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Art History: Art Nouveau: (1880 - 1910)

Centered in Western Europe, this decorative arts movement began as an opposition to the historical emphasis in mid-19th century art. The movement was established as the first new decorative style of the 20th century at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. Meaning New Art, Art Nouveau’s decorative style and dedication to natural forms was internationally popular from 1880 to 1910. The movement had basis in Romanticism, Symbolism, and the British Arts and Crafts movement, notably the work of William Morris. With its origin in London, the movement spread throughout Europe and the United States and came to be called Jugendstil in Germany, Sezessionstil in Austria, and Modernismo in Spain. Art Nouveau had unique identities in each country, which sometimes created opposition between the varying nations and artists.

Characterized by detailed patterns and curving lines and the use of leaves, flowers, and vines. The ornamental and asymmetrical style was best displayed in the decorative arts such as furniture, jewelry, and book design and illustration. Artists of the style emphasized symbolic and erotic themes.

The aim of Art Nouveau was to eliminate the distinction between the major and minor arts. They wished to unify all arts in order to settle on the theme of man’s place in life and the world. An attempt to create an international decorative style that was appropriate for the modern age, the movement straddled the fence between the past and future. Artists fused together elements of the new urban life with traditional spirituality, myth, and fantasy. Art Nouveau was a mainly a response to the Industrial Revolution. Some artists embraced the use of new materials and mass production while others strived to elevate the status of the decorative arts through high quality craftsmanship. Despite this difference, Art Nouveau artists believed that all that art should work in harmony.

The style did not survive World War I, probably because of the expensive nature of Art Nouveau works. Art nouveau began to trail off not long after its start, and was rarely used after WWI when it was replaced by Art Deco

Artists: (biography & artworks)

Frampton, Sir George - 1860 - 1928
Hodler, Ferdinand - 1853 - 1918
Klimt, Gustav - 1862 - 1918
Maillol, Aristide - 1861 - 1944
Mucha, Alphonse - 1860 - 1939
Segantini, Giovanni - 1858 - 1899
Serov, Valentin - 1865 - 1911
Tiffany, Louis Comfort - 1848 - 1933
Frampton, Sir George - 1860 - 1928
Hodler, Ferdinand - 1853 - 1918
Klimt, Gustav - 1862 - 1918
Maillol, Aristide - 1861 - 1944
Mucha, Alphonse - 1860 - 1939
Segantini, Giovanni - 1858 - 1899
Serov, Valentin - 1865 - 1911
Tiffany, Louis Comfort - 1848 - 1933

 

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Last updated and verified on: Tue 22 Sep 2009 11:29:17 AM EDT

 

 

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