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The Art Nouveau Era

ART NOUVEAU ERA   1880 - 1910

In the United Kingdom the Art Nouveau era developed out of the Arts and Crafts movement. The first inkling of a “movement” as such can be recognised in the 1880’s when free flowing designs began to emerge in wrought iron design and floral textile designs. The most important centre for Art Nouveau design in Great Britain was in Glasgow with the emergence of the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his circle. Another major influence was the art of Aubrey Beardsley.

In Europe designers such as Emile Galle and Alphonse Mucha were renowned for their art nouveau designs. Emile Galle for his glass, and Alphonse Mucha for his wonderful paintings.Art Nouveau is looked upon as a total style meaning that it encompasses the whole world of design – architecture, interior design, decorative arts, jewellery, furniture, textiles, silver, furniture and lighting.

The art nouveau style is very distinctive just like the art deco style is distinctive. They are very different and yet over some years in the early 20th century there was quite an overlapping of the two artistic designs.

The art nouveau design is recognisable for its flowing movement and its correspondence with nature – the use of leaves, flowers, stems, curving in wondrous images…women with hair mimicking the flow – take a look at the pictures of Alphonse Mucha and you are looking at the art nouveau period.

Architecture in the art nouveau design can be found in major European cities and a major art nouveau architectural display can be found in Prague.

Tiffany and Co produced an enormous amount of jewellery based on the arts and crafts movement of the latter half of the 19th century, and then the art nouveau movement during the early part of the 20th century.

The art nouveau movement was a way of rejecting the industrial revolution.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh experimented with all white walls which was very unusual for the time and then great effort was put into feminine expression through furniture, light fittings etc..  For the first time designers were not looking back in history for influence but looking at their world around them for inspiration.