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Europeana enables people to explore the digital resources of Europes museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. It promotes discovery and networking opportunities in a multilingual space where users can engage, share in and be inspired by the rich diversity of Europes cultural and scientific heritage. On this blog you will find short updates on Europeana content, special events and things we are working on.
Updated: 2 hours 57 min ago

Advertising and Art Nouveau in the machine age

Tue, 18/04/2017 - 06:00

In today’s #ArtNouveauSeason guest post, Francesc Quílez, Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, describes how commercial artists at the turn of the 20th century adopted Art Nouveau style to create vibrant advertising images.

At the turn of the 20th century, a public fascination with machines and modern transport, linked to concepts of technological progress, was vividly reflected in advertising of the era. Many of the posters held in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya’s collection take travel and motion as their subject, depicting bicycles, cars, ships and aeroplanes.

Georges Gaudy. Cycles et Automoviles Legia, 1898. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, CC BY-NC-ND

Artists like Georges Gaudy (1872-1940) and William Henry Bradley (1801-1857) subtly incorporated stylistic elements of Art Nouveau (known as modernisme in Catalonia) into their commercial work, using floral motifs, bold outlines and areas of pure colour. Sporting themes were common on posters of the era, which depicted sports clubs and public events such as motor races and sailing regattas. The poster images are often highly aspirational, reflecting the fashion, wealth and social status of the growing bourgeoisie.

William Henry Bradley. Victor Bicycles, ca. 1896. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, CC BY-NC-ND

Georges Gaudy, Automobile Club Belgique. Course Bruxelles – Spa, 1898. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, CC BY-NC-ND

The arrival of the automobile generated a range of reactions. Poster artists sometimes viewed the car with an ironic and suspicious gaze, depicting contemporary automobiles as if they were infernal machines. To convey the sensation of speed, artists used a visual language that their audience would have been familiar with from illustrated newspapers, magazines and cartoons of the period.

Georges Gaudy, Automobile Club Belgique. Course Bruxelles – Spa, 1898. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, CC BY-NC-ND

Advertising posters, with their striking typography and bold colours, were received with great enthusiasm as a popular new art form. Catalan graphic art, exemplified by the works of Alexandre de Riquer and Ramon Casas, embraced the new visual opportunities of the modern age and contributed to its popular iconography. In particular, Casas is renowned for creating two of the era’s most emblematic posters, which became popular icons of modern Barcelona.

Ramon Casas. Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a tandem, 1897. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, CC BY-NC-ND

Ramon Casas. Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu in an Automobile, 1901. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, CC BY-NC-ND

Conceived as mere amusements and associated with the decoration of the bar Els Quatre Gats, Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a tandem and its four-wheeled counterpart Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu in an automobile are elegant subversions of the hierarchy between fine art painting and the poster. Few works better sum up the fertile opportunities that the arrival of modern advertising presented to contemporary Catalan artists.

The hurdy-gurdy in Schubert’s “Winterreise”

Fri, 14/04/2017 - 10:47

For the month of April, Europeana Music is focusing on the beginning of spring. Or more accurately, the end of winter. Or more accurately still, the end of “Winterreise” (“Winter’s Journey”): Schubert’s song cycle, which he wrote towards the very end of his life and the instrument that features in it.

Autograph of Schubert’s Winterreise (Morgan Library & Museum, public domain)

The very last song of Schubert’s song cycle is “Der Leiermann” (“The hurdy-gurdy man”). In the song, the narrator describes an old man, ignored by everyone, who never stops turning the wheel of his hurdy-gurdy. The narrator asks himself if this hurdy-gurdy is the accompaniment to his own life: alienated and unchanging.

At the beginning of the song, you can hear that the piano accompaniment provides an imitation of the hurdy-gurdy: in reality this is a droning sound, made by rotating a wheel against a string. There are many examples of hurdy-gurdys in Europeana Music and you can see a select gallery of them here.

We also have different recordings of Schubert’s song cycle and different versions of the sheet music; and, also, there are many depictions on Europeana Art of the hurdy-gurdy player, who is often a blind beggar such as in David Vinckboon’s painting below.

Please take a look around our other galleries in Europeana Music: there are various examples of musical instruments, music in art and photography, with many more to come.

Blind hurdy-gurdy player by David Vinckboon (The Rijksmuseum, public domain)


Galleries – a new way to explore Europeana Collections

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 10:47

With more than 54 millions objects to find in Europeana Collections, there’s a lot to explore. We regularly feature the stories of these objects – whether paintings, photographs, text, music or video – here on our blog and in our exhibitions.

Today, we’re launching a new way to explore on Europeana Collections: galleries.

Galleries present a curated selection of images on a certain theme. Some bring together artworks from across Europe, while some focus more on just one country.

Most of the galleries connect to our thematic collections: Europeana Art, Europeana Music, Europeana Fashion and Europeana 1914-1918.


Just some galleries you can explore today are:

Galleries also give you the opportunity to delve a little deeper, linking back to the original object with all its contextual information. And should you wish to re-use the item, licensing information is provided.

We’re starting with around 40 galleries but we’ll be publishing new galleries regularly, so make sure to check back or follow us on Facebook or Twitter. Galleries can be found on Europeana Collections by following the link in the Explore menu.

Alphonse Mucha, Master of Art Nouveau

Mon, 03/04/2017 - 06:00

In today’s #ArtNouveauSeason guest post, Marie Vítková of the National Museum in Prague tells us how Alphonse Mucha made his artistic breakthrough.

