French architect Hector Guimard, known for his free-flowing style, designed this six-by-nine-inch frame. Why would an architect design a frame? As with Stanford White, many architects believe that an environment’s art and objects should be designed specifically to complement the space’s prevailing aesthetic. This frame, though small, was likely a reflection and extension of a certain Art Nouveau room.
Best known for his design of the Paris Métro stations, Hector Guimard is today one of the most widely celebrated French Art Nouveau artists. Although he believed that decoration is more effective when it is nonrepresentational, the ornamental forms seen in his work often clearly suggest the trees, flowers and natural structures that inspired his designs. Surprisingly, Guimard actually lost the 1896 design competition for the Paris Métro, but the railway company’s president was so drawn to the nascent Art Nouveau style that he awarded Guimard the job anyway.
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