L'Exposition International des Arts Decoratifs Modernes. A Turin 1902

Darmstadt: Alexander Koch. Libraire des Arts Decoratifs. 1902.

Deluxe edition. 4to (300x220mm). pp. [viii], 340, 1. Full, ivory vellum binding with bevelled edges. The bottom part of the upper cover is decorated with a peacock feather design in gilt. The top part has a gold panel on which the title "Exposition de Turin 1902" is lettered in ivory vellum relief, the font suggesting a semi-rustic Arts and Crafts aesthetic. Above this, stamped in gilt in a highly distinctive Art Nouveau font is "Arts Decoratifs Modernes". These designs and letterings are repeated in gilt on the spine. This sumptuous binding is a triumph of Arts and Crafts/Art Nouveau design displaying all the aesthetic sensibilities of these movements. Some slight discolouration and marking to the covers. Black and grey marbled endpapers. Illustrated throughout with four hundred black and white photographs and some illustrations in colour. Text, in French, by Georg Fuchs and F.H.Newberry. There are nineteen essays describing and analysing the work of the exhibiting nations. Some spotting to the fore-edges but a near fine example of a scarce and beautiful volume issued in this deluxe edition, at the same time as the standard edition.

The 1902 Turin exposition was the first international exhibition of modern decorative art and launched Art Nouveau in Italy where it was known as the Liberty style.  It was an influential and important decorative art exhibition which both reflected and shaped European taste in the first decades of the twentieth century. Modern work from a number of European countries was displayed together thus demonstrating the similarities and the subtle differences between the different strands of the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements. However, to an extent, the exhibition represented the high water mark of the spread of these movements as it introduced elements of contemporary design that would slowly evolve into the De Stijl, Art Deco and Bauhaus schools. These elements can be seen in some of the work shown here, in particular the large section devoted to the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow school.