Wednesday, February 16, 2011

When Art Nouveau met Mari

A collection of Parisian goodies taken in my hotel room, 2009

Bonjour! Taking you back to spring break in Paris, here is where I first encountered the painstakingly beautiful movement, art nouveau.The city of sprinkling lights and mouth watering crepes, the memory of Paris will forever leave me in sweet disposition. It's where I felt the most "feminine" or, okay how can I put this without seeming strange — it's where I embraced being 19, a fan of Marie Antoinette and an excessive applicant of rosy cheeked blush. Everything about this time centered around celebrating life, experiences and young love. Champagne came in pink packaging, cheap Edith Piaf records were sold on the streets and wherever you went, one was referenced as "Madame". In fact, we arrived on March 8th, International Women's Day! I always found that to be a playful coincidence—or I simply over analyze everything.

My experience visiting this wonderful city parallels to what art nouveau represents to the world or rather, how the world views art nouveau (through Mari spectacles of course). An international revolution in design, it was considered a decorative style that branded the turn of the century. La belle epoque (the beautiful era) was described by the son of the count of Toulouse as a time of glittering 19th century Paris. It was an attempt to make art a part of every day life, using women as subjects and inspired by organic patterns which often contained meticulous designs. Later on in the movement, these organic patterns would often be geometrically influenced. No matter how effeminate many of these designs were—all designers should be appreciative of the period. Here we find the birth of the poster. A special shout out to art nouveau for paving the way to our means of income in the future. Merci! Merci!

2 of 13 posters—photographed in my home, 2011
Guilty pleasures for me include posters by the Parisian graphic artist, Eugene Grassat who essentially created and depicted beautiful
women noted as Cherettes:"archetypes—not only for the idealized presentation of women in mass media but for a generation of French women who used their dress and apparent lifestyle as inspiration" (p.197, Megg's History of Graphic Design ). My favorites include Reveri by Mucha and Cafes Torrefis by Privat-Livemont which I photographed here on the left juxtaposed to a rather appropriate dresser in my home to represent the movement.

(Funny the way it is: I was unfamiliar with the artist in the first image until I fulfilled the reading assignment for my Visual Communications class, learning more and more about Mucha's extensive design life).
Vive La Paris!

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