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Nature and the Nation in Fin-de-siecle France : The Art of Emile Galle and the Ecole De Nancy

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Although the artists of the Art Nouveau movement played a pivotal role in securing France’s reputation as the birthplace of modernism, no sustained, critical examination of the style’s best-known proponent, French artist Émile Gallé, has ever appeared in English. Nature and the Nation in Fin-de-Siècle France thus not only revolutionizes our understanding of Gallé as an artist but also reframes the study of Art Nouveau by locating the style within the deeply politicized and polemically inflected context in which it was first greeted by fin-de-siècle viewers. Taking as its theme the articulation of French identity in and through the visual arts, the book addresses the rise of nationalism, the events of the Dreyfus Affair, the impact of neo-Lamarckian evolutionary theory, and the politics of regionalism as they relate to the work of Gallé and artists of the École de Nancy. As a close examination not only of finely crafted works by Gallé but also of art criticism and the market at the end of the 19th century, this study will appeal to those interested in the study of design, literary history, and material culture, as well as to readers delighted by the delicate, graceful lines of Art Nouveau objects.

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