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A set of twelve Venetian Art Nouveau fruitwood and cream-painted dining-chairs
In 1895, when the German-born art connoisseur and dealer, Samuel Bing, chose as the name for his new Parisian gallery and shop 'La Maison de L'Art Nouveau', the new avant-garde style, already sweeping across Western Europe under such pseudonyms as Liberty Style, Jugendstil, Sezessionstil and Style Horta, was officially baptised. Despite the myriad of interpretations characterising this artistic phenomenon - from the curvilinear forms of Hector Guimard at the one end of the spectrum, to the rectilinear austerity of the Wiener Werkstatte at the other - the underlying tenets of Art Nouveau were its glorification of the commonplace and the artist's attempts to render the objects of everyday life beautiful. Although it shared the same social and cultural premises, Art Nouveau, or Stile Liberty, as it was termed in hommage to Arthur Lasenby Liberty, the earliest exponent of this new art form, took root in Italy later than in most of its other major European strongholds. The common determination of others to make a decisive break with the late nineteenth century trend of plundering moribund historical styles was, for a time at least, superceded in Italy by a concern to protect the enduring commerical success of its traditional Neoclassical styles, significantly popular enough with the American market to discourage makers from trying anything new. It was only at the 1900 Exposition universelle in Paris that a Stile Liberty tentatively emerged, albeit in the exhibits of only three makers: Carlo Bugatti, Eugenio Quarti and De Luca. By the time of the 1902 International Exhibition in Torino, however, the style had been adopted by the majority of Italian exhibitors and, just as it had done so with those quicker to embrace the movement, pervaded all aspects of their work, from furniture and sculpture, to ceramics, cutlery and even linens. The presence of a gondola crest on its principal piece indicates that this exuberant dining suite, dating from the first decade of the twentieth century, almost certainly has its origins in Venice, where, other than the international shows, the frequently-held Biennale provided the focal forum for the exhibition of Italian Art Nouveau. With its more traditional lines and floral motif - reminiscent of the work of Carlo Zen - flamboyantly embellished with the addition of scantily-clad nymphs, the suite may well have been either a private commission, or made especially for one of these exhibitions, possibly by one of the Cadorin family, natives of Venice, whose work was characterised by the inclusion of figural elements.
A set of twelve Venetian Art Nouveau fruitwood and cream-painted dining-chairs

CIRCA 1900

Details
A set of twelve Venetian Art Nouveau fruitwood and cream-painted dining-chairs
Circa 1900
En suite with the previous lot, each with padded back and seat upholstered in dark-brown leather, the shaped back with female mask and tendril cresting, above fan-shaped splat, with trapezoid-shaped seat, with foliate-carved rail and shaped reeded legs (12)
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