In December 1894, the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt called the Parisian lithographers Lemerciers, asking for a new poster design for the play Gismonda. She wanted something different than what Lemerciers had produced before and she wanted it as soon as possible. Bernhardt understood the power of effective advertising to drive ticket sales and grow theatre audiences.

Faced with Bernhardt’s urgent request, Lemerciers’s head of manufacturing was placed in some difficulty. Fortunately, though, there was an artist from Moravia in the next room working on some graphic corrections for a friend. “Can you do it?” asked the workshop manager. Alphonse Mucha accepted the challenge. Next day, he visited the theatre and began work. Soon after, Mucha presented a new design proposal for the poster, depicting Sarah Bernhardt as a Byzantine princess with palm leaf on golden background.

Alphonse Mucha, poster for Gismonda, 1895. eSbírky, CC BY-NC-SA.

Sarah Bernhardt was delighted with the design and Mucha’s stellar career as the Parisian “King of Art Nouveau” began. The poster was printed more than 4000 times and Paris fell in love with Mucha’s distinctive style. According to historians, many Parisians actually removed the posters from public places and kept them as interior decoration. Mucha’s poster for Gismonda launched a new chapter of graphic style. After its success, Mucha collaborated with Sarah Bernhardt on advertising material, jewellery and theatrical costumes.

Alphonse Mucha, advertisement for Lefèvre-Utile, 1896. eSbírky, CC BY-NC-SA

Alphonse Mucha was born in the small Moravian town of Ivancice in 1860. He loved painting and drawing and his first artistic job was designing decorations for a Moravian theatre company. Mucha spent some time in Vienna and Mikulov before – thanks to his sponsor Count Karl Khuen Belassi von Mikulov – he enrolled for formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. In 1887, Mucha traveled to Paris to continued his artistic education. He got a job at the magazine La Costume au Théâtre as an illustrator and he established his own studio in the city centre. At this time, Mucha met Paul Gauguin and, after Gauguin returned from Tahiti in 1893, they shared a studio.

Alphonse Mucha, advertisement for Bières de la Meuse, 1897. eSbírky, CC BY-NC-SA

The influence of Mucha‘s work was amplified by the rise of advertising during the period. Mucha created many advertisements for clients including the biscuit firm Lefèvre-Utile and the champagne company Ruinart Père et Fils. All of them had the Mucha signature elements: women with long curly hair as the main motif (some of Mucha’s critics used to call the hair “macaroni“), flowery decor and soft colours, especially gold.

Despite the fame and wealth that Mucha’s commercial work brought him, he preferred to see his work as being personal, spiritual and national. Mucha asserted himself as an artist capable of more than just Art Nouveau style and in his later career he focused more on personal projects.

Explore Mucha’s work on Europeana Art and check out our Mucha Pinterest board.

Art Up Your Tab: heritage in your browser

Tue, 28/03/2017 - 08:06

Art Up Your Tab with curated artworks from the inspiring collection of Europeana!

Most people will see just a blank screen when they open a new tab or window in their browser. This could be much more interesting! That’s why Kennisland, Studio Parkers and Sara Kolster have developed a plug-in for the Chrome browser that shows you enticing, inspiring paintings or photographs from the rich collection of Europeana in new tabs.

The cat at play, Henriette Ronner, Rijksmuseum, Public Domain

The Chrome browser extension Art Up Your Tab brings you full-screen artworks from a frequently refreshed pool of carefully selected images that will pause your busy life for a brief moment and spark your imagination.

The first version of Art Up Your Tab focuses on Dutch heritage institutions in Europeana Collections.

Exploring more

All images are presented in full screen, along with information about the background and context of the work, the authors, the institution and the terms of use. You can even download the image directly in high resolution for reuse or share it with others. You can also click through to the page about this specific work on Europeana Collections.

Viewing heritage made easy

Art Up Your Tab is designed to inspire, surprise, inform and get internet users acquainted with European heritage in the familiar surroundings of their browser – without additional time or effort. This way, cultural heritage is integrated in everyday activities and digital heritage collections are even more visible.

Before you know it, you’ll be browsing beautiful images from Europeana for half an hour while you just wanted to open a new tab!

Install Art Up Your Tab Chrome extension

Art Up Your Tab is made possible with support from the Network Digital Heritage.

#AllezLiterature – celebrate the power of poetry

Tue, 21/03/2017 - 09:16

This World Poetry Day (21 March), we are inviting you to join a month long social media salute to poetry from across Europe. From the Romantics to War poetry and from Burns to Punk, discover, share and interact with selected poems in Europeana Collections.

Esbjörn at the Study Corner, Carl Larsson, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Public Domain

UNESCO World Poetry Day celebrates our shared human experience, the continued relevance of poetry as an art form and the power of the oral tradition. Over the coming weeks, you will have the chance to:

  • Experience poems in new ways – from YouTube recitals to Punk band covers
  • Listen to and share poetry ‘playlists’ with recordings found on Europeana SoundCloud
  • Join the #WW1 Poetry Transcribathon to transcribe, tag and annotate handwritten poems by soldiers and nurses from the First World War
  • Share your favourite quotes from and about poems with the hashtag #AllezLiterature

Throughout the month, libraries across Europe will select and share poems in their original languages.

