The Aesthetic Movement by Lionel Lambourne

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The aesthetic movement (whose motto was "art for art's sake", swept through North America and England in the late 19th century and touched every sphere of the fine and decorative arts. All aspects of design experienced new freedom and revitalization, perhaps best personified by the colorful Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley. Huge social and cultural changes occurred because more than a decorative style, the aesthetic movement reflected an attitude. For the firs time a direct correlation was being made between beautiful surroundings and the quality of one's life, and beautiful objects were being championed as fit for everybody and not just for the privileged elite. The movement's emphasis was on interiors and artifacts that would improve the quality of life for their sheer beauty. The decorative arts were completely reevaluated and elevated to new status; the industrial revolution was resisted; an explosion of new clubs and organizations abounded, and people could not get enough of books on how to decorate one's home. Lionel Lambourne's The Aesthetic Movement is a monumental work on the subject. Original scholarship combines with a flair for descriptive writing and an eye for the perfect representative example have combined to produce a seminal and definitive work that will grace every personal, academic or community library art history collection.

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