical World of Steampunk" written by Gareth Branwyn. Original article can be found here.

Motor cycle meets steampunk and it's done by Zeel Design.
Steampunk bluetooth
For more information, click here.

What is Steampunk?

Steampunk is a sub-culture that arose in the 1980's and it reflects the Victorian era and early Edwardian eras; roughly 1801-1910. It's one of an extraordinary world of literature where everyday items can perform unconventional tasks, the style of steampunk is similar to traditional goth's back garb, along with steampunk's main theme which is brass.
Photo: Nadya Lev /

Like many other recent sub-cultures around the world, the steampunk community grew through the internet and they share DIY (do-it-yourself) tips and information on how to handcraft their own items. Even steampunk apparel and jewelry is quickly growing in popularity throughout the western world with their themes of their neo-Victorian and gothic styles. It emphasizes the handcrafter's nature of producing everything by oneself, even modifying household items into fantastic new inventions and designs.

"I never really imagined [steampunk] would become mainstream," says musician Voltaire.

Original article came from here. "What Is Steampunk? A Subculture Infiltrating Films, Music, Fashion, More" by Andrew Ross Rowe.

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