Apostles of Nature: Jugendstil and Art Nouveau
Organized by LACMA’s Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies, Apostles of Nature: Jugendstil and Art Nouveau explores the popular late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century style known as Art Nouveau in France and Jugendstil in Germany. Inspired by the British Arts and Crafts movement, which celebrated craft in an age of advancing industrialization, as well as by Symbolist and Romantic painting, Japanese prints, and folk art, European artists developed a style characterized by highly decorative forms drawn from nature, with curvilinear, serpentine lines and daring whiplashes of color. Art Nouveau quickly spread beyond France and Germany, influencing a range of artistic movements and artists’ groups, including the Vienna Secession and the Wiener Werkstätte in Austria.
Despite disparate goals, approaches, and materials, Art Nouveau artists across Europe were unified in their desire to make beautiful things, and to make life more beautiful in turn. This exhibition brings together more than 50 objects from across the museum’s collections, including prints, posters, books, decorative arts, and textiles, to illustrate the movement’s efforts to create integrated, total works of art, or Gesamtkunstwerke, that would bring aesthetic ideals to bear on everyday modern life.