Art Nouveau, 1890-1914 by Paul GreenhalghBeginning over a century ago, designers and artists like Beardsley, Galle, Gaudi, Hoffmann, Horta, Klimt, Mackintosh, and Tiffany created daring new styles, and their flamboyant designs for furniture, silverware, glassware, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, and more became known as Art Nouveau. This is the most complete and lavishly illustrated volume ever published on Art Nouveau, and it accompanied a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
The History of Graphic Design (part 11): Art Nouveau
Generating enthusiasts in the decorative and graphic arts and architecture throughout Europe and beyond, Art Nouveau appeared in a wide variety of strands, and, consequently, it is known by various names, such as the Glasgow Style, or, in the German-speaking world, Jugendstil. Art Nouveau was aimed at modernizing design, seeking to escape the eclectic historical styles that had previously been popular. Artists drew inspiration from both organic and geometric forms, evolving elegant designs that united flowing, natural forms resembling the stems and blossoms of plants.
Art Nouveau was an art and design movement that grew out of the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th Century. Art Nouveau highlighted curvaceous lines, often inspired by plants and flowers, as well as geometric patterns. Art Deco was a sprawling design sensibility that wound its way through numerous early 20th Century art and design forms, from fine art and architecture to fashion and furniture, as well as everyday appliances and even modes of transportation. The Arts and Crafts movement, a precursor to Art Nouveau, focused on hand craftsmanship in the decorative arts and was personified by influential textile designer William Morris. In Art Nouveau, the style of an object is not predetermined and imposed but developed organically through the process of creation, an idea derived from Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Mackintosh believed style came from function, and structures should be built from the inside out.
In English it is also known as the Modern Style not to be confused with Modernism and Modern architecture. The style was most popular between and Other defining characteristics of Art Nouveau were a sense of dynamism and movement, often given by asymmetry and by curving lines, and the use of modern materials, such as iron pillars and railings, sculpted and curved in naturalistic designs.
It all started in in England, the most industrialized country at the time, where William Morris in collaboration with other artists, created the Arts and Crafts Movement as a reaction to the midth-century artistic styles. Following socialist ideas, they wanted an art for everyone, all objects being of beauty and of use and had to be handmade. They did not completely succeed, as hand production was too expensive for the masses, but schools, exhibitions and magazines largely diffused those ideas and they created a favourable environment for the birth of Art Nouveau. Many artists, architects, designers and intellectuals in all forms of decorative and visual arts, as well as cultural and avant-garde fields, explored the idea to create an "art of modern life". The new Style was richly ornamental, characterised by curves and willowy lines. The painters, illustrators, jewellery and glassware designers explored symbolic or dreamlike themes, frequently of an erotic nature such as feminine figures in light dresses and evanescent landscapes, but also ornamental details, floral patterns and decorative elements being elevated to central focus points.