Art Nouveau (New Art in French) is an art school that took place during the second half of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century, a period known in Europe as Belle Époque.
The style is considered a full art style, as it covers several artistic areas such as architecture, furniture, decoration, paintings, graphic arts, jewelry, textiles, ceramics, stained glass, among others.
The origin of the movement is European, but not centered on a single country, having started with architecture in Belgium and graphic arts in Great Britain, for example. In every corner of the western world, where it had the greatest influence, it received a different name, was influenced by several local artists, and applied in all art media.
It had the Pre Raphaelite style as its predecessor and the Art Deco style as its successor. In architecture, it is considered the style of transition from Historicism to Modernism.
Galleries, stores, magazines and art newspapers were responsible for the spread of Art Nouveau throughout Europe, and the style was baptized differently in each country. The most well-known names are:
Art Nouveau, coming from a French gallery called “Maison Art Nouveau”, that belonged to the art marchand Siegfried Bing.
In Germany, it was propagated by the art magazine Die Jugend, which baptized the style of Jugendstil (young style in German) and the Pan and Simplicissimus magazines.
In Italy, it became known as Stile Liberty, from the British department store Liberty.
Despite being adopted in each western country by different artists who applied local influences in their work, the style was the same overall.
The greatest influences were Japanese prints, the Arts and Crafts movement, and organic motifs of fauna and flora. It is also defined by the presence of many curves, animals, flowers and the female body.
In each area of art that it was applied, the style brought innovative changes. Because it is very organic, it became very expensive especially in architecture and furniture, since the works should be done by artists and artisans, and not by machines. With the turn of the century and the arrival of World War I, Art Nouveau lost strength and was replaced by Art Deco, which was more geometric.
Some of the artists who explored the Art Nouveau style were Gustav Klimt, Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
In fashion some of the fashion houses were the House of Worth, Poiret, Paquin, Fortuny, Soeurs and Doucet.
In Brazil, the style was specially represented by the Alvares Penteado family home, which was later donated to the University of São Paulo (USP) and became one of the buildings of the current Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (FAU USP).
The following are examples of Art Nouveau applied in different forms of art.
Bibliography: Allan, Georgina O’Hara; Fashion Encyclopedia: From 1840 to the 1990s: Companhia das Letras, 2010.