Art Nouveau / Jugendstil (1890-1914)

Art Nouveau generated supporters in graphic arts and architecture all over the world, appearing in several trends such as, Jugendstil in Germany.

Lithographic poster by Mucha, Dancel (1898).
Lithographic poster by Mucha, Dancel (1898).

Image source: https://www.theeagleonline.com/article/2008/02/art-nouveau-captures-everyday-beauty

Art Nouveau Architecture in the World

Art Nouveau architecture was used in many important in shaping the identity of many cities all over Europe, because of its size and appearance. It is still visible today in buildings and houses or great institutional and commercial stuctures.


Hotel Tassel, Brussels.
Hotel Tassel, Brussels.

Victor Horta, for example, designed Hotel Tassel,  and the Maison du Peuple, in Brussels. The Hotel Tassel is often considered the first Art Nouveau building. In this townhouse projected for one of his usual professional clients from the 1890s. Here Horta combined the twin themes of nature and industry in an interesting way.

Maison du Peuple, Brussels.
Maison du Peuple, Brussels.

The main achievement of Horta’s career was the Maison du Peuple in Brussels, the new headquarters of the Belgian Workers’ Party. It was in several ways a temple of Socialism, as the Maison du Peuple was a structure that could be found in many European countries. Maisons du Peuple was useful in various communal functions for working-class citizens.

Images source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/351351208428918469/

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/326511041735916874/

In France, Art Nouveau-style of the nineteenth century architecture was officially approved by the State when Guimard worked at the Paris Metro stations creating elaborate fusions of iron and glass to recall large bean shoots and seed-pods. Hector Guimard approved Horta’s work in Brussels triying to extend its radical disruption in architectural behaviours and tastes. His works were useful in shaping Montreal’s metro stations entrances.

Montreal's Metro station with parts designed by Guimard.
Montreal’s Metro station with parts designed by Guimard.

Image source: https://www.metrodemontreal.com/art/guimard/metro.html

In America one of the first skyscrapers built in the world, the Wainwright Building, by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler can be considered a prototype of the modern office. The Guaranty Building, opened in 1896, is one of Sullivan’s masterpieces and is an extraordinary example of innovation. In the 1890s, a steel skeleton skyscraper was unknown, new and unique. Many early skyscrapers were heavily influenced from traditional European designs.

Wainwright Building, by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.
Wainwright Building, by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler.

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/6403624449756970/

Art Nouveau Characteristics

This style creates a contrast in a world of art dominated by the rigour and geometry of Neoclassical patterns. It sought a new graphic design language, as far away as possible from classical models designed by the arts academies. Here are the main features of Art Nouveau:

  • Extreme Curves inspired by nature;
  • Images of flowers, plants, birds or insects and carvings;
  • Patterns of Curving Lines;
  • Use of symbols.
Butterfly chairs.
Butterfly chairs.

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/509469776580742196/

Jugendstil and its Artists

The Jugendstil movement was founded by a many new pubblications addressing both fine and applied arts, such as Pan and Die Jugend. Jugendstil lived two phases: an early one, before 1900, principally floral in character, and a later, more abstract phase, coming out of the Viennese works of Henry van de Velde. Here are the most famous artists:

  • Otto Eckmann was a designer,who created the Eckmann typeface, based on Japanese calligraphy. His influence on the German movement was the swan used as the leitmotif.
  • Richard Riemerschmid designed the factory for Hellerau (now part of Dresden). As an architect, he is known particularly for his houses.
  • Hermann Obrist studied natural sciences but becoming an artist moved to the Kunstgewerbeschule to become important sculptor, known for his wall hanging Cyclamen.
1896 edition cover of Jugend.
1896 edition cover of Jugend.

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/133841420159709776/

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau

Leave a Reply