I wanted to talk about my favorite founding member of the Viennese Secession, Gustav Klimt. I thought it might be interesting to bring a previous topic, which was that of erotica and relate it to the current movement we are talking about. Klimt was commissioned by the University of Vienna to create a series of paintings based on the themes of Philosophy, Medicine, and Jurisprudence. These paintings were to be large murals in order to be displayed on the ceiling of the great hall of the university. I have seen images of the paintings, in fact they are some of my favorite works by Klimt, but unfortunately they were destroyed by the SS and I have never seen them in person. Klimt was accused of “pornography” and erotic excess. We talked in class about how women are being artistically depicted as more self aware reflecting the advent of “pre modernism” and the changing times. The Vienna Ceiling Paintings, as they are sometimes referred to, were received well everywhere except in Austria. From a modern perspective it might be understandable how these would have been viewed as erotic, but they are no less erotic than classical paintings dealing with similar metaphorical themes. Klimt never took a state commission again, and Austria missed out big time. So although we are moving into modernism, it is still important to remember that artists are under strict censorship. I might also mention Hitler had a giant Cranach painting of a naked woman hanging in his office so... DOUBLE STANDARDS…. You can view the ceiling paintings here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klimt_University_of_Vienna_Ceiling_Paintings-Lucy Hynes
This week I chose to talk about Alphonse Mucha’s works. I really liked the elaborated art posters he created. His style is very whimsical, full of life, and give the viewer a sense of serenity. His figures flow in harmony with the typefaces, the pastel colors add to the elegant vibe, and the elongated women almost seem life size. When I first saw the poster of the “Gismonda” I automatically thought of Greek art, perhaps because the frame around the lettering appears to be a Greek temple frieze, and Sarah appears to be the column of the temple. What do you think? Perhaps Byzantine style? Mucha wanted to make his art popular and acceptable; he received many commissions, and designed jewelry, calendars, vignettes, decorative panels and illustrations. His art posters seem to create a mystical illusion, a frame within a frame. Its lines, pastel colors and foregrounds give the viewer a three dimensional form. Many of the women are on a pedestal and perhaps he is idealizing women; not many men are depicted in his art pieces. As I viewed more posters, I noticed more of a Victorian style in his art, more romantic, and not as straight lined like Gismonda. His works also reminded me of Sandro Boticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” (1486), where the figures are almost life size, whimsical and also create a 3D effect. I also noticed that he started depicting women in pastel colors and lightweight fabrics like in The Seasons: Winter (1896), and as time progressed, the women in his posters wore garments with a heavier texture and in darker hues like in Thistle from the Sands (1902). Walleska Lacayo
I was most interested in the "art pour l'art" movement. I really identify personally, as while I do feel like art should make one feel something, it does not have to offend or persuade. It just has to be. It is not imperative that art has a moral or utilitarian function and I think that's the most unique thing about art. Depending on your perception that can be good or bad, taking art pour l'art to the modern world, it has many connotations and many applications. For example, me trying to explain my studio art major to my parents who do not understand the importance of art for art's sake is nearly impossible. In our world now, it's not fitting. Everything has to make sense, be useful, or mean something…otherwise, why do it? One must be efficient and aware not only to survive but to thrive in the modern world. Doing something that seemingly has no value does not compute for most modern people. You would think because of this mindset, "art pour l'art" and the idea of aestheticism would be dying. However, there's been an new life breathed into this movement with the introduction of social media platforms. Recently there has been huge move towards art appreciation, aestheticism, and artistic expression. The platforms instagram and tumblr have been especially influential in creating leaders and photographic works, while twitter and youtube do well for creating written text pieces and video exposés. It is a movement that has taken over much of social media, and it looks like art for art's sake will be alive well into the future, despite all the utilitarians out there.
