Art Noveau and the vienna secession: Austria and Unites States


 When Art Noveau is thought of, feminine delicate lines come to mind, but this noveau reform is more of esthetic design and the unity of arts that started in France, but later spread all around the world, like Austria and the United states(Raizman, 2004, 80). As it reached Austria, a group of artists and architects formed together that created the Secession. This group “rebelled against the rigidity and elitism of academic standards for the fine arts and sought both freedom of expression as well as active involvement in the decorative arts” (Raizman, 2004, 91). All of the efforts put forth by this group was to improve the decorative arts in Austria. A group that branched from the secession was known as the Werkstatte, who produced many home items, that bore the artists stamp and promoted originality.  Art Noveau, at least in the United States, falls down to two people: Louis Comfort Tiffany and Louis Sullivan. Tiffany was the son of the popular Tiffany jewelry company. He was very interested in the decorative arts, and started a firm in 1897. His rooms were overcrowded ( much like victorian era) but took on the awareness of the arts and crafts movement( pile, 296). He eventually got into stained glass and became very well known in that field, especially for his “tiffany” lamp, which even today, is still easily recognized. Eventually, the taste of Americans altered after the WWI, but he is still noted as a leading influence in the art noveau.



The more popular figure is Louis Sullivan, creator of the saying “Form follows function.” He started a firm with Adler, who worked on the technical side while Sullivan worked with the design aspects. He was particularly fond with skyscrapers, which led to a string of well known buildings that have a vertical influence on the outside, with ornamental detail on the inside(Pile, 297). Throughout all of his buildings, he was very interested in the idea of a tall building being a design solution, and getting use of out height that could be created. Examples are the Wainwright building(done with Adler), the Guarunty building, and the Bayard building. What do you think Sullivan meant by form follows function? And you you think he carries this out through all of his design?