What is Art Nouveau? First For Prints Investigates
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–191] The name “Art Nouveau” is French for “new art”. It is known also as Jugendstil, German for “youth style”, named after the magazine Jugend which promoted it, as Modern (Модерн) in Russia, perhaps named after Parisian gallery “La Maison Moderne”, as Secession in Austria-Hungary and its successor states after the Viennese group of artists, and, in Italy, as Stile Liberty from the department store in London, Liberty & Co., which popularised the style.
In the United Kingdom, Art Nouveau developed out of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The beginning of an Art Nouveau style can be recognized during the 1880s, in a few progressive designs such as the architect-designer Arthur Mackmurdo’s book cover design for his essay on the city churches of Sir Christopher Wren, published during 1883. Some free-flowing wrought iron from the 1880s could also be adduced, or some flat floral textile designs, most of which owed some impetus to patterns of 19th century design. The most important location in Britain eventually became Glasgow, with the creations of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his colleagues. The cluster of artists known as the Dunbar School were active in, what was known in Scotland, as Art Noo-voo.
Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo (12 December 1851 – 15 March 1942) was a progressive English architect and designer, who influenced the Arts and Crafts Movement, notably through the Century Guild of Artists, which he set up in partnership with Selwyn Image in 1882.
Mackmurdo was the son of a wealthy chemical manufacturer. He was educated at Felsted School, and was first trained under the architect T. Chatfield Clarke, from whom he claimed to have learnt nothing. Then, in 1869, he became an assistant to the Gothic Revival architect James Brooks. In 1873, he visited John Ruskin’s School of Drawing, and accompanied Ruskin to Italy in 1874. He stayed on to study in Florence for a while; despite the influence of Ruskin, the Italian architecture he was most impressed by was that of the Renaissance. That same year, Mackmurdo opened his own architectural practice at 28, Southampton Street, in London.
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