Art Nouveau

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Table Lamp by François-Raoul Larche in gilt bronze, with the dancer Loïe Fuller as model
Louis Majorelle, wall cabinet

Art Nouveau (French pronunciation: ​[aʁ nuvo], Anglicised to /ˈɑːrt nˈv/; at. Sezession or Secessionsstil, Czech Secese, Eng. Modern Style, Ger. Jugendstil or Reformstil, Ital. also Stile Floreale or Liberty, Slovak. Secesia, Russ. Модерн [Modern]) or Jugendstil is an international philosophy[1] and style of art, architecture and applied art – especially the decorative arts – that was most popular during 1890–1910.[2] English uses the French name Art Nouveau ("new art"), but the style has many different names in other countries. A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plants, but also in curved lines. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment.[3]

Art Nouveau is considered a "total" art style, embracing architecture, graphic art, interior design, and most of the decorative arts including jewelry, furniture, textiles, household silver and other utensils and lighting, as well as the fine arts. According to the philosophy of the style, art should be a way of life. For many well-off Europeans, it was possible to live in an art nouveau-inspired house with art nouveau furniture, silverware, fabrics, ceramics including tableware, jewelry, cigarette cases, etc. Artists desired to combine the fine arts and applied arts, even for utilitarian objects.[3]

Although Art Nouveau was replaced by 20th-century Modernist styles,[4] it is now considered as an important transition between the eclectic historic revival styles of the 19th century and Modernism.[5]


Art Nouveau interior at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition by Bruno Möhring, German pavilion.

At its beginning, neither Art Nouveau nor Jugendstil was the common name of the style but was known as this in some locations, and the style had different names as it was spread.[6] Those two names came from, respectively, Siegfried Bing's gallery Maison de l'Art Nouveau in Paris and the magazine Jugend in Munich,[5] both of which promoted and popularised the style.[6]

Maison de l'Art Nouveau (House of New Art) was the name of the gallery initiated in 1895 by the German art dealer Siegfried Bing in Paris that featured exclusively modern art.[7][8] The fame of his gallery was increased at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, where he presented coordinated—in design and color—installations of modern furniture, tapestries and objets d'art.[8] These decorative displays became so strongly associated with the style that the name of his gallery subsequently provided a commonly used term for the entire style.[8] Thus the term "Art Nouveau" was created.

Part of the evolution of Art Nouveau were several international fairs which presented buildings and products designed in the new style. So, the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition marks the beginning of the Modernisme, with some buildings of Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris, presented an overview of the 'modern style' in every medium. It achieved further recognition at the Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte Decorativa Moderna of 1902 in Turin, Italy, where designers exhibited from almost every European country where Art Nouveau was practiced.


File:Art Nouveau Metz.jpg
Art Nouveau sculpture, detail of facade in Metz, France

Art Nouveau is usually known as Jugendstil (pronounced [ˈjuːɡən̩tʃtiːl ]) in Germany, as Modern (Модерн) in Russia, as Modernisme in Catalonia (Spain), as Secession in Austria-Hungary and as Stile Liberty in Italy. The style was most popular in Europe, but its influence was global. Hence, it is known in various guises with frequent localised characteristics.[9] Other local names were associated with the characteristics of its forms, its practitioners and their works, and schools of thought or study where it was popular. Many of these terms refer to the idea of "newness". Before the term "Art Nouveau" became common in France, le style moderne ("the modern style") was the more frequent designation.[6] Arte joven ("young art") in Spain, Modernisme in Catalonia, Arte nova in Portugal ("new art"), Arte nuova in Italy (also "new art"), and Nieuwe kunst ("new art") in the Netherlands, модерн ("new", "contemporary") in Russia – all continue this theme.[5] Many names refer specifically to the organic forms that were popular with the Art Nouveau artists: Stile Floreal ("floral style"), Lilienstil ("lily style"), Style Nouille ("noodle style"), Paling Stijl ("eel style"), and Wellenstil ("wave style").[6]

In other cases, important examples, well-known artists, and associated locations influenced the names. Hector Guimard's Paris Métro entrances, for example, provided the term Style Métro, the popularity in Italy of Art Nouveau designs from London's Liberty & Co department store resulted in its being known as the Stile Liberty ("Liberty style"), and, in the United States, it became known as the "Tiffany style" due to its association with Louis Comfort Tiffany.[5][6] In Austria, a localised form of Art Nouveau was practised by artists of the Vienna Secession, and it is, therefore, known as the Sezessionstil ("Secession style").[10] As a stand-alone term, however, "Secession" (German: Sezession, Hungarian: szecesszió, Czech: secese) is used frequently to describe the general characteristics of Art Nouveau style outside Vienna, but mostly in areas of Austria-Hungary at the beginning of the 20th century. In the United Kingdom, it is associated with the activities of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, and is often known as the "Glasgow" style.

