Art in Small Bytes 2.0


In computers, a “byte” is a unit of data made of eight zeros and ones that represents a character such as a letter or number. As in the computer world of bits and bytes, Kirkland Museum groups smaller pieces together to create a larger, unified whole.

For this virtual exhibition, we return to our earlier Art in Small Bytes concept and again break down a vignette grouping of period objects and artworks in the Museum into smaller pieces. This time we’re travelling further back into history and invite you to take a deep dive and “byte” into the Majorelle Bed vignette from Art Nouveau Gallery 4, pictured here. Double click on the image to see a larger version, then scroll down to byte into it and learn more about each individual piece.

The Museum’s Art Nouveau Gallery 4 actually features the three design movements of the Glasgow School from Scotland, Wiener Werkstätte from Austria and Art Nouveau from many countries, all from around the year 1900. The international decorative art is shown with impressionist paintings by artists connected to Colorado, giving the Museum our hallmark salon atmosphere.

Kirkland Museum’s Art Nouveau collection contains objects from throughout Europe and the United States, including Van Briggle pieces from right here in Colorado, the first Art Nouveau ceramics in America. French design is well represented by designers like Follot, Guimard, Massier, Lalique, Dufrène and, of course, the beautiful examples by Gallé and Majorelle shown in this virtual exhibition. With our Art Nouveau collection one can compare artworks from England, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech, Bohemia, France and America.
Hugh A. Grant
Hugh Grant
Founding Director & Curator


Art Nouveau originated virtually simultaneously in France, Belgium and England. Siegfried Bing gave the style its name when he opened a shop and gallery in Paris in December 1895 called Maison de L’Art Nouveau (House of New Art). Art Nouveau is distinguished by its graceful, curving designs mostly emulating botanic forms, but sometimes bird, animal and human female forms. Examples are whiplash handles, playful serpentine grills and arching buttresses. The sinuous references to plants, tendrils, flowers and other natural forms are stylized rather than being realistic.

Majorelle Bed

Fun fact: Kirkland Museum created shortened bed rails to hold the headboard and footboard together for display. The original 71” bed rails are in storage at the Museum – much too long to allow us to exhibit the complete bed in this gallery!

Majorelle Bed Orchid Detail
Footboard detail with inlaid orchid
Aux Orchidées Bed by Majorelle, pixilated in situ
Aux Orchidées Bed
c. 1899–1900
designed by Louis Majorelle (1859–1926, French)
manufactured by Atelier Majorelle, Nancy, France

Can you imagine sleeping in this one-of-a-kind bed, covered in intricate inlays of orchids?

Learn more on the collection highlight page for this bed:

Majorelle Table

Fun fact: Louis Majorelle came from a family of furniture makers. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris before returning to Nancy, France, to take over the family business upon his father’s death.

Learn more on the collection highlight page for this table:

Table, c. 1900, designed by Louis Majorelle pixilated in situ
c. 1900
designed by Louis Majorelle (1859–1926, French)
manufactured by Atelier Majorelle, Nancy, France

Dragonfly Lamp

Tiffany Studios lamp with leaded glass Dragonfly shade pixilated in situ
Tiffany Studios lamp
with leaded glass Dragonfly shade by Clara Wolcott Driscoll (1861–1944, American)
and bronze Twisted Vine base by Tiffany Studios, c. 1907

Learn more on the collection highlight page for this lamp:

Fun fact: Clara Wolcott (later Driscoll) graduated from the Western Reserve School of Design for Women (now the Cleveland Institute of Art) before moving to New York City and studying at the Metropolitan Museum Art School and eventually gaining employment at the Tiffany Glass Company.

Beginning in 1892, Driscoll was the supervisor of Tiffany’s Women’s Glass Cutting Department. Dragonfly designs were one of her specialties; a Tiffany dragonfly lampshade she designed won a medal at the 1900 Paris world’s fair.

Tiffany Lamp Dragonfly Detail
Dragonfly detail

Émile Gallé Table

Two-Tiered Table, c. 1900, designed by Émile Gallé pixilated in situ
Two-Tiered Table
c. 1900
designed by Émile Gallé (1846–1904, French)
made in the artist’s workshops in Nancy, France

Fun fact: Émile Gallé designed several pieces of furniture but is best known as a glassmaker. The Museum has pieces of Gallé glass on display in a nearby case.

