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Biography of William Morris - The Art Nouveau Movement



A true Renaissance man, William Morris mastered every art and craft to which he set his hand, revelling in designs, patterns, colours and textures, and placing his stamp on sumptuous books, rugs, embroidery, wallpaper, stained glass, tapestries, curtains and furniture.

ART NOUVEAU {ahr noo-voh'}, a French term meaning new art, refers to a style of architecture, of commercial and decorative art, and, to some extent, a style of painting and sculpture that was popular about 1900. Although the style was then thought of as modern and was given the title "new art," it was adapted from older styles and art forms. Much was derived from the Gothic and rococo and from the arts of Java and Japan.

The Art Nouveau movement was also inspired by Celtic manuscripts and the drawings of William Blake. Persian pottery and ancient Roman glass also served as models for some Art Nouveau craftsmen.

WILLIAM MORRIS was the founder of the Art Nouveau Arts and Crafts Movement in England. Employed by the renaissance of decorative arts, Morris studied medieval architecture at Oxford, but under the influence of Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriele Rossetti, leaders of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, he turned toward painting and writing.

 

In 1861, Morris, Burne-Jones and Rossetti founded a guild of fine arts craftsmen and began to produce furniture, tapestry, stained glass, tiles, fabrics and the most famous wallpaper designs. They also explored the total vision of art and craft for Red House, in South London countryside, where every detail of architecture, furnishing and decorative elements were completed as a whole artwork.

Morris' art was emotional and mythical. His love of country-garden nature and medieval ideals of chivalry as well as the romantic attachment to forests, gardens, flowers and birds has inspired artists for a century. But Morris also designed illuminated typography!

Along with the artistic endeavours, Morris was also a writer and poet. His manuscripts would be decorated with lavish illuminations, borders and cartouches. He became so well known for the art that printers and publishers began to seek him out to illustrate. Popular publications began to see Morris works in both illustration and lettering. Again, the style's patterns and motifs were taken primarily from nature and were often carried out with unrestrained exuberance of form, colour, and especially line. The characteristic line, a flowing curvilinear, was to give Art Nouveau the descriptive nicknames "noodle," "whiplash," "tapeworm," and "cigarette-smoke style.”

Sourced from Wikipedia

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