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Berlin Art Nouveau

Unlike the Hessian grand duke, the Prussian emperor Wilhelm II. rejected any kind of innovation in art. Looking at the works of the Belgian Art Nouveau artist Henry van de Velde, the emperor commented they made him "seasick". In 1892 he was so outraged by an exhibition of Edvard Munch's works in Berlin that he had it closed. The same year a group of artists formed with the common objective to reject the official concept of art. They called themselves the group of "Elf" (Eleven), following the model of the Belgian "Les Vingt" (Twenty). The group comprised various styles, such as Impressionism, Naturalism, Symbolism and Art Nouveau. The groups common objective was an innovation of art and a rejection of the battle scene painter Anton von Werner, who embodied the Wilhelminian idea of art. Important members of the group, from which the "Berlin Secession" would emerge in 1898, were Max Klinger, the Impressionist Max Liebermann and the landscape painter Walter Leistikow.
Just like in Munich, the Berlin artists also started a magazine which would serve as a platform for the new art, they called it "Pan". The choice of the name is just as programatic as it was the case with "Jugend", as "Pan" did not only refer to the ancient god of nature, but also to its meanings "all" and "whole" respectively. This way Art Nouveau's desire for unity found a suitable means of expression. Even though the presumably too excluisve magazine had to be given up as early as in 1900, it contained contributions by all relevant artists in those days. For instance by Otto Eckmann (1865-1902), at first active in Munich and as of 1897 in Berlin, who made some of his best character- and ornament styles, such as the magazine's imaginative initials that were entagled in a flowing plant decor. Other contributions came from artists such as Theodor Heine, Ludwig von Hofmann and Karl Koepping, who was a board member of "Pan". The ambivalent attitude of German Art Nouveau towards international art was also expressed by the depreciative reaction to the publication of a lithography by Toulouse-Lautrec in "Pan", which led to calls for the editor's resignation.
In terms of arts and crafts, which was especially important for Art Nouveau, the achievements of glass and jewelry art have to be emphasized for Berlin. The glass maker Karl Koepping (1848-1914) created graceful and elegant vessels, which were inspired by the structure of flowers. His style was largely influenced by Paris "Art Nouveu". In terms of jewelry making, the works of Wilhelm Lucas von Cranach (related with the painter Lucas Cranach) is worthwhile mentioning. Among his main works is a suggestive brooch made of gems and baroque pearls showing a squid embracing a butterfly. This piece of jewelry also carries the typical Art Nouveau features, which are imagination, organic motion and the decorative effect as well as a preference for life and death topics.