Jules Chéret – I have always loved Jules Chéret’s posters, not only for their complete celebration of women’s liberation (even literally, his characters seem completely free) but also for the way he introduced capturing movement into lithography. He epitomizes the blurred line between art and advertisement, as his posters, so full of life, truly embody the entertainment industry in a way that not only sells the message, but also makes the viewer believe there is more to the image than well structured advertisement. It seems almost unimaginable that in the late 19th century an artist’s work was not only celebrated in the commercial field, but also in the fine art world. Even today, finding success in both the commercial and the fine art worlds is so rare. The closest comparison I can think of, in terms of poster art and advertising would be Shepard Fairy. However, I would argue that Fairy’s work is fine art in the style of poster design, but generally not engendered for advertising purposes. While I would say the appreciation for posters as an art form has grown, I do not think, even with the level of mass production and global circulation we have today, contemporary artists creating posters as fine art can even rival the dual success experienced in the golden age of poster art.
To me, the whole subject of “art for art’s sake” has always been a tough one. I do understand the point it is making, but I don’t think I agree. I don’t believe it is possible to have art for art’s sake for the main reason that art is an instrument for human expression. How could that be meaningless or be seen as merely aesthetic? Even when children who have not been trained as artists start drawing or painting for the first time, one can see how they may become so frustrated that they throw away their artwork after tearing it apart quite passionately. Why? Because they can’t see themselves in it, it didn’t quite “say” what they wanted to say. The same goes with artists. Even if they are just doing modern art or abstract art, there is an intention behind it, a vision, a message… I’ve heard many times the statement of “art for art’s sake” regarding artwork of many artists, and I just don’t see it that way. What is the truth of Art anyway? Art provokes, communicates, and sometimes brutally reveals, so it’s purpose is not on how it is portrayed but on how it makes you feel.Alejandra Jimenez.
I really like Mucha's work. I went to the Mucha foundation website and browsed his work and I absolutely love it. The posters we talked about in class stood out to me the most. I love the detail that he puts into his designs. From the drawing of the man or women in the design, to the colors that he uses and the way he designs the type. He's designing something that's suppose to reach out to people, that's suppose to catch people's interest and attention. He does that without having to be too dark or serious, and I love that. Like I mentioned a few classes ago, as designers our jobs are to tell s story, convey a message. How we design determines that. Typography, pictures. drawings and colors all play a role. Muchs's work is proof of that. His work is simple, colorful and beautiful in its own way.Alicia Veasy
I really enjoyed looking at the work of Eugène Grasset who took part in the Art Nouveau movement. He seemed to do a lot of different art forms but his art posters are so beautiful. The details are so exquisite while the posters usually retain their sense of simplicity. I found a website containing two hundred of his posters and it is hard to look away. I would buy them all if I could! His use of particular colors paired together create beautiful contrasts. His botanical studies and Garden Tapestries are particularly interesting to me as well. The strength of his outlines on his subjects and objects create for a beautiful figure-ground definition. His hand drawn typefaces are also particularly impressive. They are very bold but ornate and catch the viewer’s attention easily. His poster-calendar series depicting the different months is another beautifully executed concept of his. I wish I had only a fraction of his talent.
