In this talk, Amy Ogata will explore Art Nouveau design and the material world of the last great 19th-century world’s fair held in Paris in 1900. At the Exposition Universelle, situated at the center of the historic city of Paris, enthusiasm for modern artistic forms, including Émile Galle’s enigmatic glass forms, René Lalique’s jewelry, Loïe Fuller’s multimedia dances, Hector Guimard’s new Metropolitan entrances and sumptuous furniture from Siegfried Bing, intersected with renewed enthusiasm for the Rococo, popular entertainments that introduced visitors to Medieval Paris, a Swiss village, and the Solar System, as well as the people and riches from the French colonies. In addition to showcasing French accomplishments, the fair was a competition for international prestige. In large and small pavilions and along the Street of Nations assembled along the Seine, countries vied for attention, displaying themselves in the garb of both the past and the present. The vast new buildings, splendid interiors, and decorative design, including silver from Tiffany & Co. and Gorham, were arrayed for the delectation of some 50 million visitors.

Ogata received doctorate and master’s degrees in art and archaeology from Princeton University, and a bachelor’s degree in art history from Smith College. She joined the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture in 1998, and has been the chair of academics programs since 2010. Most recently, Ogata co-curated Designing Swedish Play: The Materiality of Wooden Toys at the Bard Graduate Center. In 2004, she was a curatorial consultant for The Arts & Crafts Movement in Europe and America, 1880–1920: Design for the Modern World at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In addition to numerous articles and chapters for scholarly publications, Ogata is the author of Art Nouveau and the Social Vision of Modern Living: Belgian Artists in a European Context (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001) and the forthcoming book, Designing the Creative Child: Playthings and Places in Midcentury America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). She has received fellowships and honors from institutions and organizations that include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Cleveland Institute of Art, Princeton University, the American Association of University Women, and the Victorian Society of America.