The Art Nouveau and Art Déco Museum is essentially a museum for decorative arts that sets a sweeping tour through time from the last decades of the 19th century until World War II. This period of time of no more than sixty years is certainly one of the most prolific of the applied arts. The bulk of the pieces that can be seen at the Museum are utilitarian objects which respond to meticulous aesthetic criteria. This is the duality that, on the one hand, makes them really interesting as a testimony of the way of life at that time and that, on the other hand, made some of them disappear due to their daily use.
During the 19th century, the decorative arts remained stuck in the past, characterized by the systematic repetition of patterns and by the increasingly poorer quality finishes due to a lack of traditional character. The machines had imposed production systems that gave priority to quantity over quality. This situation led to a reaction, making the Arts & Crafts artists seek new models of expression and new ways of creativity, and advocating for the comparison of the decorative arts and the Fine Arts, so that more attention was paid to the quality and detail and the exquisite finishes. This aesthetic concern was the birth of a new style: the Art Nouveau.
Throughout its nineteen collections, the sweeping tour shows the visitor the production of the European workshops of decorative arts during the Nouveau an Déco periods. jewellery by Masriera and Faberge; iridescent glass from the workshops of Lotz, Kralik, Pallme König or l’École de Nancy, including pieces by Emile Gallé, the Daum brothers and Paul Nicolas; furniture by Homar, Majorelle, Busquets; porcelain pieces by Rosenthal, Royal Copenhagen, Mariano Benlliure, Gustave Guetant and Zuloaga. The funds amassed by the Lis House show the professional trajectory of very significant artists such as Émile Gallé and his glass works of superimposed layers and his exquisite furniture, or the evolution of Rene Lalique who, starting out by designing Art Nouveau jewellery, subsequently orientated his creativity towards glass design in the following decades.
The French porcelain doll collection from the 19th century is outstanding and has been defined by experts as the best collection ever exhibited worldwide, as well as the Chryselephantine collection by Demetre Chiparus or Ferdinand Preiss, small sculptures that combine metal for clothes and ivory for the nude parts of the body such as hands and face, that have become emblematic of Art Déco .