This stumpy book is a design resource; an enormous number of examples of Art Nouveau design, some like Alphonse Mucha's posters almost cheesily well-known, others seldom seen. Every kind of object is represented, from book illustrations to architecture. The first section is titled "How to use this book", and after a brief introduction, the objects are divided up, allegedly, into "Movement overview", "Society", "Places", "Influences" and "Styles and techniques". This system doesn't really help the reader much, but there are lots of cross-references and a good index if you're looking for something in particular; otherwise just browse and enjoy. The text gives background info on the object and its designer but - be warned - it's in TINY PRINT! This is quite unnecessary and I cannot imagine what the publishers were thinking of. Use the "click to look inside" function and you'll see what I mean; this is a fairly small book just over 6 inches square.
The photographs are pretty clear despite their modest size. All the classics are here, plus some unexpected stuff including some wacky furniture. This book will be useful to collectors, art students, interior designers, practical design students in all media, and the general enthusiast. It would make a super gift for someone interested in the style.
There are also books in the series on Arts and Crafts, and on Art Deco; worth looking out if you're interested in that period. They are Arts and Crafts (The World's Greatest Art)
and Art Deco (The World's Greatest Art)
. The best book I've come across on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School is Charles Rennie Mackintosh
by Wendy Kaplan