The Charles Hosmer - Morse Museum of American Art

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Collection Highlights

Highlights / Lamps and Lighting

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Table lamp, c. 1896
Loïe Fuller design
Raoul-François Larche, French, 1860–1912
Maker: Siot-Decauville, Paris, 1860–c.1925
18 1/2 x 8 x 8 in.

In this beautiful table lamp, Raoul-François Larche (1860–1912) captures the figure of American dancer Loïe Fuller (1862–1928) in the middle of her signature Danse Serpentine. Fuller was a famous dancer and actress and one of the early pioneers of modern dance. Fuller’s popularity paralleled that of Art Nouveau—her entire performance an embodiment of the style. Art Nouveau—French for "new art"—refers to a style that developed in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Art Nouveau designs shared energetic lines that were dynamic, often twisting and turning as they stretched to define curves and counter curves. In subject, they favored attractive, often sensuous images of flowers, vines, youth, and women, often morphing into one another. Larche, the son of a sculptor, studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris starting in 1878. Although he participated regularly in French salons and won commissions for monuments and church statues, it is his smaller figurines and decorative objects—particularly his interpretations of Fuller—that have brought the artist the most attention. Loïe Fuller—born Mary-Louise Fuller in Fullersburg (now Hinsdale), Illinois, to musical parents—traveled to France looking for fame. The dancer festooned herself in yards and yards of silk, which she would manipulate with wands sewn to the fabric itself. Enchanted, artists of all types—writers, painters, glassmakers, filmmakers, musicians, and sculptors—produced works based on her fascinating spectacle.

Table lamp