• Art Nouveau is the French/Belgian name of an art
movement in reaction to the academical schools
at the end of the XIXth century (1894-1914).
• This movement was represented in Europe and
also in the United States.
• It had often several names in each country:
– in Germany "Jugendstil",
– in Italy: "Stile Liberty",
– "Art Nouveau" in France,
– Modernism in Spain,
– "Nieuwe Kunst" in the Netherlands or
– "Sezessionstil" in Austria).
• Artists wanted to erase the distinction between
major and minor arts.
• They aimed at unifying all arts, centred it around
man and his life.
• Architecture was the central art on which every
skill is naturally integrated.
• Architecture is seen as a total art every detail,
object of/in the building is related to the whole.
• This decorative style took its inspiration into
nature and women.
• It used all the new materials at hand such as:
– Cast iron: It is merely used as columns in the building field
– Steel: This material is the symbol of the first industrial revolution
– Ceramics: It was used due to several factors:
• Technical: It is waterproof, fireproof and pollution proof.
• Sanitary: It is easily washable.
• Economic: It is more profitable longer lasting wear and lower
– Glass: There are several factors for its use:
• Functional and Sanitary: making luminous living areas.
• Decoration: use of stain glasses.
• Integration: glass make
– Reinforced concrete: Cheaper and strong enough
• These advances made possible the change
in building conception:
– Lift elevators: With the arrival of lifts, the
masters floor will be the last floor because air
is much more respirable there and it maximizes
the sun enlightment.
– Electrical light: It influenced in the evolution of
– Central heating: Houses became more
• Dynamic, undulating, and flowing, with curved
'whiplash' lines of syncopated rhythm,
characterized much of Art Nouveau.
• Another feature is the use of hyperbolas and
parabolas in windows, arches, and doors.
Conventional moldings seem to spring to life and
'grow' into plant-derived forms.
• Like most design styles, Art Nouveau sought to
harmonize its forms.
• The text above the Paris Metro entrance follows
the qualities of the rest of the iron work in the
• As an art movement it has affinities with the Pre-
Raphaelites and the Symbolism movement.
• Unlike Symbolist painting, however, Art Nouveau has a
distinctive visual look; and unlike the backward-looking
Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau artists quickly
used new materials, machined surfaces, and abstraction
in the service of pure design.
• Art Nouveau in architecture and interior design eschewed
the eclectic revival styles of the Victorian era.
• Though Art Nouveau designers selected and 'modernized'
some of the more abstract elements of Rococo style, such
as flame and shell textures, they also advocated the use of
highly stylized organic forms as a source of inspiration,
expanding the 'natural' repertoire to embrace seaweed,
grasses and insects.
• Japanese wood-block prints, with their curved lines,
patterned surfaces, contrasting voids, and flatness of
visual 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.
• Art Nouveau did not negate the machine as the Arts and
Crafts Movement did, but used it to its advantage. For
sculpture, the principal materials employed were glass
and wrought iron, leading to sculptural qualities even in
• Art Nouveau is considered a 'total' style, meaning that it
encompasses a hierarchy of scales in design —
architecture; interior design; decorative arts including
jewelry, furniture, textiles, household silver and other
utensils, and lighting; and the range of visual arts.
• Among the first manifestations of the style are the
works of the Belgian Victor Horta, who applied
the new conceptions in his Tassel House (1892).
• Here he developed a new concept of architecture
based on the rational use of iron but without
renouncing to treat it in an expressive and
decorative way with cures and lineal rhythms
very refined that gave to the columns, girders and
handrails flower shape.
• From Belgium, and thanks to the fast diffusion of printed
press, it expanded all over Europe, finding in Catalonia
one of the most important regions due to the enthusiastic
baking of industrial bourgeoisie.
• There appeared one of the most important and original
architects of the movement, Gaudí (1852-1926), whose
architecture, highly plastic, almost sculptural, looks to be
made of natural forms.
• Gaudi also realised the decoration of the buildings, trying
to keep coherence between exterior and interior.
• Other architects of the period in Spain are Domènec I
Montaner and Puig I Cadafalch. In Barcelona the
Modernism reached to all the cultural aspects, with
painters such as Rusiñol, Ramón Casas, Nonell.
• The new style affected basically architecture and
decorative arts, but it also influenced on all the others. Its
theory expanded with the illustrated magazines, speeches,
exhibitions that were useful to expand the knowledge of
• In this way there were established the basis of the style to
which each country added its own particularities:
– in Belgium, France and Spain curves and flowers are essential
elements of the style,
– in Britain, Scotland or Germany it is geometrical.
– In all the cases it was a reaction against the eclecticism and its
inspiration was nature and symbolist painting.
• In architecture:
– they looked for flexibility of the line and sinuosity with
– they used coloured materials and moulding stone;
– bars, balconies and supports were made in forged
• The new materials offered to the architect
complete creative freedom.
• They assumed not only the structural and
building process but also the decorative and
furnishing, making of them real designers.
