Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Nancy - Art Nouveau Architecture

Lillian :  Nancy is a great place to see Art Nouveau architecture, art, glass-work etc
Audrey :  It had its own 'School' - The École de Nancy
Lillian :  Yes, there is a wonderful museum and you can go on guided walks.  Which we did but in this post we thought we would show you some of the not-so-famous, not in the guide books, Art Nouveau delights that we spotted on our rambles around Nancy.

Audrey : This large building has a fern frond motif.
Lillian :  Well, Art Nouveau often took inspiration from nature and the École de Nancy was especially notable for the use of botanical motifs. 

Audrey: I think the people in Nancy really loved their gardens.
Lillian : Quite probably.  The Fern Frond Building also has a square tower and we saw quite a lot of those on Art Nouveau buildings.

Audrey :  The architects signed their buildings and we've tried to find out more about Monsieur Deon without much success. 
Lillian :  Here is the door, very decorated.

Wrought Iron Balcony - fern fronds with fruit & leaves
Audrey :  Let's look at that lovely ironwork

Fanlight over door - metalwork looks like Maidenhair Fern

Brass handle - lovingly polished & can you see the beetle?
Audrey : Ooo beetles - I like them best when they are not flying into my hair!  But Art Nouveau artists were quite fond of all insects ... those long antennae can be made to curl in a pretty way.
More lovely ironwork from this building

Audrey : Let's see some other Art Nouveau buildings.
Lillian : When you are in an older area, it is a good idea to 'Look Up'  - especially where there are shops, the ground level or rez de chaussée is often modernised but if you look up, you are often rewarded with lovely architectural details. 

Audrey : Now that was a shop being renovated ... new gutter & downpipe but the top floor was still occupied by pigeons!
Art Deco mosaic tile detail

Lillian : Art Nouveau style sitting next to the Art Deco - perhaps the upper floors were built or decorated later but perhaps not.  Our stylist says that it is common enough with the clothing of the 1920s & 30s - like the beaded 'flapper dresses' - to find motifts from both 'Arts' sitting side by side. 
The lovely lead-light window is very Nouveau and would look even better from the inside - mauve birds and yellow orchids framing a lattice of green glass.

Audrey :  The wood surround is carved with poppy flowers - and here is a detail.
Lillian :  Another shop - the rez de chaussée made modern - but look up! 

Audrey :  Even with the distracting reflections those sinuous lines are fabulous!

Lillian : This is the Magasins Vaxelaire et Pignot, built in 1901 by Emile André & Eugène Vallin.

Some furniture that was designed for this shop is now in the Musée d'Orsay.

Lillian : We've a policy to respect peoples' privacy - the figures you can see in this window are mannequins.

Audrey :  They're just dummies!   But let us show you a close-up of those fabulous peacock tails.  We think they are made of copper.

Lillian : Here is another shop window found by looking up - again this shows a blend of Art Nouveau and Art Deco.  Wonder if this was originally a music shop or music school. 

Lillian : This shop-front was in a side street and this building shows another characteristic of Art Nouveau architecture - it is asymmetrical and the details are slightly different for each level.

Audrey : Just like an Air and Variations in music.
Here is a close up of the balcony on the deuxième étage.


Audrey : And the one above it on the troisième étage.

Lillian : This building was designed by Emile André for Henri Camal, who was a manufacturer of straw hats - so the building was a shop, workroom and residence.

Audrey : Our last building for this post of Art Nouveau finds is also quite asymmetrical and has lots of lovely curves.  It is known as the Immeuble Margot (Margot building), it dates from 1906 and was designed by Eugène Vallin.

Here is a close-up of the balcony on the 3rd floor (that's the troisième étage).  Can you see the curly iron tendrils just above the stone sides?


 Lillian : The flowers up the top are very beautiful - not sure what they represent, possibly datura.  But notice the delicate 'bracts' on the window frames, the elegant lines curving in slightly above the flowers, the way the flowers are 'held' by that band over the stem.  Such lovely attention to detail.

Audrey :  No wonder Art Nouveau is such a popular style.  In our next post we'll show photos of some better known Art Nouveau buildings in Nancy.

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