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modernités européennes arts and crafts jugendstil wiener werkstatte art deco art nouveau modernise avant garde

Modern Europe, 1895-1935


Europe, in its meaning today, essentially economic and political, not enough according to many, is far from the cultural and intellectual cradle that it may have been in its modern conception for centuries, especially since the 16th century and the end of the Renaissance.

However, it is this that interests us, that of exchanges, reciprocal influences, mutual enrichment but also that of ideological battles, very different visions of the future for each of the nations that constitute it and that of regional identities. strongly rooted in distinct cultures.


The important political evolutions, the changes of regime and the industrial revolutions, initiated differently in each country, will have the effect of a total upheaval in the field of the decorative arts which takes its roots in England, from the middle of the 19th century, with John Ruskin, true theoretician, and William Morris, instigators of Arts & Crafts in Great Britain and tutelary figures of the European avant-gardes for almost a century to come.


The modern movements that will follow in Europe will be multiple, varied, successive, geographically dispersed but will have this very particular characteristic of being interactive while each retaining its own typology and expression, the history of each nation. being unique.


All these attempts will be intimately linked to the new ways of thinking of the time, resulting from important advances in science, philosophy, the arts and knowledge in general. The birth of psychoanalysis in Vienna and what it translates into an empire that has been showing signs of collapse for years now, a consequence of the decadence of its bourgeois elite, the ideological renewal that is sweeping through many European countries, in more or less similar forms, the new humanism associated with a desire for social reorganization, will be the breeding ground for innovative designs in the field of living spaces and will allow their expression. Each of the protagonists will propose his solution, without ignoring that of his neighbor and colleague, sometimes reacting, often enriching himself.  

Europe was, between 1895 and 1935, a space where exceptional creativity could manifest itself and where brilliant minds left indelible traces. This immense territory allowed the confrontation but also the community of ideas, two founding elements in this moment of the history of the decorative arts. Crossed by progressive currents of thought for almost fifty years, it flourished, gave the best of itself, the rest will, unfortunately, be a little different.

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