Form and character

La tournée du Chat Noir avec Rodolphe Salis (1896) by Théophile Steinlen

Although Art Nouveau acquired distinctly localised tendencies as its geographic spread increased, some general characteristics are indicative of the form. A description published in Pan magazine of Hermann Obrist's wall hanging Cyclamen (1894) described it as "sudden violent curves generated by the crack of a whip", which became well known during the early spread of Art Nouveau.[11] Subsequently, not only did the work itself become better known as The Whiplash but the term "whiplash" is frequently applied to the characteristic curves employed by Art Nouveau artists.[11] Such decorative "whiplash" motifs, formed by dynamic, undulating, and flowing lines in a syncopated rhythm and asymmetrical shape, are found throughout the architecture, painting, sculpture, and other forms of Art Nouveau design.

The origins of Art Nouveau are found in the resistance of the artist William Morris to the cluttered compositions and the revival tendencies of the 19th century and his theories that helped initiate the Arts and crafts movement.[12] However, Arthur Mackmurdo's book-cover for Wren's City Churches (1883), with its rhythmic floral patterns, is often considered the first realisation of Art Nouveau.[12] About the same time, the flat perspective and strong colors of Japanese wood block prints, especially those of Katsushika Hokusai, had a strong effect on the formulation of Art Nouveau.[13] The Japonisme that was popular in Europe during the 1880s and 1890s was particularly influential on many artists with its organic forms and references to the natural world.[13] Besides being adopted by artists like Emile Gallé and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Japanese-inspired art and design was championed by the businessmen Siegfried Bing and Arthur Lasenby Liberty at their stores[14] in Paris and London, respectively.[13]

Doorway at place Etienne Pernet, 24 (Paris 15e), 1905 Alfred Wagon, architect.

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.[15]

Art Nouveau in architecture and interior design eschewed the eclectic revival styles of the 19th century. Though Art Nouveau designers selected and 'modernised' some of the more abstract elements of Rococo style, such as flame and shell textures, they also advocated the use of very stylised organic forms as a source of inspiration, expanding the 'natural' repertoire to use seaweed, grasses, and insects. The softly-melding forms of 17th-century auricular style, best exemplified in Dutch silverware, was another influence.

Relationship with contemporary styles and movements

Adele Bloch-Bauer 1 by Gustav Klimt.

As an art style, Art Nouveau has affinities with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolist styles, and artists like Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha, Edward Burne-Jones, Gustav Klimt and Jan Toorop could be classed in more than one of these styles. Unlike Symbolist painting, however, Art Nouveau has a distinctive appearance; and, unlike the artisan-oriented Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau artists readily used new materials, machined surfaces, and abstraction in the service of pure design.

Art Nouveau did not eschew the use of machines, as the Arts and Crafts Movement did. For sculpture, the principal materials employed were glass and wrought iron, resulting in sculptural qualities even in architecture. Ceramics were also employed in creating editions of sculptures by artists such as Auguste Rodin.[16]

Art Nouveau architecture made use of many technological innovations of the late 19th century, especially the use of exposed iron and large, irregularly shaped pieces of glass for architecture. By the start of World War I, however, the stylised nature of Art Nouveau design—which was expensive to produce—began to be disused in favour of more streamlined, rectilinear modernism, which was cheaper and thought to be more faithful to the plainer industrial aesthetic that became Art Deco.

Art Nouveau tendencies were also absorbed into local styles. In Denmark, for example, it was one aspect of Skønvirke ("aesthetic work"), which itself more closely relates to the Arts and Crafts style.[17][18] Likewise, artists adopted many of the floral and organic motifs of Art Nouveau into the Młoda Polska ("Young Poland") style in Poland.[19] Młoda Polska, however, was also inclusive of other artistic styles and encompassed a broader approach to art, literature, and lifestyle.[20]

Fine art and graphics

The Peacock Skirt, by Aubrey Beardsley, (1892)

The style was the first major artistic stylistic movement in which mass-produced graphics (as opposed to traditional forms of printmaking, which were not very important for the style) played a key role, often techniques of colour printing developed relatively recently.

A key influence was the Paris-based Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, who produced a lithographed poster, which appeared on 1 January 1895 in the streets of Paris as an advertisement for the play Gismonda by Victorien Sardou, featuring Sarah Bernhardt.[21] It popularised the new artistic style and its creator to the citizens of Paris. Initially named Style Mucha, (Mucha Style), his style soon became known as Art Nouveau in France.[22] Mucha's work has continued to experience periodic revivals of interest for illustrators and artists. Interest in Mucha's distinctive style experienced a strong revival during the 1960s with a general interest in Art Nouveau.[23]

However, Art Nouveau was not limited to Mucha's style solely but was interpreted differently by artists from around the world as the movement spread. Artists such as Gustav Klimt, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Jan Toorop, René Lalique, Antoni Gaudí and Louis Comfort Tiffany, created Art Nouveau works in their own manner.[5][24] Magazines like Jugend helped publicise the style in Germany, especially as a graphic artform, while the Vienna Secessionists influenced art and architecture throughout Austria-Hungary.

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.

Glass art

Glass art was a medium in which the style found tremendous expression. Examples include the lamps and favrile glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany in New York, and notably the vases, bowls and lighting in acid-etched and marquetry cameo glass by both Émile Gallé and the Daum brothers in Nancy, France. In addition, René Lalique started to produce early works in glass which were a precursor to his work in the Art Deco style, for which he was to become famed.

