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Pioneer of American Art Nouveau: William H. Bradley

Wolfsonian Museum. Miami Beach, Florida. January 26 2017April 09 2017

William H. Bradley was America’s foremost graphic artist from the end of the nineteenth century into the 1930s. Derived from the Art Nouveau aesthetic, the flowing lines of his designs for advertisements, periodicals, catalogs, and posters made a marked impact on both commercial and fine art in the United States. Pioneer of American Art Nouveaudraws on the collection of The Wolfsonian–FIU to highlight Bradley’s contributions as a designer and illustrator.

Egon Schiele

Albertina Museum. Vienna, Austria. February 22-June 18, 2017

To set the tone for the upcoming commemorative year of 2018, the Albertina is mounting a comprehensive exhibition of artworks by Egon Schiele that positions his radical oeuvre within an epoch characterised by a schism between the modernist and the traditional. 160 of Schiele’s most magnificent gouaches and drawings will introduce viewers to an artistic oeuvre that highlights human beings’ existential loneliness as its great theme while drastically opposing the values of fin de siècle society.

While Schiele is typically viewed as part of Vienna’s turn-of-the-century artistic and intellectual elite, among personalities ranging from Mahler to Schnitzler, from Freud to Kraus, and from Altenberg to Hofmannsthal, this exhibition at the Albertina is conceived according to a different principle: large photographs hanging in the air pit the artist’s works against the reality of his environment, as a visible demonstration of just how out of sync the two were. The real backdrop represented by these photos makes clear the acute discrepancy between Schiele’s output and the society amidst which he lived.

Jan Toorop: Song of the Times

The Brohan Museum. Berlin, Germany. 23 February to 21 May 2017

Jan Toorop (1858-1928) was one of the most important Dutch symbolists, but his oeuvre is relatively unknown beyond his home country in its diversity. The search for forms of expression uniquely his own led him from impressionism to pointillism and finally to art nouveau. Inspired by prominent artists such as James Ensor, Vincent van Gogh, and the painters of symbolism, Toorop developed his own symbolist style and became one of the most innovative forces in painting of his time. His comprehensive work is now being presented for the first time in Germany in a large survey with more than 200 works. On view are numerous of Jan Toorop’s main works as well as book illustrations and graphic designs, including numerous posters.

The exhibition was organized by Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, in collaboration with Museum Villa Stuck, Munich and Bröhan-Museum, Berlin. Supported by: Kingdom of the Netherlands, Freunde des Bröhan-Museums e.V. Media Partners: Wall GmbH, Kulturradio vom RBB, Dinamix.

Book Cover of the Wiener Werkstätte

Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), Vienna, Austria. March 8 – June 18, 2017

Ensuing from the English Arts & Crafts Movement, Viennese artists also advocated the redesign of book covers around 1900. Great strides were made in this area by the Wiener Werkstätte (1903–1932) under the designers Koloman Moser (1868–1918) and Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956). The artists’ endeavors were supported by Carl (Karl) Beitel (1866–1917), who was known in Vienna to be a superb bookbinder and who, as a master, oversaw the Wiener Werkstätte’s bookbinding atelier from May 1904.

The first books were bound in marbled paper made by the workshop itself. At the same time, both Moser and Hoffmann designed book covers in leather. Mostly kid leather (morocco) was used for this purpose, either with a heavier, more granular texture or with a smooth surface. Occasionally crocodile, snake, frog, lizard, and undulate ray skins or fabrics were also used.

Among the richly decorated or simply designed bindings, the prevailing design principle was geometrization. The leather stamps available at the workshops provided the means to combine a wide range of highly diverse shapes. Parallel lines, squares, rhombuses, ellipses, circles, ovals, spirals, tendrils, as well as stylized leaves, flowers, and fruits were the favored motifs to cover the bindings entirely or feature on them as a single decorative element. Sometimes the design of the book cover took into account the book’s content, with the external style making reference to the internal storyline.

As the 1910s drew to an end, the motifs used for book cover designs became more playful and opulent—female artists in particular created hand-painted, partly embossed or stamped bindings. From 1924 Hoffmann used wave profiles for his book covers; somewhat later, profiled, geometric wooden grids were applied, which were then covered in leather.

Although it may seem surprising from a modern-day perspective that bibliophiles in the past could be so dissatisfied with publisher’s editions that they would actually commission artists to design new book covers for their purchases, in the first third of the 20th century that was an entirely common practice. Indeed, over 300 book covers were designed at the Wiener Werkstätte between 1904 and 1929.

With the aid of the objects from private collections—particularly the Ernst Ploil and Richard Grubman Collections—as well as from the MAK Collection that are on display in the exhibitionBOOK COVERS OF THE WIENER WERKSTÄTTE, it is possible to demonstrate the tremendous abundance of ideas and the diverse craft techniques that are so characteristic of the book covers of the Wiener Werkstätte.

Mucha – The Slav Epic

The National Art Center, Special Exhibition Gallery 2E, Tokyo, Japan. 8 March – 5 June 2017

2017 celebrates the 60th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Czech Republic.This exhibition of The Slav Epic is the first time in the world all 20 pieces have been displayed together outside of the Czech Republic along with 80 other amazing exhibits from across Alfons Mucha career.

 Art Nouveau from the collections of the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe

Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece. 6 April – 21 May 2017

Within the framework of the Co-operation Agreement between the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg, an exhibition comprising select items from the Art Nouveau collections of the Badisches Landesmuseum is organized, aiming to display significant aspects of the Art Nouveau movement, from France, Germany, Austria, England and Belgium.

A wide variety of representative exhibits, such as textiles, jewellery, tableware, decorative objects, furniture, prints, ceramics, reliefs and sculptures, designed by famous artists/designers, like Αlfons Mucha, Hector Guimard, Daum Frères, Emile Gallé, Peter Behrens, Josef Hoffmann, Josef Maria Olbrich, Koloman Moser, Henry van de Velde, provides a kaleidoscopic image of the complex character of the Art Nouveau.

Richard Gerstl

The Neue Galerie, New York City, USA. June 29-September 25, 2017

Neue Galerie New York is pleased to present “Richard Gerstl,” the first museum retrospective in the United States devoted to the work of the Austrian Expressionist (1883-1908). This exhibition is co-organized with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, and will be on view at the Neue Galerie through September 25, 2017.

Gerstl was an extremely original artist whose psychologically intense figure paintings and landscapes constitute a radically unorthodox oeuvre that defied the reigning concepts of style and beauty during his time. The long-standing secrecy surrounding Gerstl’s dramatic and untimely suicide at the age of 25, and the scandalous love affair that preempted his death, only further magnify the legend that has flowered around this lesser known, but influential member of Vienna’s artistic avant-garde at the turn of the twentieth century. The show is organized by Expressionist scholar Jill Lloyd, who has assembled several important exhibitions for the Neue Galerie, including “Van Gogh and Expressionism” in 2007, “Ferdinand Hodler: View to Infinity” in 2012, and “Munch and Expressionism” in 2016.

Approximately 55 paintings and works on paper will be on display, including portraits, frontal nude figures, highly gestural group portraits, landscapes, and comparative works by Gerstl’s artistic contemporaries. A special gallery will be devoted to Gerstl’s relationship with the leading Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg; the artist’s friendship with Schönberg abruptly ended in 1908 upon the disclosure of the love affair between Gerstl and Schönberg’s wife Mathilde. Although Gerstl’s extant body of work comprises only approximately 90 works, his groundbreaking style is central to the development of the Expressionist movement of fin-de-siècle Vienna.

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