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Art Nouveau. By: Renée Prisecaru. Art nouveau - French for “new art” was an international art movement of style, decoration and architecture used during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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art nouveau

Art Nouveau


Renée Prisecaru

Art nouveau - French for “new art” was an international art movement of style, decoration and architecture used during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
One characterization of this movement was depictions of flowers and vines, also called foliate forms. Many of these forms were used in mosaics.
In Barcelona, two men named Antoni Gaudi and Josep Jujol worked to produce beautiful ceramic mosaics at Guell Park. They used a technique known as trencadis in which tiles covered surfaces of buildings. They also incorporated broken dishes and other found objects such as broken china dolls, which was a revolutionary idea in art and architecture.
Using sources such as classical Greek, Byzantine and Egyptian styles, his work is one of extreme elegance.
Use of silver and gold in his work may have been from a result of growing up around his father who was a gold and silver engraver.
One of these was an Italian poster designer from Paris named Leonetto Cappiello (the father of modern advertising), who had very innovative posters.
He was the first poster artist to use bold figures popping out of black backgrounds, which was a startling contrast to earlier posters.
A major contributor to the art nouveau jewelry scene was a man named Louis Comfort Tiffany, who founded Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany’s art jewelry department designed Jewelry that used romantic curves, pictured in the brooch above.
The peacock image was popular in the art nouveau movement, and Tiffany and Co. used this in their designs, such as in this headdress to the right.
Tiffany also started a new way of glassmaking that combined different colors of iridescent glass that made hues never seen before.
Here is one of Tiffany’s famous glass lamps that show beautiful colors and free flowing design.
This painting was done by St.Petersburg artist Leon Bakst in 1910. Notice the curvature and flow in the design.
A major Russian art nouveau architect was Alexei Bubyr. The building to the left shows the unique window design he created.
This is one of Bubyr’s designs that was cut into a granite fence. He also used other images such as birds, stars and flowers.
This recent work is by artist Chuck Bordell. Notice the imagery of human (female) form being portrayed.
Art nouveau’s short lived movement was very influential, and will continue to inspire many future generations of artists and designers to come.
  • (Online)
  • Piper, David. The Illustrated History of Art. Octopus Publishing Group, 2000. pp.331,369,404, 439.
  • Abrams, Harry M. Art Nouveau 1890-1914, 2000. Pp 246, 247, 345, 360.
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