Sculpture and jewelry

Dragonfly Lady brooch by René Lalique

Sculptors included Ladislav Šaloun, François-Raoul Larche and Charles van der Stappen. Jewelry of the Art Nouveau period revitalized the jeweller's art, with nature as the principal source of inspiration, complemented by new levels of virtuosity in enameling and the introduction of new materials, such as opals and semi-precious stones. The widespread interest in Japanese art and the more specialized enthusiasm for Japanese metalworking skills fostered new themes and approaches to ornament. For the previous two centuries, the emphasis in fine jewelry had been on gemstones, in particular on the diamond, and the jeweller or goldsmith had been concerned principally with providing settings for their advantage. With Art Nouveau, a different type of jewelry emerged, motivated by the artist-designer rather than the jeweller as setter of precious stones.

The jewellers of Paris and Brussels defined Art Nouveau in jewelry, and in these cities it achieved the most renown. Contemporary French critics were united in acknowledging that jewelry was undergoing a radical transformation, and that the French designer-jeweller-glassmaker René Lalique was popularizing the changes. Lalique glorified nature in jewelry, 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 enameled gold, and its acceptance of jewellers as artists rather than craftsmen. In most of the enameled work of the period, precious stones receded. Diamonds were usually subsidiary, used alongside less familiar materials such as molded glass, horn and ivory.


Art Nouveau ceramics were also influenced by the work of Japan. Artists called for a re-examination of vegetal and zoological motifs, particularly as seen in Japanese art. The development of high temperature (grand feu) porcelain with crystallised 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.[25]

The Zsolnay factory in Pécs, Hungary, was led by Miklós Zsolnay (1800–1880) and his son, Vilmos Zsolnay (1828–1900) with Tádé Sikorski (1852–1940) chief designer, to produce stoneware and other ceramics in 1853. In 1893, Zsolnay introduced porcelain pieces made of eosin. He led the factory to worldwide recognition by demonstrating its innovative products at world fairs and international exhibitions, including the 1873 World Fair in Vienna, then at the 1878 World Fair in Paris, where Zsolnay received a Grand Prix. Frost-resisting Zsolnay building decorations were used in numerous buildings specifically during the art nouveau movement.[26]

Art Nouveau in Europe


Mahogany desk by Louis Majorelle, in the Musée D'Orsay

In France, l'Art Nouveau began as an effort to break away from the traditional historical styles and to give decorative artists equal status with painters and sculptors. The Paris Universal Exposition of 1889 gave French artists the opportunity to see works in the new style by British furniture makers and the American jewellers Graham and Augustus Tiffany, and glass designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. French artists who began to create in the new style included Emile Gallé, who designed furniture and vases; ceramic artists Clement Massier, Albert Dammouse, and Auguste Delaherche; and jewellers Henri Vever, Boucheron and Lucien Falize.[27]

In 1891 the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts created a section on decorative art, and decorative artists were represented for the first time at the Salon of 1892, along with traditional painters and sculptors. The maowere represented for the first time at the Salon of 1892, with works by Jules Desbois, Alexandre Charmpentier, and Jean Baffier. On December 22, 1895 Siegfried Bing opened a shop in a house on rue Chauchat, redesigned for that purpose by Louis Bonnier, devoted entirely to the new style. It was called the Maison de l'Art Nouveau and gave the movement its name.

Brooch by René Lalique

French Furniture designers creating works in the new style included Charles Plumet,Tony Selmersheim, Louis Sorel, and Eugene Gaillard, sometimes in collaboration with sculptors Jules Desbois and Alexandre Charpentier. Jewelry designers drew upon flora and the human figure for their models. The glass works of René Lalique were described in 1901 by contemporary art critic Jean Lahor as "delicate reverie"'. Other influential jewelry designers included Jean August Dampt, Henri Nocq and François-Rupert Carabin. The traditional style of graphic design was turned upside down in 1895 by posters of actress Sarah Berhnardt made by Czech-born artist Alphonse Mucha.

Paris Metro station entrance at Porte Dauphine, the only original entrance still in place, by Hector Guimard (1900)
Gate of the Castel Béranger by Hector Guimard, 14 rue de la Fontaine, Paris (1898)

Hector Guimard (1867-1942), inspired by a meeting with Victor Horta in Brussels, built the Castel Béranger, the first building in Paris in the new style, between 1895 and 1898. In 1898 the Paris city government, responding to criticism that the identical facades of the buildings lining the boulevards built by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann were dull and monotonous, organized a competition for the most original new facade design. The Castel Béranger was a winner in the competition, making Guimard immediately famous. In 1900, Guimard was chosen, over the wishes of the official jury, by baron Edouard Empain, engineer and financier of the construction of the new Paris Metro, to design the entrances of the new stations of the Paris Metro. The entrances were criticized as the “noodle style” by some, but the metro entrances became the symbol of the Art Nouveau in Paris.[28] Another important Art Nouveau architect was Jules Lavriotte, who built a concrete house covered with ceramic decoration on Avenue Rapp in Paris in 1901.

The French city of Nancy became the other French capital of the new style. In 1901, the Alliance des Industries d’Art, also known as the École de Nancy, was founded, dedicated to upsetting the hierarchy that put painting and sculpture above the decorative arts. The major artists working there included the glass vase and lamp creators Emile Gallé, the Daum brothers in glass design, and the designer Louis Majorelle, who created furniture with graceful floral and vegetal forms. The architect Henri Sauvage brought the new architectural style to Nancy with his Villa Jika in 1898.

