The aim of the art nouveau movement was to contradict the emerging mass-production by appreciating craftsmanship. Ironically quite the contrary also happened.

A rising Dutch middleclass bought their houses around 1900 when art nouveau was very popular. They were eager to show their sense of style, but unable to afford the expensive craftsmanship. Smart suppliers like Silberling & Zoon provided access to the popular art nouveau decoration by delivering mass produced art nouveau tile tableau’s. Copyright was not installed in the Netherlands untill 1912, so they copied existing designs. Customers could order their tiles from a catalogue full of copied designs. Often the designer was mentioned, but no consent from his/her part was required.

IMG_8732The decorated Paulus potterstraat 20tile tableaus on the Jan Luijkenstraat number 39 (left) are identical to the tile tableau’s on the  Paulus Potterstraat number 20 (right). This indicates that the owners ordered their mass made art nouveau from a catalogue.