Event: Nature to Abstraction – Women’s Fashion from 1890-1930

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA) organized an event for museum visitors, students and university staff dedicated to Art Nouveau costumes and the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk. The event – taking place at the University of East Anglia – consisted of an hour long session involving handling of examples of costume and textile from the period supported by a PowerPoint presentation.

The talk successful got people to think about Art Nouveau in a different way, and highlighted the Partage Plus project and Europeana as way of accessing more information on the subject. By having a handling component the ideas of the total work of art and living the ‘art nouveau’ lifestyle could be better understood. It engaged the audience by allowing them to handle objects that they would not normally be able to do. It also expanded on the ‘First Moderns’ exhibition, currently on at SCVA, showing that the themes it explores such as the female form, the influence of Japan and the move to geometric forms went beyond decoration and had a direct impact on people’s everyday lives.

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