Organic elements, beautiful women covered with flowers, abstract typefaces and weirdly shaped buildings - Art Nouveau clearly does not stand for less is more. Quite the opposite. But what made artists create these mesmerizing and exuberant artworks?
THE NEW ART
Art Nouveau took place at the turn of the 20th century. A new age for mankind had arisen: new innovations, the increase of industrialization and of course, a new century to look forward to. Much due to the values of the Arts & Crafts movement, the urge to revive the status of the craft and create meaningful design was ever present. To represent the excitement and ideals of beauty, harmony and general optimism, elements of nature and of course women became the main motifs.
Not rarely did sexuality and psychology play a role in design. Everything seemed to have emotion attached to it: Furniture could look dramatic or sexy, doors could tell you about the world you were about to enter - it was a highly emotional movement, that quickly spread over the world.
It was in 1894 that the streets of Paris were covered with posters of the legendary actress Sarah Bernhardt. But it wasn‘t the beautiful woman alone on these posters that got people hooked.
It was the style of Czech artist Alfons Mucha, that nobody had ever seen before. Inspired by nature, church and Japanese Art, his posters spoke a new language that soon would be referred to as „le style Mucha“.
In England, Art Nouveau was strongly influenced by the Arts & Craft Movement and its visionary William Morris. In Germany, it was called „Jugendstil“ and in Spain it was no other than Antoni Gaudi, who, with complex and dreamlike architecture, transformed the city of Barcelona into his version of Art Nouveau.
It is beautiful to see how many different expressions of Art Nouveau came to life during this rather short period of time. After around 1910 things slowly took a turn and the movement ended. Fortunately, Art can be timeless and universal, thus the works of artists like Alfons Mucha and many others live on and still inspire us today. Below we have put together a small collection of works we hope you‘ll enjoy as much as we do!
ART NOUVEAU IN FRANCE
HENRI DE TOULOUSE-LAUTREC
(Artist's true name is a mystery)
JUGENDSTIL IN GERMANY
LUDWIG VON ZUMBUSCH
OTHER RELEVANT ARTISTS AND WORKS
LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY
MAURICE PILLARD VERNEUIL
OTHER INSPIRING IMAGES