Historical labs

The fourth European project of the Réseau Art Nouveau Network "Art Nouveau & Ecology" plans a series of five historical labs aiming to share the knowledge at a European level. The free study days combines research, experience and know-how to reach professionals and Art Nouveau lovers. 

Historical Lab 3
Nature, Creativity and Production at the time of Art Nouveau, Milano, 19 November 2011

Programme and abstracts (In English, French and Italian)





Historical Lab 3 - Nature, Creativity and Production at the time of Art Nouveau, Milan, 19 November 2011
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Elena CONTE, Environmental Authority Staff of Regione Lombardia

Nature, Creativity and production at the time of Art Nouveau

Document PDF (in Italian) 

Maurizia BONATTI BACCHINI, Storica dell'arte esperta del movimento Liberty a Déco, Salsomaggiore

Art nouveau et orientalisme. Galileo Chini à Milan et en Lombardie
Le peintre et créateur des céramiques Galileo Chini (Florence 1873 – 1956), le plus complet parmi les protagonistes de l’Art nouveau en Italie, est entré dans la production artistique de formation européenne à partir de 1896 lorsqu’il contribua à fonder “L’Arte della ceramica” à Florence avec les critères de la production selon les idéaux du mouvement “Arts and Crafts” qui avait pour but de faire renaître l’artisanat artistique. A travers ses créations Galileo Chini affirma en Europe la façon italienne d’interpréter le modernisme et ses ouvrages obtinrent des Grand Prix aux expositions universelles de Paris en 1900 et de Bruxelles en 1910. A Milan, la même année justement pendant laquelle l’atelier Chini s’était déplacé à Borgo San Lorenzo et qu’il commençait, en outre, la production de grès et vitraux pour la décoration architecturale, l’artiste prit part à l’Exposition du 1906 en collaboration avec Orsino Bongi et Giovanni Beltrami. Après l’expérience extraordinaire qu’il avait vécue à Bangkok(1911-1913), où il séjournait à la cour du Siam pour peindre la fresque du nouveau palais royal, Galileo Chini ajouta à sa façon des suggestions de l’Orientalisme que l’on retrouve à Milan également. Un exemple de son art décoratif se trouve dans les intérieurs du Palais Scalini situé rue Seprio, mais surtout au Théâtre à la Scala où Chini montra son plus important engagement en qualité de scénographe pour la première de l’oeuvre Turandot. Les autres réalisations de Chini en Lombardie se situent au bord du Lac de Como, dans les intérieurs de la Villa Donegani à Moltrasio et surtout au sein de ceux de la Villa Scalini, qui conserve encore un cycle de peintures sur le thème de “Ver sacrum”.

Document PDF (in Italian) 
Conference play MP3 (in Italian) 

Kodithuwakku Arachchige KUSUMSIRI, Curator, World Heritage Site Museum, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

