The exhibition "Only Those Who Fight Survive: L´École de Nancy and the Political and Social Questions of its Period" presents l´École de Nancy through a heretofore unseen prism: that of the political commitment of Emile Galle, Victor Prouve and other members of the Art Nouveau movement in Nancy.
The relationship between art and politics is explained to a certain extent by the search for total and social art yet also by its historical context.
Firstly, visitors discover the particular dimension that Art Nouveau had in Nancy due to Lorraine´s convulsive history, the trauma that arose from losing territories annexed by Germany in 1871 and Nancy´s role as a border town and last bastion against the German threat. Then the show covers the decisive action of Émile Gallé, l´École de Nancy´s first president.
Several works illustrate his stance in favour of oppressed peoples such as the Armenians, Irish, or Romanian Jews. His commitment in the Dreyfus affair went beyond the arts. Here, we discover the intellectual Gallé and his public and political involvement. Victor Prouvé, who would succeed Gallé
as president of l´École de Nancy, had a diferent political sensibility, influenced by anarchism and his friend Charles Keller, an old communard. The exhibition reveals Victor Prouvé´s evolution and his ornamentation for buildings, in which his republican commitment is apparent. This led him to be elected municipal counsellor in 1912.
Finally, the last section covers the venture of the Nancy People´s University and People´s House. Members and sympathisers of l´École de Nancy joined his educational project and participated in several initiatives.
The show, which has received the certification of "Exhibition of National Interest"
from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, lets us discover the intellectual modernity of l´École de Nancy, which mobilised on issues that are still topical today.