Glass Art and Ceramic Art

Western European Glass Art and Ceramic Art

Western European glassmaking art of the boundary of the XIX-XXth centuries is a significant and multi-sided phenomenon that had a great impact on the formation of the visual aesthetics of the new century. Its heyday coincided with the period of domination of the styles Art Nouveau and the subsequent Art Deco. France becomes the center of Glass art manufacturing. Since the last quarter of the XIXth century and up to the 1930s, French glass production was experiencing the unprecedented boom. Technological innovations, new stylistic discoveries, wide variety of techniques usage and, what seems to be the most important, investigations of the talented artists and Glass Art masters, that were working in France in this period, such as A. Kroc, F. Decorshamon, G. Arzhi-Rousseau, E. Halle, Brothers Daum, R. Lalique simply turned the country in the style-setter of coloured and colourless glass production.

 Development of aesthetic and philosophical ideas of the second half of the 19th century contributed to the emergence of the Art Nouveau style. The views of English theoreticians John Ruskin and William Morris, who laid the foundation of a new style aesthetics aimed at the revival of decorative and applied arts, influenced the process of the Art Nouveau style formation. They did not admit the mass production. Being focused on the Middle Ages era, W. Morris and D. Ruskin preached the idea of returning to the ante-manufactured production and preserving the individual characteristics of a master’s work.

Precisely those products, being the decorative and applied art objects, could adequately decorate and aesthetize a person’s habitat, totally preserving their utilitarian functions.
By the end of the 19th century the beauty worship, endowed with the ability to transform life, had become the universal, global category, which was the main reason for the emergence of the Art Nouveau style. It was based on the idea of organic synthesis, integrity and interinfluence of the interior and exterior.

In the sphere of applied art, Art Nouveau was most vividly realized in glass art, which "revealed" such qualities of the material as mass, texture, colour and light. Floral and foliage ornaments assumed the particular importance; they often merged with the shape of an object into the integral unit. The books, that appeared at the turn of the centuries, botanical atlases and articles on the theme of plants, their forms and interpretations in art, contributed in the predominance of glass art.

French artist Emile Galle, who created his special “Natural style” in coloured laminated glass, rendered the fundamental influence on development of the Art Nouveau Glass Art. Many manufactories imitated his works ("Brothers Daum", "Legra and Cie", and “Burgun, Schweder and Co". They either copied his works directly and processed the decor themes or worked, following his sketches. This did not prevent them from realization of their own creative impulses. Focusing on “The Halle style”, preserving artistic principles laid down by the master, the manufactures often developed their own glass processing technologies. This phenomenon contributed to the creation of the original shape and decorative solutions of works that harmoniously blended into the overall concept of the Art Nouveau style.
The subsequent plastic conquests in Glass art became evident in the Art Deco era.