Art Nouveau in Riga

04 May 2012

On May 4th, 2012 at 5:00 pm, at the National Gallery, the Georgian National Museum and Embassy of the Republic of Latvia presents the exhibition “Art Nouveau in Riga.”

Art Nouveau is the style of art of the late 19th and early 20th century. It introduced a system of contemporary styles in architecture. Art Nouveau buildings stand out in the cityscape with their original, distinctively expressive and saturated facade finish. However, the essence of the style is not in ornamental decor. Ornamentation, peculiar only to Art Nouveau, usually very harmoniously blends with the architectural structure.

The creative principle of the style was an artistically expressive interpretation of the utilitarian elements of the building i.e. functional planning, structural elements, building materials etc. Inherent to Art Nouveau are several different formal artistic trends, such as Eclectically Decorative Art Nouveau, Rationalistic Art Nouveau and National Romanticism. The most characteristic variety of this style in the Art Nouveau architecture of Riga is the so-called Perpendicular Art Nouveau.

The development of Art Nouveau in Riga coincided with an unprecedented boom of urban growth. The number of population rapidly increased. More than a hundred multi-storey masonry buildings were constructed in a few years. At the beginning of the 20th century the centre of Riga acquired its present appearance. Around 1904, the eclectic style of the second half of the 19th century almost completely ceased to be used in architecture. Art Nouveau buildings account for nearly 40% of the whole urban fabric of the city centre. It is much more than in any other city in the world.

Photos of the architecture designed by Konstantīns Pēkšēns, Eižens Laube, Nikolai Bockslaff,  Alfred Aschenkampff , Max Scherwinsky, Friedrich Scheffel, Karl Johann Felsko, Alexander Schmaeling, Jānis Alksnis  and Engineer Mikhail Eisenstein will be displayed  at the National Gallery.

Exhibition is supported by “RIETUMU” company.

Organizers are: The Georgian National Museum, Embassy of the Republic of Latvia, Riga City Council Education, Culture, and Sport, Riga Art Nouveau Centre.

Address: Rustaveli Avenue #11, Tbilisi, Georgia.