Art Nouveau - Parodies

Photos by Jeffery Howe.

William A. Wellner - "Der neue Stil", published in Lustige Blaetter (Berlin), 1899, vol. 14, no. 17, 8-9ff. Parody of Rupert Carabin's sculpture; poem by Kory Towska.

Click thumbnails for larger images:


    Poem by Kory Towska, one of the editors of Lustige Blaetter; English translation by Jeffery Howe:

    The New Style; Diary Entry of a Dalldorfer Inmate

    I am insane.  Not yet permanently.
    I still have many lucid moments.
    In one such moment I felt compelled
    To write down my fate here.

    The case had its beginning
    When I entered into the Art Exhibition.
    To buy furniture -- that was my goal --
    In the newest- newest style.
    There were chairs made out of human bodies
    And even out of naked women,
    There were books that were tables,
    In the place of music stands there were octopuses,
    Instead of lamps there were fire tongs,
    Instead of footstools there were boa-constrictors,
    Over the bookcases scrambled young scamps
    And the glasses perched on iron poles.

    And that was just exactly what I wanted.
    It cost, of course, an ingot of gold,
    But then as a reward
    My entire apartment glittered in the newst style.

    It was a [Franz von] Stuck -like fairytale room,
    A Maeterlinck - like theater dream,
    An Arno Holz - like poem --
    Only one could not live there.
    The chairs were impossible for women,
    If one sat thereon, it was unspeakable!
    The fellows in the bookcase were not in the least timid,
    I mistook them constantly for my children
    And thrashed them for their eternal gymnastics.

    While eating, the urns disgusted me
    With their lumps and knees and claws.
    My Ami waged war with the cats
    Out of which the firescreen was comprised.
    My wife was horrified by the grimaces
    Of the terrifying sofa back.
    In no instance could I tell the mirror from the music stands,
    The water pipe from the wall calendar,
    The coffee-pot from the lamps,
    The clothes hamper from the window seat,
    The bed from the table, the table from the piano,
    The door from the clock, or the wardrobe from the door.
    They all had the same florid ornament.

    And so it happened.  From the constant confusion
    My spirit finally began to be bewildered.
    Logic disappeared in the scrolls and tendrils,
    And I came to the most extraordinary thoughts.
    That is, I wanted to read the dining table,
    Cook the music stand with onions and dill,
    Dress the chairs like human beings,
    Shoot the footstool, the lamps --

              but enough!

    In the end they had to bring me here forcibly.
    Though the doctor said that I would be curable,
    I alone do not believe it, I am dying,
    I am dying from our decorative arts.

              K.T. [Kory Towska]

"Ein ganz modernes Schlafzimmer" by "Van der Bloede."  (A Thoroughly Modern Bedroom). Parody of Henry Van de Velde's Furniture, published in Lustige Blaetter (Berlin), 1899.  Signed by W.G.J. Niewenkamp.

    "Van der Bloede" bedroom