These superb Wrought Iron Gates (circa 1900) by Emile Robert (French 1860 -1924) are rendered by hand in the curvilinear Art Nouveau style, which originated in northern Europe in the late 1890s and flourished until World War I. The revival of interest in wrought iron work in this period was inspired by the beautiful, ornate, Rococo gates and fences around the main square and garden of the French city of Nancy, an early center of the Art Nouveau style. The butterfly motif in these gates is indicative of the main influences of Art Nouveau design: observation of the natural world and motifs popular in Japanese art.
Attributed to Jean-Désiré Muller (French, 1877–1952), this fireplace is made of stoneware, a dense ceramic body that is highly durable. Its strong, sculptural design reflects the popularity of the Art Nouveau style in the years around 1900, when the fireplace was produced. The twisting forms of the vertical sides and the complex, curving shapes of the hair above the mask are characteristic of Art Nouveau design, which emphasized stylized, sinuous lines and commonly employed motifs from the natural world. The fireplace is signed Muller/Luneville, suggesting that it was produced by one of the Muller Brothers in the city of Lunéville, France, who are known for their production of art glass. It is believed that Désiré Muller also worked in ceramics.
Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC.