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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » December 16, 2009
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The Many Guises of Art Nouveau
December 16, 2009   
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Art Nouveau is perhaps the most distinctive of all the art movements in vogue at the end of the 19th and the start of the 20th century. No other school had such a wide-ranging impact. Art Nouveau not only captivated painters, graphic artists and sculptors but held artisans, craftsmen, architects and fashion designers in thrall as well. The latest exhibition at the Silesian Museum in Katowice, Belle Epoque: Aspects of Art Nouveau, showcases Art Nouveau in all its decorative, floral, curvilinear glory.

There are more than 400 exhibits on display from just about every artistic discipline, including painting, graphic art, sculpture, poster art and decorative art. And, thanks to the wonders of multimedia, architecture, stained glass, and wall paintings have made it in there too.

The exhibition is divided into two parts. The first principally comprises exhibits from the Mazovian Museum in Płock collection, the largest of its kind in Poland.

There are lots of examples of European decorative art, such as gold and silver jewelry, clothing, ceramics, furniture and glass sculpture. The many vases, pitchers and plates on view are adorned with plant and landscape designs. The development of printing during the Art Nouveau period is shown through posters, graphics, studio photography and postcards. Many of these are small lithographed or photoengraved prints.

Utilitarian and purely decorative items, mostly made of brass, copper and tin, and often silver plated, are the most common metal products, although metallic-framed glassware and Varsovian silverware from manufacturers like Plewkiewicz, Fraget, and Norblin are also on display. Tableware, plates and writing desk sets can all be seen too.

Feliks Wygrzywalski, Wojciech Weiss, Edward Okun, Stanisław Czajkowski and Olga Boznańska exemplify Polish painting and graphic art as they were at the turn of the century.

The second part of the exhibition is given over to the Art Nouveau of Silesia. This mainly comprises exhibits from Upper Silesian museums with photographs of tenement facades, architectural details and stained glass windows both sacred and secular.
Open until April 11
Silesian Museum in Katowice, 3 Korfantego Ave.
For more information, go to www.muzeumslaskie.pl
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