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The First Moderns Art Nouveau, from Nature to Abstraction

The First Moderns: Art Nouveau, from Nature to Abstraction

4th Feb 2012 - 2nd Dec 2012

The First Moderns is the first in a series of displays of spectacular displays of works from the Sainsbury Centre's permanent collections that will explore the importance of design, particularly in the European context in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Treating Art Nouveau as the first modern design movement, The First Moderns explores the progression of the style from natural to more abstract, geometric forms.

Image: Josef Hoffmann, adjustable loung chair, 1908, UEA70003

Drawing on the Sainsbury Centre's permanent collections, The First Moderns highlights the role of artists and designers of the art nouveau style in the rise of modernism. The display offers an opportunity to see the Centre's Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau in a new way, comparing the naturalistic vitality of René Lalique's jewellery, and glass by Emile Gallé, with the controlled style of Louis Majorelle and the geometric forms of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Josef Hoffmann.

The display places the movement within its historical context, engaging with late 19th and 20th-century philosophical debates and reflecting the influence of science and nature on design, as a precursor to abstraction.

The First Moderns features loans from public institutions such as the V&A and Glasgow School of Art, and a number of private collections. It is also a first chance to see acquisitions to the Sainsbury Centre collections of significant works by Josef Hoffmann and Alphonse Mucha.

The First Moderns: Art Nouveau, from Nature to Abstraction is curated by a team led by Professor Paul Greenhalgh.

Admission is free

For more information visit the SCVA website.

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