Innovative works of Dutch graphic design from the late 19th and early 20th centuries
In the era of Art Nouveau, from the 1890s through the turn of the century, there was a flourishing of new, imaginative art and craft throughout Europe. Holland also saw an explosion of inventive art and design in this period, including many expressive works on paper—posters, decorative calendars, illustrated books, as well as prints and drawings. The MFA has been actively collecting these Dutch works for the last 25 years, and this exhibition highlights of 45 works early drawings by well-known artists Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck, as well as works by such new discoveries as Jan Toorop, Theo Nieuwenhuis, Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, Theo Hoytema, G. W. Dijsselhof, and C. A. Lion Cachet.
Above: Jan Toorop, Delft Salad Oil Poster (detail), lithograph, 1894.
Jan Toorop, one of the leading artists of the period, was of Indonesian parentage; perhaps it is not surprising that the sinuous women in his notorious poster for salad oil produced from Indonesian peanuts resemble Javanese shadow puppets. This eccentric poster was such a shocker that the Art Nouveau style in Holland was often referred to as the “Salad Oil” style.