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German History in Documents and Images
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Peter Behrens, Jugendstil Table Lamp (1902)
Jugendstil (known as Art Nouveau outside of Germany) was an artistic style that developed around the turn of the century. It took its name from the Munich-based journal Jugend [Youth]. Rooted most firmly in the applied and decorative arts, the Jugendstil movement aimed to fuse art and life, and to abolish the hierarchy between the "high arts" and crafts. The style was fueled by the evocative and (supposedly) emotional possibilities of pure visual elements such as line and plane. Opposing historical ornament, Jugendstil artists favored simple, abstract, curvilinear, and organic patterns and forms. The artist and architect Peter Behrens (1868-1940) was one of the style’s leading practitioners. His table lamp below dates from 1902; it is made of bronze and glass and incorporates a typical Jugendstil figural motif.