Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Defining Art Nouveau In Graphic Design

Graphic illustrators near the end of the 19th century were concerned with shape, design and pattern. The individual who forever altered the way that graphic designers examined a page and utilized those features was a mere 26 years old when he passed away. In his short life span, he created his proprietary understanding of the art nouveau style, that artists have imitated in varying degrees all throughout the 1900's.

One of the most famous and infamous literary figures of this time period was Oscar Wilde, who was a patron of various artistic styles, he put forth that art was an end unto itself and neither moral nor ethical judgments should be put upon it. Wilde selected this individual young male as illustrator for a certain story which turned out to be both perverted and unusual. With the use of sinister eroticism, some elegant sweeping lines and patterns, this young illustrator created clever distortions in his illustrations of this story.

His work often illustrates the interaction between black and white. This artist often used elegant patterns on a light surface, surrounded by heavy borders and negative space. In a style all his own, the artist presents large, flowing curves which seem to move upon an asymmetrical page. Although his characters were drawn as basic outlines, the objects they interacted with, such as their clothing or hair were often much more detailed. It is the reciprocity between the straightforward and the complex that bolsters Wilde's work and empowers it.

Many artists in the 1800s were influenced by items which were being imported from Asia, in addition to a focus on Renaissance decor and medieval artworks. So, this artist's images were the basis for much imitation throughout the US and Europe, bringing him considerable fame, and appearances in well known publications. Many of his pieces have been reproduced as prints and posters to be hung on the wall.

By the late 19th century, poster art began to emerge as an art form in its own right. What was once a simple means of promotion and advertising was now taking the stage as a recognized form of art. Posters shined in color, unlike books, which were printed in black and white. The leader in poster design used one sizable, bright, colorful, image to draw in the viewer. What text appeared on posters was as succinct as possible. The words were printed to discuss whatever occasion or product the poster was designed for. The artist realized that the best way to attain a viewer's interest, simple design was most effective, and therefore colors were made bold and images were uncomplicated and one-dimensional. These lines could be called hesitant, and were sometimes fractured, a bit like an impressionist would create. Tbis artist's work is therefore widely known as the precursor to the true art nouveau poster aesthetic.

A different illustrator, who used strong outlines and more flowing contours, is put forth as the true "father" of the original art nouveau poster. His work is marked by youthful, willowy girls wearing loose fitting clothes and with long flowing hair that floats out into fantastic forms. With usually one full length figure of a woman dominating the work, another famous art nouveau poster produced works which were narrow and elegant strips. Ornate, complex arrangements feature a range of influences, such as origami, Hebrew characters, Arab and Moorish embellishments, Byzantine mosaic work, Japanese wood cut examples and Celtic themes.

A wide array of publications and reproductions featuring the graphic design work of late 19th and early 20th century artists are available to be appreciated. You will also find there are dealers who will specialize in the sale of 19th, and early 20th century poster art. These dealers can frequently be found in stand-alone stalls at big antique markets. Original examples that have been well-maintained can easily cost hundreds, or even upwards of several thousand dollars.

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