The French style was widely propagated by new magazines, including The Studio, Arts et Idees and Art et Decoration, whose photographs and color lithographs made the style known to designers and wealthy clients around the world.

In France, the style reached its summit in 1900, and thereafter slipped rapidly out of fashion, virtually disappearing from France by 1905. Art Nouveau was a luxury style, which required expert and highly-paid craftsmen and could not be easily or cheaply mass-produced. One of the few art nouveau products that could be mass-produced was the perfume bottle, and these continue to be manufactured in the style today. The Art Nouveau was succeeded by Art Deco.

Belgium and Switzerland

Architect Victor Horta's Tassel House stairway in Brussels (1893)

Belgium was an early center of the art nouveau, thanks largely to the architecture of Victor Horta), who designed one of the first art nouveau houses, the Hôtel Tassel in 1893, and the Hôtel Solvay in 1894. Horta met and had a strong influence on the work of the young Hector Guimard. Other important designers included architect Paul Hankar, who built an art-nouveau house in 1893; the architect and furniture designer Henry van de Velde, decorator Gustave Serrurier-Bovy, and the graphic artist Fernand Khnopff.[29][30][31]

Bed and mirror by Gustave Serrurier-Bovy (1898-99), now in the Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Prominent Swiss artists of the period included painter and graphic artist Théophile Steinlen, creator of the famous poster for the Paris cabaret Le Chat Noir, and the artist, sculptor and decorator Eugène Grasset, who moved from Switizerland to Paris where hé designed graphics, furniture, tapestries, ceramics and posters. In Paris he taught at the Ècole Guerin school of art. where his students included Augusto Giacometti and Paul Berthon.[32][33]


The Casa Batlló, already built in 1877, was remodelled in the Barcelona manifestation of Art Nouveau, modernisme, by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol during 1904–1906

The style was based mainly in Catalonia, with its focal point in Barcelona and was an essential element of the Catalan Modernisme. Architect Antoni Gaudí, whose decorative architectural style is so personal that he is sometimes considered as practising an artistic style different from Art Nouveau, nonetheless uses Art Nouveau's floral and organic forms as in Palau Güell (1886).[34] His designs from about 1903, the Casa Batlló (1904–1906) and Casa Milà (1906–1908), are most closely related to the stylistic elements of Art Nouveau.[35] However, famous structures such as the Sagrada Família characteristically contrast the modernising Art Nouveau tendencies with revivalist Neo-Gothic.[35] Besides the dominating presence of Gaudí, Lluís Domènech i Montaner also used Art Nouveau in Barcelona in buildings such as the Castell dels Tres Dragons (1888), Palau de la Música Catalana and Casa Lleó Morera (1905).[35] Another major modernista was Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who designed the Casa Martí and its Quatre Gats café, the Casimir Casaramona textile factory (now the CaixaFòrum art museum), Casa Macaya, Casa Amatller, the Palau del Baró de Quadras (housing Casa Àsia for 10 years until 2013) and the Casa de les Punxes ("Pointy House"). Also well-known is Josep Maria Jujol, with houses in Sant Joan Despí (1913–1926), several churches near Tarragona (1918 and 1926) and the sinuous Casa Planells (1924) in Barcelona. A few other major architects working outside of Barcelona were Lluís Muncunill i Parellada, with a magnificent textile factory in Terrassa (Vapor Aymerich, Amat i Jover, now the Science and Technology Museum of Catalonia – Museu de la Ciència i de la Tècnica de Catalunya)and a "farmhouse"/small manor house called Masia Freixe in the same city; and Cèsar Martinell i Brunet, with his spectacular "wine cathedrals", housing town cooperative wineries throughout southern and central Catalonia. A Valencian architect who worked in Catalonia before emigrating to the States was Rafael Guastavino. Attributed to him is the Asland Cement Factory in Castellar de n'Hug, among other buildings.


The spread of Art Nouveau (Arte nova) in Portugal, although delayed due to slowly developing industry, flourished in cities like Porto and Aveiro, in which can be found numerous buildings influenced by European models, in particular by French architecture. Buildings like 'Livraria Lello & Irmão', Porto in 1906 designed by Xavier Esteves.


1896 cover of Jugend magazine.

German Art Nouveau is commonly known by its German name, Jugendstil. The name is taken from the artistic journal, Die Jugend, which was published in Munich and which espoused the new artistic movement. It was founded in 1896 by Georg Hirth (Hirth remained editor until his death in 1916, and the magazine continued to be published until 1940). The magazine was instrumental in promoting the style in Germany. As a result, its name was adopted as the most common German-language term for the style: Jugendstil ("youth style"). Although, during the early 20th century, the word was applied to only two-dimensional examples of the graphic arts,[36] especially the forms of organic typography and graphic design found in and influenced by German magazines like Jugend, Pan, and Simplicissimus, it is now applied to more general manifestations of Art Nouveau visual arts in Germany, the Netherlands, the Baltic states, and Nordic countries.[5][37] The two main centres for Jugendstil art in Germany were Munich and Darmstadt (Mathildenhöhe).

