Daum Freres Art Nouveau Glass

Daum Freres Art Nouveau Glass

The Art Nouveau style was one of the first international styles, and French glassmakers Jean-Louis Auguste and Jean-Antonin Daum embraced the forms, vocabulary and technology for their sinuous and sumptuous art glass creations. Art Glass Lamps by the Brothers Daum, especially pieces manufactured at the family factory from about 1900 to 1910 find favor with lovers of the sensual lines of the Art Nouveau style.

The Art Nouveau Style 1890-1914

The Art Nouveau style influenced everything from architecture to accessories and was possibly the first decorative style with no historical references. Unlike the continual recycling of Neo-Classical or Renaissance Revivals and the like that had been a fixture of design and architecture through the ages, Art Nouveau offered new forms and a unique vocabulary.

The movement was begun by Englishman William Morris, who challenged the decline in craft and artistry of the mass produced wares of mediocre quality of the industrial revolution. Almost universal across the globe in appeal, the style was embraced with slight variations in England, Germany, Scotland, Belgium, the U.S., France, Spain, and Austria.

Born of a desire to break new decorative ground, the Art Nouveau Style took its cue from nature rather than history with emphasis on the curving and sinuous lines of plants, animals, and the earth itself. The Art Nouveau style supported the fundamental principal of good design; that an object’s form should support its function, making for household objects and accessories that are both useful and beautiful, and few Art Nouveau collectibles are more useful and beautiful than art glass lamps by Daum Freres.

Daum Freres Art Glass

Brother Jean-Louis Auguste (1853-1909) and Jean-Antonin (1864-1930) Daum were born into a glassmaking family in Nancy, France. They were heavily influenced by the work of fellow glass manufacturer Emile Galle, whose work they saw in Paris in the early 1890s. Both worked in their father’s factory, the Verriere de Nancy, which specialized in decorative tableware and glassware, and the brothers brought the Art Nouveau sensibility, a love of nature’s curving lines and motifs to the existing lines, especially to the newest items, electric lights.

Daum Art Glass Lamps

The Art Nouveau movement happened roughly simultaneously with the widespread use of electricity in the home, and the marriage of art and technology resulted in art glass electric lamps. Freed from the need to vent a burning wick, oil, or gas mantle, shades became a canvas for beautiful landscapes, designs, and jewel-like patterns. The Daum brothers embraced this new form of glass design, working collaboratively with a leading Nancy metal worker to create bronze mounts and hardware for their elegant cameo glass shades. Later models feature hollow glass stems that that could also be lit.

Reference: Miller, Judith, DK Collector’s Guide to Art Nouveau, Dorling Kindersley Limited c 2004.

-Reference note by p4A Contributing Editor Susan Cramer.

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