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Old October 14th, 2015, 03:50 AM   #1
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Art Nouveau & Modernism Architecture

Art Nouveau in Buenos Aires




The perfection of the Positivismo was the last crisis of the Western Human Kind just before entering into the world we are still living today. The Fine Arts and the good manners were a clear limit to the creativity and the artistic experimentation. And just like the door that Sigmund Freud opened to the society with the psychoanalysis, the Modernism came into this world as an explosion of creativity, where the freedom was absolute. Paradoxically, the Modernism, who was almost an anti-academic art, often acted like a new Academicism, in the sense that the new elements and details were sometimes systematized by the architects. Breaking the rules of the Beaux Arts was often a rule itself, creating an interesting contradiction. The Modernism had its own expression in many of the nations and empires of Europe of that era (19th and 20th century), being the most important examples those from the regions of Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the UK. In Buenos Aires, the Modernism came mostly in the form of Art Nouveau (french style), Italian Liberty, the Catalan Modernisme, and small expressions of the german Jugendstil and the Vienna Secession. As always in the city, the styles were adapted to Buenos Aires and some amazing architects like Virginio Colombo started to build some gorgeous buildings like the Casa Calise:









…among other buildings like the famous Casa de los Pavos Reales (translated: “House of the Peacocks”), with sculptures of peacocks and lyons on its facades, and with some expressions of the the architecture of the Islamic Spain (almoravid architecture) and the styles of Florence in Italy:


















One of the key elements of the Modernism was the curve on the designs, clearly seen on the glorious french Art Nouveau, who also came to the furniture in the streets of Buenos Aires:









In other cases, the Catalan Modernisme managed to give a surrealist touch to Buenos Aires in buildings like the Hotel Chile, who looks like some sort of inverted pyramid:









…and other exmples such as the Club Español (translated: “Spanish Club”) with its triumphal red dome, who also has some elements of the Vienna Secession style:












Among the most important architects of the Modernism in Buenos Aires is Julián García Nuñez, who built the Hospital Español (translated: “Spanish Hospital”), of whom only the half of it remains today:












…or the iconic corner of the Paso and Viamonte streets, with its exquiste rare dome:









The Liberty (italian modernism) was one of the most-used modernist syles in Buenos Aires. With very rich designs on the balconies and the ironworks, the Liberty gave a lot of beauty to the city, from houses in the corners to big palaces, such as following: the corner of Corrientes and Salguero St., Paraguay and Talcahuano St., Hipólito Yrigoyen 3400, and the Castle of the Ghosts in the neighborhood of La Boca:


















Following next, some other examples of the Art Nouveau and other kind of Modernism who were mixed with other styles (resulting in the eclecticism who is a trademark of Buenos Aires):





















Among the french Art Nouveau repertoire of the buildings of Buenos Aires, my favorite one is the Bazar Dos Mundos, who preserves almost all its original details in its facade. The owner of this beauty was Roger Ballet, with his famos quote: “Sell more, earn less” (I gotta admit that I’ve never understood why he said that). This particualr building was also the beginning of the big malls on Buenos Aires, among the other two big palaces of the shopping: the Harrod’s and the Galerías Pacífico in the Downtown.









Into the world of the dreams, the two trademarks are the buildings of the architect Eduardo Rodríguez Ortega, a huge fan of the Gaudí’s work. He made the building of the corner of Rivadavia and Ayacucho streets, with its unique dome made of crystals and the phrase: “No Hi Ha Somnis Impossible” (translated from the Catalan language: “There’s no impossible dreams”):









…and the Casa de los Lirios, a building that seems directly taken from Barcelona, and who also looks like a giant tree with windows and doors. Quite amazing:









To this point, one of the icons of the Modernism in Buenos Aires was and is the Confitería del Molino, who is currently being restored to recover its golden atmosphere.









And the most important building of the Modernism in Buenos Aires: the epic Otto Wulff building designed by the architect Morten Rönnow, who was with the Jugendstil style. This unique place has two exaggerated domes: one symbolizes the Sun of the Habsburgs and the other Crown of the Empress Sissi. That’s because this building was planned to be the Embassy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who collapsed in the First World War (just while this place was currently in construction). You may also watch the facades for hours, since it has a lot of sculptures of animals (most of them from the wildlife of Argentina) and greek mythological creatures. The Otto Wullf definitely shows how important was Buenos Aires within the new World scenario of the late 1800s and the beginning of the 20th century.








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Old October 14th, 2015, 03:50 AM   #2
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And the documentary on the Art Nouveau of Buenos Aires (on spanish):



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Old October 17th, 2015, 02:58 AM   #3
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Paris, 16th Arrondissement

Hôtel Guimard



immeuble lavirotte







rue d'Abbeville





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Old October 17th, 2015, 05:03 PM   #4
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Better size:


Try to avoid photos larger than 1280 × 976 pixels
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Old October 21st, 2015, 07:20 PM   #5
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I see plenty of Art Nouveau, now any modernism architecture from the 20s and 30s?
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Old October 21st, 2015, 07:25 PM   #6
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^Modernism (spelt modernismo) is the Spanish word for Art Nouveau / Jugendstil etc. (And it's modernisme in Catalan).
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Old October 22nd, 2015, 02:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for the explanation. When I heard the word modernism, I always thought of the 1920s bauhaus style.
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Old October 22nd, 2015, 03:23 PM   #8
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Definitely. I, too, thought this was a strange thread topic, but then I realized our friend EMarg is Argentine and hence a Spanish speaker.

