Feb. 5, 1998
Vol. 17, No. 9

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    Smart spotlights Knox's British art nouveau

    The British art nouveau work of Archibald Knox, one of the most influential decorative designers in modern history, will be featured at the Smart Museum of Art beginning this month.

    Over 50 drawings and 80 objects bearing Knox's designs -- most of which were culled from private collections and are on view for the first time -- will be featured in "Archibald Knox 1864-1933, Liberty of London Designer and Master of British Art Nouveau." The exhibition will open with a gallery talk by University graduate curatorial intern Amy Bingaman at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11. A reception will follow.

    The exhibition, organized by the Silver Studio Collection at the Museum of Domestic Architecture and Design, Middlesex University of London, will include tea and coffee sets, wallpaper and textile designs and vases in various media, all bearing the trademark intertwining organic plant forms and ancient English and Celtic designs of Knox's work.

    Knox helped define the British art nouveau movement while a designer with Silver Studio, Britain's largest design studio, which supplied designs for mass distribution by Liberty of London. Knox's work helped establish this now-famous department store as one of the world's premier avant-garde design centers, and in the process, Knox became a central figure in the development of modern decorative arts in Britain.

    "Archibald Knox 1864-1933, Liberty of London Designer and Master of British Art Nouveau" will be on view through Sunday, April 19. Special events and guided tours will be held in conjunction with the exhibition, including a lecture, "Archibald Knox: In the Ministry of the Beautiful," presented by Tony Jones, president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a leading authority on Knox, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at the Arts Club of Chicago. The lecture is free and open to the public. For reservations, call (312) 787-3997. For Smart Museum hours and other information, see the Calendar, pages 6-8.