Thursday, 26 April 2012

Le Musée de l’École de Nancy - the gardens part 1

Audrey :  We are writing this post almost a year from when we were actually in Nancy.
Lillian :  Wouldn't it be nice if we could spend every Spring-time in France?

Ah well, at least we can look at all our photos.  And we loved the gardens at Le Musée de l’École de Nancy so much that we went back the following day to spend more time admiring all the flowers.


Lilac - Lilas in French.  This just doesn't grow in Sydney Australia - it is hard to believe how scented the flowers are - and the variety of colours.

Audrey :  It makes a cute head-dress or ear-muffs too.

Lillian :  Our people do grow Spanish Bluebells in Sydney.  These bluebells (jacinthe des bois) were a very pretty mauve, nearly pink.

Audrey :  It gets a bit confusing with lilac that is white and bluebells that are mauve ...
but weren't the tree peonies amazing!

Audrey :  Those flowers were so large - bigger even than our heads!
Lillian :  I liked this dark red peony - the French name for a peony is pivoine.

Audrey :  You look like a lovely Spanish dancer with that red flower in your hair Lilian.
Lillian :  Thank you, that's very sweet. 

Lillian :  A lot of the plants in the garden of the museum are those that inspired the Art Nouveau artists of l’École de Nancy.

Lovely white flowers - we think they are a wild columbine or Aquilegia (ancolie in French) they were beautifully placed in front of a screen with fabulous red poppies (pavot). 

Audrey :  Art Nouveau artists and craftspeople were very fond of poppies. 
Fern fronds are also a reoccurring motif in Nancy's Art Nouveau.

 Lillian : Our people thought that perhaps this bush with all the white flowers was the ombelliféres that is another favourite motif for artists like Emile Gallé.

Audrey :  Lucky for me that it was not the Ombrelles - because it seems that the flowers those people liked so much was probably giant hogweed a very nasty plant indeed!   (but please let us know if we have that wrong - and the Ombrelles were some other flower)

Lillian :  A Japanese Maple with wonderful purplish leaves.

Lillian :  Here we are under a Magnolia tree.

And our tour-manager helping us to pose for the camera.

 Audrey :  I think we'll have to save our photos of the buildings and things that are in the grounds of the  Musée de l’École de Nancy for our next post - because this one is so full of photos already.

 Lillian : Well, it is hard to resist sharing photos of flowers like this massive & beautiful pink peony flower.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Le Musée de l’École de Nancy

This post should come with a "partial nudity" warning.  Art Nouveau artists were inspired by many lovely things such as flowers & women ...

Lillian :  Nancy is a wonderful place to see Art Nouveau and a visit to the Musée de l’École de Nancy is a delight for anyone interested in the style -
Audrey :  Or if you just like seeing beautiful things that have been beautifully made.

Lillian : Quite! It is lovely to see complete sets of furniture, with paintings, lamps, vases ... all presented in a natural way in the rooms of the house. 

Audrey : The painting you can see part of there is by Victor Prouvé - it is of 3 lovely ladies in soft, pretty dresses, painted in 1903.  The furniture is by Louis Majorelle, his Ensemble aux nénuphars (French for waterlilies) 1900.

Lillian : The details - the way the shapes of waterlily leaves and stems are suggested in the shapes of the legs, the turned up edges of the desk-top, the table ... just lovely!

Audrey : Detail of a chair - also by Louis Majorelle - Chaise Pavots (poppies), very elegant. 

Lillian :  This room - Salle a manger (dining room) by Eugène Vallin & Victor Prouvé  - was a trifle over-whelming!

The original room was somewhat larger so the beautiful painted ceiling has actually been cut down a little.  The light-fitting is gorgeous. 

And here is a close-up picture of the tea-set.

Audrey :  Of course, electric light was a wonderful new thing when these Art Nouveau artistes were creating & designing.  They even found wonderfully clever ways to use light bulbs - 

isn't that delightful?  I wanted to stand under that light and wait for everyone to give me kisses - but our people wanted to see everything in the museum ...

Lillian :  And there is so much to see!  we can only show you a tiny amount here.
This lovely set of lights in glass gourds is by Emile Gallé, 1902.
The foliage is made of iron, and I think that would look wonderful under a verandah.

Lillian : The Art Nouveau movement held that everything can & should be made beautiful (as well as practical).  So a lovely painting is put into a gorgeous frame - with a dragonfly perhaps.


Audrey :  Even a bath-tub!  Not merely a place to get clean but an amazing grotto complete with water plants and nymph!

And all done in ceramic tiles.

Audrey : This fire-screen is inspired by the ocean with glass 'waves' and metal 'sea-weed''.

Lillian : I think that is what the French call verre américain - opalescent glass, invented by Tiffany & Co.

