Art Nouveau was a decorative art style that flourished from the 1890’s until about 1910.
History of Art Nouveau
The art nouveau movement originated in France, but spread through the rest of Europe, the United States, and Australia.
Art nouveau means “new art” in French.
The term came from the name of the Parisian art gallery, Maison de l’art Nouveau, which exhibited works created in the art nouveau style.
The Art Nouveau Style
Art nouveau was an ornate, elaborate style of art, characterised by long, flowing lines that twisted in a snakelike fashion.
Art made in this style often depicted flowers, leaves and tendrils, and the hair and curvaceous bodies of beautiful women.
The art nouveau style was seen mainly in glassware, jewellery, and other ornamental objects, but the style was also seen in drawings, paintings, book illustrations, and posters.
Did you know art nouveau even influenced architecture?
Art nouveau was a response to the Industrial Revolution. Artists during this period wanted to create an international decorative style that was appropriate for the modern age.
Art nouveau artists strived to unify all forms of art by providing a physical and emotional connection to music, literature, architecture, visual arts and design.
Some artists used new materials and mass produced while others used more expensive materials and valued high craftsmanship. Despite the difference in opinion, artists of the art nouveau movement believed all art should be in harmony.
Noteworthy Art Nouveau Artists
The drawings of English artists Aubrey Beardsley and Walter Crane are excellent examples of art nouveau. Toulouse-Lautrec of France created posters in the art nouveau style as well.
Emile Galle of France and Louis Comfort Tiffany of the United States created colourful art nouveau glassware.
Other significant art nouveau artists include artist Alphonse Mucha of the Czech Republic, painter Gustav Klimt of Austria, architect Victor Horta of Belguim, architect Antonio Gaudi of Spain, and jewellery designer Rene Lalique of France.
Art Nouveau Influences in Australia
Although no significant artists in Australia are linked to the art nouveau movement, many buildings throughout Australia were designed in the art nouveau style.
In Melbourne, the Victorian Arts Society, Milton House, Melbourne Sports Depot, City Baths, Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall, Paston Building, and Empire Works Building all reflect the art nouveau style.
The Downfall of the Art Nouveau Movement
Because of the expense of materials, art nouveau was replaced with art deco at the start of World War I.
Other Art Movements
- Abstract Expressionism
- Academic Art
- Art Deco
- Art Nouveau
- Conceptual Art
- Figurative Art
- Naive Art
- Pop Art
- Surrealism / Surrealist Art