"For his furniture, Gallé is particularly known for his masterful marquetry. On both levels of this table, he achieved floral patterns by combining pieces of different colored wood."
Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant
Founding Director & Curator

Click on the link below to see the marquetry on this table:

Bonnefond Lamp

This lamp uses a female body, plant tendrils and a lily pad—all classic Art Nouveau shapes—to create its beautiful curved shape.

Fun fact: The “C. BONNEFOND” mark can be found on a variety of figural lamps and vases, but information about the designer is hard to come by. The consensus seems to be that Bonnefond was a French sculptor born in 1858.

Learn more on the collection highlight page for this lamp:

Lamp, c. 1902, designed by Claude Bonnefond pixilated in situ
Art Nouveau Bronze Lamp
c. 1902
designed by Claude Bonnefond (French)

Paintings by Colorado Artists

The fine art paired with this vignette is Impressionism by Colorado artists.

Toltec Gorge, 1906, by Charles Henry Harmon pixilated in situ
Toltec Gorge
by Charles Henry Harmon (1859–1936, American)
Gift of Robert & Julie Lewis

Fun fact: Charles Henry Harmon was commissioned by many railroad companies to paint scenes along their routes; this scene was along the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad’s narrow-gauge  San Juan Extension. Could the smoke at the upper left be from a steam locomotive? 

Part of the line survives today as the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Visitors can view Toltec Gorge by riding a steam-powered train between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado.

Learn more on the collection highlight page for this painting:

Sunrise in Autumn on the Spanish Peaks by Adams pixilated in situ
Sunrise in Autumn on the Spanish Peaks
c. 1890–1895
by Charles Partridge Adams (1858–1942)
“Charles Partridge Adams, in my opinion, is Colorado’s greatest Impressionist painter. This painting is an excellent example and we have others. Second, in my opinion, is Frank Vavra. Two of his teachers, John E. Thompson and Robert Alexander Graham, also did highly accomplished Impressionist paintings and they are to be treasured as well.”
Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant
Founding Director & Curator

Fun fact: There is an additional note about the location written in pencil on the rear of the painting: “from the Valley of the Cucharas Creek vicinity of Walsenburg, CO.” Adams made several paintings of the Spanish Peaks from this vantage point.

Learn more on the collection highlight page for this painting:

Seated Woman, 1914, by Helen Hoyt pixilated in situ
Seated Woman
by Helen Hoyt (1895–1971, American)

Fun fact: We think this could be a self-portrait. Helen Hoyt studied at the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs; she is listed as a student there in a 1922 Colorado Springs City Directory.

Learn more on the collection highlight page for this painting:


Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant chooses rugs from the collection to go with each display.

“Rugs complement the furniture and paintings in our salon displays, but they are art objects in themselves. In addition to Art Nouveau, rugs are used in other historic era settings at Kirkland Museum—such as Arts & Crafts rugs, Art Deco rugs and Modern rugs.

To bookend this vignette, I chose two Lilihan Persian rugs on either side, similar in color with a warm pinkish background. Art Nouveau explores botanic themes, so both rugs have floral motifs in soft blues. The rugs’ subtle colors do not overpower the furniture and paintings, and yet the rugs can be enjoyed as impressive creations by themselves.

In the middle, under the extraordinary Majorelle bed, I placed an Esari Afghan rug because it has an overall brownish cast that relates to the bed, and it also has pink highlights which relate to the other two flanking rugs.”
Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant
Founding Director & Curator
Lilihan Rug pixilated in situ
Lilihan Rug, 1920s–1930s, Iranian, wool
Lilihan Rug pixilated in situ
Lilihan Rug, 1920s–1930s, Iranian, wool
Ersari Rug pixilated in situ
Ersari Rug, 1950s–1960s, Afghan, wool

About this style of display

Kirkland Museum is distinguished by the salon style of display adopted by Founding Director & Curator Hugh Grant, who assembled these pieces for the collection and chose their placement in Art Nouveau Gallery 4. 

Salon style means fine art (painting and sculpture) and decorative art (made to be used) are shown together in the same gallery, as if it was a home.  This display method is rarely done, but can be seen in the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and somewhat at the Neue Galerie in New York.


This virtual exhibition was researched, assembled and designed by Christopher Herron, Deputy Curator, and Maya Wright, Director of Interpretation.

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