Audrey :  Let's see more lovely lead-light work...  The top of a display cabinet with pretty birds.

Lillian : A window with a lovely lady in a garden - hope she is using sun-screen! 
Pretty peacocks and curling fern-fronds in the corners.

Audrey : The lady has a kitty - and kitty wants a cuddle.

Lillian :  This very pretty window with roses is on the landing of the stairs.

Audrey : And this massive window - almost 3.5m long - is by Jacques Gruber 1904 (see our previous post for more of Monsieur Gruber's wonderful works in glass).

Some detail - the irises are of verre américain.
Audrey : Let's see more lovely glass - this time in vases. 
Lillian : Ah - some of the vases are displayed near a window so the sunlight shines through them.  This fern frond vase caught our stylist's eye. 
Audrey :  Downstairs there is a collection of glass-work by Emile Gallé
the colour in this vase is stunning.
This is called Ipoméa et Phalènes, it was in the Exposition universelle de Paris in 1900 but then the base was also of glass.  It seems that it had an accident back then and was given a new bronze base.        The moths have been applied by a marqueterie technique (see here for info).
Lillian :  Here is some more marquetry, the more common sort - in timber.  Some very delicate insects.

Lillian : And a delightful trinket box with tulips and a moth - by Emile Gallé.  Those Art Nouveau artists designed and made everything!

Lillian : In our next post we will show you the lovely gardens of this museum.  But now we'll leave you with some details from a large painting that delighted our stylist.  Unfortunately we don't know who painted this, our photographer couldn't find a signature and it is not in the big book our people bought from the Musée.

It shows women working at all sorts of textiles - here we see 2 ladies hand sewing and the lady bent over the tambour frame is busy embroidering or beading.

In the LH corner there is a lady making lace - bobbin (or pillow) lace Dentelle au Fuseau.  She is using a pillow with a roller (for making long lengths of lace) the French call this a carreau traditionnel and her bobbins don't have the beads (or spangles) found on English bobbins - European lace-makers use wooden bobbins of different shapes (like these) - no beads.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Nancy - Art Nouveau Windows & Crème de Violette

Lillian :  We did, of course, go to the musée de l'Ecole de Nancy and we'll show you photos of that marvellous place in our next post.  In this post, we are going to show you some things we saw on the way to the Museum.
Audrey :  Because there is so much lovely Art Nouveau in Nancy that it doesn't all fit into a museum - it is all over the place!  
Lillian :  Quite - and lovely coloured glass, lead-light windows are quite noticeable examples of Everyday Art Nouveau in Nancy.
Audrey : Most of these windows are 'fan-lights' - small windows over the main door of the building.

Lillian : It is difficult to photograph windows from the outside, in daylight - the colours in the glass are actually much prettier.  For example, this lovely design with 2 blue flowers, had a sweet contrast in the colours of the backgrounds - pistacchio green behind the flowers, pretty mauve round the edge ...

Audrey : There was a row of very similar buildings - all had fan-lights with this design of 3 petaled flowers but they were done in different colours - here are 2 examples.

Audrey : And here are those 3 petaled flowers again - but this time as panels in a door.  The centers of these flowers look just like lollies!  (you can click on the photos to see them larger).

3 flowers
 Lillian : The shape of a fan-light window is ideal for a design of 3. 

3 branches of blue things

3 Gorgeous Red Orchids

Audrey :  More lovely red flowers - this window was on a corner.

  Lillian : I'm not sure what sort of flowers those are but at the bottom of the windows  -  

I think those are honeysuckle flowers.

Audrey : Another red flower - very elegant.

Lillian : And these pale blue 'clouds' are probably l'ombrelles flowers (see our last post for more info).

Audrey : Someone had their initials done in lead-light glass - I wonder what their name was ... let's see, perhaps Geneviève St-Maman?

Lillian : One more lovely lead-light window - Blossom, Butterflies and a Birdie.

We call these birds Swallows
Audrey : Which is "gulp" quite odd - in French they are l'hirondelle. 

Lillian : I think we might have taken the wrong bus to the Musée de l'Ecole de Nancy because we did have to walk quite a long way - and it was rather hot so this street sign seemed quite apt.

Supper - lovely olives, herbed cheese, grapes...

Audrey : Ah, but after the Museum, we did a little shopping and had a nice supper in our hotel room - and - well - um - perhaps you had a little too much to drink that evening Lillian. 

 Lillian :  Oh - the Crème de Violette.  It is such a pretty purple colour, it smells and tastes like pretty violets ...
Even in a plastic cup it is a gorgeous colour

Kir Violette - with some bubbly

 Lillian : I think that I forgot that it is also an alcohol. 

Audrey :  Poor thing - you weren't quite yourself the next morning.