Two other journals, Simplicissimus, published in Munich, and Pan, published in Berlin, proved to be important proponents of the Jugendstil. The magazines were important for spreading the visual idiom of Jugendstil, especially the graphical qualities. Jugendstil art includes a variety of different methods, applied by the various individual artists and features the use of hard lines as well as sinuous curves. Methods range from classic to romantic. One feature of Jugendstil is the typography used, the letter and image combination of which is unmistakable. The combination was used for covers of novels, advertisements, and exhibition posters. Designers often used unique display typefaces that worked harmoniously with the image.

One of the most famous German artists associated with both Die Jugend and Pan was Otto Eckmann. His favourite animal was the swan, and such was his influence in the German movement that the swan came to serve as the leitmotif for the Jugendstil.

Otto Wagner's Karlsplatz Station in Vienna


A localised approach to Art Nouveau is represented by the artists of the Vienna Secession, a secession that was initiated on 3 April 1897 by Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, Otto Wagner, and others. They objected to the conservative orientation toward historicism expressed by the Vienna Künstlerhaus.


Charles Rennie Mackintosh Kelvingrove, Glasgow

The beginning of an Art Nouveau style can be recognised during the 1880s, in a few progressive designs such as the architect-designer Arthur Mackmurdo's book cover design for his essay on the city churches of Sir Christopher Wren, published during 1883. Some free-flowing wrought iron from the 1880s could also be adduced, or some flat floral textile designs, most of which owed some impetus to patterns of 19th century design. The most important centre in Britain eventually became Glasgow, with the creations of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four, pre-eminent members of the so-called Glasgow School, which included his wife Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, who produced outstanding paintings.

Walter Crane, Swan and Iris

Other notable British Art Nouveau designers include Walter Crane, Archibald Knox, Charles Ashbee, and Aubrey Beardsley.[3]

Leon Solon, made an important contribution to art nouveau ceramics as art director at Mintons. He specialised in plaques and in tube-lined vases marketed as "secessionist ware" (usually described as named after the Viennese art movement).[38] Apart from ceramics, he designed textiles for the Leek silk industry[39] and doublures for a bookbinder (G.T.Bagguley of Newcastle under Lyme), who patented the Sutherland binding in 1895.

The Edward Everard building in Bristol, built during 1900–01 to house the printing works of Edward Everard, features an Art Nouveau façade. The figures depicted are of Johannes Gutenberg and William Morris, both eminent in the field of printing. A winged figure symbolises the Spirit of Light, while a figure holding a lamp and mirror symbolises light and truth.


Casa Galleria-Vichi in Florence, designed by Giovanni Michelazzi, 1911

The Art Nouveau European Route[40] provides details of the heritage in Europe and worldwide of the Art Nouveau style featuring considerable information about Italy's Stile Liberty. This represented the modern designs from the Liberty & Co store of London, indicating both Art Nouveau's commercial aspect and the 'imported' character that it retained in some parts of Italy, though not in Palermo, isolated from developments in the north and evolving an independent character due largely to designers such as architect Ernesto Basile and Vittorio Ducrot, who specialised as a cabinetmaker. According to the Art Nouveau European Route, Basile and Ducrot were responsible for the idea of the complete work of art in Italy.

Important Italian Liberty cities or sites are the spa centres of Salsomaggiore Terme, Emilia-Romagna, and San Pellegrino Terme, Lombardy, as well as Cernobbio on Lake Como also in Lombardy. Some large cities have a considerable number of Liberty-style decorations and buildings, especially Turin, Milan, Naples, Florence, Genoa, and large sections of the sea-side town of Viareggio, Tuscany. The Liberty Style was used by Italian designers and architects overseas, especially in Argentina and Chile, such as at Valparaíso where architects Renato Schiavon and Arnaldo Barison, trained in Trieste, arrived after the earthquake of 1906. Here they built outstanding structures such as the Palace Barburizza (1915), now the city's Museum of Fine Arts.

Carlo Bugatti. Cobra Chair and Desk. 1902. Brooklyn Museum

Other important Italian art nouveau designers were the Bugatti family (Carlo, Ettore, Jean and Rembrandt) best known for their cars built in France, and furniture and art constructed in their native Milan. Carlo Bugatti, born February 1856 in Milan, was himself the son of an architect and sculptor Giovanni Luigi Bugatti. Carlo received his training at the renowned Milanese Academy of Brera, and later the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His work was wide-ranging including silverware, textiles, ceramics, and musical instruments, but he is best remembered for his innovative furniture designs, shown first in the 1888 Milan Fine Arts Fair.

Nordic countries

Art Nouveau in Ålesund, Svaneapoteket (Swan Pharmacy).

Art Nouveau was also popular in the Nordic countries, where it became integrated with the National Romantic Style. Good examples are the neighbourhoods of Katajanokka, Eira and Ullanlinna in Helsinki, Finland. In Helsinki alone, there are approximately 600 buildings dating back to 1895 - 1915 representing the Nordic Art Nouveau style. Some of the famous Finnish Art Nouveau buildings include the Helsinki Central railway station (designed by the architect Eliel Saarinen) and Finnish National Theatre, Kallio Church, Finnish National Museum, Pohjola Insurance building and Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall. Elsewhere in Finland, Tampere Cathedral and Imatran Valtionhotelli jugend castle are worth mentioning. [41] [42] As in Germany, Jugendstil is the prevailing term used for the style.

