The Art Nouveau Movement
By Russell Shortt
Art Nouveau was an international style of architecture and decoration beginning in the 1880s and 1890s; it derived it's moniker from the Maison de l'Art Nouveau, an interior design gallery which opened in Paris in 1896. The term describes the flowing organic forms of the decorative arts which flourished in France and was heavily present in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Holland as well as making it's way across the Atlantic to America. The movement wished to turn away from the rigid aestheticism and oppressive historicism that defined the Victorian era and embrace a new approach. It's roots lay in a large number of diverse sources such as Japonisme, Rococo, Celtic Revival and had links to the contemporary Symbolist movement. Interestingly, the forms of the movement were disseminated through magazines and shops.
Art Nouveau had a massive scope, ardent followers of the movement viewed it as a complete way of life, a method of breaking all links with the classical past. Art Nouveau reached a high point at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris which exhibited the new style in every medium - painting, architecture, furniture, glassware, graphic design, jewellery, pottery, metalwork, and textiles and sculpture. However, by the beginning of World War One, the highly stylised nature of Art Nouveau design was abandoned mainly due to how expensive it was to produce; instead the cheaper, more streamlined modernism began to be favoured. However, Art Nouveau influenced a variety of art and design movements that continued to explore integrated design, including De Stijl, a Dutch design movement in the 1920s, and the German Bauhaus school in the 1920s and 1930s.
Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt, http://www.exploringireland.net
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