Art Nouveau

 

Art Nouveau most popular between 1890 and 1910, was an art movement that celebrated a new century, it was the total/ Gesamtkunstwerk art style that showcased a new modern century. The ideas that inspired Art Nouveau and its symbolism were based on nature, sensuality, female form, prostitution, and exploring the dark side of human nature. Art Nouveau became a mass produced, household style that incorporated all areas of design from jewellery, architecture,  furniture, fashion, and graphic arts.

 

theatre poster created by Alfonz Mucha
Sarah Bernhardt poster created by Alfonz Mucha, represents the Art Nouveau movement and showcases its symbolisms and motifs.

The artist in particular that realised the potential of art nouveau graphics and 2d arts was Alfonz Mucha, he was commissioned to design the poster for Sarah Bernhardts play,  and the final design represented everything Art Nouveau.

Critical essay written by Adolf Looz
Critical essay written by Adolf Looz

However although this modern art style was mass produced and very popular, some artists did not appreciate the new century ‘showcase’ art movement. Adolf Looz was an Austrian architect and very critical of the art nouveau style, writing an essay called Ornament and Crime, he refers to the style as being similar to degeneracy and crime. He expresses the idea that art nouveau is ornamentation and it is “no longer a product of our nature”.  The essay is important in articulating moralising views .

The Movement also had a vast impact on spatial and interior design, it was a ‘total’ art style that was incorporated into every aspect of design. Shops were fitted out in the Art Nouveau style treated to showcase the products just as it showcases the new modern century. Using modern and original materials such as glass, marble, lighting, exotic woods. Interiors were very stylised, unrealistic and dream like.

Dreamlike interiors were decedent, glamorous and original.
Dreamlike interiors were decedent, glamorous and original.

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