Art Nouveau (French pronunciation: [aʁ nuvo], Anglicised to is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890-1905.The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art". It is known also as Jugendstil, pronounced German for "youth style", named for the magazine Jugend, which promoted it, and in Italy, Stile Liberty from the department store in London, Liberty & Co., which popularised the style. A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it is characterized by organic-- especially floral and other plant-inspired-- motifs, as well as very stylized, flowing curvilinear forms. Art Nouveau is a philosophy of design according to which artists should work on everything from architecture to furniture, making art part of ordinary life.
· Hotel van Eetvelde · Brussels, Belgium Photo · Hotel Solvay · Brussels, Belgium Photo · Horta House · Brussels, Belgium
In architecture, hyperbolas and parabolas in windows, arches and doors are common, and decorative mouldings 'grow' into plant-derived forms. Like most design styles, Art Nouveau sought to harmonise its forms. The text above the Paris Metro entrance uses the qualities of the rest of the iron work in the structure.
Art Nouveau in architecture and interior design eschewed the eclectic revival styles of the 19th century. 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 very stylized organic forms as a source of inspiration, expanding the 'natural' repertoire to use seaweed, grasses, and insects.
Art Nouveau is rarely so fully in control of architecture: doorway at place Etienne Pernet, 24 (Paris 15e), 1905 Alfred Wagon, architect.
At first view one is struck by the architect's care in designing and positioning his windows and balconies. Defying rhyme and reason, they are each of a different cut, each placed where one would least expect it:...the window on the third story, a quarter of which is situated on the precise corner of the building and which appears to be haughtily indifferent to the classically arranged bay on the story below. Of particular note in this regard is the long fourth-story balcony surmounted by two lanterns of the type frequently used by Guimard
Constructed like the Crystal Palace out of interchangeable, prefabricated cast iron and glass parts, Guimard created his métro system in opposition to the ruling taste of French classical culture...Guimard's system flourished, emerging overnight like the manifestation of some organic force, its sinuous green cast-iron tentacles erupting from the subterranean labyrinth to support a variety of barriers, pergolas, maps, hooded light fittings and glazed canopies. These surrealistic 'dragonfly's wings'—to quote a contemporary critic—received a mixed, not to say chauvinistic, press, the verdigris colour of their iron supports being regarded as German rather than French. This imaginative attempt to render the Orphic myth in modern terms was to be complemented later by the astringent technical forms of the elevated section of the métro, built to the designs of the architect Jean Camille-Formigé and the engineer Louis Biette.
Never entirely resolved as a total composition, the Castel Béranger is nonetheless an important transitional work in Guimard's career. The stem and branch-like character of both the interior furnishing and the exterior ironwork stand in a curious and brittle contrast to the articulate, architectonic but disjunctive elements that make up the cumbersome mass of the building's exterior. With 36 apartments, each different from the next, the Castel Béranger is a curious compound of rational planning and non-rational intent and expression. Guimard was to exploit its competition as an occasion for promoting le style Guimard. To this end he staged an exhibition of the building and its contents in the Salon du Figaro in 1899, while simultaneously publishing a book of the work under the title, L'Art dans l'habitation moderne. Le Castel Béranger. More acerbic than his flamboyant country houses of the turn of the century and located in the fashionable, fast-growing suburb of Auteuil, the Castel Béranger gave Guimard a prime opportunity with which to demonstrate the synthetic subtleties of his style, in which urban and rustic references could be judiciously mixed together."
Two-dimensional Art Nouveau pieces were painted, drawn, and printed in popular forms such as advertisements, posters, labels, magazines and the like. 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 many parts of the world.
Poster of Maude Adams as Joan of Arc, by Alphonse Mucha, 1909 Poster of Maude Adams as Joan of Arc, by Alphonse Mucha, 1909
Glass art was a topic in which the style found tremendous expression—for example, the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York, Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, and Émile Gallé and the Daum brothers in Nancy, France.
Art nouveau Ceramics were influenced by the work of Japan. The development of high temperature (grand feu) porcelain with crystallized and matte glazes, with or without other decoration, is typical of these works. It was a period where lost techniques were rediscovered, such as the oxblood glaze, and entirely new methods were developed. Major French potters include: Ernest Chaplet, Taxile Doat, Alexandre Bigot Adrien-Pierre Dalpayrat, Edmond Lachenal and Albert Dammouse.
Jewellery of the Art Nouveau period revitalised the jeweller's art, with nature as the principal source of inspiration, complemented by new levels of virtuosity in enamelling and the introduction of new materials, such as opals and semi-precious stones. The widespread interest in Japanese art and the more specialised enthusiasm for Japanese metalworking skills fostered new themes and approaches to ornament.
The jewellers of Paris and Brussels defined Art Nouveau in jewellery, and in these cities it achieved the most renown. Contemporary French critics were united in acknowledging that jewellery was undergoing a radical transformation, and that the French designer-jeweller-glassmaker René Lalique was popularizing the changes. Lalique glorified nature in jewellery, extending the repertoire to include new aspects of nature—such as dragonflies or grasses—inspired by his encounter with Japanese art.
The jewellers were keen to establish the new style in a noble tradition, and for this they used the Renaissance, with its works of sculpted and enamelled gold, and its acceptance of jewellers as artists rather than craftsmen. In most of the enamelled work of the period, precious stones receded. Diamonds were usually subsidiary, used alongside less familiar materials such as moulded glass, horn and ivory.