The Norwegian coastal town of Ålesund burned in 1904, and was rebuilt in a uniform Jugendstil architecture, kept more or less intact to the present. The foremost examples of Art Nouveau architecture (Jugendstil) in Norway are found in Ålesund, which was rebuilt after a major fire in 1904, while the style was particularly relevant. A representative Ålesund jugend is the former Svaneapoteket (Swan Pharmacy). Today, the Jugendstilsenteret is located in this building. It should have been applied in 1908. Apothecary Øwre was a member of the council and the presidency in Ålesund, and after that the pharmacy was adopted also mayor in the years 1909–1910. He chose the architect Hagbarth Martin Schytte-Berg (1860–1944) to draw and construct the new pharmacy.[43] The architect was one of the leaders in the effort to restore Ålesund after the fire. His other works include Skien Church (1887–1894) and Fagerborg Church in Kristiania (Oslo) (1900–1903).


The interior of the Vitebsk Railway Station in St. Petersburg

In Russia Art Nouveau is known as Modern (Модерн) perhaps named after Parisian gallery "La Maison Moderne". The style was promoted by the art magazine Mir iskusstva ('World of Art'), which spawned the revolutionary Ballets Russes.


The Polish style was centred in Kraków and was part of the Młoda Polska style. Stanisław Wyspiański was the main Art Nouveau artist in Poland; his paintings, theatrical designs, stained glass, and building interiors are widely admired and celebrated in the National Museum in Kraków. Art Nouveau buildings survived in most Polish cities (Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław, Kraków, Bydgoszcz, Toruń), with the exception of Warsaw, where the few examples that survived the Nazi razing of the city were destroyed by the Communist authorities on the grounds that the buildings were decadent.


The Slovene Lands were another area influenced by Art Nouveau. At its beginning, Slovenian Art Nouveau was influenced strongly by the Viennese Secession, but it later developed an individual style. Important architects of this style include Max Fabiani, Ciril Metod Koch, Jože Plečnik, Ivan Vurnik. The vast majority of the architecture is to be found in Ljubljana.


Croatia was an area of secessionist architecture as well. Architects like Vjekoslav Bastl and Aladar Baranyai developed a mixture between modernism and classical Art Nouveau[citation needed]. The Croat architect Josip Vancaš worked mostly in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His architecture was a mixture of earlier historicism and proper Art Nouveau: some of his finest Art Nouveau buildings are located in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


In contrast to Historicism, Hungarian Art Nouveau is based on supposed national architectural characteristics. Besides of the Zsolnay ceramics, Ödön Lechner (1845–1914), was the most important figure in Hungarian Art Nouveau, was inspired initially by Indian and Syrian architecture, and later by traditional Hungarian decorative designs. In this manner, he created an original synthesis of architectural styles. Disusing the style of Lechner, yet being inspired by his method, the group of 'Young People' (Fiatalok), which included Károly Kós and Dezső Zrumeczky, applied the characteristic structures and forms of traditional Hungarian architecture, especially the Transylvanian vernacular.

Cifrapalota, Kecskemét by Géza Márkus

Besides the two principal styles, Hungarian architecture also displays local versions of trends originating from other European countries. The Vienna Secession, the German Jugendstil, Art Nouveau from Belgium and France, and the influence of English and Finnish architecture are all represented in the buildings constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. Béla Lajta initially adopted Lechner's style, subsequently adopting English and Finnish trends; after developing an interest in the Egyptian style, he finally developed a modern architectural style. Aladár Árkay did almost the same. István Medgyaszay developed his own style, which differed from Lechner's, using stylised traditional motifs to create decorative designs in concrete. For applied arts, those mainly responsible for promoting the spread of Art Nouveau were the School and Museum of Applied Arts, which opened in 1896.

Subotica/Szabadka, Marosvásárhely and other former areas in the Hungarian Kingdom, Vojvodina (northern Serbia) and Transylvania have fine examples of Hungarian Art Nouveau.


Art Nouveau architecture was popular in Riga, the capital of Latvia, during the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century – about 40% of the buildings from this time were built in this style.[44] Several substyles formed during this period. Early elements of the new style were added to Eclectic architecture forming "Eclectic" Art Nouveau. "Decorative" Art Nouveau refers to style using only decorative elements of the Art Nouveau; the first such building was built in 1899, however by 1906 decorative styles had become unfashionable.[45] Therefore, the decorative style is not very widespread in Riga.[44] The most popular style in Riga is known as "Romantic" Art Nouveau. Simplistic and modern in form, these buildings were decorated with elements from other historic styles and constitute about one-third of all buildings in central Riga. From 1905 to 1911, Latvian National Romantism peaked. While being a substyle of Art Nouveau, it copied forms of traditional architecture and incorporated traditional decorative elements.[46] As Art Nouveau matured, emphasis on vertical lines became more popular, known as "Vertical" Art Nouveau, this style was most popular shortly before World War I.[45] The center of Riga is now designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in part for its Art Nouveau architecture.[47]

A significant number of Art Nouveau structures are located in other cities and towns in Latvia, including Liepāja (hundreds of buildings), Jūrmala (notable example – Dubulti Lutheran Church, 1907), Daugavpils and others. The use of Art Nouveau outside urban centres has been rare, but there some exquisite examples such as Luznava manor house (eastern Latvia).


