The Alphonse Mucha exhibition in The Hague and an Art Nouveau sign at Haarlem train station. Image: Maison l'Art Nouveau
Today, June 10, is the tenth World Art Nouveau Day! This year’s special theme on Art Nouveau and typography is celebrated with numerous activities throughout Europe. From the Netherlands to Norway and from Palermo to Paris, participants are organising film screenings, exhibitions and even cycling routes to highlight the influence of Art Nouveau on art and life in the early 20th century.
The first World Art Nouveau Day in 2013 was organized by The Museum of Applied Arts (Budapest) (IMM) in cooperation with Szecessziós Magazin (a Hungarian Magazine about Art Nouveau. The selected date – 10 June – is the anniversary of the death of two famous architects of the movement, Antoni Gaudí and Ödön Lechner. The two biggest organisations in Europe coordinating the World Art Nouveau Day activities are the Art Nouveau European Route in Barcelona, and the Réseau Art Nouveau Network (RANN) in Brussels. In 2019 the event was supported by European Heritage Alliance. The Dutch organisation Maison l’Art Nouveau is responsible for organising activities in the Netherlands, including an Art Nouveau Festivity in The Hague.
Having to put all cultural activities on ‘pause’ for two years due to the pandemic, it is going to be a big year for the participating organisations. For starters, there are a number of excellent exhibitions scattered across Europe to visit. Other activities – such as circular walks, bike rides and lectures – are also offered. Activities are organised in Ålesund (Norway), Aveiro (Portugal), Brussels (Belgium), Budapest (Hungary), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Nancy (France), Oradea (Romania), Palermo (Italy), Paris (France) and Terrassa (Spain).
The Netherlands hosts even more exhibitions, walks, bike rides and cruises. For example, an exhibition about Alphonse Mucha by Kunstmuseum Den Haag. An impressive exhibition can also be seen in the Nederlands Steendrukmuseum in Valkenswaard. For the first time in 100 years, an overview of the work of the Belgian poster artist Privat-Livemont has been brought together there. An exposition about the fabulous works of metal artist Johanna van Eijbergen can be admired in the Drents Museum in Assen. Textile Museum Tilburg, Museum Stadskasteel Zaltbommel and Museum House Rams Woerthe in Steenwijk are also well worth a visit during World Art Nouveau Day.
Circular walks are offered in Apeldoorn, Arnhem, The Hague, Dordrecht, Groningen, Haarlem and Utrecht. But you can also book bike rides and cruises. The Netherlands’ first vegetarian restaurant Pomona from 1899 is temporarily reopened. And there are also endless interesting workshops (about architectural photography, stained glass, ornamental ceilings, linoleum printing, lithography, etc.), lectures (about Couperus and Jan Toorop, among others) and theatre performances.
Book in advance
The complete European program is now available here, as well as the Dutch one. Special promotions and discounts can also be found on this website. Due to the limited number of places, it is advisable to book everything in advance.
Response to the consumer society
World Art Nouveau Day is organized annually to highlight Art Nouveau heritage. This heritage is relatively young and often overlooked. But that is slowly starting to change. Because Art Nouveau is ‘hot’. This is not surprising when one considers that the movement arose at the end of the 19th century as a reaction to industrialization and the emerging consumer society, a reappraisal of nature and crafts, and a search for a national identity. Exactly the same topics that keep us occupied nowadays.