+
3 Tutorials that teach Decorative Arts and Art Nouveau
Take your pick:
Decorative Arts and Art Nouveau

Decorative Arts and Art Nouveau

Author: Ian McConnell
Description:

This lesson will examine the role of decorative arts within Art Nouveau.

(more)
See More

Try Sophia’s Art History Course. For Free.

Our self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

25 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

221 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 20 of Sophia’s online courses. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.

Tutorial

An overview of Art Nouveau as seen in the Decorative Arts.

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hello. I'd like to welcome you to this episode of Exploring Art History with Ian. My name is Ian McConnell. And today's lesson is about Decorative Arts and Art Nouveau. As you're watching the video, feel free to pause, move forward, or rewind as often as you feel is necessary. And as soon as you're ready, we can begin.

So the things that you're going to learn today, today's objectives, are listed below. By the end of the lesson, you'll be able to identify and define today's key terms, and identify examples of the Art Nouveau style in the Decorative Arts.

Key terms, as always, are listed in yellow throughout the lesson. First key term is Tiffany Glass, a style of glass designed by the Tiffany Studios characterized by uneven glass thickness and rich colors. Favrile and Iridescent are glass originally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany for use in lamps and stained glass windows. Iridescent, displaying multiple colors that change when viewed at different angles. And Decorative Arts, the design of objects that are both beautiful and useful, could include furniture, jewelery, and pottery, among other things.

The big idea for today is that Art Nouveau was an international style that can be found in art, architecture and the Decorative Arts.

The time period that we're looking at today and the art work that we're looking at dates from between 1890 and 1920.

We'll be traveling to New York, New York and Paris, France today.

So Art Nouveau designers thought of their work as contributing to this idea of a total work of art. That is, the architecture, as well as the furniture, lamps, and textiles. Basically, everything in a room would work together to create a pleasing and harmonious space.

Now one of the most important designers from this period of time, and one you're probably familiar with, or one that you probably heard before, you may even have some of his inspired work in your house, is the designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. His interest in glass production led to the development of new types of stained glass and iridescent glass, which he called Favrile glass, both of which he patented and incorporated into his colored glass designs, from window designs, mosaics, jewelery, and enamels, to the world-famous lamps that still bear his name.

Now his designs were very important in promoting the Art Nouveau aesthetic worldwide and included the curving lines, the curling tendrils, and other organic forms that define Art Nouveau.

Now the Favrile glass that I mentioned before was one of his most important inventions. And he, like other artists of the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements, looked back to the past for artistic inspiration, not just in the stained glass, but in the luster wear techniques, for example, seen in Roman glass. Now inspired by the techniques of the past, Tiffany developed two of the most innovative aspects of his glass production, impregnating the glass itself with color versus applying it on the surface, and leaving in the impurities that other glass makers were removing.

Now like Louis Tiffany, the designs of Renee Lalique were incredibly popular in their time and have remained an iconic form of artistry to this day. Where Tiffany's emphasis was on glass, Lalique focused on decorative and wearable accessories that were handcrafted and meticulously constructed, recalling the type of metal and enamel work we've seen before from Medieval times called cloisonne. Now however, again, like Tiffany, Renee Lalique was taking inspiration from the past and applying it to the Art Nouveau aesthetic. What you're looking at here is a bangle, or bracelet. This is something that would be an accessory that would be attached to, or put on, your arm.

This dragonfly broach really embodies Lalique's style, as well as the design aspects of Art Nouveau that we've come to know and appreciate. Curvilinear lines, the curly tendrils, the organic forms of the female figure/insect hybrid is beautifully rendered in gold and enamel. It's the level of and attention to detail that can only be created by hand in an intentional departure from the same ideals as those artists and architects working in other fields associated with the Art Nouveau movement.

Art Nouveau was very important in its influence on the art movements of the 20th century that followed it. Now with the underlying ideal of improving the aesthetic facets of humankind, it's somewhat ironic that this emphasis on handicraft and beautiful materials also meant that this style was very expensive and unaffordable for most people.

So now that we've reached the end of our lesson, let's take a look at our objectives again to see if we met them. Now that you've seen the lesson, are you able to identify and define today's key terms? Can you identify examples of the Art Nouveau style in the Decorative Arts?

Once again, the big idea for today is that Art Nouveau was an international style that can be found in art, architecture, and the Decorative Arts.

There you have it. Thank you very much for joining me today. See you next time.

Notes on "Decorative Arts and Art Nouveau"

Key Terms

Tiffany Glass

A style of glass designed by the Tiffany Studios characterized by uneven glass thickness, and rich colors.

Favrile

An iridescent art glass originally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany for use in lamps and stained glass windows.

Iridescent

Displaying multiple colors that change when viewed at different angles.

Decorative Arts

The design of objects that are both beautiful and useful. Could include furniture, jewelry, and pottery, among other things.


Citations

Bangle; Creative Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bracelet_Lalique_2_Mus%C3%A9e_Gulbenkian.jpg Dragonfly; Creative Commons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lalique_dragonfly.jpg; Image of Tiffany Lamp Creative Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WLA_nyhistorical_1910_desk_lamp.jpg; Image of Favrile Glass Creative Commons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Favrile.jpg

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Tiffany Glass

    A style of glass designed by the Tiffany Studios characterized by uneven glass thickness, and rich colors.

  • Favrile

    An iridescent art glass originally designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany for use in lamps and stained glass windows.

  • Iridescent

    Displaying multiple colors that change when viewed at different angles.

  • Decorative Arts

    The design of objects that are both beautiful and useful. Could include furniture, jewelry, and pottery, among other things.