In fact, the season kicks off with the iconic Soči by one of Slovenia’s best loved poets Simon Gregorčič. You are invited to experience the poem in two very different ways – by exploring the text online and through a school boy’s YouTube recital.

Gregorčič was a priest and social campaigner as well as a poet and Soči which relates the journey of the River Soca from the mountains to the plains of Trieste became a Slovenian rally cry during the First World War.

Join us in this #AllezLiterature poetry season and discover even more poems from regions and cultures all across Europe.

Visit for more information about #AllezLiterature


Graphic Inspiration: Nature and Folk Art in Hungarian Art Nouveau

Mon, 20/03/2017 - 08:49

In this week’s Art Nouveau season guest post, Júlia Katona, Head of Collection at Budapest’s Schola Graphidis Art Collection, highlights the importance of graphic arts within Art Nouveau and describes how Hungarian artists were inspired by native folk culture.

The Schola Graphidis Art Collection is the museum collection of Hungary’s oldest national art education institution, founded in 1778, and its successors. It conserves, collects, studies and presents all the fine arts, applied arts and technical collections associated with these historic schools.

Drawing Room in the Metropolitan Municipal Technical Drawing School, Budapest, 1920s. Schola Graphidis Art Collection. Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Budapest. CC BY-SA

After the cavalcade of historical styles seen in art during the second half of the 19th century, Art Nouveau brought something extraordinarily new. Its leading artists, architects and designers broke from tradition and sought fresh inspiration in the inexhaustible forms of nature. Art Nouveau quickly reached an international audience through the publication of periodicals. In particular, graphic artists showcased their work in albums of high-quality chromolithographs. These albums demonstrated how floral and animal forms could be applied to the decorative arts.

Mistletoe by E.S. Grasset and H. Hervegh, from La Plante et ses applications ornementales, Paris. Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1896, II., Plate 11. Schola Graphidis Art Collection, Hungarian University of Fine Arts – High School of Visual Arts, Budapest CC BY-SA

The best-known of these publications were executed by the Swiss-born decorative artist Eugène Samuel Grasset (1845-1917) and his pupils, and by one of Grasset’s disciples, Maurice Pillard Verneuil (1869-1942). These albums were studied not only in Europe’s fine art and architecture colleges, but also in industrial drawing schools across the continent. Their influence extended across Europe’s major cities, including Vienna and Budapest (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). This explains why the Schola Graphidis Art Collection, the modern successor of the Budapest Metropolitan Industrial Drawing School (1886–1945), has such a remarkable collection of 19th-century pattern books and ornamental prints.

Christmas-Rose by E.S. Grasset and J. Milesi, from La Plante et ses applications ornementales, Paris. Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1896, II., Plate 59. Schola Graphidis Art Collection, Hungarian University of Fine Arts – High School of Visual Arts, Budapest CC BY-SA 4.0

Art Nouveau artists in central Europe looked to native folk traditions to express their distinctive national cultures in new ways. In Hungary, many artists and art teachers collected and published motifs from Hungarian folk art. One of them was the professor and director of the Hungarian Royal School of Applied Arts, István Gróh. In 1904, Gróh published a series of prints made using the technique of chromolithography entitled Hungarian Ornamental Motifs (Magyar stilusú rajzminták). This album contained ornamental motifs drawn from 17th–19th century folk objects, including furniture designs, textiles, carved gates, ceramics, mirror frames, leather works, stoves and painted ceilings of village churches.

Hungarian Ornamental Motifs from Tiszapolgár, unknown artist, from Magyar stílusú rajzminták. Budapest. Szerző, 1904, Plate 53. Schola Graphidis Art Collection, Hungarian University of Fine Arts – High School of Visual Arts, Budapest CC BY-SA 4.0

In parallel, the publication presented new Art Nouveau motifs influenced by Hungarian folk art, by the pupils of István Gróh, like Ödön Faragó, Pál Horti, Aladár Buday, Aladár Stiasny, Lajos Pátzay and Lajos Protivinszky. Both the drawings after the original folk objects, and the new designs, display typical features of Art Nouveau: the proliferation of curving lines, the dominance of floral ornaments, and the gracefulness of undulating lines.

Hungarian Ornamental Motifs, Aladár Budai and Professor István Gróh, from Magyar stílusú rajzminták. Budapest. Szerző, 1904, Plate 75. Schola Graphidis Art Collection, Hungarian University of Fine Arts – High School of Visual Arts, Budapest CC BY-SA 4.0

In the everyday practice of Hungarian art education, western European ornamental prints (typically from France, Germany and England) were used alongside Hungarian publications. This is why the Schola Graphidis Art Collection contains western European pattern books and locally published works from the 19th century and the turn of the century. Its reference library specialised in educational books on the industrial arts which form part of the rare book collection today. Plaster casts from the 19th century, as well as antique bookbinding and furniture making tools, are also unique parts of the collection. To discover more about the collection and activities of the Schola Graphidis Art Collection, visit its website.

Hungarian Ornamental Motifs, István Gróh, from Magyar stílusú rajzminták. Budapest. Szerző, 1904, Plate 76. Schola Graphidis Art Collection, Hungarian University of Fine Arts – High School of Visual Arts, Budapest CC BY-SA 4.0


Slovak painting in the era of Art Nouveau

Mon, 13/03/2017 - 07:00

This week’s guest post for our Art Nouveau season comes from Lukáš Štepanovský of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava.

