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„Art Nouveau - Art’s ultimate universal language“

  Show overview

A fantastic collection full of wonderful works of art - Art Nouveau in Wiesbaden (Part 2)

The Museum Wiesbaden can count itself lucky: since October 2019, it has been home to Europe’s largest collection of Art Nouveau objects - a fantastic collection full of wonderful works of art. Before he died, the passionate collector gave the museum around 500 objects, from sculptures to vases to the famous lamps, all of which are now exhibited in an area spanning 800m2. It’s a unique exhibition. But why, of all things, Art Nouveau? Dr. Peter Forster, curator of the exhibition, explains: "Art Nouveau is art’s ultimate universal language, in which the same fundamental concepts are relied upon again and again." And what are these concepts? The key word here is sustainability. If you associate this term with environmentalism, you aren’t far wrong: "Art Nouveau sits between two areas, nature and art, in such a way that art is connected with nature," explains Dr. Forster. He even sees connections with the current youth movement. "The rebelliousness of youth - we’re experiencing that right now with the environmental movement. ‘Fridays for Future' is nothing more than Art Nouveau, and it even addresses issues that are almost related: conflict with nature, how we deal with it, how we want to live. It's a youth movement - it's not called Jugendstil for nothing!"
This unifying, overarching idea of openness also characterises the choice of motifs in Art Nouveau, as Dr Forster explains using the example of the famous Tiffany lamps: "Function and art are perfectly interwoven here." And so Art Nouveau is a total work of art, a combination of art and life. That's what's revolutionary about Art Nouveau: people wanted art to spill over into everyday life!"
These ambitions are carried forward to the present day: "This exhibition is a unique opportunity," says Dr Forster. "If you engage with Art Nouveau, you head into the city with a very keen eye and suddenly rediscover precisely this architectural tradition in every nook and cranny, because it has a strong presence here." This creates a connection between the city and the museum, between life and art: "The museum is always a mirror of a city. We portray what is going on inside the city. I find that fascinating," enthuses Dr Forster. "We always hope that lots of school classes will come here, because you can't start early enough with opening up to these ornaments and allowing the charm of the period to take hold of you. I believe that there is a tremendous magnetism in it."

Previous article in the series:
A fantastic collection full of wonderful works of art - Art Nouveau in Wiesbaden (Part 1)

Next article in the series:
A fantastic collection full of wonderful works of art - Art Nouveau in Wiesbaden (Part 3)

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Published on 05.02.2021

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