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“The movement that is now spreading from Japan across Europe”
This quote from the Norwegian artist Gerhard Munthe (1849–1929) refers to one of the main trends in European art from the mid-19th century through the early decades of the 20th century.
In 1853, Japan opened its borders to the outside world after 200 years of isolation. This lead to a cult of all things Japanese among European artists – a movement labelled as Japonism from the 1860s–70s onward. This Japanese-inspired art did not constitute a style as such, but greatly influenced a number of styles in European art. In the 1880s and 1890s, Japonism became a major ingredient of the Art Nouveau style. In Norway, Art Nouveau peaked in popularity in the years between 1890 and 1910.
This exhibition looks at the connections between the Art Nouveau style, the nation-building project in Norway, and the Japonism movement as expressed in Norwegian Art Nouveau. Starting with Gerhard Munthe, considered the leading proponent of Japonism in Norway, the exhibition highlights connections between Japonism and the distinct national character of Norwegian Art Nouveau in terms of technique, range of motifs, format, and choice of materials.
The Art Nouveau European Route brings together local governments and other institutions in the common quest for the protection, promotion and diffusion of Art Nouveau heritage. To fully explore and bring to light the value of Art Nouveau heritage, therefore, a Congress organised by the Art Nouveau European Route cannot limit its scope to the analyses and interpretation of the tangible heritage; it must go deeper into the reality of the communities that created it.
In this second edition of the coupDefouet International Congress, we propose to shed new light on an aspect that has been studied very little, if at all: the important contribution of women artists to the development of Art Nouveau. In a nutshell: women as artists, women as creators, women as promoters and protagonists of Art Nouveau. Coupled with this ambition, we also wish to revisit the widely studied and interpreted representation of the female aesthetic and ideal in Art Nouveau, with new contributions on the matter.
A further strand will focus on little-known Art Nouveau cities, in which we expect to discover creative centres of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that have not until now been widely publicised. A similar section on research in progress to the first congress, one in which we welcome presentations from both seasoned and young researchers, will complete the thematic strands of the programme.
With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union
Responsible publisher: Arlette Verkruyssen, General Director,
Brussels Regional Public Service - Bruxelles Développement urbain (Brussels Urban Development),
CCN - Rue du Progrès 80, B. 1, 1035 Brussels - Belgium