Art Nouveau: An Art of Transition-From Individualism to Mass by Gabriele Fahr-Becker

By Gabriele Fahr-Becker

Publication by means of Fahr-Becker, Gabriele, Sterner, Gabriele

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No artist of his time wrote as much as he did, and his endless reflections cannot be explained in any had emerged error made other way. in during the period that antedated the First World It is this consciousness, at the center of artistic activity 34 I believe, that justified his position around 1900. On the one hand, his preeminence would be justified solely by the scope of his oeuvre. On the other, and what for me is more important, his central role was a function of the fact that his own life and work reflect the contradictions and problems inherent in an artistic existence at the beginning of the twentieth century.

In Lalique's jewelry, delicate leaflike structures send forth shoots and tendrils that appear to come together of their own accord to form a piece of jewelry. In the example reproduced here, the graceful, curved body of a sea nymph, whose hands provide the setting for a decorative stone, forms a diadem (fig. 20). Lalique shared with other art nouveau artists a preference for unconventional motifs drawn from symbolic naturalism. He, too, regarded plants as living beings. Like the others, he chose flowers, primarily withered ones, as decorative elements.

Lalique had been a student 54 17 Emile Galle, Buffet. Ca. 1900 at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. By the time he was twenty-five, in 1885, he had set appearance up a jewelry workshop in Paris. His first public Salon de Mars in 1895 created a sensation. In in the 1900 he was the undisputed victor at the World's Fair. Lalique's work also represented a reaction, this time against the highly developed but stagnating art of jewelry design that prevailed in 55 The jewelry of the period was extraordinarily Diamonds continued to be the favorite stone and were often artfully combined with emeralds and sapphires.

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