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Art Nouveau Designs

Updated on November 27, 2013

Art Nouveau Style.

  • Art Nouveau was a popular style of the1890s and early 1900s, through out Europe and the USA .

  • Art Nouveau was a new art form, an original artistic and decorative movement.
  • Art Nouveau means new art .

It was a deliberate attempt by artists, designers and architects to create a modern style that looked to nature for inspiration and the result was designs with elegant curving-flowing lines that were often based on plant forms.

In Paris from the mid-1890s works by emerging young designers were exhibited at Samuel Bing's gallery L'Art Nouveau which was opened in 1896.

  • The name Art Nouveau was taken from the name of the gallery in Paris (La Maison de l'Art Nouveau)

Paris hosted the World's Fair of 1900, which helped to bring Art Nouveau to center stage.

Hector Guimard, Parisian Art Nouveau designer, was commissioned to design entrances for the city's new subway. The designs are among the most famous icons of the Art Nouveau style.

Art Nouveau can be identified by its sensuous lines, feminine figures - in pre-Raphaelite poses with long, flowing hair and wearing dresses that drape softly. It also features elongated, curvy lines, vertical lines and height, stylised flowers, leaves, roots, buds and seedpods

Other countries had their own names for Art Nouveau:

  • Jugendstil (Germany)
  • Modernista (Spain)
  • Stile Liberty (Italy).
  • Art Nouveau in Vienna was known as Secession style .
  • In Holland Slaoliestijl (salad oil style) oddly after an advert for salad oil.

Famous names from the time of Art Nouveau.

Some of the famous names associated with Art Nouveau designs and some of the things they are famous for designing are:

  • Alphonse Mucha - posters
  • Aubrey Beardsley - book illustrations
  • Louis Comfort Tiffany - lighting
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh - architect and designer of furniture and jewellery

  • RenĂ© Lalique - glass and jewellery

  • Emile Galle - ceramics, glass and furniture
  • Victor Horta - architect

Among its leading exponents were:

  • In France were Rene Lalique, Maison Vever, George Fouquet and Lucien Gaillard.
  • In Belgium Philippe Wolfers and in Vienna Josef Hoffman.
  • In England the leaders were Charles R.Ashbee and Henry Wilson
  • In Scotland Charles Rennie Mackintosh

The Arts and Crafts Movement of the 1860s.

Earlier in 1861 William Morris the English designer was concerned about the design of mass produced articles. This caused him to start the Arts and Crafts Movement in 1861 in an effort to improve the tastes of the Victorian public.

The Arts and Crafts Movement was the fore runner of Art Nouveau, but it persisted into the new period.

The Aesthetic Movement, an English decorative-arts style was created by followers of William Morris during the 1880s. It took its sources from medieval art, but was also influenced by the art of Japan; much of this style was absorbed into Art Nouveau.

Art Nouveau shared the same beliefs in quality goods and fine craftsmanship as the arts and crafts movement but unlike the Arts and Crafts movement it was happy with mass production.

Art Nouveau in Italy.

Was known as stile floreale, a name derived from the curving floral designs favored by the Italian artists and designers or stile Liberty after the famous store in London.

The city of Turin was an important center for the development of Italian Art Nouveau.

In the Art Nouveau period, American artists and designers developed their own version of the new art.

Louis Comfort Tiffany, was one of the greatest glass artists and manufacturers.

Tiffany created masterpieces in the Art Nouveau style.

Tiffany's creations were admired by European artists and patrons.

Themes of the Art Nouveau Movement...

Ideas and themes Art Nouveau featured and made use of in its designs :

  • The free-flowing, curving lines with asymmetrical natural motifs and the influence of Japanese art.

  • When used for jewellery it used gemstones to emphasize the beauty of pearls, opals and moonstones and also used colourful enamelling. The jewellery pieces designed as well as the usual pieces of jewellery included elaborate hair ornaments.
  • Art Nouveau 'stylised women' appeared on the posters of Alfonse Mucha and as the theme.
  • On RenĂ© Lalique's jewellery, peacocks, dragonflies, and moths also featured.
  • Morning glory flowers were used in the stained glass of Tiffany.
  • Iris flowers, poppies, waves and seaweed and botanical forms were used in abstract patterns and were used as motifs for mirror and picture frames or used as a repeat pattern on textiles and wallpapers.

Art Nouveau was out of fashion before World War I had begun.

By about 1960, however Art Nouveau was once again looked on with favour and was incorporated into psychedelic style of the 1960s.


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    • Gareth Pritchard profile image

      Gareth Pritchard 

      8 years ago from North Wales

      Hi again, I actually came into contact and learned some bits about Art Nouveau from studying jewelry for two years. Our very first brief in year one for term one was to take a good look at Art Deco, which was preempted by Nouveau so had to be considered.

      Thanks, Gareth

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you Gareth,

      I have always liked and admired the flowing lines of the Art Nouveau style. Recently I was fortunate enough to visit an exhibition with examples of the work of some of the famous Art Nouveau designers. It was amazing to see in real life the objects that I had only seen as images in books before. It made me realise that no photograph can do full justice to a piece of artistic jewellery or even a vase, as in real life we walk around an object to view it from all angles. The effect of light on the colours of the jewellery and glass was worth seeing. I hope I get a chance to see the Art Nouveau items again one day, especially as photography was not allowed.

    • Gareth Pritchard profile image

      Gareth Pritchard 

      8 years ago from North Wales

      Interesting hub,good basic description of Art Nouveau, well spotted influence in the 1960's psychedelic art.

      Thanks, Gareth.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      its nice design

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      This house sounds wonderful to visit thank you for posting the comment here about it.

    • Greg Sage profile image

      Greg Sage 

      9 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      If you're ever in the Miami area, be sure to stay at the Mayfair House in Coconut Grove. While Miami is generally known for it's Art Deco district and minimalist architecture, the Mayfair house is and Art Nouveau tour de force.

      Each door is hand carved with abstract floral motifs, and there is custom metalwork everywhere.

      Some other styles are present as well, but from the enormous organic relief forms in the outer walls to the hundreds of custom light fixtures, the Art Nouveau influence can't be missed.

      I find that this one building truly defines Coconut Grove as an artistic haven.

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Hi Knell63, me too I just find it a wonderfully romantic style of art with the flowing lines. If you ever visit Milan in Italy there is an area of the city with apartments with Art Nouveau tiles and balconies. I will try to find the images of them and make an article about it when I have the time. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment here too.

    • knell63 profile image


      10 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Hi 2uesday, great informative hub. I've always loved the design and lines of Mucha's work, always found Art Nouveau simply lovely to look at.

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Thank you Mothings welcome, I am pleased you enjoyed this thank you for reading it and leaving a comment here.

      Your hub was good, I like photography and editing it.

    • Mothings profile image


      10 years ago from Another Day In Paradise, Florida

      Hi am new to HubPages, just browsing and getting to know my hub neighbors...very professional article. Enjoyed it.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Nice work. Thanks for sharing..

    • prasetio30 profile image


      11 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I like all about art. I've learned and study about design. Product design exactly. I think Art Nouveau is part of design and have a role in building the history of design. There are many old building using Art Nouveau as a design in my city. It was really beautiful. It was really beautiful.

    • 2uesday profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago

      Thank you Craftsmith pleased you found this interesting.

    • Craftsmith profile image


      11 years ago from India

      very informative 2uesday..thanks for sharing.


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