Martin Benka After the Storm, 1918, Slovak National Gallery, In Copyright

The regional variations of Art Nouveau, known as Sezession in Slovak, around Europe were marked and diverse. At that time, the territory of today’s Slovakia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Despite being a crossroads of cultures in a geographical sense, Austria-Hungary had a very provincial political status and an underdeveloped art school tradition. Europe’s principal art academies were situated in cities like Prague, Munich and Paris, and many talented Slovak artists chose to stay on after their studies, such as Viktor Oskar Tilgner in Vienna and Alojz Stróbl in Budapest.

The Slovak towns Pressburg (today’s Bratislava), Komárno, Detva and Košice represented regional artistic hubs, centred around private art schools like the Karol Harmos school in Komárno, and artistic groups like the Pressburger Kunstverein, which brought European influences to the local art scene. The wider adoption of Art Nouveau, however, was hindered by the conservative tastes of the Slovak public, who preferred more traditional 19th century styles.

Ladislav Mednyánszky, Lady with shuttles, ca. 1875-1885, Strážky collection, Slovak National Gallery, CC BY

Art Nouveau in Slovak art was characterised by subtle stylistic elements taken from Impressionism, Symbolism and Luminism. Beyond its influence on colour and tone, light was often used as a decorative and thematic element in itself, creating less representational and more mystical works. The contemporary fascination with Theosophy resulted in many artworks containing melancholic figures lost in thought, focused on their inner world. Landscapes sometimes used unusual colour hues and strange weather effects to create peculiar, otherworldly atmospheres, as in Ladislav Mednyánszky’s Praying over the Grave from around 1895.

Ladislav Mednyánszky, Praying over the Grave, ca. 1895, Strážky collection, Slovak National Gallery, CC BY

Mednyánszky (1852-1919) was one of the most important and prolific Slovak masters working at the turn of the century. He combined diverse European art influences with an interest in Eastern philosophy and a particular empathy for his subjects. Although an avid painter of native realist subjects, such as poverty and disease, Mednyánszky also sought to convey the inner worlds of his characters.

Martin Benka, Room from Ratiškovce, ca. 1916, Slovak National Gallery, In copyright

Martin Benka (1888-1971), called “the alchemist of Slovak beauty” by his contemporaries, was the founder of a nationally oriented school of painting. Before becoming a well-known figure on the Slovak art scene, Benka studied under the Czech artist Alois Kalvoda and inherited some of his teacher’s inclination towards Art Nouveau and Impressionist styles. Benka’s atmospheric and unusually coloured early landscapes were complemented by scenes of Slovak folk interiors. In these almost cozy works we can see a hint of Art Nouveau arabesque and a “calligraphic” gesture, indicating a fascination with the folklore, which stayed with the artist well into his later endeavours.

Konštantín Kövári-Kačmarik, In the Morning Sun (Village Courtyard), 1910, Slovak National Gallery, Public Domain

Konštantín Kövári-Kačmarik (1882-1916) was a singular artist who diligently worked to advance Art Nouveau forward in Košice, before the city became an interwar centre of Slovak Modernism. His views of the city’s streets, corners and courtyards used light and colour as decorative elements. Kövári-Kačmarik’s art represents a bridge between Art Nouveau and Symbolism, and his work was crucial to the later development of Slovak Modernism.

Anton Jasusch, Yellow Mill, 1922, Collection of Modern and Contemporary Painting, Slovak National Gallery, In Copyright

Anton Jasusch (1882-1965) also worked in Košice and employed elements of Art Nouveau style in the period before the outbreak of the First World War. After being drafted into the army, injured on the eastern front and captured, Jasusch was cut off from the mainstream of European art trends. On returning home, Jasusch retreated into isolation and produced the series of large canvases which are today seen as his masterpieces. Channelling his war trauma into apocalyptic visions of swirling colour and world-crushing momentum, Jasusch elevated his gestural detail and vibrant hues above mere decoration. These intensely dynamic and almost Futurist compositions have no equivalent in Slovak art before or since.

#5WomenArtists: celebrating female artists from across Europe

Wed, 08/03/2017 - 09:35

Ask someone to name five artists and responses are likely to include famous European names such as Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, da Vinci — all male artists. Ask them to name five women artists, and the question poses more of a challenge.

Last year, in honour of Women’s History Month, the National Museum of Women in the Arts launched a social media campaign asking just that, addressing the gender imbalance in how art is presented, assuring great women artists a place of honour now and in the future.

To answer this question, we’ve selected artwork by five female artists to highlight a small selection of important and significant artists from across Europe and throughout history.

Anna Maria van Schurman was a 17th century German-born Dutch artist known for paintings and engravings. In 1636 she studied at Utrecht University, becoming the first female university student of Europe.

In addition to her visual art, Schurman was a poet and scholar and was proficient in 14 languages.

Self portrait by Anna Maria van Schurman, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Public Domain Marked


Portrait of a Lady, Anna Maria van Schurman, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Public Domain Marked

Danish artist Anna Ancher is regarded as one of the Denmark’s most important Impressionists. She was born in 1859 in Skagen, Denmark’s northernmost and remotest region, and studied drawing in Copenhagen and Paris. After marrying fellow artist Michael Ancher in 1880, Anna continued to paint the landscapes and people of Skagen, defying the convention that married women should devote themselves to household duties.

