Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A little Art Nouveau

Originally uploaded by Decrepit Telephone

Art Nouveau, about five or six years ago, was a major weakness of mine. I loved the sinuous lines of Mucha and De Feure , and adored the architecture of Guimard and Van de Velde. I researched the style with the same fervor that I hold for mid- and late-nineteenth-century styles nowadays.

I was a bit of an odd kid. I was fairly normal in the sense that I played with toys and jumped at getting into mud, but I also loved going to the library and checking out the art section. The non-fiction, arts and history sections were where I'd spend a good long time combing through out-of-print books on the different styles and different subjects that I found interesting as the years passed. For a while, it was transatlantic liners that got my boat floating (yeah, that was kind of a turn-of-phrase pun, you'll have to forgive me.) and another day it could be looking through floor plans of Palliser's Cottage Homes of 1878. Still another day, I'd be hefting huge compendiums of 1960s Art Nouveau architecture and styles, getting disappointed and depressed upon finding out that my favorite buildings had been demolished over twenty years before I was even born. I learned the big names of my favorite architectural styles before I learned current slang. I was hopeless around the cool kids. I just wasn't one.

It didn't bother me at all. Seriously. I had my books and my clipboard and I devoured them. I even adopted the style in drawings, patterning the treatment of hair after Mucha, and adding the little white border around figures as seen in the poster style of the period.

It was with the Art Nouveau style that I really started taking in the texts of these books. Before I was 18, I could instantly spot poncy art-speak and scowl at it, and ignore it. I wasn't impressed by it, when other people that I spoke to my age, and interested in art, were eating it up and thinking it moving and rather smart.

My tastes changed after a couple of years obsessing over the style and its period. I just stopped really getting into the style. I no longer had a little lift in my heart when I come upon a new work of Mucha's that I hadn't seen before.

So I no longer obsess over Mucha and Guimard and De Feure, but I still like the style. It's no longer my favorite, but I still will buy a nice old piece if it has a good design on it. The little orange and gold and turquoise gilded and enameled bulb vase, in the top picture, was something I found for two dollars in Ft. Pierce Florida in an antique shop I used to frequent as a much younger person. The place has changed as much as I have since I was last there.
I think, though, that a little of the Art Nouveau ideas have stayed with me. So when I saw the little vase in January, I bought it. It happily co-exists with the mishmash of stuff that I have.

But that's okay. It's fun in my weird dimension and I like it here.

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