This online exhibition runs from October 19 - December 22, 2023
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The turn of the 20th century, and the decades shortly following, marked a fascinating and dynamic period in European pottery, characterized by a frenzy of artistic movements, styles, and innovations. There was a broad transition away from the traditional, ornate designs inspired by antiquity and towards a distinctly modern vision of ceramics as an art and craft that mirrored the broader social and artistic changes occurring during the fin de siècle.
The potters of the were not only engaged with the artistic xmovements of their era, but helped to shape them. In response to the myriad of influences— Art Nouveau, the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Vienna Secession, Art Deco, the Majolica Revival, Expressionism, and Japonisme— incredible innovations in glazing and technique emerged. Today, these century-old vessels serve as tangible historical artifacts that give an inkling of what it was like to glimpse the beginnings of Modernity (as we know it today), a world oriented around a global exchange of ideas.
Alongside the change in techniques and approach to their medium, the potters of the fin de siècle changed their approach to the themes their work centered around, taking hints from movements as disparate as fauvism and symbolism, to tackle familiar motifs with a newfound approach, with a particular focus on mankind and the natural world.
Given that there are many ways to organize one’s thoughts on the works of this era, categorization via visual motif is today’s chosen method— and categorization for its own sake can be a real pleasure. Please enjoy.