It is also interesting to think how hard it is now to think anymore of Art Nouveau as of the first consistently modernist movement. After growing up a bit modernism went in a completely different direction, and also the Art Nouveau movement focused too much on applied art, loads of it being very tame, so that it almost completely drowned its avantgarde side.
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Old October 22nd, 2015, 09:02 PM   #9
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Barcelona

La Pedrera (Casa Milà)
Modernisme by MorBCN, en Flickr

Palau de la Música
Palau de la Música Catalana [1358] by josefrancisco salgado, en Flickr
PALAU DE LA MUSICA by MIQUEL BLASCO / POCO A POCO, en Flickr

Modernisme a Vilafranca by Turisme Vilafranca, en Flickr
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Old October 24th, 2015, 04:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexandru.mircea View Post
Definitely. I, too, thought this was a strange thread topic, but then I realized our friend EMarg is Argentine and hence a Spanish speaker.

It is also interesting to think how hard it is now to think anymore of Art Nouveau as of the first consistently modernist movement. After growing up a bit modernism went in a completely different direction, and also the Art Nouveau movement focused too much on applied art, loads of it being very tame, so that it almost completely drowned its avantgarde side.
The problem is that Modernisme (the Spanish definition of it anyways) was a period term that really did not concern itself with the rest of the world. Of course, it really predated Bauhaus and the rest of the modernist movement. Most of the rest of the world, when they thought of Modernism, thought of a complete change of mentality - thinking in terms of spaces, getting away from the assembly of application. In fact most modern movements were in reaction to Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau was really about excessive ornamentation and expensive, elite decoration. Still, it signified a change from staid, almost iconographic details to something more forward looking and expressive.

Personally I think that there are sub-styles withing Art Nouveau and that they are really only held together very loosly. I for instance absolutely love Jugendstil while I am not too crazy about Gaudi's work.
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Old October 24th, 2015, 05:42 AM   #11
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That's what I love about SSC. Yours are the points of view that I'd never have in a more local discussion. In Argentina (mostly in the cities of Buenos Aires and Rosario) this huge artistic movement is usually called Art Nouveau, though the Modernism therm is also used. Also, when it comes to name some other sub-styles like the Jugendstil or the Floreale of Italy, it is usually called "German Art Nouveau" or "Italian Art Nouveau" (same for the other sub-styles).

Appart from that, I think that the 20th century is the hardest century when it comes to strictly categorize the styles. And in addition to that, Buenos Aires was always an enygma to the world because of how all of the styles were freely-used by the architects. You may see the best examples of the Secession style in Vienna, or the Gaudí's most gorgeous buildings in Barcelona, or the famous Metro stations of Paris, but you won't see all of them combined together in one place. From this point of view, the eclecticism of Buenos Aires and the misconception who was created somehow by the informal terms can really confuse sometimes.
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Old October 24th, 2015, 04:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
The problem is that Modernisme (the Spanish definition of it anyways) was a period term that really did not concern itself with the rest of the world.
I disagree, all the names that have been given to the style in all countries focused on how new and how fresh its ideas were (new art, young style etc.), i.e. how modern they were. The Iberians were just the most explicit ones when naming it.

I know how difficult it is now to perceive Art Nouveau now as early modernism, but it can be done. When visiting, for example, the decorative arts part of Musée d'Orsay, the transition from "empire" style to Art Nouveau is really spectacular, in fact there isn't much of a transition as it is a breakaway, quite a radical one. The main feature is how the approach shifts from designing traditional stuff where form follows function and culturally established patterns, to a new approach which focuses on setting free the form, going towards a very strong formalism with form almost for form's sake.

In this, the path this side of art took is similar to what happened in painting, where the start of modernism is often thought to be (at a more superficial level of art history knowledge) cubism, but in reality it starts halfway through impressionism in the 1880s, when especially Monet makes the following approach shift: instead of using his impressionist formal language to provide a faithful and personally lived depiction of reality (realism was the paradigm of the previous generation, the 1850s), he now uses visually recognizable subjects as pretexts for formalist exercises in colour. The flagship series for this aspect is the haystack series. Similarly, at the same time, Pissaro starts using colour dots to create exploratory visual structures to which the subjects are incidental, the strive being purely formalist (what can you do with dots).

Contemplating an architectural detail from Gaudi's work where form reaches pure abstraction (like, the arches at the Theresan College) in comparison to a detail from an architect of the next generation won't show you where modernism breaks free from Art Nouveau, but rather where modernism shifts from curved form to rectangular form - just like cubism only shows you the moment when Braque went from the curved forms he did until then inspired by Matisse & co to the rectangular shapes of the landscape he discovered in his trip to rural Provence (see his paintings from L'Estaque). These life-changing trips Southwards to discover the Mediterranean vernacular culture were crucial for the shift from curb, lush and organic to rectangular, dry and geometric; I don't have a timeline in front of me right now but after Braque discovered Provence, Klee went to Tunisia very soon, Le Corbusier went to Istanbul etc. The impact was so strong that when the first exhibition of the International Style was organized, it was referred to as the "Arab village").

