Treasures of Art Nouveau - I

Sensual forms, sublime innuendos, lush entanglements:
the whole over-the-top emotional palette is present in these rare art masterpieces

I have to admit, Art Nouveau is my favorite period in art history. Perhaps, because it also coincides with 1900s frenetically-paced industrial revolution (superimposing the grimy steamy machinery and belching factories with delicate and marvelous fairy curves). Blessed by works of such masters as Hector Guimard, Alphonse Mucha, Antoni Gaudi, this style seems to be ripe with foreboding of coming social upheavals and a general sense of anything-goes wild abandon that prevailed in Europe, and especially in France in the early 1900s.

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(Victor Laloux's Beaux-Arts clock in the Orsay Museum, Paris; photo by Ruy Barbosa Pinto)

This article does not intend to educate about every variety of Art Nouveau (there are countless books and Wikipedia for that). But I'd like to highlight the most gorgeous examples, including the ones that so far escaped wide public attention. Remember, with every year we step further away from this incredibly creative era, and many soul-enriching art pieces may well be doomed to recede into the mists of time without their due share of appreciation. Well, no more. We here at Dark Roasted Blend are going to bring some of this awareness back, in many future installments of this series.

Hector Guimard's "organic buildings" in Paris

Everybody knows about Hector's contribution to Paris' Metropolitain: the flowery and somewhat alien-looking (especially in twilight) entrances all over Paris center -

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(image credit: Claude Rozier)

These graceful organic forms may even bring to mind the former glory of the 1900 Paris Exposition, full of legendary structures, of which only a few photographs still exist today (more info). Here are some details of the entrance to Metro Abesses station:

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(images credit: Jean-Claude Fornerod, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra; a bottle via)

Hector Guimard Cabinet, c. 1899; another fantastic light fixture; brass curves detail; and a rare treat - 1900 embroidered textile ornament:

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(images via 2, 3, 4, 5)

"The terrifying and edible beauty of Art Nouveau architecture." -- Salvador Dali

One of the most beautiful crosses I have ever seen... plus details from his Metropolitain entrances and from an entrance to Castel Beranger, Rue Fontaine, 14:

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(images credit: Francis Mariani, Jean-Claude Fornerod, Jean-Pierre Dalbéra)

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