A Funeral, Anna Ancher, Statens Museum for Kunst, CC0

Plucking the Geese, Anna Ancher, Statens Museum for Kunst, CC0

Rosalba Carriera, a Venetian Rococo painter who lived between 1673 and 1757, is known for her portraits. Initially painting miniatures for the lids of snuff-boxes, her work later evolved into portrait-painting, for which she pioneered the exclusive use of pastel. She went on to paint portraits of nobility and royalty across Europe.

Young Woman with a Wreath of Laurels, Rosalba Carriera, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Public Domain Marked


Portrit of unknown man, Rosalba Carriera, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Public Domain Marked

Berthe Morisot was a Impressionist painter in 19th century France who portrayed a wide range of subjects, from landscapes and still lifes, to domestic scenes and portraits. Although married to the artist Edouard Manet, she chose to exhibit under her maiden name instead of using a pseudonym or her married name.

In the Bois de Boulogne, Berthe Morisot, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Public Domain Marked


On the beach in Nice, Berthe Morisot, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Public Domain Marked

Artist Natalia Goncharova was a painter, costume designer, writer, illustrator and set designer. Born in Russia in 1881, she was a major artist of the Russia avant-garde movement in the early 1900s. As a designer she was notable for her set and costume creations for ballet and theatre, particularly in Paris where she moved in 1921 and lived until her death in 1962.

Carousel, Natalia Goncharova, Szépmuvészeti Múzeum, CC BY-NC-ND

Neighbourhood, Natalia Goncharova, Szépművészeti Múzeum CC BY-NC-ND

Gerda Koepff, pioneering collector of Art Nouveau glass

Mon, 06/03/2017 - 09:36

Today we have a special guest post from one of the world’s leading collections of glass, Düsseldorf’s Glasmuseum Hentrich. Dr. Dedo von Kerssenbrock-Krosigk introduces us to the innovative collector Gerda Koepff (1919–2006), whose bequest of Art Nouveau glass is an important part of the museum’s collection today.

Art Nouveau plays a particularly strong role within the collections of the Glasmuseum Hentrich, which forms part of the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf. The museum owes this speciality to the donation and bequest of two private collections of outstanding quality: the Helmut Hentrich collection (after which the museum itself is named) and the Gerda Koepff collection.

Gerda Koepff at the exhibition opening in the Tonhalle, Dusseldorf, 1998. Photograph by Wilfried Meyer. CC BY-NC-ND.

French art glass of the Art Nouveau period is a fascinating topic for collectors. From the late 1870s, an important change took place in the Paris sale rooms of François Eugène Rousseau (1827–1890), in the glass factories of Emile Gallé (1846–1904) and the Daum brothers in Nancy, and in many glass workshops throughout Lorraine and the Ile de France. Until then, glass had been used for practical objects, even if at times highly luxurious ones; now, it came to be seen as a splendid medium for artistic expression. While retaining some of its utilitarian function in the shape of vases, bowls and dishes, Art Nouveau glassware gradually became an art form in its own right.

Vase with handles and wisteria, c. 1898-1900 Emile Gallé. Glasmuseum Hentrich, Düsseldorf. Copyright: Studio Fuis.

Gerda Koepff, née Stoess (1919–2006), was born into a family of industrialists in Eberbach, near Heidelberg in south-western Germany. Her elder brother Harald Stoess was killed in action in World War II and she took his place in the family company. She became the company’s executive director from 1960 until 1975, and continued to oversee the firm successfully until her 80th birthday.

It seems that Gerda Koepff’s interest in art glass art of the Art Nouveau period was not a family inheritance. Her parents’ generation had grown up during the heyday of Art Nouveau and had witnessed its decline into mass-produced and unimaginative objects. In the 1960s, when Koepff began acquiring Art Nouveau glassware, progressive German households were typically furnished with modernist objects and decoration. Gerda Koepff thus started to build her collection against the zeitgeist.

Vase with lady’s slippers and butterfly, c. 1896-1904 Alphonse-Georges Reyen. Glasmuseum Hentrich, Düsseldorf. Copyright: Studio Fuis.

Koepff developed an eye for quality decades before collecting Art Nouveau became popular – and expensive. Initially, she merely intended to decorate the living room of her new home. Soon, however, her interest became deeper and more refined as she began to perceive the differences in quality and execution. Koepff’s discernment is particularly apparent in her interest in Daum glass. As early as 1968, she found the prevailing contempt for this company’s products entirely unjustified, and she proved her point by purchasing several Daum masterpieces, which form a major part of her collection today.

Vase with columbines and silver mount, c. 1898-1900 Daum Frères. Glasmuseum Hentrich, Düsseldorf. Copyright: Studio Fuis.

The Koepff collection reflects the collector’s personal taste and eye. It does not have a rigid structure or principle, and while the focus is on French Art Nouveau, Gerda Koepff never aimed for completeness in an academic sense. It contains a range of artists and manufacturers, but above all, it is a personal selection of individual pieces. The vases, plates and bowls in her collection tell us about poetry, symbolism, a love of nature and the continuous expansion of the limits of glass. “At some point,” she said in an interview, “I had the feeling of having reached the end; the collection had a look. And that was where I wanted to stop.”

Learn more about the collection of the Glasmuseum Hentrich.