Culture house in Skalica (Slovakia)

The style of combining Art Nouveau and national architectural elements was typical also for a Slovak architect Dušan Jurkovič who was under the influence of Hungarian Art Nouveau. His most original works are the Cultural House in Skalica in Slovakia (1905), buildings of spa in Luhačovice in Czech Republic (1901–1903) and 35 war cemeteries near Nowy Żmigród in Galicia (now Poland), most of them heavily influenced by local Lemko (Rusyn) folk art and carpentry (1915–1917). Another example of Hungarian Secession architecture is the Church of St. Elisabeth (The Little Blue Church) in Bratislava.

Czech Republic

Alphonse Mucha used the style in Prague and Moravia (part of the modern Czech Republic); his style of Art Nouveau became associated with the so-called Czech National Revival. Fin de siècle sections of Prague reveal modest buildings encrusted with images of leaves and women that curve and swirl across the façades.[48] Examples of Art Nouveau in the city, along with the exteriors of any number of private apartment and commercial buildings, are the Municipal House, the Hotel Paříž, Smíchov Market Hall, Hotel Central, the windows in the St. Wenceslaus Chapel at St. Vitus Cathedral, the main railway station, the Grand Hotel and the Jubilee Synagogue. The Olšany Cemetery and the New Jewish Cemetery are also important examples of Art Nouveau.[48] In Czech, Art Nouveau is known as secese, a name adopted from the Austrian term "Secessionism".


There are Art Nouveau buildings called the Balluta Buildings. They are apartment buildings on the eastern shore of Balluta Bay, on the northeast coast of Malta within the district St. Julian's.

Outside Europe

Paris Métro replica entrance in Chicago

Although no significant artists in Australia are associated with Art Nouveau, many buildings in Australia were designed in the Art Nouveau style. In Melbourne, the Victorian Arts Society, Milton House, Melbourne Sports Depot, Conservatorium of Music and Melba Hall, Paston Building, and Empire Works Building all represent the Art Nouveau style.

Montevideo, in South America's Río de la Plata, offers a good example of the influence of the Art Nouveau style across the Atlantic. The style is very apparent in the architecture both of downtown and of the periphery of the city. Montevideo maintained intense communication with Paris, London, and Barcelona during Art Nouveau's heyday, when the city was also receiving massive immigration, especially from Italy and Spain. Those were also the years Montevideo developed the structure of its urban spaces, all of which factors help explain the widespread presence of Art Nouveau there.[citation needed]

In the other side of the Río de la Plata, Buenos Aires still conserves some of its Art Nouveau architecture, also brought by Italian and Spanish immigrants, which developed the jugendstil (Edificio Otto Wulff, by Morten Ronnow, Danish), liberty (Casa de los Pavos Reales, by Virginio Colombo, Italian), modernisme (various buildings by Julián García Núñez, Spanish-Argentine) and Art Nouveau (Chile Hotel by Louis Dubois, French) varieties. Another Argentinean city where this architecture has been recently[when?] protected is Rosario, an important port on the Paraná River.

UNESCO World Heritage List

Art Nouveau monuments are now recognised by UNESCO in their World Heritage List as significant contributions to cultural heritage.[49] The historic center of Riga, Latvia, with "the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe", was included on the list in 1997 in part because of the "quality and the quantity of its Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture",[47] and four Brussels town houses by Victor Horta were included in 2000 as "works of human creative genius" that are "outstanding examples of Art Nouveau architecture brilliantly illustrating the transition from the 19th to the 20th century in art, thought, and society".[30]

