This spring, the Sainsbury Centre presents Art Nouveau: The Nature of Dreams, a dazzling new exhibition that delves into the origins and evolution of this much-loved, and sometimes controversial, style. The exhibition will focus on the formation of Art Nouveau as an artistic practice and its spread across Europe as the dominant force in architecture and design between 1890 and 1914.
The show will provide new perspectives on the role of English art and ideas in the genesis of Art Nouveau, and its fate in England. The Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris, the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movements will be considered as founding inspiration for the spectacular vision that swept across the continent, where it remains celebrated in numerous cities as a vital part of urban life. Through the treasures of the Anderson Collection at the Sainsbury Centre and those from multiple lenders, the exhibition will showcase English masterpieces in avant-garde design to explore its importance and influence on Art Nouveau in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and also the United States.
The role of nature will be another key focus of the exhibition. The common theme of translating plants into patterns will be explored as a defining feature of the modern style. Art and objects will represent Art Nouveau from different countries, where it appeared characterised as flowing, tensile line, and dramatic movement, or by organic imagery combined with an informal geometry.
The exhibition will include ceramic, furniture, glass, jewellery, paintings, posters and prints, sculpture, and textiles. The artists and designers will include: Aubrey Beardsley; Edward Burne Jones; Gustave Serrurier Bovy; the Daum Brothers; the Doulton Pottery; William De Morgan; Christopher Dresser; René Lalique; Rupert Carabin; Ernst Chaplet, Edgar Degas; Georges Fouquet; Emile Gallé; Paul Gauguin; Hector Guimard; Josef Hoffmann; Carl Kauba; Archibald Knox; the Loetz Glass Company; Charles Rennie Mackintosh; Louis Majorelle; the Minton Pottery; William Morris; Alphonse Mucha; Reissner Stellmacher und Kessel; the Rozenburg Pottery; Gabriel Dante Rossetti; Louis Comfort Tiffany; Henri Van de Velde; and Philippe Wolfers.
The exhibition will be curated by Professor Paul Greenhalgh. It will contain over 150 works of varying sizes, and will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue.