May 4, 2012

The Art of Manuel Orazi

Manuel Orazi (1860 – 1934) was an Italian painter, draughtsman, illustrator and poster artist, who elevated a global philosophy in response to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the Art Nouveau movement. During this time, some artists welcomed technological progress while others condemned the poor quality of mass-produced machine-made goods. By applying the highest standards of craftsmanship and design to society’s everyday objects their aim was to elevate the decorative arts to the level of fine art.

(Orazi, Manuel. La Maison Moderne. c. 1902. lithograph.)

Orazi was born in Rome in 1860. By age twenty-three, he was already notable for designing the covers of sheet music, similar to modern day album covers before the invention of the radio. He then moved to Paris in 1892 and worked as a newspaper, magazine and book illustrator.

(Orazi, Manuel. Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt. c. 1895. lithograph.)

He illustrated periodicals for L’assiette au beurre and Le Figaro illustre and illustrated books by contemporary authors, including Edgar Allan Poe, Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde. His poster designs for the opera and other Parisian theaters heighted his fame and he soon began to exhibit his work at the Salon des Artistes.

(Orazi, Manuel. L'Atlantide. lithograph.)

In 1896, he received the commission of his career and designed a poster for an art show at the Maison de l’Art Nouveau (House of Art) gallery. Initiated in 1895 by the German art dealer Samuel Bing, this gallery exclusively featured the modern art of its time.

(Orazi, Manuel. Hot Chocolate. oil on canvas.)

The show was coordinated in design and color installations of modern furniture, tapestries and objets d’art (everyday objects of art). The objects from the show became so strongly associated with the Art Nouveau style that the name of his gallery subsequently provided a commonly used term for the entire movement and propelled Orazi’s career.

(Orazi, Manuel. Panneaux Decoratifs. c. 1900. lithograph)

He illustrated the novel Aphrodite by Pierre Louis in 1912 and after completing the illustrations for the novel, Les fleurs dumal by Baudelaire in Paris, he dies in 1934.

(Orazi, Manuel. Poster for Job Cigarette Paper. c. 1902. lithograph.)

Inspired by curved lines, nature, natural forms and the structures of plants and flowers, Orazi embodied the Art Nouveau style and his work is much appreciated here!

Enjoy! :)