Art Nouveau (French for "New art") is an art and design style that peaked in popularity at the turn of the 20th century. Other, more localized terms for the cluster of self-consciously radical, somewhat mannered reformist chic that formed a prelude to 20th-century Modernism, included Jugendstil in Germany, named for the snappy avant-garde periodical Jugend ('Youth') or Sezessionstil in Vienna, where forward-looking artists and designers seceded from the mainstream salon exhibitions, to exhibit on their own in more congenial surroundings.
In Italy, Stile Liberty was named for the London shop that had been distributing good modern design emanating from the Arts and Crafts movement, a sign both of the Art Nouveau's commercial aspect and the 'imported' character it always retained in Italy.
In Spain, the movement was centred in Barcelona and was known as modernisme in Catalan and modernismo in Spanish. [[Antoni Gaud�]] is the main architect in the movement.
Career of Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau started in the 1880s and had its climax in years 1892–1902. The name 'Art Nouveau' derived from the name of a shop in Paris, Maison de l'Art Nouveau, run by Samuel Bing, who showcased some objects that followed this approach to design.
A high point in the evolution of Art Nouveau was the Universal Exposition of 1900 in Paris, in which the 'Modern Style' triumphed in every medium. In the following decade, the new style was so rapidly commercialized in trivial mass-production that Art Nouveau was looked down upon after about 1907, and the term was ascribed a pejorative meaning.
Character of Art Nouveau
One of the most important characteristics of the style is a dynamic, undulating and flowing, curved 'whiplash' line of syncopated rhythm. Hyperbolas and parabolas were used in art. Conventional moldings seem to spring to life and 'grow' into plant-derived forms.
As an art movement it has certain affinities with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolist painters, and certain figures like Aubrey Beardsley. Alfons Mucha, Edward Burne-Jones, Gustav Klimt, and Jan Toorop could be classed in more than one of these styles. Unlike Symbolist painting, however, Art Nouveau had a distinctive visual look of its own; and unlike the backwards-looking Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau was not shy about the use of new materials, machined surfaces, and abstraction in the service of pure design.
Art Nouveau in architecture and interior design eschewed the eclectic historicism of the Victorian era. Though Art Nouveau designers did select and 'modernize' some of the more abstract elements of Rococo style, such as flame and shell textures, in place of the historically-derived and basically tectonic or realistic naturalistic ornament of High Victorian styles, Art Nouveau advocated the use of highly-stylized Nature as the source of inspiration and expanded the 'natural' repertory to embrace seaweed, grasses, insects.
Correspondingly organic forms, curved lines, especially floral or vegetal, etc., began to be used. Japanese wood-block prints with their curved lines, patterned surfaces and contrasting voids, and flatness of their picture-plane, also inspired Art Nouveau. Some line and curve patterns became graphic clichés that were later found in works of artists from all parts of the world. An important fact is that Art Nouveau did not negate the machine as other movements such as the Arts and Crafts Movement but used it to its advantage. In terms of material usage, the principal ones employed were glass and wrought iron, leading to a very sculpturesque quality even in architecture.
Art Nouveau at its best is considered a total style, meaning that it encompasses a hierarchy of scales in design — architecture, interior design, jewellery, furniture and textile design, utensils and art objects, lighting, etc. Today Art Nouveau is viewed as a forerunner of the most innovative cultural movements of the 20th century, such as expressionism, cubism, surrealism, and Art Deco.
Art Nouveau media
Glass making was an area in which the style found tremendous expression— for example, the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York and [[�mile Gall�]] and the Daum brothers (see illustration) in Nancy, France.
In jewellery Art Nouveau revitalised the jeweller's art, with nature as the principal source of inspiration, complemented by new levels of virtuosity in enamelling and the introduction of new materials, such as opals and semi-precious stones. The widespread interest in Japanese art and the more specialised enthusiasm for Japanese metalworking skills, fostered new themes and approaches to ornament. For the previous two centuries the emphasis in fine jewellery had been on gemstones, particularly on the diamond, and the jeweller or goldsmith had been principally concerned with providing settings for their advantage. Now a completely different type of jewellery was emerging, motivated by the artist-designer rather than the jeweller as merchant.
It was the jewellers of Paris and Brussels who created and defined Art Nouveau in jewellery, and it was in these cities that it achieved the most renown. Contemporary French critics were united in acknowledging that jewelry was undergoing a radical transformation, and that the French designer-jeweller [[Ren� Lalique]] was at its heart. Lalique glorified nature in jewellery, extending the repertory to include new aspects of nature— dragonflies or grasses—, inspired by his intelligent encounter with Japanese art.
The jewellers were keen to establish the new style in a noble tradition, and for this they looked back to the Renaissance, with its jewels of sculpted and enamelled gold, and its acceptance of jewellers as artists rather than craftsmen. In most of the enamelled work of the period precious stones receded. Diamonds were usually given subsidiary roles, used alongside less familiar materials such as moulded glass, horn and ivory.
Principal centers of the style were:
Other centers included :
Among the most remarkable artists of Art Nouveau are:
- Drawing, Graphics
- Other decorative arts
- Murals and mosaics
- The Art Nouveau in Brussels, only available in French, with pictures of Art Nouveau buildings[[da:Sk�nvirke]]