Friday, February 12, 2010
Georg Hirth (1841-1916) launched the journal Jugend [Youth] in Munich in 1896 with the express goal of showcasing the newest trends in art and literature. Jugend was to be an “ecumenical” forum for creative expression, promoting no single school or artistic agenda. Nevertheless, the journal became so closely associated with a specific style of painting, drawing, and design – one characterized by precise, hard lines, undulating shapes, planes of color, stylized representation – that it lent its name to the style: Jugendstil (literally, Youth-style). Jugendstil (or Art Nouveau in French) swept aside nineteenth-century historicism and made room for freer forms of artistic expression. The journal was known for its illustrations as well as its critical and satirical texts. It counted prominent writers, such as Georg Simmel, among its many contributors. Jugend was published up to 1940, but its heyday ended with World War I.