• Interiors were organised as a surface of sinuous
and sensual lines, with a naturalistic tendency.
• There were harmonic wholes created with freedom
• They looked for the pleasure of the integration of
beauty and welfare.
• Nature was translated to the interior, making it
flexible, instable and light.
• Sinuous lines were elongated on walls and floors,
in a kind of vegetal metaphor.
• The work is organic, extracted from nature; the
use of flower elements with decorative purpose
created an smart atmosphere.
• The main centres of production were
– Germany and
• Among the authors we can mention Victor Horta,
the pioneer, Van de Velde and Otto Wagner in
• There were several styles that were
influential in the style:
– Arts & Crafts
– Garden city movement
– Japanese influences
• Glasgow was the main centre where Rene
Mackintosh was the leader of the “Group of
Four” that developed the style
• The main work is the Glasgow Art School
• In Britain, In Glasgow, Scottish architect
Charles Rennie Mackintosh also developed
a rectilinear version of art nouveau, which
he employed in numerous buildings and
• In the Glasgow School of Art, completed in
two phases (eastern section 1897-1899,
western section 1906-1909), he used
contemporary materials in an elegant,
• Mackintosh used a lineal style in both the
building and the furniture.
• There were two periods in the Glasgow Arts
School: Eastern part (1897-1899) and Western part
(1906-1909), they used contemporary materials in
an smart and full of angles style.
– The simple shapes of the brick and stone exterior
clearly indicate the division of space within the
building, while large expanses of glass provide a
strong visual connection between the interior spaces
and the outside world.
– Window mullions (dividers between panes of glass),
doors, and fences use ironwork in an elegant linear or
– This seemingly simple design offers a strong contrast
to the ornate architecture based on past styles that
was typical of the time.
• The name "Art Nouveau" was first created in this
country and was associated with a will of creating
a new tradition centred on the human being.
• Art Nouveau artists were often concerned by all
the aspects that surround us therefore
architecture was a place of integration of all arts
including dressing design.
• Many artists developed numerous skills, to make
a global design of the houses.
• Victor Horta, the most well known one,
designed the houses from the plan to stone
work, from the furniture to the towels and
• There are two trends:
– Curve: Victor Horta, Van de Velde
– Geometrical: Hankar, Van de Velde
• Art Nouveau architecture, in Brussels, flourished in the
work of Belgian designers Victor Horta and Henry van de
• These Belgian designers sought to create a new style, free
from the historical references of prevailing traditions.
• They utilized standard wrought iron and cast-iron
technology, but employed it to create distinctly new
• In the Hôtel Tassel in Brussels (1892-1893), Horta not only
revealed the structural column that supports the second
floor, but transformed its cast-iron form into a plantlike
stem that terminates in a burst of intertwined tendrils as it
connects with other structural elements.
• In France designer Hector Guimard
designed entrances for the Metro stations
in Paris (1898-1901) using simple metal and
glass forms decorated with curvilinear
• These are especially memorable examples
of art nouveau's delightfully curving
• The style developed in Paris and Nancy
• Art nouveau took hold in a number of
German-speaking cities, the most
prominent of which were Munich,
Darmstadt, and Weimar in Germany, and
Vienna in Austria.
• Known as Jugendstil (German for “youth
style”), art nouveau was promoted in
Munich through periodicals such as Die
Jugend (The Youth)
Wien: The Sezession
• The Wien Sezession was created in May 1897 by the
famous painter Gustav Klimt.
• The first members included Josef Maria Olbrich, Josef
Hoffmann, Koloman Moser and Rudolph Bacher.
• When Otto Wagner met the group the movement took
• In 1898, Olbrich built the Sezession building where the
next exhibitions of the Sezession group took place.
• The Sezession motto: "To each time, its art; to art, its
• The building has white nude walls contrasting with its
sculpted golden dome.
• It is decorated inside with the famous "Beethoven" freeze
• Stylistic trends in Vienna took a significantly different
• Led by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, young artists and
architects formed a group called the Wiener Sezession, or
Vienna Secession, in protest against the entrenched
conservatism of the art establishment in Vienna.
• As did their counterparts elsewhere in Europe, Sezession
designers rejected historical styles; but in Vienna they
expressed this through an increasing simplification of
• Rather than embracing the writhing organic forms of
Endell or Olbrist in Munich, Viennese artists moved
towards the restrained geometric designs exemplified by
the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
• At the end of last century, Barcelona was quaked by
anarchism together with Catalan nationalism.
• It was an area of quick industrial development and the
artistic world was not forgotten.
• The Catalan modernism movement aimed to gather every
artistic skill and wanted to get out of the steady and
leisurely historicism like other European Art Nouveau
• It starts from the 1880 with the painter Ramon Casas and
the theoriser Cirici Pellicer.
• L'Eixample: This famous part of Barcelone gathers more
than 150 modernist buildings including the Sagrada
• Famous Architects: Gaudi, Domenech i Montaner, Jujol,
Puig y Cadafalch