Art Nouveau Furniture Movement
Here Stickley discusses the history of the art nouveau design furniture movement with examples and how it relates to American furniture history.
¶ It was during this same period that the movement called L´Art Nouveau sprang up in France and for a time attained quite a vogue under the leadership of Bing. Belgium followed suit with a rather heavier and more pronounced interpretation of the distinctive features of this style and for a few years the plant forms and swirling lines that distinguished Art Nouveau furniture productions were very popular. In Germany and Austria the art students and others of the more restless spirits who were constantly in revolt from the established styles determined to outdo the French and accordingly established government schools for the teaching of a definite style, which was called New Art or Secessionist and which contained some of the features of Art Nouveau and others that were borrowed from English Arts and Crafts furniture and also from ancient Egyptian forms of art. The French school has already failed in the efforts to establish a permanent style, and the indications are that the efforts of the German and Austrian Secessionists will prove equally futile, because in both cases the workers have merely attempted to do something different to evolve a new thing by combining the features of the old. In other words, they began at the top instead of beginning at the bottom and allowing the style to develop naturally from the sure foundation of real utility. The leaders succeeded in making things that, whatever their relative merits, were a new departure but this once made, it stood as a completed achievement that might be imitated, hut could hardly be developed, as it lacked the beginnings of healthy growth.
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