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Art Nouveau

2 Pages 478 Words

Art Nouveau (from French for “new art”), movement in Western art and design, which reached its peak during the 1890s. Hallmarks of the art nouveau style are flat, decorative patterns; intertwined organic forms such as stems or flowers; an emphasis on handcrafting as opposed to machine manufacturing; the use of new materials; and the rejection of earlier styles. In general, sinuous, curving lines also characterize art nouveau, although right-angled forms are also typical, especially as the style was practiced in Scotland and in Austria.

Art nouveau embraced all forms of art and design: architecture, furniture, glassware, graphic design, jewelry, painting, pottery, metalwork, and textiles. This was a sharp contrast to the traditional separation of art into the distinct categories of fine art (painting and sculpture) and applied arts (ceramics, furniture, and other practical objects).

The term art nouveau comes from an art gallery in Paris, France, called Maison de l'Art Nouveau (House of New Art), which was run by French dealer Siegfried Bing. In his gallery, Bing displayed not only paintings and sculpture but also ceramics, furniture, metalwork, and Japanese art. Sections of the gallery were devoted to model rooms that artists and architects designed in the art nouveau style.

Art nouveau flourished in a number of European countries, many of which developed their own names for the style. Art nouveau was known in France as style Guimard, after French designer Hector Guimard; in Italy as the stile floreale (floral style) or stile Liberty, after British art nouveau designer Arthur Lasenby Liberty; in Spain as modernisme; in Austria as Sezessionstil (secession style); and in Germany as Jugendstil (youth style). These diverse names reflect the widespread adoption of the movement, which had centers in major cities all over Europe—Paris and Nancy in France; Darmstadt and Munich in Germany; Brussels, Belgium; Glasgow, Scotland; ...

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