Art Nouveau: an Interesting Style of Decoration and Architecture

Art Nouveau (New Art) is the name of a style of decoration and architecture that is international that was developed in the 1880s and 1890s. The name came from an interior design gallery in Paris, the Maison de l’Art Nouveau. This style uses forms that resemble stems and blossoms of plants as well as geometrical forms.

The coming of Art Nouveau can be traced to two specific influences: the first was the introduction, of the Arts and Crafts movement, that was led by the English designer William Morris. Just like Art Nouveau, this movement was a reaction against the cluttered designs of Victorian-era decorative art. The second influence was the latest vogue for Japanese art, especially wood-block prints, which swept up many European artists in the 80s and 90s, such as Gustav Klimt, Emile Galle and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. The Japanese wood-block prints consisted of floral and rounded forms, and “whiplash” curves, these were the elements that would eventually become Art Nouveau.

The Art Nouveau movement swept through the decorative arts and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It generated many enthusiasts throughout Europe and beyond. The movement was expressed in a wide variety of styles, therefore, it is known by different names, some which are Jugendstil which is the name in the German spoken areas and the Glasgow Style. The aim of Art Nouveau was to modernize design, seeking to breakout from the broad historical styles that had previously been popular. Artists evoked inspiration from both organic and geometric forms; they produced elegant designs that brought together flowing, natural forms with more angular forms. The Art Nouveau style went out of fashion after Art Deco came into the scene in the 1920s.Art Nouveau experienced rejuvenation in the 1960s, and now it is seen as an important forebear of modernism.

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