Essay on Art Nouveau: A British Design Movement

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Essay on Art Nouveau: A British Design Movement
Defining the movement
Art Nouveau, refers to the movement of the artists where there were completely different and unique forms of art developed across Europe and United States. It started in 1880 in London and gained significant importance and popularity in 1890. It survived till the First World War and then it was gradually eradicated from the artistic works that were considered significant. The designs that were made in the Art Nouveau style were different from the traditional form of arts that has been prevailing since a long time in the history of art. But, the artists developed a new art where they focused on the natural aspect of being and they hardly referred to any form of art that was belonging to the past. It has been observed that these art style or art movement was known by different names in different countries of Europe like “Stile Floreale” in Italy, “Jugendstil” in Germany, “Modernismo” in Spain and “Sezessionstil” in Austria”. There is a gallery in Paris where they had coined the term Art Nouveau and they displayed most of the parts of this style of art through works from different artists (APPARTMENTTHERAPY.COM, 2016).
The characteristics of the Art Nouveau style includes different elements that refer to different forms of life as well as its existence through them. It involves emphasizing on nature, where it may not include the natural landscapes and scenery only but also the very existence of humans and different objects that have been created for various purposes. It highlights a restructuring of the general framework that was followed in arts and developing new structures that imbibe creativity and at the same time retain the exquisite art that was represented during this era.
Art Nouveau style and movement had a great influence on the contemporary society. It created its impressions in different fields like architecture, graphical designs, Ornaments, Furniture, Walls, paintings, Tiles, Fireplaces and cultural artwork and crafts. It encouraged the artists to think out of the shell and explore their creativity without thinking about the art forms and designs that were used in the past. This led to the development of a completely original and unique art form through Art Nouveau and it inspired many artists across the world.
It inculcated various themes and subject like psychology, natural existence, symbols, vital forces of nature and different forms of life through the life cycles that consists of processes like being born, living, dying and decaying. These themes were greatly influenced by the creative and rational approach developed by the artists through the Art Nouveau movement. It helped in the creation of magnificent and state of the art kind of designs that have been preserved across several museums and exhibitions across the globe.
Art Nouveau had a huge influence on the natural existence of things. Its art form not only involved developing designs of extremely beautiful scenes but it involved developing designs of simple existing objects and making it look extremely beautiful. It was one of the most unique characteristic of Art Nouveau.
One of its very important source of inspiration serves to be the existence of nature where it not only involved considering the serene and calmness of the natural objects or sceneries but also the artificially created designs and objects that had a still and peace in it. One of such unique design has been shown in the following figure where a staircase displaying a state of its art kind of design has been shown. It is one of the most popular designs on architecture observed across the Art Nouveau movement.

There was a significant contribution on the design of the furniture and its preparation. There were many artistic lines that were asymmetric linear that looked classic. One of such intricate design is shown in the image below. It consists of an exclusive chair design that has been developed during the Art Nouveau period in Britain. It displays the base of the chair in the form of a stem and it justifies one very famous quote during that time that, “Reject the flower, seize the stem!” There were many such geometrical as well as organic linear lines developed throughout the design and they were used in the structure for different form of arts and other such purposes.

Designing glass and developing or inscribing various objects over it constituted a significant part of the Art Nouveau. There was a major contribution from the Emile Galle artist from France and Louis Comfort Tiffany, who was from America. They showed one of the important theme of Art Nouveau that tends to be metamorphosis. There was a great importance given to the dragon flies in the design and art that was made by the artists during the Art Nouveau period. One of such design showing a dragon fly inscribed on a glass designed during the Art Nouveau is shown in the figure below:

Few of the most famous and respected artists that had a significant contribution in the Art Nouveau movement were William Morris, Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautre, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and few artists from the British art movement include Aubrey Beardsley, A. H. Mackmurdo, Charles Ricketts and Walter Crane.
Historical events at that time and its influence on the style
Industrial revolution that was introduced in the late 17th century led to the development of European countries including the Britain and it spread to America. It had a great influence on the way of living of the people and other activities that were carried by them on daily basis. It left lasting impressions on the culture and art that was prevailing in these nations. It encouraged several new forms of art among the artists and Art Nouveau is one of the most important contribution by it. Thus, a major contribution in the art and designs of Art Nouveau was through the Industrial Revolution that brought huge changes in the lifestyle, approach and way of thinking of the people across the globe, especially in those countries that were a part of the Industrial revolution.
There was formation of allies between Germany, Austria and Italy and it is known as the Triple Alliance in 1882. This led to the foundation of World War I. Then, there was the initial phase of World War I that led to the complete destruction of the Art Nouveau across the European countries including Britain, Germany and France as well as from America.

APPARTMENTTHERAPY.COM. (2016). Quick History: Art Nouveau. Retrieved from


Posted on

March 10, 2018

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