What Was the Art Nouveau Period?

From about 1895 to about 1915, the Art Nouveau period was a time when artists created a new style that was most famously reflected in jewelry, furniture, interior design, and architecture. Many everyday objects, such as cutlery and dinnerware, were designed in the Art Nouveau style during this time because the school’s artists wanted to combine artistic sensibilities with practicality. Long, flowing lines, an emphasis on natural objects, and an obsession with the feminine figure are all hallmarks of Art Nouveau works. Color schemes were typically understated, with dull shades of green, brown, and yellow paired with purple, lavender, and blue.

The Art Nouveau school of art was most popular in England, Germany, and France, with each country developing its own style of Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau paintings in France are known for their use of lines to create figures, particularly plants and feminine figures. Female figures, particularly those with long flowing hair, were a popular addition to Art Nouveau works. Clean lines were used to form Celtic-inspired patterns in British Art Nouveau pieces, which drew inspiration from the country’s pre-Roman heritage.

Nature and the natural world are prominent themes in many Art Nouveau works. Advances in botany, according to art historians, encouraged the creation of artistically inspired housewares, jewelry, furnishings, and architectural flourishes that paid homage to the natural world throughout the 19th century. As a result, many Art Nouveau pieces feature flowing, rococo-inspired designs that include flowers, snakes, and insects. Orchids, poppies, and irises, as well as dragonflies, birds, and butterflies, were frequently featured in Art Nouveau designs.

Many of the consumer goods available in the late nineteenth century were strictly utilitarian, mass-produced, and unimaginative, and craftsmen working during the Art Nouveau period rebelled against this. At the time, mass production of consumer goods was in its infancy, and many Art Nouveau craftsmen believed that these early mass-produced goods lacked aesthetic beauty. Rather, the rococo artworks of the previous century influenced the Art Nouveau period’s works. Because Japanese art was very popular in Europe during the early nineteenth century, many people believe that Japanese artistic influences can be seen in Art Nouveau pieces.