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Art Nouveau has made itself know and present
from 1880s to 1910s. This movement walked under the flag of an art that
would break all connections to classical times, and bring down the
barriers between the fine arts and applied arts. Art Nouveau was more
than a mere style. It was a way of thinking about modern society and new
production methods. It was an attempt to redefine the meaning and nature
of the work of art. From that time on, it was the duty of art not to
overlook any everyday object, no matter how utilitarian it might be.
This approach was considered completely new and revolutionary, thus the
New Art - Art Nouveau name.
An artist should work on everything from architecture to furniture design so that art would become a part of everyday life. By making beauty and harmony a part of everyday life, artists make people's lives better. This approach has been represented in painting, architecture, furniture, glassware, graphic design, jewelry, pottery, metalwork, and textiles and sculpture. Advertising posters were welcomed into art, and fence has been proclaimed a suitable exhibition place for this new art. This was a sharp contrast to the traditional separation of art into the distinct categories of fine art (painting and sculpture) and applied arts (ceramics, furniture, and other practical objects).
Because of typical flat, decorative patterns used in all art forms, Art Nouveau obtained a nickname 'the noodle style' in French, 'Le style nouilles'. Visual standards of the Art Nouveau style are flat, decorative patterns, intertwined organic forms of stems or flowers. Art Nouveau emphasized handcrafting as opposed to machine manufacturing, the use of new materials. Although curving lines characterize Art Nouveau, right-angled forms are also typical, especially as the style was practiced in Scotland and in Austria. Typical for this style was artistic application of modern industrial techniques and modern materials (unmasked iron in architecture for example). Principal subjects are lavish birds and flowers, insects and polyformic femme fatale. Abstract lines and shapes are used widely as a filling for recognizable subject matter. Purposeful elimination of three-dimensions is often applied through reduced shading. Art Nouveau artifacts are beautiful objects of art, but not necessarily very functional.
Art Nouveau flourished in a number of European countries, many of which developed their own names for the style. Art Nouveau was known in France as style Guimard, after French designer Hector Guimard; in Italy as the stile Floreale (floral style); stile Liberty, after British Art Nouveau designer Arthur Lasenby Liberty; in Spain as Modernisme; in Austria as Sezessionstil (Vienna Secession); and in Germany as Jugendstil.
Art Nouveau had its deepest influence on 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.