Art Nouveau Revival 1900 . 1933 . 1966 . 1974


It was the slightly gamy residue of the super-elegant and exotic pictures of Aubrey Beardsley. I have always considered the 1900 period as the psycho-analytical end-product of the Greco-Roman Decadence. I said to myself: Since these people will not hear of aesthetics and are capable of becoming excited only over “vital agitations”, I shall show them how in the tiniest ornamental detail of an object of 1900 there is more mystery, more poetry, more eroticism, more madness, perversity, torment, pathos, grandeur and biological depth than in their innumerable stock of ugly fetishes, possessing bodies and souls of a stupidity that is simply and uniquely savage!

Salvador Dalí, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942).

More from Paris, whereupon it becomes necessary to ask: how much more groovy could this poster be? And the answer is none. None more groovy. Art Nouveau Revival 1900 • 1933 • 1966 • 1974 is an exhibition running at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, which traces the echoes of Art Nouveau through Surrealism into the revival of the 1960s.


Poster by Albert Angus Turbayne for Macmillan’s illustrated Standard Novels (1903).

Rejected and scorned in the decades following its brief flowering, Art Nouveau was spectacularly rehabilitated in the 1960s. This re-evaluation offers a particularly interesting interlude in the history of style in that many different areas were affected at the same time by this phenomenon: the history of art, the art market, contemporary creative work, particularly design and graphics.

There’s further detail here, along with photos of some of the exhibits. Verner Panton’s Visiona II makes another appearance and in addition to Dalí and company there’s the magic word “psychedelic”. The exhibition runs until February 4, 2010, and there’s a catalogue co-written by the V&A’s fin de siècle expert Stephen Calloway which I’m going to have to buy. Via.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Beardsley at the V&A
Michael English, 1941–2009
Temples for Future Religions by François Garas
Antonin Mercié’s David
Art Nouveau illustration
Dirty Dalí
Verner Panton’s Visiona II
Flowers of Love

4 thoughts on “Art Nouveau Revival 1900 . 1933 . 1966 . 1974”

  1. Yet another exhibit geography prevents from being readily accessible to me. I’d never read anything Dali had written before. He writes in a similar manner as I do when I am harshly criticizing or praising something, a key difference though, he seems to be able to write and punctuate correctly.

  2. His books are over-written (of course) but fascinating nonetheless for the insight they give into his obsessions and his childhood. Hard to tell how exaggerated all the stories are but then you can’t really expect veracity from such a self-mythologiser. He wrote more than most artists; as well as two volumes of autobiography there’s his curious novel, Hidden Faces.

  3. It’s available on French book sites such as this one at the moment–awkward, I know. €46.55 is also about $70. I might wait until copies filter through to the English booksellers at

    Dimensions : 300 x 230
    Editeur : Snoeck
    Format : Ouvrage broché
    Langue : Français
    Nombre de pages : 288
    Technique(s) : 300 illustrations

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