Meeting at evening art classes in 1890 at The Glasgow School of Art, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his wife Margaret MacDonald, her sister Frances MacDonald and fellow student Herbert MacNair made up the ‘The Glasgow Four’. Their style earned them the nickname ‘Spook School’ because of their work, particularly in England as it was treated with suspicion because of its luxurious feel influenced by the Art Nouveau movement. In this essay I am going to discuss and explore if The Four are still influential in current trends, contemporary designs and architecture.
Art Nouveau (the term comes from the French and means ‘New Art’) is an art and design style which was mainly used through the late 19th century to the early 20th century. Artists from this period believed that all art should work in harmony and create a total mass of art: architecture, jewellery, furniture, textiles, glass work. The Glasgow Four are a prime example of this thought as I feel their work demonstrates this.
1893 Initially The Four launched a magazine to promote their ideas. Simply called The Magazine, it contained illustrations and articles explaining their work by each of them and also by their friends. There were only ever four editions. The first magazine was published in November 1893. From here The Four began to get recognised. They began to be noticed at Art and Craft exhibitions, both in London and abroad, including Vienna and Munich, both important cities in the Art Nouveau movement.
1895 Out of the four, it became increasingly noticeable that MacNair was the least well known. As a result, he set up his own studio in Glasgow in 1895. Here we worked a designer producing furniture, book illustrations, water colour paintings and posters. However, he did lead a significant influence as a teacher following his move to Liverpool in 1898 as an Instructor in Design at the School of Architecture and Applied Art. In 1899, Frances MacDonald joined him in Liverpool and the two married. Here...
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