Art Nouveau: Architecture and Design

Tuesday 20th November 2018

Led by Anthea Streeter

The Assembly Room, Tenterden Town Hall

Tickets will be available at the October and November 2018 Lectures – price £30


Art Nouveau was the first attempt to create an international modern style.   It had its fullest flowering on the European Continent during the 1890s.   At this time progressive architects and designers renounced the tired formulae of historicism in favour of a ‘New Art’.

The first lecture begins with examples of Art Nouveau set alongside pieces from the following Art Deco period, so that a clear distinction can be made between the two styles.   The English designers such as William Morris, Charles Voysey and Aubrey Beardsley were the first to break with the past.   Influenced by nature, and the clarity of Japanese design, their work pointed a new way forward.

We then look at how progressive designers in Continental Europe responded to the new ideas, beginning with Victor Horta in Brussels. In the second lecture, we move to Paris, where Rene Lalique’s naturalistic jewellery and Hector Guimard’s organic forms for the entrances to the Paris Metro stations encapsulate Art Nouveau.   The work of the American architect Louis Sullivan is brought into context as well as the exquisite glass designs of his contemporary Louis Comfort Tiffany.   We look at the prevailing National Romanticism of Norway and Finland;   and from there we travel south through some of the countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire to Barcelona, where Gaudi’s fantastical designs end the morning session.

After lunch we will examine quite a different manifestation of Art Nouveau, demonstrated by the rectilinear forms of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Scotland and his Austrian contemporaries, Olbrich and Hoffman in Vienna.

We close with the important Palais Stoclet in Brussels, where the fine craftsmanship and rectilinear designs of Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstatte leave behind the organic forms of Art Nouveau and begin to reflect the luxury of Art Deco ‘de luxe’.

Anthea Streeter

Studied the Fine and Decorative Arts in London and continued her studies at Harvard University. It was while at Harvard, where there was great enthusiasm for American design, that she became interested herself in 20th century architecture. Since returning from America she has taught on courses in Oxford and London, lectured on the Country House course in Sussex, and for several private groups around the country. Special interest in the architecture and design of 20th century.

Anthea has already presented to The Arts Society Tenterden a fascinating lecture about Skyscrapers.