Archive for the Art Nouveau Category

Fouquet & Mucha, an inspired collaboration.

Posted in 19th cent., Alphonse Mucha, architecture, Art Nouveau, Paris International 1900 on December 1, 2010 by babylonbaroque

The Art Nouveau found particularly beautiful expression in the collaborative work of the jeweler Georges Fouquet (1862-1957) and the designer/artist Alphonse Mucha ( 1860-1939). For a brief glorious moment, extravagant beauty reigned supreme.

Brooch

ca. 1900

Manufacturer- Georges Fouquet

Designer- Alphonse Mucha

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Georges acquired his skill and taste early on through the acclaim and talents of his father Alphonse Fouquet ( 1828-1911). A pioneer in jewelry design, Alphonse  re-introduced the female nude figure into his designs , a radical departure from Victorian mores. When his work was exhibited in 1878 at the Universal Exposition in Paris, Alphonse was awarded a gold prize for his exceptional skill, craft, and taste.

Alphonse Fouquet

b. 1828

d. 1911

Although considered to have made an even greater impact concerning the  of art jewelry  then his father, I was unable to locate an image of Georges. His legacy will have to suffice.

Georges teamed up with his father in 1891. Alphonse had set up shop at 35 avenue de’l Opera, clearly Georges had grander plans.

Upon his father’s retirement in 1895 Georges rejected the Classicism of papa and allowed himself to be fully embraced by the seductive charms of the Art Nouveau. Who better to secure the union then the maestro Alphonse Mucha.

more concerning Alphonse Mucha, previous post

The collaborative efforts with Mucha created quite a buzz. Although Georges had a stable of esteemed artist on staff, the work with Mucha resulted in particular acclaim. Georges enjoyed the fruits of this fame at the Paris International Exhibition of 1900.

Flush with recent triumphs Georges opened a new shop in  1901, 6 rue Royal. A jaw-dropping masterpiece, entirely designed by that master of sublime beauty, Mucha.

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As spectacular as the exterior was, the interior engulfed visitors in a heady  harem atmosphere redolent of kohl eyed , ambergris scented lusciousness.

I was tickled beyond belief when I first encountered this image.

Mucha oversaw every detail, such as the exquisite peacock preening over the main jewelry case. Woe to the hapless fellow, when his lady love crossed this threshold.

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I really love the voluptuous “fabric” rendered in a hard material, I am assuming glazed terra cotta.

 

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I enclose a few un-documented images, but they do bear the distinct mark of a Fouquet -Mucha collaboration.

If they happen to not be authenticated, they do illustrate the influence of this dynamic duo.

Brooch

ca. 1900

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Brooch

ca. 1900

Sadly all greatness ends, the passion for the excesses of Art Nouveau passed, 6 rue Royal was looking dated.

In 1936 the shop was redecorated. Georges’ son Jean joined the family business in 1919, and like his own father, he had a new artistic vision, the streamlined Art Deco.

I must confess I have never appreciated the chill of Art Deco glamour, I have often found it a dowdy period, 1936 particularly so.

Thankfully the Fouquets had the integrity to donate Mucha’s architectural masterwork to the Museum of the City of Paris, the Musee Carnavalet

I will focus on the glory days of Fouquet in closing with this little clip from the 1900 Exposition Universelle, Paris would not be Paris without Gustave  Eiffel’s wonder and the glories of Fouquet and Mucha.

Respectfully submitted,

Babylon Baroque

Master Lalique

Posted in 19th cent., Art Nouveau, Calouste Gulbenkian, Sarah Bernhardt on October 6, 2010 by babylonbaroque

Continuing on  with  fin de Siècle excess and beauty, it would be impossible not to mention the Master of the Jeweled Arts, René Lalique.Female Face Pendant

ca. 1898-1900

glass, silver, enamel, gold, and baroque pearl

René Lalique

Museo Gulbenkian, source

What I admire about Lalique, aside from his great talent and taste, was his choice of material. A stone being merely “precious” did not necessarily catch this aesthetes eye; the above featured pendant shows Lalique’s able vision to wrought glass into something far more ethereal then it’s base element.

René Jules Lalique

b. 6th April 1860

d. 5th May 1945

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As I mentioned in my previous Sarah Bernhardt post , Calouste Gulbenkian (dragonfly pendant fame) was an important patron of Lalique’s art.

From the work collected at his Museo Gulbenkian his affection for Lalique is quite apparent.

Peacock Pectoral

ca. 1898-1900

cold, enamel, opals, diamond

Museo Gulbenkian, source

Plaque for Eagles and Pine choker

ca. 1899-1901

gold, opals, enamel

Museo Gulbenkian

I love the sinister quality of this piece, the raptors hidden behind the boughs, ready to rip ones throat , perfect theme for a choker.

Speaking of the lovely and the macabre, Medusa is always a perfect muse.

Meduse

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The serpentine tangle , always enchanting.

Serpents pectoral

ca. 1898-1899

gold and enamel

Museo Gulbenkian

To get a sense of the scale and beauty of the Gulbenkian pieces, check out this short clip, the Centaur shown is stunning.

As there is nothing I enjoy more then drawing, I find it of great interest to ponder the work of a Master .

These sketches allow us a glimpse of Lalique’s magical vision.

design for hair comb

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Terribly charming the little bumble bees, unfortunately I haven’t any info.

sketch of an anemone

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Enchanting as this sketch may be, seeing it in it’s glittery glory is most rewarding.

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Orchid diadem

ca. 1903-1904

ivory, horn, gold, topaz

Museo Gulbenkian

I leave you with these lovely images , I hope your day is as enchanting.

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