Art Nouveau (aʁ nuvo, Anglicised to ˈɑːrt nuːˈvoʊ) is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art, especially the decorative arts. It was most prevalent among mainstream artists during 1890–1910, but it enjoyed a distinct resurgence in the hippy era of the 1960s and 1970s.
A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plants but also in curved lines.
The hippy movement's use of Art Nouveau design was often fairly conventional, although the subject matter was not always so. But posters that give the names and dates and venues of bands and their concerts are not merely images; they are also conveying a written message, and hippy posters changed the style of Art Nouveau lettering dramatically.
Art Nouveau posters, by their nature a fusion of design and calligraphy, apply its harmonious aesthetic to both. But the early movement never foresaw the lengths to which underground and hippy art took calligraphy. Hippy calligraphy expands like balloons to fill the available space, it shivers and wobbles and stretches; informed by the same minds' eye as the Art Nouveau of the early decades, its vision is from a vantage point far removed.
The style was influenced strongly by Czech artist Alphonse Mucha, when Mucha produced a lithographed poster, which appeared on 1 January 1895 in the streets of Paris as an advertisement for the play Gismonda by Victorien Sardou, featuring Sarah Bernhardt. It popularised the new artistic style and its creator to the citizens of Paris. Initially named Style Mucha, (Mucha Style), his style soon became known as Art Nouveau.
Art Nouveau was also a style of distinct individuals such as Gustav Klimt, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alphonse Mucha, René Lalique, Antoni Gaudí and Louis Comfort Tiffany, each of whom interpreted it in their own manner.
Art Nouveau was most popular in Europe, but its influence was global. Hence, it is known in various guises with frequent localised tendencies.
The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art". It is known also as Jugendstil, (ˈjuːɡn̩tʃtiːl), German for "youth style", named after the magazine Jugend, which promoted it, as Modern (Модерн) in Russia, perhaps named after Parisian gallery "La Maison Moderne", as Secession in Austria-Hungary and its successor states after the Viennese group of artists, and, in Italy, as Stile Liberty from the department store in London, Liberty & Co., which popularised the style.
Art Nouveau became assimilated into Art Deco, which attempted to blend the curves of Art Nouveau with straight lines. Architects tried to harmonize with the natural environment, but Art Nouveau was less often interpreted in the form of architecture. The straight lines of Deco, however, made it suitable to take over architecture for decades.
- ↑ Duncan (1994), 7.
- ↑ Sterner (1982), 6.
- ↑ http://www.trueartworks.com/poster.php/0000-0086
- ↑ An Introduction to the Work of Alphonse Mucha and Art Nouveau, lecture by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC. This document is in the public domain and may be used by anyone, in whole or in part, without permission and without charge, provided the source is acknowledged.
- ↑ Duncan (1994), 34.
- ↑ Michèle Lavallée, "Art Nouveau", Wikipedia:Grove Dictionary of Art, Wikipedia:Oxford University Press [accessed 11 April 2008].
- ↑ Duncan, 1; 23–24.