I may have recently submerged myself in historicism but my heart still beats for Art Nouveau No, German Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) is not primarily about graceful arabesques and undulating shapes, It is inspired by the Life Reform Movement.It’ s about the return to nature, search for the lost cosmic completeness and spirituality, intent to reinterpret the relationship of man with nature, work and God. It is a countermovement to the rapid industrialisation, to the cold rational capitalist modernity as well as to the authoritarism, militarism and stuffiness of the German Empire.The central concept is that of “life” — it emphasises the meaning, value and purpose of life as the foremost focus. It aims its efforts at transforming the daily life: diet, clothes, housing, healthcare, sexuality. Its leitmotifs are authenticity, purity, clarity, beauty, naturalness.There is an atmosphere of awakening, spirit of optimism, faith in the future.They seek the creative rejuvenation of the world, an integrated whole of art and everyday life, city and nature. The life itself shall become the artwork. It should be penetrated, impregnated by arts and from this fruitful union new beauty should emerge.
„No field of human thought and perception should remain disregarded, no square centimetre receive shape and colour unless pervaded by the artistic spirit” (Joseph Maria Olbrich)
The house should cloth a human like a third skin. It should be tailor-measured to his way of life. it should be built from within to without. The house as a whole: born from the same momentum, swung by the same momentum: from the cutlery and napkins over the furniture to the shape and size of each room, to the window, to the doors, to the garden fence.
“We want to begin at home. Have nothing in your house that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” William Morris
“As the coal powder turns into a pure clear-shaped shining crystal of diamond, the raw and amorphous life will turn into beauty”(From an article on the opening of the First Exhibition of the Artist Colony)
All images are from the Art Nouveau Department of the State Museum of Hesse, Darmstadt