Inspired by Julie Powell’s success – her blog was turned into the Hollywood movie Julie and Julia featuring Meryl Streep – I have decided to start a blog about my journey into finding out everything there is to know about Art Nouveau.
Looking back at the last 25 – 30 years of my life, this blog is the only logical outcome of many inspiring discoveries, lots of travelling and meeting wonderful people. The seeds have been planted many years ago and now everything is falling into place.
My first encounter (that I am aware of) with Art Nouveau was in Paris, 1989. I fell in love with the famous Métropolitain entrances by Hector Guimard (1867-1942). A year later, my friend Rumiko-san introduced me to Emile Gallé (1846-1904) at the Kitazawa Museum of Art, in Japan. I remember the room was pitch-dark, the ceiling was low and there was no sound. Only one spot light pointed from above at a vase with a polar bear. I could almost see the bear breathe!
Years later I learned about Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), bought a beautiful book about his work and told myself I could go to Barcelona only after I finish reading the whole book… Well, Barcelona is still on my bucket list, but I’m sure I will be able to read the book within the coming year or so!
In the mean time, I did go to Prague and visit the Alfons Mucha Museum. Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) must be one of my favorite Art Nouveau artists as I can never get enough of his beautiful posters. Probably my most favorite poster is the one with Princess Hyacinth (1911), but I can also appreciate his Slav Epic, a series of twenty monumental canvases (the largest measuring over 6 by 8 meters) depicting the history of the Slav people and civilization.
Over 300 master pieces of Mucha can be seen at the website of the Mucha Foundation.
And last year (2011), when I got the chance to visit Helsinki, I must have taken nearly 1.000 photo’s of Art Nouveau architecture. Helsinki is just stuffed with Art Nouveau!
In later posts, I will try to figure out what is what, and who made it, but for now, I just want to show you some examples of the wonderful buildings I found in Helsinki, Finland.
Since I cannot travel all year around, and this blog (as well as any possible reader) deserves more than 5 posts a year, I am planning to investigate my hometown Dordrecht for Art Nouveau objects. Along the way, I hope to learn a lot and maybe I can finish this project with a listing of all Art Nouveau in Dordrecht and a guide explaining the objects in detail… To give you an idea of what beautiful objects can be found in Dordrecht, I have a really nice example for you here:
Anyways, whether my blog is going to have many followers or none, I am 100% sure that I am going to enjoy this! Feel free to correct me, give me advice or ask me questions any time. Join me on this journey into Art Nouveau!
That was 4 years ago… Since then só much has happened! I have studied heaps of books about Art Nouveau, traveled to beautiful places and visited some excellent museums. At the same time, I was busy restoring our very own Art Nouveau family home and searching the whole world for authentic materials to period decorate our home.
And I found beautiful materials! Wallpapers, upholstery fabrics, rugs, tiles, lace panels and lots and lots more… But none of it in my own country. That’s when I decided to start my own business and import these beautiful products. I wanted to help other home owners with their period decorating in Art Nouveau style too. Maison l’Art Nouveau was established on the 1st of January 2016 and has been a success since day one! What a wonderful feeling to have been able to turn my passion for Art Nouveau into a full-time job!
French journalist Claude Mandraut, who blogs about Architecture and loves Art Nouveau just as much as I, published an interview with me about my passion for Art Nouveau. If you can read French, you can read the interview by clicking here.