Meandering, looping, flamboyant lines characterise our understanding of the style known as Art Nouveau. In Imperishable Beauty: Art Nouveau Jewelry that understanding is explored through the jewels of an American private collection.
Art Nouveau emerged in France and Belgium to become an international style with local variations. Yvonne Markowitz presents an intelligent and thorough overview of the movement, locating its common themes in the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, the theory of John Ruskin, the Symbolist movement and the arts in Japan. She discusses the similarities and differences in style and concludes with a section on materials and techniques. Part 2 looks at the iconography of Art Nouveau jewellery and how a series of motifs was repeated in the work of many jewellers. These symbols were designed to be read and understood by those with artistic taste and sensibility. Elyse Zorn Karlin interprets such works as the sexually charged and fantastically curved carnation by Rene Lalique.
The catalogue consists of nearly ninety ornaments by jewellers as renowned as Rene Lalique, Philippe Wolfers and Henri Vever.
Including a biography of all the artists represented in the collection and using comparative material in the form of posters, textiles and paintings, Imperishable Beauty offers a unique angle on the Art Nouveau movement.
Yvonne Markowitz is Curator of Jewelry at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is the editor-in-chief of Jewelry: Journal of the American Society of Jewelry Historians and an editor of Adornment Magazine. Elyse Zorn Karlin is author of Jewelry & Metalwork in the Arts & Crafts Tradition and the publisher of Adornment Magazine.
Contents: Director's Foreword; Acknowledgments; Art Nouveau Jewelry: An Overview, Yvonne J. Markowitz; Symbols and Motifs in Art Nouveau Jewelry, Elyse Zorn Karlin; Flora; Fauna; Human Figure; Artist Biographies; Checklist; Glossary of Jewelry Terms; Notes; Further Reading; Index