October 02, 2019–April 19, 2020
Presented in complement to Designing the New, the display on the fourth floor of the Centre St. building will present From Mucha to Morris: Books of the Art Nouveau, a selection of 12 Art Nouveau books by William Morris, Alphonse Mucha, and others. These stunning books exemplify the romance and whimsy of the era, with pages inhabited by undulated vines, gardens of abstract flowers, and elegant maidens in billowing gowns. In the 1890s, the height of the Art Nouveau movement, Henry Walters began building his book collection in earnest. While he is best known today for collecting medieval manuscripts, Henry Walters had a taste for equally magnificent printed books and frequently sought out collectible editions with extra illustrations and one-of-a-kind touches by the artists who designed them. Among those collectible editions is a unique edition of Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli, featuring original watercolor illustrations from Mucha, and a one-of-a-kind binding commissioned by Henry Walters. A first edition of William Morris’ Kelmscott Chaucer, as well as works by renowned illustrators Aubrey Beardsley and Walter Crane, will also be on display in the rotation. In the years since his death, the Walters collection of Art Nouveau books has continued to grow, most notably through a generous gift from local collector and philanthropist Hugo Dalsheimer, several of whose books will be on display.
From Mucha to Morris draws from the Walters own collection of rare books and manuscripts, which spans more than 1000 years and contains over 900 manuscripts, 1300 of the earliest printed books, and 2000 rare later editions from across the globe.