My favorite artist discussed this week was Jean Delville. His painting are beautiful and effortless. When I researched him I found that he was a painter, a teacher, an author, and a poet, among other things. He painted many spiritual paintings and it is obvious that he is influenced by classical tradition. He believed the beauty was the manifestation of the ideal. This is why his painting were so spiritual in nature, because they were manifestations of the ideal. This also explains his interest in classical figures. He urged others to move away from materialism. He did not believe in the commercialism of art and did not participate in main exhibitions. He did sell his work, however it was in his own society. He wanted to improve society and the lives of those around him through his art. He believed that artists had a very important role in society, almost as if they were prophets. Artists are to deliver good messages and to better their society. Fabiola Perez
I am so excited to see that we are discussing Art Nouveau! My first love and passion for a career was architecture/interior design. I was always intrigued with the design of Art Nouveau, it is widely known as a “total” art style and the philosophy behind it was that art was a way of life. Art Nouveau, in my opinion is a whimsical and natural design. It brings in organic elements to design, including the use of curved lines. In particular, the architecture seemed to harmonize with the environment around it. A couple of my favorites are, the Tassel House Stairway by Victor Horta and Casa Batlló by Antoni Gaudi. The design of the Tassel House Stairway integrated lavish decorations without masking the architecture of the hotel. The attention to detail in the materials used show how much passion and care went into the design. He designed every single element, from the door handles, woodwork, panels and window stained glass, mosaic flooring, and the furnishings. Casa Batlló (aka Casa del ossos “House of Bones”) is with an organic skeletal design. Gaudi renovated this home by adding modern elements of stone work, irregular oval windows, few straight lines, much of the facade of broken colorful mosaic tiles, and the arched roof. Gaudi’s architectural design was pure art and modernism. Art Nouveau is such a huge genre of design and has made a huge impact on the design we see in the world today.- Katie Luddy
I wanted to comment today on the Art Nouveau of Spain specifically Antoni Gaudi’s work. He is my favorite artist and he is the reason I studied architecture for two years. The reason I love his work is because he took the meaning of Art Nouveau to a new meaning. He basically gave Barcelona the look it has today. Many of the streets are covered with his designs and I’m not even talking about his monumental architectural work. The way he combined organic form with movement is absolutely astonishing and to me this is the meaning of Art Nouveau. The same way people have connections to words, as soon as you began talking about Art Nouveau I instantaneously though about Gaudi and his forms. His detailed iron work in La Pedrera, which is now an open apartment building where people live today, and his crazy use of forms and structures in Casa Batllo. What is amazing about Gaudi is that even if you go today to one of his ‘art pieces’ you will emerge into this art movement and culture. The place where I feel this most is in his park in Barcelona, Park Guell, where the vibrant colors and movement come to life making you feel part of the art. To me this is Art Nouveau. Zina Dornbusch
I really like Lebeau's Batik style of work. Although his work is reminiscent of the east indies, I somewhat get an ancient greco-roman feel. I'm a big fan of that time period so seeing his work caught me eye. The use of earth tones is very simplistic, but appealing to me. I like to keep my work simple and his use of very geometric patterns grouped together creates a very striking image especially when the black is contrasted on top of an off white or even tan background. I do question though if his work is more art or design. To me I don't necessarily see a purpose in his work. I see more emotion of feelings, but I could be mistaken.
I love the work of Jules Cheret. His poster designs of women embody an image that inspires grace, beauty, poise, and power. The soft flowing fabric and dynamic poses gives a feeling of adventure and frivolity as well. This style was inspired by Rococo artists Jean-Honore Fragonard and Antoine Watteau, two of my all time favorites. Particularly, The Swing by Frangonard is what made me fall in love with this style of painting. Something about the beauty and grace of the woman juxtaposed with an underlying message of flirtation and fun captures my attention. It is the perfect portrayal of women, not only then, but now in modern times as well. In my opinion, there is always two sides to a woman: the serious and poised side, and the fun and flirty side. It is usually customary for women to hide the frivolous side of themselves, lest they be called a “slut” or “whore”, but this kind of art reveals the truth behind women, making it acceptable and beautiful to be this way. -Jamie Port
