Archive for the ‘Bibliophilia’ Category

VER SACRUM – Organ der Vereinigung Bildender Kunstler Osterreichs – 1898

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Adolfo De Carolis (De Karolis) (Montefiore Asia (AP), Jan. 6  1874 – Rome, Feb. 7 1928) was an Italian painter, engraver, illustrator and author of art.
In 1888, by advice of the architect Giuseppe Sacconi, he enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna
where he attended courses of fellow Domenico Ferri. In 1892, once graduated, he moved to Rome, following courses Domenico Bruschi and Alessandro Morani Art Museum Industrial and joining the group "In Arte Libertas" in 1897,
embracing aesthetic and philosophical positions, derived from the thought of John Ruskin and William Morris.

The believe in philosophical works of Ruskin pushed De Carolis to consider the artistic production as a sort of aesthetic and moral mission, in which the artisanal work of the artist follows his high spiritual attitude and role. Second consequence of this aesthetic attitude was the reconsideration of the whole artistic production and the removal of any limits or hierarchies towards artistic techniques.  His works are also influenced by the fifteenth century Umbrian and Tuscany art. The Reinassance played for De Carolis around the same role played by the revival of Gothic for Morris.


Adolfo De Carolis – Illustrations from “Il Notturno” of Gabriele D’Annunzio

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Again, accordingly to the spiritual mission of the artist, every aspect of the human life should be fulfilled by art. The philosophical credo echoed the quest of a Gesamtkunstwerk, of the Total work of Art championed by Richard Wagner and by several national declination (especially Austrian) of the Symbolist and Art Nouveau Movements.

Adolfo De Carolis – Illustrations from “Fedra” of Gabriele D’Annunzio

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This aesthetic belief is quite strong and then evident in the  production of De Carolis. While some production (such as the illustrations for Francesca da Rimini) are quite influenced by Ruskin and Pre-raphaelite taste, the artisticr relationship with the famous writer and aesthete Gabriele D’Annunzio influenced De Carolis towards a more symbolic and decadent style, such as one can see in the illustration of Fedra and Il Notturno. The new spelling of the surname "De Karolis," which uses the first  decade of the century,  attributable to the fashion of exoticism, influenced by d’Annunzio.

Adolfo De Carolis – Illustrations from “Francesca da Rimini” of Gabriele D’Annunzio

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Coherently with his credo on the Gesamtkunstwerk, De Carolis was active also as painter and decorator. One of his masterpiece as decorator is the  villa Costantini Brancadoro of San Benedetto del Tronto finished in 1904.

Anyway his fame was definitively bound to his activities as book and magazine illustrator. Apart as main and most famous  illustrator of D’Annunzio (eventually, he illustrated not only books but also the famous Mottos of D’Annunzio, as we will see in a following article), he was also a successful illustrator of two of the most influencing turn of the century Italian art magazines "Novissima" and "Hermes". For this latter he prepared an article on Decorative Modern Art (February 1904), in which he states, again, the interest accrued over the years to the unity of the arts, decorative and applied arts.

Adolfo De Carolis – Illustrations from “LA figlia di Iorio” of Gabriele D’Annunzio

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Adolfo De Carolis – Illustrations from “La Fiaccola” of Gabriele D’Annunzio

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Original Lithograph, from "Le Pater" printed by F. Champenois and published by Henri Piazza in Paris, 1899.
Le Pater, consisted of a series of seven drawings. The seven verses of the Lord’s prayer are presented with illustrations by Mucha.
"Mucha felt that ‘Le Pater’ was his supreme achievement as an illustrator.

The following picture are digitized from my personal book collection.

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Click on the image to download.

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Dear szecesszio.com readers. I would thank you very much for these three years in which this Hungarian Art Nouveau oriented blog has continuously grown and developed. I really hope you ‘ve enjoyed reading and viewing the many photos I published here. Was really a great effort to try to maintain healthy and alive the blog. Believe me :)

And now, since I believe in the Heraclitean dynamic of the eternal changing, I am ready for a new challenge. An extended blog which will not be only Hungarian oriented but really open to all the declinations of the Secession, Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Liberty, Modernismo, Secese. Obviously, the name is artnouveau.at, melting together the Belgian/French term to call the turn-of-the-century artistic movement, with an Austrian domain :)

The welcome onboard party wouldn’t include any snack nor vodka (unfortunately for this latter) rather a good lecture: the First Catalogue of the Wiener Secession Ausstellung (Exhibition). Prosit !

