By Debora L. Silverman

Explores the shift within the locus of modernity in fin-de-siecle France from technological monument to personal inside. The textual content examines the political, monetary, social, highbrow and creative components particular to the French fin-de-siecle that interacted within the improvement of artwork nouveau.

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Their father was an army officer who died in 1834, their mother a descendant of Old Regime nobility whose own father had been guillotined in 1793. A modest inheritance allowed the brothers to devote their energies to art; they decided first to become painters and later settled on a collaborative career as writers and art critics. 1 The brothers were deeply attached to an idealized image of the social hierarchy and cultural grace of Old Regime France, whose culmination they assigned to the epoch of Louis XV (1715-1774).

Part I examines the formative influence of an artistic tradition particularly important to the craft art nouveau of the 1890s: the rococo style of the mid-eighteenth century. This tradition was rediscovered in the mid-nineteenth century by the brothers de Goncourt, from whom the champions of art nouveau absorbed directly the principles both of rococo art and craft and of organic intimism. The brothers were the mediators of the rococo style to the craft reformers of the late nineteenth century. Part 1 thus explores the forms and principles of eighteenth-century art as they were recovered and interpreted by the Goncourts.

Alfred Picard, deputy director of planning for the fair, praised the new beauty inherent in modern materials. "13 Edouard Lockroy, who worked with Minister Charles de Freycinet to promote iron architecture at the 1889 fair, defined the modern style as one of public monumentality, based on the inventions of the engineer: The centuries preceding usreligious, military, authoritarian, and aristocraticdiscovered their architectural formulas in temples, palaces, châteaux, and churches; our industrial and democratic era must definitively discover its own.

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