Art Nouveau, or New Art, is an international artistic style popular from the 1890’s to just before World War I. It is also known as Modern Style (England), Glasgow Style or Jugendstil (Germany), La Stile Liberty (Italy), Sezessionstil (Austria), and Tiffany (America) style. In America, it was sometimes linked as part of the Arts and Crafts movement.
The new art movement had its roots in Great Britain, with the floral designs of William Morris and soon spread across Europe. Showcased at the Paris 1900 Exposition, over 50 million people were exposed to this new art form.
This New Art style was an attempt to get away from the historic styles of the 19th century. Unlike the ornate Victorian style, Art Nouveau stresses curved lines, natural arches, and organic themes.
The style was inspired by nature and was a means of harmonizing architecture with the natural environment. Art Nouveau designs include natural elements such as flowers, plants, vines, and insects.
Many proponents of the style believed function should dictate form. Art Nouveau was seen as a revival of classic Gothic style by many designers.
This short-lived style was replaced by the Art Deco style just after World War I and then Modernism. Art Nouveau style experienced a revival in the 1960’s and still has its followers today.
Famed Art Nouveau proponents included Louis Comfort Tiffany, known for his beautiful glass designs, William Morris, and the painter Gauguin.
Van Dyke’s Restorers, as one of the industry’s largest sellers of vintage and period style hardware and wood, has a number of Art Nouveau-themed items including cabinet knobs & pulls, shelf brackets, door knockers, hooks, corbels, table legs, and lamps.