Friday, November 11, 2011

Lace Work of Felix Aubert

Illustration: Felix Aubert. lace design, c1904.

In some rspects at least, lace could be said to be a perfect vehicle for the Art Nouveau movement. Its natural affinity to filigree, elegance and fragility lends itself perfectly to the more imaginative and free-flowing elements of the style. This is perhaps why so many designers added to the vocabulary of lace design work during the last decade of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth century.

To be fair, Art Nouveau created a number of its own regional, national and creatively unique styles and although still broadly known as Art Nouveau in style, the specific regionalism of Europe saw determined differences appearing in Austria, Germany, France, Belgium and other areas as far apart as Finland to Portugal.

Illustration: Felix Aubert. Lace design, c1904.

On top of this was also added the unique qualities produced by the creative element of each designer. Although being affected obviously by their own regional interpretation of Art Nouveau, this did not negate the fact that the individual was to add a distinctiveness that came from personal memory, intuition, observation and understanding that could only be interpreted by that individual.

Art Nouveau, like many decorative styles past and present, used nature as its inspirational starting point. Indeed the style made an issue of its intimate knowledge, even entanglement with the processes, connections and partnerships to be found in the natural world. In this respect, the undulating, overlapping and invasive nature of plant forms for example, were seen as perfect vehicles for a number of disciplines including naturally, lace. 

 Illustration: Felix Aubert. Lace deign, c1904.

The four examples that illustrate this article were produced by the French designer Felix Aubert in about 1904. Although admittedly at the end of the Art Nouveau movements influence, these four designs still carry much of the natural affinity towards fragile filigree that was so much a part of the movements perceived style, one that was readily taken over into the lace craft.

Although Auberts work seems to lend itself, at least in part, to the more formalised nature based decoration to be found in Central Europe for example particularly that found in Austria, there is also a level of intimate delicacy that still maintains a formalisation within a fragile setting that can be found more readily in France and Belgium.

Illustration: Felix Aubert. Lace design, c1904.

There is an element in Auberts work that is reminiscent of pressed flowers or desiccated leaves. Some of the lace work gives the impression that if scrunched in the hand the piece would disintegrate. Perhaps in some ways this is both the strength and appeal of this form of lace work. Some would even see this particular period as being one of the high points, despite the long and relatively varied history of the craft. With such examples as produced by Aubert at the beginning of the twentieth century it is hard to disagree. This late, and very possibly last flowering of lace craft was conceivably one of its most creatively inspiring.


Morna said...

Beautiful, indeed. :-)

John hopper said...

Thanks. I think you can never get enough Art Nouveau lace, so there will be more coming in the future.