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Art Nouveau

What’s in a Name? Art Nouveau and other Names

I have a confession to make. Before I moved to Europe a decade ago, I didn’t realize that all the countries in the world were not actually named what we call them in English. You may be laughing right now, but I must admit this came as a surprise to me. France was easy as in French it is still called France, but the French call the Netherlands “Pays Bas” (The Low Country) while the Dutch call themselves Nederland. Germany is Deutschland (to the Germans) but the French call the country of Germany Allemagne. And Switzerland … well, in truth, I always forget that they call themselves Confoederatio Helvetica, causing their license tags to read a confusing CH while Spanish cars boast a giant E for Espana.

While this might seem like common sense to you, did you realize that the style we typically refer to as Art Nouveau also has a whole host of other names? In Germany it’s called Jugendstil (Youth Style) but in Austria, another German speaking country, it’s referred to as the Sezessionstil. Meanwhile, in the UK, Art Nouveau developed out of the Arts and Crafts Movement and is seen exemplified in Mackintosh’s work in Glasgow, so many Brit’s simply refer to this style as the Glasgow Style. The Americans aren’t any better. We often refer to all Art Nouveau design as Tiffany Style even on pieces that Louis Comfort Tiffany had no hand in designing. The Italians took no credit for the design. Instead, they looked to London’s Liberty & Co department store when naming the movement in their language, choosing to call Art Nouveau the Stile Liberty (Liberty Style). In Spain, Art Nouveau is referred to as Modernisme while in Denmark and Poland, Art Nouveau designs were absorbed into established local movements called Sknvirke (aesthetic activity) and Moda Polska (Young Poland).

Even in France, where the term Art Nouveau originates, meaning New Art, it wasn’t always called by this term. In French you’ll also find Art Nouveau pieces referred to as Le Style Moderne (The Modern Style). Several other countries hopped on that band wagon, with Spain also using the terminology Arte Joven (Young Art) and Italy occasionally referring to it as Arte Nuova (New Art), while The Netherlands employed Nieuwe Kunst (new art). Some countries threw in additional names that had more to do with the flowing lines and organic forms, so keep your eyes peeled for phrases such as Stile Floreal (Floral Style), Lilienstil (Lily Style), Style Nouille (Noodle Style) and Stile Vermicelli (Macaroni Style). If naming an art and design movement after pasta isn’t enough, get this – Art Nouveau has even been referred to as Bandwurmstil (Tapeworm Style) and Paling Stijl (Eel Style).

All this is enough to give you a headache, but as I wave goodbye, I’ll mention just one more name for Art Nouveau -Wellenstil (or the wave style).

Ta Ta for now. Until next time,

The Antiques Diva™

PAN Amsterdam

Earlier this week, I wrote giving you the dates and details for the upcoming PAN Amsterdam to be held Nov 23 – 30, 2008 at the RAI. For those of you who are not familiar with PAN Amsterdam, I thought you might enjoy reading a review written by an IWC Member who participated in the PAN Amsterdam Antiques Diva IWC Outing last year! So Ta Ta from me and Hello from Novella, an IWC Antiques Diva Participant!
IWC Member Novella writes:
It was a cold autumn day in Amsterdam, but what better way to spend it than browsing indoors through PAN Amsterdam. Eight of us art & antiques loving IWC members met up at the RAI exhibition centre for a Diva’s Day Out! Thanks to the “Invitations” obtained by Antiques Diva Tour Guide Marlene we all obtained free entrance to the show – a savings of 12.50E per person!

This was my first visit with the Antiques Diva Group and it was great fun strolling around the hugely varied exhibits, sometimes with the others and sometimes taking time to view paintings alone, lost among classic fine art, modern art, early period furniture, ceramics, photographs, jewelry, sculptures and all the rest that remains a blur. Some of our group was very knowledgeable about antiques and also confident in approaching gallery owners and dealers asking for information and prices of pieces while others of us hadn’t a clue. Speaking of prices, it’s fun to go to PAN even if you know you can’t possibly afford the majority of the price tags for items at PAN! You learn so much and as The Antiques Diva always says, “Seeing fine art educates your eye so you appreciate quality when you see it. It’s like doing a wine tasting to educate the palette.”

I was bowled over by a modern painting by Karl Appel, entitled De Kat from the Jaski Gallery, but no price tag was listed on this one. Taking a cue from the Diva, I inquired with the smiling dealer as to its cost, “The Cat is 35,000E” he said and I retreated with grace to join the others.

Some of the galleries had made great efforts to provide atmosphere to enhance their exhibits, in particular Jan Roelofs Antiquairs specializing in early period furniture and object d’art. The lighting and setting worked to great effect setting off the beauty and mystery of the mainly 16 & 17th C Italian and Spanish furniture.

An exhibit of Russian early 20th C paintings also caught my eye. The paintings, and there were many, seemed so fresh and reasonably priced! They were the bargain at PAN! They were exhibited by the Douwes Fine Art Gallery and I might just pop along the Spiegelkwartier later and have another browse with “intent” as a I have a large white wall crying out for some affordable art.

The Art Nouveau period was also featured at the show and I particularly liked the art glass such as Tiffany, Daum and Loetz. Absolutely exquisite! I realized quickly I wanted to start collecting pieces such as these.

The PAN Amsterdam fair is a great venue for antique and art novices and dealers alike. The bars and cafes, strategically situated down the center of the exhibition, buzzed with chatter and happy antiques diva’s exchanging views and making new friends in between sips of coffee or wine and cake! This is a cool place also for people and fashion watching… it’s not just the art that is on show but the guests as well! I look forward to my next Antiques Diva experience in January!

Novella
IWC Amsterdam Member

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