Water Lily Landscape

Art Nouveau brooch with striped agate, Max Gradl for Theodor Fahrner, 1901-02

In the years around 1900, Theodor Fahrner in particular stood out from many Pforzheim manufacturers of inexpensive, industrially produced jewellery by virtue of his principle of selling modern pieces of jewellery with artistic pretensions. Thus the ideal of Art Nouveau could be fulfilled, to make jewellery with high artistic value accessible to a broad group of buyers. This development was set in motion in particular by Fahrner's engagement of the already distinguished Art Nouveau designer Max Gradl (1873-1934), whose designs for the Fahrner company were then ennobled by their presentation at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. The present brooch, which dates from 1901-02, also dates from precisely that golden age of collaboration between Fahrner and Gradl. In front of a reddish-brown striped agate, it shows a vertical element reminiscent of a waterfall or river. To the left and right of the upper edge are round elements that look like the large leaves of the water lily floating on the water, which was a popular design element of Art Nouveau due to its clear, elegant form. With its organic-looking ornamentation, which despite all its abstraction still reveals the water theme of the design, the brooch is an exemplary piece of German Art Nouveau jewellery. Not getting lost in ornamentation like many other pieces of that time, but representing something of its own through inspiration from nature and skilful appropriation of natural forms, it completely fulfils the claim of breaking with historicism and allowing a completely new formal language to take hold. For attribution and dating, cf. the exhibition catalogue Theodor Fahrner - Schmuck zwischen Avantgarde und Tradition, Stuttgart 2005, p. 94 f., no. 1.29, there with an illustration of an identical brooch.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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