The Réseau Art Nouveau Network: European cooperation for the enhancement of Art Nouveau

Mon, 27/02/2017 - 08:32

Guest post written by Anne-Lise Alleaume of Réseau Art Nouveau Network

What you call Art Nouveau depends on where you come from: it could be Jugendstil, Glasgow Style, Sezessionstil, Nieuwe Kunst, Stile Liberty, Modernisme, Ecole de Nancy or other names. Every European centre of Art Nouveau had its own name and character, influenced by local culture, history and materials.

When it emerged in the late 19th century, Art Nouveau was driven by a particular set of aesthetic ideals and an enthusiasm for modernity. It exploited the possibilities offered by new industrial technologies and materials, combining an aspiration to beauty with meticulous craftsmanship. The result was a wonderful concordance of architecture, furniture, and decoration.

Joseph Maria Olbrich, Deiters House, Darmstadt, 1901 © Institut Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt/Bildarchiv Foto Marburg. Photograph: Norbert Latocha.

The advent of the First World War hastened the decline of Art Nouveau, which became the target of strong criticism and general disinterest. Although many Art Nouveau masterpieces are recognised today, just as many remarkable examples remain unknown to the public and subject to scant protection.

For these reasons, a European network was established to protect and promote Art Nouveau heritage. In 1999, the Brussels-Capital Region took the initiative to identify and connect with iconic Art Nouveau cities (Barcelona, Nancy, Glasgow, Budapest, Helsinki, Ljubljana, Nancy, Palermo, Riga, Vienna) around a common programme of activities. Together these cities obtained funding from the European Commission for the foundation of a network.

Lluis Muncunill, Vapor Aymerich, Amat i Jover, Terrassa,  1907 © Réseau Art Nouveau Network. Photograph: Serge Brison.

Eighteen years later, the Réseau Art Nouveau Network (RANN) has become an association of more than twenty institutions representing cities or regions with significant Art Nouveau heritage. The Network also includes cities with less celebrated, but noteworthy, Art Nouveau character such as Terrassa, Darmstadt and Aveiro. In recent years, the Network has extended into towns in central Europe and the Balkans like Oradea, Subotica and Szeged.

Regardless of Network members’ diverse backgrounds, they share the conviction that the pooling of best practice and research at European level is essential to the effective preservation and promotion of our Art Nouveau heritage.

Komor Marcell & Jakab Dezső Sinagoga, Sinagoga, Subotica, 1902 © Photograph : Željko Vukelić. The synagogue is currently under restoration.

Thanks to the support of the European Commission, RANN has been able to develop collaborative research projects and to deliver many public events. Since 2001, a series of discrete projects has focussed on different aspects of Art Nouveau, such its socio-economic context and on the link between Art Nouveau and ecology.

View of the exhibition The Nature of Art nouveau, presented in Brussels, 2013 © Marcel Vanhulst.

The Network hosts conference events for professionals, educational activities for young people, bilateral exchanges of good practices between members and travelling exhibitions. Having been mounted in fourteen member cities, the exhibition The Nature of Art Nouveau is now on at the Darvas La Roche House in Oradea and the Palacio del Secundo Cabo in La Habana. Every year on 10 June, RANN organises Art Nouveau World Day which includes public activities like photo competitions. Currently, Network members are preparing a project dedicated to Art Nouveau interiors.

To learn more about the Réseau Art Nouveau Network and Art Nouveau news, subscribe to their newsletter or find out how to join, visit

Maggy’s picks: Art Nouveau prints and Catalan melodies

Sat, 25/02/2017 - 10:00

You can easily get lost among over 53 million cultural heritage objects we display in Europeana. That is why, in this series we hand-pick some of the additions to our Collections that should not be missed. Check what we have prepared for you this month!

As you probably know, for the next 3 months Art Nouveau took over Europeana Art and we will be featuring lots of interesting pieces in the upcoming weeks. In today’s post we would like to highlight High School of Visual Arts in Budapest with over 400 Art Nouveau prints. You will find among them a variety of content, like:

Hungarian Ornamental Motifs, Plate 68. Samples of Hungarian style drawing | Stephen Gróh, 1904.
Schola Graphidis Art Collection, Hungarian University Of Fine Arts – High School Of Visual Arts, Budapest
Hungary, CC BY-SA 

Inv. Maclachlan, Stuttgart | Max Joseph Gradl, 1903.
Schola Graphidis Art Collection, Hungarian University Of Fine Arts – High School Of Visual Arts, Budapest
Hungary, CC BY-SA

Apple | Maurice Pillard Verneuilić1896.
Schola Graphidis Art Collection, Hungarian University Of Fine Arts – High School Of Visual Arts, Budapest

Hungary, CC BY-SA

Don’t forget to check out #ArtNouveauSeason at for even more artworks!

Continuing with the content from La Belle Époque, let’s listen to some music!  Biblioteca de Catalunya displays 60 cylinder recordings of Catalan songs and arias from the beginning of XX century. We picked 4 tracks that you can listen also on our Soundcloud:

Last but not least, we take a look at Hungarian art. The Rippl-Rónai Town Museum with County Rights in Kaposvár brough to Europeana over 1000 open pieces. Take a look and browse through! You can find there paintings and drawings from Hungarian artists like József Rippl-Rónai, Lajos Kunffy, Aurél Bernáth, Lajos Gulácsy, Mária Goszthony, János Vaszary or Ferenc Martyn.