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Die Nibelungen. Interpreted by Franz Keim (1840-1918) and illustrated by Carl Otto Czeschka (1878-1960) (Wien; Leipzig: Verlag Gerlach u. Wiedling, [1909]

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In these days, in the rooms of the Applied Art Museum of Budapest, takes place a very interesting exhibition related to the szecesszio style manufacture during the turn of the century. Furniture, jewels, objects, mainly property of the museum itself, are exhibited. More information could be found here:

Applied Art Museum of Budapest home page

To celebrate the event, szecesszio.com published in digital format two outstanding and rare documents. They refer to the VERY first exhibition, held in April 1898 dedicated to the turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau, right in the same rooms of the Applied Art Museum.

The first document, is the complete reportage (the “cover story”) that the monthly magazine “Magyar Iparmuveszet “ dedicated to that event. It contains several pictures, some of them with beautiful poster by the Czech artist Alphonse Mucha:

Magyar Iparmuveszet – reportage on the Budapest Applied Art museum exhibition

The second document, is a rare exemplar of the exhibition full catalogue. It is part of my personal collection and now fully digitized:

A Modern Muveszet – az iparmuveszet muzeum kiallitasa – the catalogue

The document itself represents an invaluable resource for the historian of art. The 1898 exhibition represented the very first time Hungary kept in touch with Art Nouveau international  style, either considering furniture, interior design and poster/graphic design. For that reason, the pieces exhibited and their style, were the primary source of inspiration for the birth of szecesszio in Hungary, the Hungarian National variant of the international Art Nouveau/Jugendstil style.

Ok then. As many readers should know, I am really an admirer of the work of Lajos Kozma, and specially as far as his graphic work is concerned. I wrote an aesthetic analysis some time ago (http://www.szecesszio.com/?p=314) on his outstanding contribution on the history of Hungarian Art Nouveau. Today I went to a very interesting conference at the ELTE University, and I met Historians of Arts who were interested in this author. I then decided to completely rescan this incredible book illustrated by Kozma from my personal collection, using the new digital scan processing I put together some weeks ago. For all the relevant information related to this book, I would suggest you to follow the link I provided some lines above. I hope you will enjoy the unusual style of my so beloved Lajos Kozma.

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Some of my twelve readers maybe wondered why the restyling of the szecesszio.com web site removed some of the typical curves of the previous layout in favor of a completely new decoration, which doesn’t look coherent with the typical art nouveau stylistic  background.

Well, my dear readers, you are wrong :) The new site layout, and in particular the new floral decoration which adorns szecesszio.com is really typical as far as the Hungarian Secession is concerned. One of the stylistic topic of the development of the New Style here in Hungary, was exactly the use (and sometimes the abuse) of flowers related decors.

The fundamental work was the essay on the Hungarian folklore art  due to the ethnologist József Huszka. In 1885 he published a booklet entitled “Magyar dicsőítő styl”, “The Hungarian Floral Style”. In his essay, Huszka pointed out that the Hungarian folk art was filled by decorations which basically recalls, in an essential manner, the forms and the lines of the countryside flowers. This essay was really influending as far as the development of the Art Nouveau in Hungary is concerned and, more in general, if one considers the quest of a very specific National Style. That quest, as we pointed out in this blog several times, was a topic of many Secessionist Hungarian artists, from Karoly Kos, to Odon Lechner, from the architect Bela Lajta to the influencing art historian and critic Karoly Lyka. Just to mention some of the work which are evidently influenced by this Floral Style:

Not surprisingly, this attitude towards stylized floral decorations was not typical as decors for building’s façades. At the turn of the century, a reprisal of the National folk art elements, and mainly the floral style was a common topic even for book illustrations. I have found some very interesting examples, some days ago, in a book in my Africa library. The publication is really the almanac for the year 1907 of the Hungarian Printers Association (Magyar Nyomda Évkönyv). In an article on the Hunfarian Floral Folk style, several plates filled by example of such a style are eventually presented, due to the drawings of Antal Aigner. Here you go !

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