Influence of traditional art on art nouveau industrial design in an Asian context: Sri Lanka - a preliminary study
Sri Lanka inherits a complex and continuous tradition of art from prehistoric times, with many variations and changes at different periods. Before the dawn of the Art Nouveau style in Europe, similar design motifs and concepts are found in the broad scope of Sri Lankan tradition. It confirms the eternal principle that similar concepts arise in different human cultures without the necessarily deriving from one another. This principle is clearly visible in Sri Lankan art in the 18th and19th centuries. The most prevalent decorative motifs in the arts of the indigenous tradition are floral or leafy elements such as the liya väla( the creeper or ‘continuous branch’) and lilies and lotus flowers spread over an invisible framework to cover space. Variations on these motifs are those which have the closest correspondence to dominant design in the European Art Nouveau style. Due to strong European influence in the 19th century, Art Nouveau designs strongly affected the applied arts of the island’s maritime region mixing Art Nouveau with Sri Lankan elements, well illustrating what has been called ‘the convergence and combination syndrome’, especially in the coastal areas where European political, economic and cultural dominance was most powerful. The influence is best seen in architectural ornamentation and paintings of the Buddhist temples and other buildings. The effects express themselves in two ways: direct application and the formation of a mixed Sri Lankan-European style. The areas not under European dominance retained its indigenous styles even after the British conquest of the entire country in the early decades of the 19th century and the introduction of the plantation economy. After about the mid-19th century, construction and infrastructure development works used indigenous, Art Nouveau and a mixed vocabulary of decorative motifs mostly for external ‘beautification’, using both traditional craftsmanship and new, industrial production methods in wood, plaster and cast iron. Sri Lanka’s ‘industrial art’ was born, significantly based on Art Nouveau aesthetique. Wood and plaster artworks were executed domestically while the majority of cast iron creations were done abroad. Contemporary manufacturing companies such as George Smith in Glasgow and Garron in Stirlingshire were involved in the cast iron production. When compared with European Art Nouveau, these artworks were rather simple creations, but they are an interesting footnote in the global spread of Art Nouveau design. Its particular interest is its contribution to the phenomenon of combination and convergence in Sri Lankan art, as well as representing an Asian aspect to European Art traditions. The purpose of this paper is to introduce (perhaps for the first time) art historians and heritage specialists in Sri Lanka and abroad to the existence of Art Nouveau elements in the Sri Lankan art complex and to present a random survey of examples of this in some parts of the country.

Document PDF (in English) 
Conference play MP3 (in Italian) 

Chantal ZHENG, Département des études asiatiques, Université de Provence, Aix-Marseille

Histoire du carreau Art nouveau asiatique
Sous l’influence de l’Art Nouveau, le Japon a produit au début du XXème siècle une céramique architecturale (appelée « Majolica » ou « Victorian tile ») très proche des modèles européens mais en même temps adaptée à sa culture qu’il va introduire dans ses colonies et exporter dans tout l’Extrême-Orient entre 1900 et 1930. Cet essor très intéressant au tournant du siècle du carreau japonais nourri de divers courants étrangers certes, mais sans leur avoir été totalement annexé, a atteint les sommets d’un grand art. L’Extrême-Orient, séduit, a conservé l’essence de cet art en l’intégrant massivement à ses pratiques architecturales et l'a, en même temps, enrichi et développé, générant des pièces que n’auraient certainement pas désavouées les illustres céramistes européens de l’époque.

Document PDF (in French) 
Conference play MP3 (in Italian) 

Mateja KOS, Senior Curator, Narodni muzej Slovenije, National Museum of Slovenia

Innovations in style and technology – Brothers Schütz Ceramics factory and Art Nouveau
In the second half of the 19th century, the decorative structures, derived from historical styles, were very popular in today’s Slovenia. They still dominated in the last decade of the century, even if at that time in other countries Art Nouveau features prevailed. At the end of the 19th century, Art nouveau elements very slowly started to infiltrate existent forms and ornaments of Arts and Crafts in today’s Slovenia. The progress did not reach all the fields – for instance, it nearly totally avoided glass industry and was underdeveloped in metal working. A different example is Slovenian leading ceramics factory, namely Brothers Schütz Ceramics Factory in Liboje near Celje. The factory was renowned in the scope of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as the producer of fashionable table vessels and other ambitiously designed wares. In the field of design it collaborated with Austrian Museum for Art and Industry (today MAK). Schütz ceramics factory was well known also for technical innovations and for development of decorative structures. In Slovenia, it was also the first to start using new Art Nouveau floral ornaments and new decorative techniques, thus significantly changing its production program and technology. Because of that, this is a good example for the illustration of production, creativity and implementation of ornamental elements from nature in Slovenia.

Document PDF (in English) 
Conference play MP3 (in Italian) 

With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

Responsible publisher: Arlette Verkruyssen, General Director,
Ministry of the Brussels Capital Region Department of Spatial Planning and Housing,
Rue du Progrès 80 b 1, 1035 Brussels - Belgium