Die Jugend 1896Art Nouveau is an art movement that was very popular in the 1890’s up until the first years of the 20th Century. The term means ‘New Art’ in French and in other languages it is known as “Jugendstil” (Germany), “Sezessionstil” (Austria), “Modernismo” (Spain), and “Floreale” or “Liberty” in Italy. Art Nouveau has been applied to all of the decorative arts, architecture, painting and sculpture.

Art Nouveau was charged with an ideology to break the standards of the 19th Century Academic Art and to bring down the barriers between the fine arts and applied arts. It was a movement to combine all the arts in an attempt to create new art based on natural forms that could be mass-produced by the technologies of the industrial age. Additionally, the artist should be able to work on various different approaches from painting to metalwork and everything in between. 

A central element in Art Nouveau is the organic, plant-inspired motif which is often expressed with floral patterns and themes. Such themes are highly stylized with flowing curved forms. Other primary themes are birds, insects and femme fatales. The use of abstract lines and shapes as well as the lack of vivid shading is applied in order to eliminate the sense of depth thus most Art Nouveau paintings are presented in a two-dimensional manner.

Many Art Nouveau artifacts such asArt Nouveau Champenois vases, bowls, plates, lights, various furniture etc are beautiful objects but not necessarily very practical to use. During the first years of the movement, advertising posters were introduced into art providing a new space for the exhibition of this new art. Additionally, architects like Antoni Gaudí (although he has his own distinct style) have stretched the limits of design into astonishing and magnificent forms.

Art Nouveau remains an extraordinary form of art until today.Countless artifacts from the period 1890-1914 are constantly reproduced and many contemporary artists identify themselves as Art Nouveau artist. It is indeed the boldness, the sense of adventure and the desire to revolt that makes Art Nouveau such a pleasant trip for the senses!
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