Noted practitioners


See also


  1. Duncan (1994), 7.
  2. Sterner (1982), 6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Art Nouveau – Art Nouveau Art
  4. Henry R. Hope, review of H. Lenning, The Art Nouveau", The Art Bulletin, vol. 34 (June 1952), 168–171 (esp. 168–169): Discussing the state of Art Nouveau during 1952, the author notes that Art Nouveau, which had become disfavored, was not yet an acceptable study for serious art history or a subject suitable for major museum exhibitions and their respective catalogs. He predicts an impending change, however.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Michèle Lavallée, "Art Nouveau", Grove Dictionary of Art, Oxford University Press [accessed 11 April 2008].
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Duncan (1994): 23–24.
  7. Martin Eidelberg and Suzanne Henrion-Giele, "Horta and Bing: An Unwritten Episode of L'Art Nouveau", The Burlington Magazine, vol. 119, Special Issue Devoted to European Art Since 1890 (Nov. 1977), pp. 747–752.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Duncan (1994), 15–16; 25–27.
  9. Duncan, 1; 23–24.
  10. Georg Hirth, the editor of Jugend, applied the term "Secession" to the series of reactionary movements of the era: Nicolas Powell, "Review of C. Nebehay, Ver Sacrum, 1898–1903", The Burlington Magazine, vol. 118 (Sep., 1976): 660.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Duncan (1994): 27–28.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Duncan (1994): 10–13.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Duncan (1994): 14–18.
  14. Before opening the Maison de l'Art Nouveau, Bing managed a shop specialising in items from Japan; after 1888 he promoted Japanism with his magazine La Japon Artistique: Duncan (1994): 15–16.
  15. Sterner (1982), 21.
  16. Edmond Lachenal produced editions of Rodin's sculptures
  17. Jennifer Opie, "A Dish by Thorvald Bindesbøll", The Burlington Magazine, vol. 132 (May, 1990), pp. 356.
  18. Claire Selkurt, "New Classicism: Design of the 1920s in Denmark", The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, vol. 4 (Spring, 1987), pp. 16–29 (esp. 18 n. 4).
  19. Danuta A. Boczar, "The Polish Poster", Art Journal, vol. 44 (Spring, 1984), pp. 16–27 (esp. 16).
  20. Danuta Batorska, "Zofia Stryjeńska: Princess of Polish Painting", Woman's Art Journal, vol. 19 (Autumn, 1998–Winter, 1999), pp. 24–29 (esp. 24–25).
  22. An Introduction to the Work of Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau, lecture by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, British Columbia.
  23. Fraser, Julie. H. "Recycling art"
  24. Duncan (1994), 34.
  25. Edmond Lachenal and His Legacy, by Martin Eidelberg, Claire Cass, Hudson Hills Press; illustrated edition (25 February 2007)
  26. Timeline, accessed 1/23/08
  27. Lahor, Jean, L'Art Nouveau (1901), pages 27-38
  28. Lahor, L'ArtNouveau, page 30
  29. Lahor, L'Art nouveau, p. 91.
  30. 30.0 30.1 UNESCO World Heritage List – Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta (Brussels)
  31. Sterner (1982), 38–42.
  32. Lahor, L'Art Nouveau, p. 104
  33. Duncan (1994), 37.
  34. James Grady, "Special Bibliographical Supplement: A Bibliography of the Art Nouveau", The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, vol. 14 (May, 1955), pp. 18–27.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Duncan (1994): 52.
  36. A. Philip McMahon, "review of F. Schmalenbach, Jugendstil", Parnassus, vol. 7 (Oct., 1935), 27.
  37. Reinhold Heller, "Recent Scholarship on Vienna's "Golden Age", Gustav Klimt, and Egon Schiele", The Art Bulletin, vol. 59 (Mar., 1977), pp. 111–118.
  38. Muter, Grant (1985). "Leon Solon and John Wadsworth". Journal of the Decorative Arts Society. Retrieved 2 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. He was commissioned by the Wardle family of dyers and printers, trading as "Thomas Wardle & Co" and "Bernard Wardle and Co".The Wardel Pattern Books Revealed
  41. The Charm of Old Helsinki
  42. Helsinki Art Nouveau
  43. Jugendstilsenteret in Ålesund
  44. 44.0 44.1 "Jūgenstils". Enciklopēdija "Rīga" (in Latvian). Riga: Galvenā enciklopēdiju redakcija. 1988. p. 334.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. 45.0 45.1 Krastiņš, J; Vasiļjevs, J (1978). "Rīgas izbūve un arhitektūra 19. gs. otrajā pusē". In J, Krastiņš (ed.). Rīga. 1860–1917 (in Latvian). Riga: Zinātne. pp. 437–445.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. "Nacionālā romantisma celtnes". Enciklopēdija "Rīga" (in Latvian). Riga: Galvenā enciklopēdiju redakcija. 1988. p. 483.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  47. 47.0 47.1 UNESCO World Heritage List – Historic Centre of Riga.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Marie Vitochová Jindřichkjer and Jiří Všetecka, Prague and Art Nouveau, translation by Denis Rath and Mark Prescott, Prague: V Raji, 1995.
  49. In addition to monuments in Riga and Brussels that are specifically named as examples of Art Nouveau, the "Works of Antoni Gaudí" in and around Barcelona are recognised as "outstanding examples of the building typology in the architecture of the early 20th century." See World Heritage List – Works of Antoni Gaudí
  50. Sterner (1982), 169.


  • Duncan, Alastair. Art Nouveau. World of Art. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1994. ISBN 0-500-20273-7
  • Heller, Steven, and Seymour Chwast. Graphic Style from Victorian to Digital. New ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2001. p. 53–57.
  • Lahor, Jean. L'Art Nouveau. Baseline Co. Ltd. Originally published 1901, adapted version 2007. (in French). ISBN 978-1-85995-667-0
  • Sterner, Gabriele. Art Nouveau, an Art of Transition: From Individualism to Mass Society. 1st English ed. (original title: Jugendstil: Kunstformen zwischen Individualismus und Massengesellschaft) Trans. Frederick G. Peters and Diana S. Peters. Woodbury, N.Y.: Barron's Educational Series, 1982. ISBN 0-8120-2105-3

Further reading

  • Art Nouveau Grange Books, Rochester, England 2007 ISBN 978-1-84013-790-3
  • William Craft Brumfield. The Origins of Modernism in Russian Architecture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991) ISBN 0-520-06929-3

External links