The term “Art Nouveau pottery” refers to pottery created in the Art Nouveau style. This style influenced architecture, interior design, and jewelry. It first appeared in the last decade of the nineteenth century and remained fairly popular until the First World War. Because proponents of the style typically believed art should be more a part of everyday life and less a province of the upper-class elite, many ordinary objects for daily use were also made more elaborate and artistic with Art Nouveau design. Many of the basic elements of Art Nouveau design, such as the use of floral and other nature-inspired ornaments, the emphasis on wavy, curving lines, and the depiction of women’s faces and bodies as a major design element, can be found in Art Nouveau pottery.
Art Nouveau pottery, like most Art Nouveau works, incorporated floral and botanical elements. Irises and other flowers, as well as sinuous vines, were commonly used to decorate pots potters. Insects like dragonflies and butterflies were also featured in these artworks.
Women’s faces and bodies were popular Art Nouveau pottery design elements, often surrounded long, curling tresses. The colors were mostly muted and understated. Pale pinks and blues, as well as beige and lavender shades, were popular colors for this style of ceramics.
The majority of Art Nouveau artworks were intended to be more than just decorative. This school of artists eschewed art for the sake of art, instead attempting to bring aesthetic beauty into the lives of the masses creating artworks that could also be used for practical purposes. Flower vases, stoneware jars, dinnerware, and tea services are all examples of Art Nouveau pottery. These practical items were usually shaped in a way that reflected the movement’s emphasis on radically curving lines and utilized naturalistic Art Nouveau design elements.
Art historians believe that the American Arts and Crafts movement influenced the European Art Nouveau movement. Art Nouveau pieces, including Art Nouveau pottery, are thought to have been influenced the influx of Japanese artworks into Europe during the 19th century. While the pieces produced these movements were frequently utilitarian in nature, they were also designed for aesthetic pleasure. Handcrafted pieces were common in these styles. Though the Art Nouveau movement’s craftspeople believed in bringing aesthetic beauty into everyday life, they did not consider hand-crafting to be necessary.