Art Nouveau

What is Art Nouveau?

An old trend is coming back into fashion. Art Nouveau was popular in the 1910s. It is sometimes compared to Art Deco, but they are quite different. Both are a style of art, architecture and design that was popular in the first half of the twentieth century. One example of Art Deco is the Empire State Building in New York. Another prominent style of modern art deco is retro modern furniture, popularized by online stores such as this one. Also we have the building that houses Selfridge’s in London. Art Deco comprises stark, straight edges and usually the colours black and gold.

A brief history of Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau became popular in response to a collective desire to shrug off the stiffness of the Victorian era.

However, as well as being popular in the early twentieth century, it was also the height of fashion in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and went hand in hand with the hippy movement. The font on advertising for psychedelic musical concerts and festivals was inspired by Art Nouveau. In recent years, especially this year, it seems the popularity of Art Nouveau has come back again. The Isle of Wight Music Festival continues to use Art Nouveau in its advertising and merchandise.

Art Nouveau furniture was most prolifically produced from the late nineteenth century to the beginning of the First World War.

What Art Nouveau looks like

Art Nouveau is more about nature, about organic, natural lines, plants, fruit, roots and flowers, earth mamas. Famous examples of the architecture from this movement include many of the entrances to the Metro in Paris, France. However, Art Nouveau is more centred around furniture than art, whereas Art Deco is more about architecture.

Above is a fantastic example of Art Nouveau furniture. Wood was a key feature in Art Nouveau, marquetry was a famous art technique of the era, inlaying artistically carved pieces of different colours of wood into larger pieces of wood, in bureaus, floors and dressers.

Art Nouveau artwork

With regards to art, the most famous Art Nouveau painter has to be Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). A lot of mugs featuring his artwork are available to buy in shops right now for very reasonable prices. However the artist whose work is most associated with Art Nouveau is the relatively little-known Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939). His work typically features sensual ladies surrounded by flowers.

An Alphonse Mucha piece

Having Art Nouveau artwork in your home will put you at the forefront of interior design fashion as well as brighten up your surroundings!


Having a parquet floor would definitely make your home an Art Nouveau palace, as it is what was used for the marquetry Art Nouveau was famed for.

Tiffany Lamp

For a final flourish in your design, add a Tiffany Lamp, a classic stained glass lampshade


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