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Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau Art Nouveau style is synonymous with sinuous, organic forms, combining the sensual, the fantastic and the natural world, as epitomized by the Art Nouveau maiden with her tumbling locks and sweeping, diaphanous robes.

The style developed from c.1890 to 1914, adopting the name from a Parisian shop, Maison de l'Art Nouveau, opened in 1895 by Samuel Bing, whose one of the style's leading exponents.

Art Nouveau The style was named differently in each country: in Holland it was Nieuwe Kunst; in Germany it was known as 'Jugendstil' ('youth culture'); the Spanish called it 'Modernista'; and the Italians adopted the term 'Stile Liberty' after the London store.

The main cultural influences for Art Nouveau sprung from Symbolist painting and literature, the Arts and Crafts movement, Japanese art, the Rococo period and the Gothic Revival.

Art Nouveau Nature was the unifying theme. Louis Comfort Tiffany represented it literally in his 'Wisteria' lamp. Nature's special effects were interpreted too in the Iridescent glass developed by Tiffany and Loetz-Witwe. Émile Gallé and Daum Frères were the leading names in glass-making.

Art Nouveau Furniture designers incorporated elaborate inlays using exotic materials, although the most powerful pieces use the organic form in their structure rather than as decoration. Glass-maker Gallé developed his exquisite designs into furniture, excelling in the use of Marquetry.

Art Nouveau The organic, sinuous images of Art Nouveau interpreted beautifully into jewellery design, as epitomized by the work of Rene Lalique.

Other major designers in the Art Nouveau style include: Hector Guimard, who designed the sinuous cast iron entrances to the Paris Métro; and Louis Majorelle, renowned for his furniture designs.

Art Nouveau The Art Nouveau style lent itself to some extraordinary architecture: Archibald Knox and J.S. Henry in England, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Macdonald sisters in Scotland, Belgian architects Victor Horta and Henry Van Der Velde, Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte in Austria, German architects Richard Riemerschmid and August Endell, Louis Sullivan in the US, and Antoni Gaudi in Spain, all explored and developed the style.

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