Catalina Island News

The Art Nouveau Period and the Golden Age of Travel Exhibitions at the Catalina Island Museum

Catalina Island Museum

The Catalina Island Museum is pleased to announce the opening of its fall and winter season exhibitions. Art Nouveau and Graphic Art: The PAN Publications, 1895-1900 and Bon Voyage! Posters from the Golden Age of Travel. Both of the exhibitions are the first of their kind to be presented on Santa Catalina Island.

Beginning October 29, 2016, the Catalina Island Museum’s John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Gallery will be filled with more than 50 printed works of art from PAN, the first art magazine of the 20th century.

Published for only a short period of time (1895-1900), no expense was spared in putting the limited edition Art Nouveau publication together. PAN attracted the most important painters and graphic artists of its era to decorate its pages. The result: a visual art magazine full of plates, illustrations and vignettes presented in a multitude of printmaking processes in both black and white and full color. Contributing artists to the journal, and represented in the exhibition, include the leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement William Morris, the important sculptor Auguste Rodin, Post-Impressionist leader Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, renowned Realist and Expressionist printmaker Käthe Kollwitz, the Pointillist Georges Seurat, Neo-Impressionist Paul Signac, and champions of the Art Nouveau style Aubrey Beardsley, Peter Behrens and Henry van de Velde.

The German-based publication aimed to, and achieved, taking a pan-European view of the graphic arts. In doing so it documented the collision of artistic movements present at the end of the 19th century. Art Nouveau, French for New Art, was the most recent of these art movements. Placing an emphasis on nature, sensuality and curvilinear design the style swept across Europe and into the artistic disciplines of painting, printing, furniture and industrial design and architecture. This exhibition presents a number of artworks by the most important Art Nouveau artists as well as works in the Post-Impressionist and Symbolist styles (both highly influential on Art Nouveau style). The opening of Japan to the world at the end of the 19th century highly influenced art making in Europe and this influence can clearly be seen in a number of the prints in the exhibition. A number of portraits of influential thinkers of the time period are represented in realistic portraiture reflect the desire at the end of the 19th century for artists to capture not just the likeness, but the personalities of their sitters.

This exhibition documents the intent of PAN to shepherd its viewers into a new era of art making at the turn of the century, and the vision of PAN’s founders to elevate graphic arts to a level on par with academic fine art of its day. In our present era where graphic art and design surround us daily, the legacy of PAN is more relevant than ever before.

Art Nouveau and Graphic Art: The PAN Publications, 1895-1900 is organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA in association with Denenberg Fine Arts, West Hollywood, CA and will be on view from October 29, 2016 – March 5, 2017.

Bon Voyage! Posters from the Golden Age of Travel
Beginning November 12, 2016, the Catalina Island Museum welcomes visitors to experience the exhibition Bon Voyage! Posters from the Golden Age of Travel. On view in the museum’s SAPAP Gallery, this modest in size, but bold in design exhibition features original French posters from the period of 1915-1930 created to entice travelers to new destinations.  The exhibition will be accompanied by vintage footage depicting the destinations and subject matter of the posters.

First in France, and then quickly adopted internationally, poster art was elevated to the status of fine art in the last decade of the 19th century. Posters could be made quickly, could be printed in multiples and could be disseminated across a wide population. Perfect for advertising a multitude of events and products, unique posters were created in the tens-of-thousands. Their bold and highly-designed imagery was both eye-catching and alluring, and like never before, artists were hired in numbers as graphic designers. Arguably the most famous of all poster designers was Leonetto Cappiello who is credited as the father of modern advertising. Bon Voyage! features Cappiello’s Aix-Les-Bains, 1921 an advertisement for the resort town. Cappiello’s style of highlighting a single subject (here a young woman swathed in feathers and a red flirty dress) placed against a dark background (the coastline of Aix-Les-Baines at night) became one of the most copied.

Other posters in the exhibition commissioned by France’s railway companies promised fast travel to destinations both exotic and quaint. Unique among the others is a French poster by artist Rogerio enticing travel to the Exposition de Séville in Barcelona, Spain in which two women sit upon the country’s coat of arms, draped in flowing fabrics, and holding a large plate of cascading flowers above their heads. In the time between World War I and the advent of commercial airline travel, the best way to see the world was by train and sea vessel. The works in Bon Voyage! celebrate this golden age of travel through the art of the poster. 

Bon Voyage! Posters from the Golden Age of Travel is organized by the Catalina Island Museum and will be on view from November 12, 2016 – March 5, 2017.

About the Catalina Island Museum
The Catalina Island Museum houses the largest archive of materials related to the culture and history of Santa Catalina Island. Philip K. Wrigley was instrumental in the museum’s establishment in 1953. Preserving the island’s heritage and bringing art and culture to the island also fulfilled the desire of his father, William Wrigley Jr., who wished to provide a "playground" where people from every walk of life could seek edification as well as relaxation on one of America's most beautiful islands. The museum offers the best in art and history exhibitions, music and dance performances, lectures by guest speakers from around the world, and the finest in silent, documentary and international film.

The Catalina Island Museum is open every day – except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day – from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The museum’s new Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building is located in the heart of Avalon at 217 Metropole Avenue. Adult admission is $7.50, seniors (60 years and over) and members of the military are $5, and children (15 years and under) are free with a paid adult admission. Special exhibitions and events are held throughout the year including evening hours each month for First Fridays at the Museum.