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.

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