My favorite topic that we discussed this past week is Art Nouveau. I have always loved the style of art nouveau. I like the colors and patterns present in this style of art. Many of the floral patterns and the pastel colors are what really appeal to me. One of my favorite artists/ architects is Gaudi. I have visited Barcelona and had the opportunity to visit many of his buildings and see his works. This form of art nouveau appeals to me above all because of the organic lines and forms; Gaudi actually tried to avoid using straight lines in his design. My favorite work of Gaudi is his Casa Batllo. His influences for this building were aquatic objects, animals, bones, and other organic influences. I especially love how he used mosaics to cover the facade of the building and created the roof to look like the scales of a dragon.The way that the lighting on the building makes the mosaics look both during the day and at night is my favorite part of the entire structure. Overall, the fluidity and organicity of Art Nouveau combined with its unique colors and patterns make it my favorite topic we have discussed. -Alejandra Madrid
Again, it is really amazing to see how the depiction of women is perceived now versus the late nineteenth century, when Chéret’s work was originally introduced. Nowadays, these posters and the portrayal of the female form would not seem too scandalous or atypical. So, it was amazing to me to see just how innovative and groundbreaking Chéret’s work really was. True, Chéret did illustrate women wearing a bit more immodest clothing; however, it was the free-spirited nature of them that resounded with the Parisian populace. Before Chéret, women were either depicted as Puritans or prostitutes. Chéret’s posters not only created a middle ground, but also encouraged and invited women to actually step into it. I love that a piece of artwork has the ability to shift and change culture, just as Chéret’s posters created a class of women (fittingly called the Cherettes) that now are an integral component to the history and culture of Paris. Chéret did not only create posters but developed a persona through his work, clearly demonstrating just how powerful a force art can be. -Rachel Watkins
Spencer Schladant I really enjoyed monday's class as I had never been exposed to most of those artists before and by looking at them through the lens of graphic design made it far more interesting. Mucha stood out to me a lot as his poster works resembled the art of Klimt and evoked this sense of monumentality. Looking at the grand size of his studio and his works which he proudly sits before was incredible because the poster with Bernnardt already seemed larger than life, even though it is just a poster for a play. The conversation we had regarding Cheret's depiction of the contemporary women sparked my interest as we have discussed things of the opposite nature in this class before, such as pornography and sex vs. erotica. I felt as if I was looking at an impressionist painting looking back in time at the feminine side of society, where as impressionist painting usually focused on the male dandy or gallant. Advertisement in this period fascinates me as it is still far enough back in time that I can associate it with the late renaissance or Rococo period more readily than I can with 20th century art and culture. If I could go back in time to any place it would probably be Paris in the late 19th century at the Moulin Rouge.
On Monday we started to learn about the art movement most commonly known as Art Noveau. It was interesting to learn about its origin and those who influenced the movement. For example the works of Beardsley and Cheret were not only great influencers but also lead movement. When relating the work of Art Noveau to graphic design in general I can see similarities. For instance in the influence of Jules Cheret can be seen in the work produces by graphic designer today. The use of imagery and type is the most common form of graphic design. The work by Alphonse Mucha is extraordinary. The perfect balance between type and imagery isn’t always easy to come across but Mucha’s work does it flawlessly and to think that they are doing these all by hand is mind blowing. His work is more than just a poster it is a work of art. -Silvana Arguello
My favorite artwork of the ones we discussed on Monday was that of artist Jules Cheret. I have always been struck by the artwork and poster style of Jules Cheret, although I did not previously know his name. His work is very distinct and memorable and often embodies the spirit of what he is portraying. When I think of the "Moulin Rouge" and cancan dancer, I often associate them with his beautiful and iconic posters. I believe that in many ways his work set the standard for art posters and further combined art and graphic design in mainstream culture. Furthermore, his work has clearly inspired many artists and designers since his time and many common immitations of his work. His dynamic dancers and figures and bright, vivid colors make a stark impression on the viewer that makes his work, as well as the time that he was portraying, unforgettable.
Art Nouveau is one of my favorite artistic styles, therefore it was illuminating to say the least to learn about it. The floral and organic patterns that are carried out in such delicacy, the extensive use of iron and glass that lightens up any structure and the colourful palettes all blend together into such a delicate and amusing design. I think most of these points, just not the use of iron and glass, are always present in the posters. These posters were extensively used at the time, and therefore there are so many out there. One of my favorites poster artists is Mucha, the artist we learned in class. Mu. Another point of interest for me is his use of typeface, which for me looks organic, somewhat exaggerated on the edges however rigid on the center of the letter. This typeface seems breaking with the tradition of the 19th century, and even shocking for the time since its so ‘modern’. - Anne De Souza
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