Art et Décoration


Another Art Nouveau journal partially emerged from the world’s libraries, Art et Décoration was a French equivalent of The Studio, launched a few years after its British counterpart in 1897. The examples here are from a cover design competition in the first issue which yielded the usual complement of decorous muses and florid borders; The Studio used to hold similar competitions. For now the Internet Archive only has the four issues of A&D, the first two then numbers 41 & 42. Here’s hoping that more become available, I’m naturally curious to see how they treated the Exposition Universelle of 1900.



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Ver Sacrum, 1898


There are art magazines, and then there’s Ver Sacrum. I’m tempted to say there are magazines, and then there’s Ver Sacrum but that’s going a little far. Suffice to say that among the many fine art magazines of the period 1890 to 1910, a number of which have been featured here already, Ver Sacrum stands apart for its design and the consistent quality of its contents. Having seen back numbers of Jugend and Pan made available at the University of Heidelberg I’d been hoping the archivists there would eventually turn their attention to the art journal of the Viennese Secession, and they finally have, with the first bound number digitised here.


The volume for 1898 collects the first year of the journal cum manifesto of the Union of Austrian Artists, as the Secession group called themselves. That union is represented by the triple shield symbol which recurs in different forms across all the media produced by the group, the shields representing painting, sculpture and architecture. (On the cover of the first issue, the shields are shown growing from a tree whose roots have burst the confines of their container.) Ver Sacrum was a team effort with design contributions by Koloman Moser, Alfred Roller, Josef Hoffmann and Gustav Klimt, and what really sets it apart for me is its striking square format and the wide margins which provided a very flexible template for presenting a variety of graphic content. Other magazines of the period such as Pan shared some of the content but their presentation didn’t greatly differ from the more staid magazines of the era. Ver Sacrum was a break with the style of 19th century journals, and its graphic design points the way to much of the magazine and book design which would follow. It’s also a superb showcase for the Austrian development of the Art Nouveau style, and the overlap between Art Nouveau and the final flourishes of the Symbolist movement.


There’s far too much in this first volume to easily select, all I can do is advise that anyone interested has a browse through the entire book. As with Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration some of the art is the typically conservative fare of the period but the presentation makes up for that, and there’s enough of interest elsewhere to prevent things from getting dull. Here’s hoping the other volumes are made available very soon.

Update: Paul in the comments draws my attention to additional scans of Ver Sacrum at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Heidelberg does a better job of making the issues browsable but it’s still great to have more than one source for this material.

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Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #10: Turin and Vienna


Turin exposition poster by Leonardo Bistolfi.

Part two of a two-part skate through the contents of volume 10 of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. In addition to the Heinrich Vogeler feature which was the subject of yesterday’s post, this edition includes articles on the Prima Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa Moderna in Turin—another international showcase for the Art Nouveau style—and a feature on the Viennese Secession exhibition of the same year. This latter piece was especially fascinating when seeing such a notable event reported for the first time. There’s more about that below. This volume also includes a piece on the Glasgow Arts and Crafts movement but the photos for that piece are poor quality. As before, anyone wishing to see these samples in greater detail is advised to download the entire volume at the Internet Archive. There’ll be more DK&D next week.


A feature on dress design shows some rare examples of Art Nouveau style being applied to clothing.


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Both issues of Wyndham Lewis’s avant garde art and literature journal can be found in a collection of similar publications from the Modernist years at Brown University here and here. I’ve always liked the bold graphics of Lewis and his fellow Vorticists, and BLAST 2, “the War Number”, is especially good in that regard. The MJP site reminds us that BLAST is still under copyright control outside the US and is also available in facsimile editions from Gingko Press.

BLAST was the quintessential modernist little magazine. Founded by Wyndham Lewis, with the assistance of Ezra Pound, it ran for just two issues, published in 1914 and 1915. The First World War killed it, along with some of its key contributors. Its purpose was to promote a new movement in literature and visual art, christened Vorticism by Pound and Lewis. Unlike its immediate predecessors and rivals, Vorticism was English, rather than French or Italian, but its dogmas emerged from Imagism in literature and Cubism plus Futurism in visual art.

The original BLAST was published by Aubrey Beardsley’s first publisher, John Lane, and it’s fascinating to see Lane advertising back issues of The Yellow Book in pages which include Lewis’s anti-Victorian polemic. Meanwhile I’m still waiting for copies of the Art Nouveau journal Ver Sacrum to turn up somewhere. If anyone runs across quality scans, please leave a comment.

Via Things Magazine.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Wyndham Lewis: Portraits

Art Nouveau illustration


The cover picture of yesterday’s book purchase complements the month, being a woodcut by Leopold Stolba entitled February from a Ver Sacrum calendar for 1903. The book is Art Nouveau: Posters and Designs (1971), a collection edited by Andrew Melvin for the Academy Art Editions series and the book includes some covers for Jugend magazine which coincidentally was the subject of Monday’s post.


Ornamental letters from The Studio magazine, 1894; no artists credited.

I wrote about another of the books in the Academy series, The Illustrators of Alice, a couple of years ago and while I don’t really need yet another Art Nouveau book, the presence of a few illustrations I hadn’t seen before made the purchase worthwhile. Further examples follow.

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