Art Nouveau: A Quintessentially European Movement
Jugendstil, Modern Style, Glasgow Style, Secession, Nieuwe Kunst, Stile Liberty, Ecole de Nancy, Modernisme - these are all different facets of an essentially pan - European cultural phenomenon: Art Nouveau. Emerging at the turn of the century, the Art Nouveau trend was driven by a particular set of aesthetic ideals and an enthusiasm for modernity, exploiting the possibilities offered by the industrial technologies and the new materials, and combining an aspiration to beauty with meticulous workmanship and a scrupulous eye for detail. The result was a wonderful concordance of architecture, furniture, and decoration.
An Endangered Heritage?
Having languished for decades in oblivion, Art Nouveau is once again in fashion and apparently well protected. But appearances can be deceptive: as well as the major examples of the movement's output, the importance of which is universally acknowledged, there are large numbers of remarkable creations that remain unknown to the public, enjoy scant protection, or have actually been destroyed. In addition, the tardiness with which protection measures are being implemented in certain countries is placing large numbers of important items associated with the movement in jeopardy.
A Committed and Enterprising European Network
In 1999, following an idea mooted by the Brussels Region Department of Historic Sites and Monuments, a large group of institutions from various European cities with a rich Art Nouveau heritage - from Helsinki to Barcelona, and from Glasgow to Budapest - decided to come together to form an initial European co-operation network. Research, conservation, and proper exposure are the key objectives of the ambitious programme which the Réseau Art Nouveau Network has set itself for the coming years. Enterprise and commitment are the Network's chief hallmarks; as well as championing a rigorously scientific approach, it aims to keep professionals informed and to make the general public aware of the cultural significance and European dimension of this heritage on our very own doorstep.
See organization chart
Phase 3- Art Nouveau & Society (2005-2008)
Under the title ‘Art Nouveau & Society’, the Network has devised a pluri-annual programme of actions to be realized under three structures: Innovation Labs, Historical Labs and Exchange Platforms. The core feature is a multimedia presentation entitled: ‘Art Nouveau & Society’, examining European Art Nouveau and its social, political and economic context, linking cities in the past and present. The presentation is designed to be a permanent tool for the partners, allowing them to promote their heritage as an expression of their unity with the rest of Europe. The research and iconography gathered at the Historical Labs will also be included. In total six plenary meetings and Historical Labs will take place during the period 2005-2008:
- International Exhibitions and World Fairs (Bruxelles-Brussel, 22 October 2005)
- National Identity and International Trends (Ljubljana, 10 March 2006)
- Decoration in Art Nouveau (Riga, 20 October 2006)
- Urban Quality and the Perception of landscape (Como-Cernobbio, 4 May 2007)
- Art Nouveau Patrons (Nancy, 19 October 2007)
- Healthy in Body and Mind (Bad Nauheim, May 2008)
The Historical Labs aim to establish an exchange platform of knowledge and know-how for those in and outside RANN. The content is a mix of research, practical knowledge and experience to reflect an agenda that aims to attract members of the general public as well as those working in the sector.
The Innovation Labs include an educational package for educators and school children (including a new publication on Monsters, activity sheets, activities on-line and teachers' sessions), a project for the visually impaired public and an Art nouveau guide through mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).
The Multilateral exchanges provide the opportunity for those working in the Art Nouveau cultural heritage sector to exchange their knowledge and experience across Europe on three specific subjects:
- Tourism and Art Nouveau (Ljubljana,14 March 2006)
- Education and Art Nouveau (Provincia di Varese, 8 May 2007)
- Art Nouveau Interpretations Centres (Nancy, 23 October 2007)
Partner cities: Ålesund, Barcelona, Bruxelles-Brussel, Bad Nauheim, Glasgow, Helsinki, La Chaux-de-Fonds, La Habana Vieja, Ljubljana, Lodz, Nancy, Provincia di Varese, Regione Lombardia, Reus, Riga, Tbilisi, Terrassa, Wien and Ecole d’Avignon as technical partner.
Phase 2- Art Nouveau in Progress (2001-2004)
A key feature during this phase was the exhibition ‘Art Nouveau in Progress’ and its catalogues. It was created as a very different event from the large exhibitions, which have successfully celebrated the Art Nouveau movement over the last few years. The aim of the exhibition is to explore the destiny of the Art Nouveau heritage in the thirteen cities and brings to light a number of examples of previously unknown projects: examples hitherto unseen or now disappeared, not acknowledged in their day or undergoing restoration. It also shows how the buildings have changed and been adapted to fit in our contemporary life one century later. The exhibition is presented successively in each of the partner cities, each host city featuring its own local extension of the event, showing current restoration projects for its Art Nouveau heritage. During this second phase of the Network, colloquia were held in Wien(Oct. 2002) and Ĺlesund (Oct. 2004), both centered around the same theme as the exhibition (see Colloquia) and allowed researchers and European professionals to share their experiences and thoughts for the future. Furthermore, an awareness campaign for the youth was launched 2003-2004 with four publications, a series of posters, guided tours for the schools and a very appreciated handbook for interactive visits- all of which are available on this website.
Partner cities: Ålesund, Barcelona, Bruxelles-Brussel, Glasgow, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Nancy, Provincia di Varese, Reus, Riga, Terrassa, Wien and Ecole d’Avignon as technical partner.
Phase 1- launch phase (1999-2000)
Following an idea mooted by the Brussels Capital Region Department of Historic Sites and Monuments, a large group of institutions from various European cities with a rich Art Nouveau heritage decided to come together to form an initial European co-operation network. During this first phase of the Network the structure of the cooperation between the member cities was established; responsibilities delegated during several plenary meetings, the website was created, the graphical identity was chosen, the image bank was launched, the publication ‘Art Nouveau in Europe today – A general appraisal’ was edited, the presentation kit was exhibited in different public spaces, etc.
Partner cities: Ålesund, Barcelona, Bruxelles-Brussel, Budapest, Glasgow, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Nancy, Palermo, Reus, Riga, Terrassa, Wien and Ecole d’Avignon as technical partner.