Museum Monday: Art Nouveau Springtime


The Art Nouveau movement (1890-1910) was, in a sense, a breath of fresh air. For artists and architects it was a return to nature after the Industrial Revolution brought everyone indoors. The jewelry created during this time featured floral, elegant designs, with bright enamel work, natural river pearls and delicate details, all of which makes these lovely pieces perfect for celebrating warmer weather.

The fabulous jewelers at the time, such as Rene Lalique and Alphonse and Georges Fouquet, crafted pieces shaped like insects and flowers. Inspired by the Greek muses, ladies with long hair and flowing dresses were also a popular motif, all embellished with swirling, vine-like designs.

We love coming across these Art Nouveau pieces, and not just because wearing them can make you feel like you’re in a Toulouse-Lautrec print. They’re gorgeously made and the color palate is wonderful for spring.

14K yellow, rose, and green gold ring with a 7.81ct peridot, at Gray & Davis.

14K yellow, rose, and green gold ring with a 7.81ct peridot, at Gray & Davis.

14K gold and diamond locket, at Gray & Davis.

14K gold and diamond locket, at Gray & Davis.

18K yellow gold ring with coral cabouchon, signed G. Jensen, at Gray & Davis.

18K yellow gold ring with coral cabouchon, signed G. Jensen, at Gray & Davis.


An interesting fact: it is very difficult to find Art Nouveau earrings. This is because it became stylish to let one’s hair down, so to speak, for a more natural look. With ears hidden, it made more sense to fashion rings, brooches and pendants for self-adornment.

So, as we celebrate the last lovely spring days in New York, let you hair down and your inner Art Nouveau lady out. And, if you can’t make it outside, here are some great examples of Art Nouveau artworks in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Mada Primavesi (1903-2000), 1912 Gustav Klimt

Mada Primavesi (1903-2000), 1912
Gustav Klimt

Pendant, gold, enamel, mother-of-pearl, opal, emerald, colored stones, gold paint, Georges Fouquet

Pendant, gold, enamel, mother-of-pearl, opal, emerald, colored stones, gold paint, Georges Fouquet

Maude Adams (1872-1953) as Joan of Arc, 1909, Alphonse Mucha

Maude Adams (1872-1953) as Joan of Arc, 1909, Alphonse Mucha

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Art_Nouveau_Jewelry