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Thread: Art Nouveau in your town?

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Art Nouveau in your town?

    Up until the late 1800's American architecture tended to follow European trends, although a decade or two later. You can find just about every European style from the 1700's or later in the US or Canada, and you will also find most American styles in Europe. The one that is noticably missing from America is Art Nouveau. I have yet to see it anywhere in American cities I have visited. Louis Sullivan adopted elements of the style in the decoration of a few of his buildings, and I know of a Milwaukee building, otherwise in the Beaux Arts style, with Art Nouveau designs in its window mouldings, but that is all. Why is this? Is there Art Nouveau in your community?
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    Cyburbian
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    The Chicago School, which was an architectural style at the turn of the century, has some decorative elements which show some influence of the Art Nouveau, but I am very hesistant about that. Louis Henri Sullivan's work is the closest I have seen to Gaudi's work in Barcelona, and that really isn't saying much, since the two are apples and oranges in many ways. Examples would include Carson Pirie Scott Building and the Auditorium Theater. Frank Lloyd Wright's earliest residential architecture borrows alot from Sullivan. I think alot of the Chicago School is overshadowed by the Prairie movement, which blossomed in the first decade and a half of the twentieth century.

    There are a few reasons why this style never took off.

    1.Art Nouveau, from the french, italian, and spanish designs, is much more focused on ornament and is very expensive to build. Much of the work done in Europe was probably commissioned.
    2. America was and still is very very conservative to all forms of artistic expression. Art Nouveau is a 'total' style (architecture, painting, jewelry, textiles, furniture, etc.) and there are still influences found in the decorative arts. Much of the painting was considered somewhat racy at the time.
    3. I think in a lot of ways Art Nouveau was considered a "fad" that would never take off in this country, which is why we kept designing buildings using architectural styles from earlier eras.

  3. #3
    The city where I work suffered an economic recession/depression when the Art Nouveau was most popular and thus there are no architectural elements of it to be found here. I have seen some flyers and posters locally from that era and they do employ Art Nouveau graphic elements, so it was not unheard of here. Bu, alas, no architecture.

    Off-topic:
    Brussels' collection of Art Nouveau architecture is utterly fantastic. One of the joys of my trip to Europe oh so many eons ago!

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    Cyburbian Flying Monkeys's avatar
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    Miami is known for Art Deco, but Art Nouveau can be seen in many of the details in the buildings. It may not be pure Nouveau, but there are hints in the merged styles in some of the bldgs. It seems to pop up in the interior stuff like glass work, mouldings, bars, etc.
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    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Fair enough, but it IS true that Art Nouveau is much less represented in the US, if at all (In architecture, there's more in decorations, see Tiffany).

    MY theory is that most of these styles came to the US with a delay of 10-30 years, Art Nouveau was big in Europe a generation before WWI, by the time it should have been big in the US, there was a war on and A.N. was a particularly flamboyant form which did not go well withy austerity. Just a theory.
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    Owen Jones

    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal View post
    Up until the late 1800's American architecture tended to follow European trends, although a decade or two later. You can find just about every European style from the 1700's or later in the US or Canada, and you will also find most American styles in Europe. The one that is noticably missing from America is Art Nouveau. I have yet to see it anywhere in American cities I have visited. Louis Sullivan adopted elements of the style in the decoration of a few of his buildings, and I know of a Milwaukee building, otherwise in the Beaux Arts style, with Art Nouveau designs in its window mouldings, but that is all. Why is this? Is there Art Nouveau in your community?
    In the 19th Century, Art was in decline worldwide. Victor Hugo in 1831 had written in his Notre Dame that,”the renaissance was the setting sun all Europe had mistook for dawn". There was a separate movement to revive Art in America.

    In the 20th Century, Art Deco in America may have had some roots in Art Nouveau but much earlier, in 1856 Owen Jones’ Grammar of Ornament became the acknowledged influence on Sullivan and Wright. Art Nouveau, near the end of the 19th Century, had grown out of the Arts and Crafts Movement while the Chicago School of Architecture was forming. I imagine John Ruskin who influenced the Arts and Crafts Movement was influenced by Owen Jones. I suppose that would explain why Art Nouveau stayed in Europe; America had a separate movement of its own which overtook Europe by 1910 with the publication of Wrights work in Germany ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasmuth_Portfolio ).Sad to say the unintended consequence evolved into the International Style, causing Art to decline again.


    Art Deco, 1920 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_deco

    Arts and Crafts - 1860 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arts_and_Crafts_movement

    Owen Jones, (1809 – 1874); Grammar of Ornament, c. 1856 –

    “Proposition 37
    No improvement can take place in the Art of the present generation until all classes, Artists, Manufacturers, and the Public, are better educated in Art, and the existence of general principles is more fully recognized
    .”

    http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fna...mmar/main.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornament_(architecture)

    John Ruskin, (1819 –1900) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ruskin, “…the inspiration for the Arts and Crafts Movement”

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