Tangó | József Rippl-Rónai
Rippl-Rónai Town Museum with County Rights in Kaposvár,
Hungary, CC BY 

Welcome to Art Nouveau season on Europeana Art

Tue, 21/02/2017 - 08:29

Today we are happy to announce the launch of Art Nouveau season on Europeana Art, running from now until the end of May. During the season we’ll explore the depth and diversity of this influential art movement and enjoy beautiful Art Nouveau jewellery, posters and much more.

Rushes, 1896 (detail). Eugène Grasset. Schola Graphidis Art Collection. CC BY-SA

The season is led by a major new exhibition featuring almost fifty artworks from more than twenty museums, and showcasing famous masterpieces alongside lesser-known works. The exhibition presents an overview of Art Nouveau from its origins to its brilliant heyday across Europe as Jugendstil, Modernisme, Szecesszió, Stile Liberty, Skønvirke and more.

Book plate of W. Porter Truesdell, 1903 Alexandre de Riquer i Inglada. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. CC BY-NC-ND

Throughout the season we’ll be publishing a series of guest blogs, contributed specially by partner institutions, which focus on specific aspects of Art Nouveau. In these blogs, museum curators and collections managers will share fascinating stories about the people and the art that shaped Art Nouveau.

We’ve also created some beautiful new Pinterest boards for the season, on topics including Art Nouveau fashion, tiles, glassware and furniture, so there should be something for everyone to enjoy.

There are lots of ways that you can get involved too. Why not get creative with our Art Nouveau Colouring Book or have animated fun on Europeana’s GIPHY page? In March, we’ll be partnering with our friends at DailyArt to feature Art Nouveau works on their app and posting on the DailyArt blog. Follow all the action on Twitter and Facebook, and use the hashtag #ArtNouveauSeason to join in.

#ColorOurCollections with an Art Nouveau colouring book

Mon, 06/02/2017 - 10:56

Following last year’s inspiring Europeana Colouring Book for Grown-ups, we’re taking part in #ColorOurCollections again this year.

#ColorOurCollections is a week-long colouring fest on social media organized by libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world. Using materials from their collections, these institutions are sharing free coloring content with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and inviting their followers to color and get creative with their collections.

This year, we’ve turned to Art Nouveau for inspiration with 8 colourless paintings and posters waiting for your creative skills.

Cycles Perfecta, Alfons Mucha, www.Esbirky.Cz, CC0

Our Art Nouveau colouring book is part of our upcoming Art Nouveau season on Europeana Art, which, over the next three months, will explore the brilliance and diversity of this popular style.

Boekband Metamorphose, Jan Toorop, Rijksmuseum, Public Domain

Download the Europeana Art Nouveau Colouring Book and share your creations with us on Twitter using the #ColorOurCollections hashtag.

Europeana Art Nouveau Colouring Book


Kalimba, Lukembe and Ennanga: the musical instruments of Africa

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 14:22

This month, we take a look at musical instruments of Africa. These are well represented on Europeana Music, thanks to the wide and varied records from Musical Instrument Museums Online (MIMO). This blog gives just a glimpse into some of the different types of instruments that can be found in Africa.


This type of instrument consists of a board upon which strong but flexible keys (or lamellae) are mounted. These keys are plucked causing a twanging sound, rather like twanging a ruler held over the edge of a table.
There are so many varieties of lamellaphone: the lamellae can be made of cane, or various types of metal that have been hammered out. The lamellae can be tuned in different ways, or mounted to the board in different ways. The resonator can be a wooden box, or a hollowed-out gourd, or even a tortoise shell. The mbira dza vadzimu, from Zimbabwe shown here, is one of the most well-known lamellaphone. Other types are called the kalimba, ilimba, lulimba and lukembe.

Mbira: CC BY-NC-SA Musik & Teatermuseet

Arched harps

These beautiful instruments are called arched harps because of the shape of the string bearer – unlike the orchestral there isn’t a supporting pillar. The shape of the instrument can vary greatly, sometimes a simple boat shape, sometimes ornately carved and decorated, in the shape of an animal or a person. One type of arched harp is the ennanga from Uganda which you can see here. You can also hear the ennanga being played here on Europeana Collections.

Ennanga. CC BY-NC-SA: Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz – Ethnologisches Museum

Please take a moment to explore some of the other types of instruments on European Music – the koras, which have two sets of strings passing over a raised bridge, the many types of drums throughout the region, the lyres and, finally, the marimbas, balafons and xylophones.

Lost WW1 memorial plaque of HMS Laurentic fireman returned to family thanks to Europeana 1914-1918

Fri, 27/01/2017 - 09:48

A lost World War One memorial plaque – once owned by fireman Thomas McGarry who died in the sinking of the HMS Laurentic in 1917 – has been returned to his family decades later thanks to Europeana 1914-1918.

Memorial Plaque of Thomas McGarry, Killian Downing, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Thomas McGarry was a fireman on board the HMS Laurentic which sunk while travelling from Ireland to Canada when it struck two mines off the coast of Donegal on 25 January 1917. McGarry was among the 354 passengers and crew who died in the sinking of the ship.

Decades later, a bronze memorial plaque bearing Thomas McGarry’s name was dug up in a garden by Tom Murphy, an Irish champion pole-vaulter, in Limerick. Memorial plaques (also known as a Dead Man’s Penny or a Widow’s Penny) were issued to the next-of-kin of all service personnel who were killed in World War One.

In 2013, Killian Downing, Tom Murphy’s grandson, researched the plaque and shared the story on Europeana 1914-1918, our digital archive for World War One stories and items.

