Art Nouvea - The Past and the Present

Art Nouveau BoudoirArt Nouveau was a decorative art that translated into art, architecture, clothing and design that was prominent from the late 1800s until World War 1.  It featured flowing designs with curves based on natural forms. It was distinguished by its asymmetrical line.

As with any style that was in fashion, it did not just ‘end’ one day.  Although it was replaced with modernism and Art Deco, it’s flawless style hung on into the 1930s and even later. In fact the Art Nouveau style was revived in the 1960s.

Art Nouveau LampA good example is the lamp of of the dancing couple.  It was made in the late 30s, early 40s and therefore falls directly into the Art Deco period but is it Art Deco or is it a leftover from the Art Nouveau period?  In looking at the asymmetrical lines and the flowing design, it has the look and feel of Art Nouveau.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Musèe National d’Art Modern presented major expositions in the lat 50s, early 60s.  Up until that point the Art Nouveau period had been viewed as a passing fad but with the expositions in the 1960s , it became a major Modern Art movement of the late 19th century. 

In the 60’s the flowery organic lines of Art Nouveau were revived as a new phychedelic style in fashion, typography, art, and commercial advertising.

Art Nouveau Ceramic VAseOn the flip side of the tradition period of style is the current generation. It seems that whether a style is ‘in’ or ‘out’ does not make a bit of difference to the modern generation.  Those fads are for the old folks.  The current eclectic tastes span all art periods and even mixing the eras.  It makes for a fascinating and a uniquely personal lifestyle.

The Art Nouveau of old is probably appreciated more by the female population. It’s soft and sensual. It speaks to the heart of life. It brings emotion and creates mood.  A carefully placed piece of Art Nouveau brings joy.  It can bring a piece of simple beauty to a room.  It can be anything as long as it speaks to the heart.

So, what type of Art Nouveau speaks to you?  Do you have a favorite piece?


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Daye is an avid collector and researcher of all things vintage.

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