Art Nouveau Ceramics
Art Nouveau Ceramics are decorative and practical ceramic items produced in the Art Nouveau style.
Brief History and Description
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art. It was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plants, but also in curved lines. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment. It is also considered a philosophy of design of furniture, which was designed according to the whole building and made part of ordinary life".
Motifs of flowers, trees, nudes and flowing garments appear frequently in Art Nouveau. It was first popularised by the Czech artist Mucha, who produced a poster for an upcoming play, depicting a woman in the informal style which which was his signature. This made the style very popular in Paris, the hub of the art world, and the style of artwork was originally known as "Style Mucha", only later being called Art Nouveau as the style moved beyond pictorial art.
Although it originated as a European movement, the style proved so popular that it was soon a worldwide phenomenon. Klimt, Macintosh and Tiffany were all inspired by the new forms, and used the style in their particular way. The style remains strongly associated with the 'Belle Epoch' (beautiful era) of turn of the century France.
For the brief period of time it was popular Art Nouveau was a shimmering presence in urban centers throughout Europe and North America. Art Nouveau was most popular in Europe, but its influence was global. It was the style of the age seen on public buildings and advertisements, inside private homes and outside street cafés adorning the life of the city.
Art Nouveau was a response to the radical changes caused by the rapid urban growth and technological advances that followed the Industrial Revolution. This timeline establishes a counterpoint between major moments in the development of Art Nouveau and world events to provide a context for understanding the style's many and varied influences.
Art Nouveau embraced all forms of art and design: architecture, furniture, glassware, graphic design, posters, jewellery, painting, pottery, metalwork, and textiles. This was a sharp contrast to the traditional separation of art into the distinct categories of fine art (painting and sculpture) and applied arts (ceramics, furniture, and other practical objects).
Guide for Collectors
Art Nouveau borrowed from many sources, and Art Nouveau ceramics were inspired by Japanese forms and colours. Extreme heat was used in firing to create a cracked glaze, together with deep, rich, jeweled colours and irregular, sensuous forms.
Other forms of the style used a flamboyant disregard for symmetry, and in ceramics as in pictorial art, there are recurring themes of flowers, flowing water, trees, and the human body. Floral designs were often appliqued to pottery to create an enameled look. A characteristic colour is cyan, in cracked glaze.
Distinctive, attractive and easily recognizable, Art Nouveau ceramic ware remains very popular and highly collectable, although it is not easy to source. The collector should be aware that as with any popular movement, there have been recent imitators. Names to look for are Ernest Chaplet, Taxile Doat, Alexandre Bigot, Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat, Edmond Lachenal, and Albert Dammouse. However, this was not an exclusive movement and there were many contributors, not all of them well-known currently. Unless a collector wants to specialize in collecting the work of a particular designer, then the age of the piece is the most important thing to verify.
Art Nouveau collectors can get some of the art from different galleries around the world. One of the galleries that the collectors can purchase some of the products is Zsolnay Art Nouveau Secession n Antique Pottery Ceramic Gallery which has a number of collectibles from Art Nouveau. These artifacts are offered for sale. Another important avenue for collectors who would like to own these artifacts is the Janus Pannonius Museum in Pecs which has a number of Art Nouveau pieces.
Collectors can also get information from documented literature including such places as Architecture and Applied Arts in Hungary. For enthusiasts who would like to feast their eyes on art nouveau pieces, The Hall with the ornamental Duck Fountain is one of the main rooms of the Hungarian Pavilion. Collectors can also get the pieces from a number of auctions which are both physical and online. One of the online auctions is eBay while physical auction houses are like Christie’s and Tri Green Company.
Prices paid for Art Nouveau ceramic ware vary widely. Many items, in good condition, can be found for as little as $10.
An Art Nouveau vase was sold by Copake Auctions for $60 in October 2011. A pair of Art Nouveau ceramic table lamps were sold by Roland of New York for $70 in October 2011. A Dutch Art Nouveau ceramic glazed bowl was sold by Susanin's Auctions for $200 in February 2010. A glazed ceramic vase was sold by Susanin's for $225, in September 2010.
The most expensive Art Nouveau ceramic artifact sold to date was a rare 1917 UND vase, sold by Humler & Nolan in December 2011, for $10,500.