Art Nou­veau – the new mod­ern era

It’s a style that’s rarely out of fash­ion and it’s a beau­ti­ful one. James Hawkins ex­plains its his­tory

EDP Norfolk - - BOOKS - James Hawkins Juels’ Ltd, Nor­wich

The term Art Nou­veau was first used in the Bel­gian jour­nal L’Art Mod­ern to de­scribe art work by Les Vingt [a Bel­gian art group]. The term was then pop­u­larised by Parisian art gallery Mai­son de l’art (House of New Art) opened in 1895 by the Franco-Ger­man art dealer Siegfried Bing.

The style de­picts an in­ter­na­tional mod­ernist neo­clas­si­cal art style pop­u­lar through­out Europe be­tween 1880 – 1910. These iden­ti­fy­ing styles de­vel­oped within their own na­tions.

The French of­ten re­ferred to the style as Guimard af­ter the ar­chi­tect who de­signed the Paris Metro sys­tem’s iron and glass sub­way en­trances. How­ever the mod­ernist move­ment was de­scribed by many names in var­i­ous Euro­pean coun­tries. In Bel­gium it was re­ferred to as style coup de fouet (whiplash style) and as ju­gend­stil (youth style) in Ger­man.

Italy was in­flu­enced by the de­signs of Lon­don’s Lib­erty and Co store and was re­ferred to as lib­erty style or stile flo­re­ale (flo­ral style), arts and crafts or mod­ern style in Bri­tain, but they are all now more com­monly grouped to­gether and re­ferred to as Art Nou­veau.

The Art Nou­veau style was in­spired by nat­u­ral forms, preRaphael­ite nymphs, sin­u­ous asym­met­ri­cal whiplash curves and flora and fauna mo­tifs. It em­braced new age ma­te­ri­als in the form of mod­ern ce­ram­ics, enam­elling and gem­stones in­cor­po­rated within plat­inum and white gold but a strong favourite was al­ways set­ting di­a­monds into these elab­o­rate de­signs.

At the world trade fair Ex­po­si­tion Uni­ver­sal, held in Paris in 1900, the height of the move­ment wit­nessed jew­ellery ex­hibitors such as the pre­em­i­nent Euro­pean jewellers Henri Vever, Philippe Wolfers, Rene Lalique, Louis Com­fort Tif­fany and Ge­orge Fou­quet who opened his new shop at 6 Rue Royale to co­in­cide with the open­ing of the Grand Palais main hall.

Here at Juels’ Lim­ited we have a large col­lec­tion of Art Nou­veau jew­ellery. One such item is this in­spir­ing asym­met­ri­cal curved fauna fo­li­ate mo­tif di­a­mond pen­dant set in 18k white gold and in­cor­po­rat­ing ap­prox­i­mately 1.5ct of tran­si­tion cut di­a­monds, of­ten re­ferred to as Euro­pean cut di­a­monds.

The pen­dant is sus­pended by a di­a­mond bale and is typ­i­cal of the curved nat­u­ral forms syn­ony­mous with the pe­riod.

We are al­ways seek­ing to in­crease our jew­ellery col­lec­tion there­fore if any­one has any pe­riod jew­ellery that they may want to sell, trade in or have val­ued, con­tact James Hawkins or any mem­ber of staff as we are al­ways ea­ger to as­sist.

This col­umn is spon­sored by Juels’ Lim­ited, Royal Ar­cade, Nor­wich. juel­slim­ juel­[email protected] 01603 666373

ABOVE: The iconic Paris Metro style

BE­LOW: A beau­ti­ful pen­dant from Juels

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