Image courtesy of Killian Downing

Thomas McGarry’s grandchildren – now based in Ireland, the UK and Australia – discovered the story. They contacted Killian, who was able to return the plaque to them last weekend, just days away from the centenary of the ship’s sinking. Thomas McGarry’s body was never recovered after the sinking, so the return of this plaque to his descendants is very meaningful and tangible for them.

Killian Downing says, “After having the pleasure of meeting this family, to return the memorial plaque of their grandfather, I really understood the importance of sharing and discovering archives and their stories online. The Europeana 1914-1918 project allowed me to do this, and I hope it continues!”

An exhibition dedicated to the Laurentic will be held at the Tower Museum in Derry on 25 January, to be accompanied by a series of local events and commemoration services held in both Donegal cemeteries. Items recovered from the shipwreck during many dives will be on public show during the exhibition.

Exploring 3D on Europeana with Sketchfab

Wed, 25/01/2017 - 16:41

We’re excited to announce a new way to explore cultural heritage in 3D on Europeana Collections using Sketchfab.

3D is a growing and exciting new way to discover cultural heritage online. Europeana Collections aims to continue to innovate to provide you with direct access to cultural heritage whenever possible. With some of our cultural heritage partners sharing 3D models on Sketchfab, we have begun to embed these directly on Europeana Collections.

One such provider is The Discovery Programme, who aim to explore Ireland’s past and cultural heritage by conducting advanced research in Irish archaeology and related disciplines as part of the 3D Icons project. Europeana Collections feature their 3D models of iconic and internationally important monuments and buildings in Ireland, including those below: the island monastery of Skellig Michael and the passage tomb Newgrange.


Hermitage, Skellig Michael
by The Discovery Programme
on Sketchfab


Newgrange, Co. Meath
by The Discovery Programme
on Sketchfab

With a community of over half a million creators contributing over a million scenes, Sketchfab is the world’s largest platform to publish, share and discover 3D content online and in VR. Sketchfab partner with more than 500 museums and cultural institutions worldwide, supporting museums and cultural institutions with free accounts and access to tools.

Maggy’s picks: Serbian postcards, Macedonian contemporary art and Dutch polder maps

Mon, 23/01/2017 - 14:30

New year means new additions to! In this blog series, we hand pick some intriguing cultural heritage materials for you. This time we focus on libraries’ collections from the Balkan area. Dive in!

First, National Library of Serbia brings you a great collection of materials that can be used non-commercially, under the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC). You can find there:

Belgrade: Sunset on the Sava. National Library of Serbia. CC BY-NC 

Ljubica Stojanovic, Koste Stojanovića wife with her mother.
Photographed by Milan Jovanović. National Library of Serbia. CC BY-NC 

The head of the Nis hospital medic by Ljubomir Ivanović.
National Library of Serbia. CC BY-NC

Mara has black eyes/The Enchanted Eyes of Mara.
National Library of Serbia. CC BY-NC


More of materials avialable for non-commercial reuse (under CC BY-NC-ND license) come from the Macedonia. National and University Library St. Kliment Ohridski displays through a collection of almost 200 contemporary artworks from 60’s up to early 90’s.

Finally, we have for you another great map collection! This time from Nationaal Archief in the Hague with over 10 000 vintage Dutch wallmaps and maps of polders. There are over 10,000 maps there and all are in public domain, so pick one and be creative!

 Map of Vijfheerenlanden and neighboring countries. Nationaal Archief, Den Haag. Public Domain 

by Maggy Szynkielewska, Content and Exhibition Coordinator at Europeana

Access easily sounds from Europeana Sounds Collections!

Thu, 19/01/2017 - 12:46

By navigating through the above feature, you now have an easy and single access point to the material the Europeana Sounds consortium shared with you during the last two years and a half!

Whether you are interested in non Western classical music, spoken word performance recordings or sound effect recordings, come and browse to find the hidden gems of our large collections. Enjoy!

by Axelle Bergeret-Cassagne, National Library of France

#museumselfie day: Seven artists’ self-portraits

Wed, 18/01/2017 - 10:41

Today is #MuseumSelfie day, where museum-goers are encouraged to have fun by taking selfies in museums.

But museums have been home to another kind of selfie for many years: the self-portrait.

We’ve selected seven self-portrait paintings to get a sense of the ways in which artists have portrayed themselves through time.

From Albrecht Dürer, an artist aware of his public image and reputation, to Paula Modersohn-Becker, the first female artist to paint a nude self-portrait, these artists show thoughts and feelings about themselves, their art and the societies in which they live and work.

Self-Portrait with Fur-Trimmed Robe, Albrecht Dürer, Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Public Domain Marked


Self-portrait, Rembrandt van Rijn, Rijksmuseum, Public Domain Marked


Portrait of a Man (Selfportrait), Jan Kupecký, Slovak National Gallery, Public Domain Marked


Selfportrait, Mimmi Zetterström, Nationalmuseum, Sweden, Public Domain Marked


Self-portrait with soft hat, Julius Paulsen, Trapholt Museum for Moderne Kunst, CC BY


Self-portrait 6 wedding anniversary, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Paula Modersohn-Becker Museum, Bremen CC BY-NC-SA

Self-Portrait, Vilho Lampi, Finnish National Gallery, CC BY

Explore more self-portraits on Europeana Art