Art Nouveau & Art Deco

Hi my little bloggers!! Today I would like to share some very interesting information with you about Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Not only telling you about the difference between the above mentioned but also how these movements contributed to design and art history. On a daily basis we are continuously surrounded with images/visuals, without it maybe crossing our minds of how these images impact our daily lives….

With this blog I’m also going to discuss the contemporary impact that these movements have on some aspects in our lives.

But before we go on and discuss these impacts, you my little bloggers would certainly want to know the difference between these two movements and what made them so different from other movements.

Firstly we are going to look at Art Nouveau, this movement/style aimed at creating styles of design more appropriate to the modern age. The philosophy of this style was in favor of applying artistic designs to everyday objects, in order to make beautiful things available to everyone. This movements reaction was caused because the world of art was dominated by the precise geometry of Neoclassical forms. As you can see in the images below, this style is all about nature, with flowing lines, arched lines, violent curves, new materials and images of birds, flowers, insects and plants. With their work they moved away from classical restrictions. Meaning that they didn’t limited their art.

It was also characterized by a belief that all of life was art, and because of this belief all of life should be treated as an art form. And when you come to think of it, it is exactly what we odd to do. In this modern age we live in today, we take the things around us for granted and don’t always see the beauty within them and their worth.

Now we get to Art Deco, which had no philosophical basis, is was purely decorative. This style is also a form of modernism that took place in the 1920’s and 1930’s. With their work they above all reflected modern technology. The designs was characterized by smooth lines, geometric shapes (including trapezoidal, zigzagged and triangular shapes), chevron patterns, stepped forms, curves and sunburst motifs. They also made use of bright colors, sometimes even garish colors.

In a way this style can be seen as a luxury one, because of their use of costly materials such as silver, crystal, ivory, jade and lacquer. Art Deco also influenced numerous design styles for example: Cubism, constructivism and futurism.

Styles that Art Deco influenced and their images

Cubism, here you can see the use of geometric forms, which art deco is also know for.

Constructivism where the machine-style forms are noticable.

Below is a few images of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, just so you can get the feel of these movements and what they were all about. And just so you can see and recognize the difference between them.



Now that you’ve experienced what these two styles are all about, I am going to mention their insights and approaches they had on design.

Art Nouveau was the first style of commercial art that used consistenty to enhance the beauty of industrial products. It is clear that Art Nouveau aimed at modernizing design, seeking to escape the eclectic historical styles that had previously been popular namely: Fauvism, Impressionism, Neo-Classical and Realism.





These artists of this style wanted to create a new style of design that was more appropriate for the modern age. In many ways this style was a response to the Industrial Revolution. The main reason this style was committed was because they wanted to completely break away from the traditional hierarchy of the arts. In other words a rebellion against Victorian Sensibility (It is a keen intellectual perception and and the quality of being affected by changes in the environment). And because of this the movements modernism was established.

In that time art, such as paintings and sculptures were seen as superior to craft based decorative arts. And it is because of that reason that the practitioners of Art Nouveau sought to revive workmanship, raise the status of craft and produce modern design. They formed a belief that the function of an object should estimate its form. In other words, Art Nouveau forms and lines were often invented rather than copied from nature or the past. This abstraction of natural forms pointed towards modernism. As mentioned in the beginning the idea behind the art and design of this style was to make it form part of the everyday life. It is obvious that they had a more widespread meaning of ‘beautiful’ design. Adding to this statement, they did not diminish the value of the machine or mass-production, but instead took advantage of many technological innovations from the 19th century.

To put it in a nutshell, the creators of the Art Nouveau was determined to push beyond the bounds of historcism, that exaggerated concern with the notions of the past which characterizes the greater part of the 19th century design. In the end it comes down to the fact that they had a fresh analyses of function and a close study of natural forms, a new aesthetic.

In the following few paragraphs I will be discussing the insights and approaches of Art Deco on design.

It is said that Art Deco was the most fashionable international design movement in modern art from 1925 until the 1940’s. Just like the earlier styles such as Art Nouveau, Art and Crafts movement and the Bauhaus Design School concept, Art Deco embraced all types of art. This included crafts as well as fine arts. This style was applied to decorative art like interior design, furniture, jewelry, textiles, fashion, industrial design, architecture, visual art, graphics and poster design. Though Art Deco objects were rarely mass produced, the characteristic features of the style reflected admiration for the modernity of the machine and for the inherent design qualities of machine made objects.

When we look at their architecture during that time, we can see that they represented scientific progress, the consequent rise of commerce, technology and speed. This, together with its image as a modern, opulent style, made Art Deco designs especially suitable for the interiors of cinemas and architecture of train stations. This look signalled something of a return of the symmetry and simplicity of Neoclassicism, but without its classical regularity. When looking at these designs, practicality and simplicity comes to mind.

The structure of Art Deco is founded on mathematical geometric shapes which drew equally on Greco-Roman Classicism, the faceted architectural forms of Babylon, Assyria, Ancient Egypt and Aztec Mexico. To me this is a very interesting fact about Art Deco, they introduced exotic items like shark-skin and zebra-skin used on furniture, textile etc. Just as Art Nouveau, this style also sought to inspire all forms of arts and crafts. It has had a marked influence on contemporary art and design.


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