Figure of the American dancer Loie Fuller, Reissner Stellmacher und Kessel
From Edvard Munch’s predatory vampires and degenerate Madonnas, through a myriad of metamorphosing nymphs, to Alphonse Mucha’s decorative odalisques, women were the key subject matter of the fin-de-siècle. In the figure of the American dancer Loïe Fuller, the sinuous and accentuated forms of the Art Nouveau woman came together with another central leifmotif of the turn of the nineteenth century, dynamic movement.
Signifying a new and consumable world, Fuller proved one of the great attractions to Art Nouveau artists. Her extraordinary, swirling dance used scarves and coloured electric light to create the apparition of metamorphosing nature, and she came to embody the very essence of modernity. As one contemporary critic wrote, “Woman-flower, woman-bird, woman-butterfly, the themes of metamorphosis… were all found in the sinuous dancing of Loïe Fuller.”
Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel’s powerful earthenware figure beautifully captures all the energy and eroticism of the age.
Facts & figures
Figure of the American dancer Loie Fuller, modelled in full relief with swirling draperies. Reissner Stellmacher und Kessel. Austria. c. 1900. Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau. UEA 21016.
Earthenware. h. 49.5. Acquired 1978.
Other collection highlights
Dream Amphora, Jean Arp
A sculpture of detached beauty, created shortly before Nazi invasion forced Arp’s flight from France to Switzerland
Animals LC3, Lygia Clark
For the artist, works like Animals LC3 have no representative meaning outside of their manipulation
A blanket from a ceremonial costume for an eminent Tlingit person in the northern Northwest Coast area of North America, worn during festivals of elaborate ritual and gift-giving