The other thing Art Nouveau had beside the start of formalism was the wow factor, the "let's break away" attitude which is very visible in a chronological set-up like that in Orsay, but I ran out of time and I have to go. Enjoyed discussing, cheers!
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Old October 31st, 2015, 04:27 AM   #13
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I have never been really comfortable with grouping Architecture with the so called "Fine Arts". Architecture really is it's own animal. It relates heavily to sculpture, but even then it is more of an applied, functional thing.

Of course, one huge problem we all face is that we are trying to talk about a "style", when in fact these weren't prescribed decorations rather than design influences. So in that sense you are very right - Art Nouveau really signaled the start of modernism in the sense that it shifted away from the formulaic kit of decorations of traditional architecture to more experimentation on the design of the building as a whole. I still stick by the idea that modern architecture really was about assembling volumes and spaces and not just trying to fit functions and spaces into prescribed forms. So in that sense I think Art Nouveau really is a transitional style, as it was sometimes used as applied decorations to otherwise typical forms, whereas in other cases it was part of a broader move towards a more functional, cohesive way of thinking about buildings.
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Old November 4th, 2015, 04:42 PM   #14
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Sorry for the late repy!

Good post that, I am fine with everything you wrote; a good common ground where our positions can meet. Art Nouveau did indeed turn eventually into a transitional style towards what came later, like you describe it; personally I can sometimes be seen around here intervening in discussions to put emphasis on Art Nouveau's modernist... "core", let's say, because it seems that this aspect of it has been completely forgotten in the sphere of general knowledge, and a bit of revisionism is going on. The other thing that bugs me is the equating of modernism in architecture with the international style in particular and the avantgarde in general, forgetting that modernism had plenty of aspects, some of them tamer in what radical approach is concerned (but even that is arguable).

As for the observation regarding architecture and Fine Arts, as someone with a formal education in art history, I can confess having had the same question once in a while, as architecture does feel indeed like a bit of a foreign body. Architects have different creative practices and they don't tend to hang around with artists, critics etc. But looking back it does make sense, the Fine Arts and architecture have always been in a state of symbiosis up until the modern era, a symbiosis that peaked IMO quite recently when looking at it all at history's scale, in the period from, say, Leon Battista Alberti to Michelangelo and then to Bernini.
The modern era meant the emergence of new social classes with a decent purchasing power hence fine art objects became, for them, predominantly small and independent of palace / church walls (and aristocratic / eccleasiastical patronage too): movable icons for private worship, easel painting, engraving, small sized sculpture, etc. But even in these period of apparent divergence between there disciplines, the creative ideas behind them have remained, like always, cuturally shared between different creators at a more general level. Nowadays there is even a reconvergence between contemporary art and architecture, although in what regards the latter it is happening through urbanism rather than the notion and implications of the individual building.
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Old March 6th, 2016, 03:20 AM   #15
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OTTO WULFF - Jugendstil in Buenos Aires


The Otto Wulff is the most glorious piece of the Modernism in Buenos Aires. Though it combines several types of Modernism, it mostly uses the german Jugendstil. Placed on the intersection of the Perú and Belgrano streets, the Otto Wulff Building shows two psychedelic domes, both crowned by a Sun and a Crown in commemoration to the Emperor Francisco José and the Empress Sissí of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who ceased to exist while it was currently on construction. The Otto Wulff is one of the richest building of Buenos Aires when it comes to details: the facades show several animals of the wildlife of Argentina and it is “sustained” by the Atlas figures.











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Old March 6th, 2016, 03:21 AM   #16
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Old March 6th, 2016, 03:26 AM   #17
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En HD:



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Old March 6th, 2016, 06:23 AM   #18
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Old March 8th, 2016, 04:28 PM   #19
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Col·legi de les Teresianes.
by ¡arturii!, on Flickr


Gaudi
by Ricardo Gomez A, on Flickr


https://www.flickr.com/photos/xima2010/9222358942/


Casa Mila Barcelona
by Ricardo Gomez A, on Flickr


2013-09-11 17-58-27
by pya, on Flickr


gaudi
by BillyRayVirus, on Flickr
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Old March 8th, 2016, 04:43 PM   #20
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Victor Horta. Stairway of the Tassell House, 1892-3, detail
by arthistory390, on Flickr


Art Nouveau
by Nori (Nóra Mészöly), on Flickr


Untitled
by Nori (Nóra Mészöly), on Flickr


Untitled
by Nori (Nóra Mészöly), on Flickr


Untitled
by Nori (Nóra Mészöly), on Flickr


Symmetry Panel (detail)(Web)
by Stephen Fitz-Gerald, on Flickr


Brussel - Louizalaan / Av. Louise 224
by Geert Schotanus, on Flickr

Horta 1 by Chad Hoffman, on Flickr


Tassel House - Victor Horta
by John Abowd, on Flickr
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