Morse Museum opens 'Art Nouveau' and fountain pens exhibits

Image from the Morse Museum
Image from the Morse Museum
Published Feb. 12, 2013

Art Nouveau was all the rage at the turn of the 20th century, interpreted in art, architecture and decorative art, a style that was considered the height of modern design. It drew on the organic forms of nature, replacing the rigid lines of classicism with sinuous curves.

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park offers some of the most beautiful examples of it in its permanent collection of architectural elements, paintings, stained glass and decorative objects by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

The museum has also organized a new exhibition, "Lifelines: Forms and Themes of Art Nouveau," that explores this popular movement more deeply with about 100 objects from more than 50 international craftsmen, designers and artists who were Tiffany's contemporaries. Shown is a glass vase with silver overlay, c. 1900 from the Bohemian maker Glasfabrik Johann Loetz-Witwe.

Once upon a time, we wrote everything rather than tapping words out on a keyboard. Another exhibition at the Morse Museum reminds us of earlier times when the height of elegant penmanship came from the nibs of pens filled with ink. "The Art of Fountain Pens" features more than 100 examples centered on the golden age of pen craftsmanship from 1920 to 1940. They're supplemented by Tiffany desk sets, period advertisements and other writing accessories.

Lennie Bennett, Times art critic