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Decoding the Perfume Bottles of the New Era of Art

Decoding the Perfume Bottles of the New Era of Art

The period from the second half of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century can be considered as the middle period of the perfume boom era, which set off a large-scale movement in the American art world - the Art Nouveau movement. Forming different factions centered on various regions, such as the Paris School, Nancy School, Brussels School, and Glasgow School, this was an artistic movement that broke away from the conservative craft world, had a epoch-making significance, and made breakthrough progress. Glass manufacturing gave Art Nouveau style a field in which to display amazing expressiveness, and potters and glass artists played important leading roles.


The most important feature of Art Nouveau style is its vibrant, wavy, and flowing lines. It is as if traditional decoration is infused with vitality and the expression forms are grown from plants. The Art Nouveau movement was the art and design style at the climax of popular culture in the early 20th century. At that time, it was simply called modern style, much like the term Rococo style in its time. On the other hand, many small-scale groups gathered together and slightly improved the popular styles of the time, forming a prelude to 20th-century modernism.


The Art Nouveau period was also the era when perfume bottles shifted from ceramic products to glass products


The new artists regarded perfume bottles as the grand stage for displaying emerging arts. Among them, in the 1870s, Emile Galle and Eugene Rousseau launched a new art creation mainly based on Japanese styles. Their glass perfume bottles created with rich Japanese themes, such as pine, chrysanthemums, shrines, and torii, drew much attention.


In Emile Galle's early works, although there were many different creative themes, there were not many works that could truly blend with his own thoughts and emotions. It was only from middle age that he expressed his sadness for life, his strong pursuit of nature, and his indignation with the corrupt society in his works. His works clearly reproduced a development trajectory from a glass maker as a craftsman to becoming a glass creative artist.


In the 1890s, he published a series of works named "French Rose," which marked the peak of his creation. This set of works sounded an alarm bell for the increasingly decadent France. In the abdomen of the perfume bottle, there is a faded red rose bud, and the author wants to express its withered appearance that is about to fade away. Needless to say, roses are a symbol of France. Because Galle has always been keen to participate in various activities from his early days to his later years, in addition to the fragrance bottles he designed and were made by disciples in the Galle workshop, his own works were very few.


Perfume bottles with unique features


The pioneering progress in perfume bottle creation should belong to the Wouda brothers of England. The perfume vials they created were unique. Intricate relief works were applied to colored glass, then with gold caps, and this technique was adopted by the Thomas Webb & Sons company, which published a series of works of relief glass perfume vials, forming a new type of style different from the French Art Nouveau style. In addition, Louis Tiffany, heir to the American jewelry store, created a unique perfume bottle with a strong flavor of grating. Glass artists of the Art Nouveau era published one unique work after another. However, during this period, there were no artists who collaborated with perfume manufacturers to create fragrance bottles.


An exquisite glass perfume bottle that can almost fit in the palm of your hand with patterns such as flowers, birds, insects, etc. won high praise. The works of glass artists such as Galle, Daum, Thomas Webb, Tiffany, Loetz Wouda, etc. showed unprecedented freedom of imagination and creative techniques, which made numerous collectors admire them.

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