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The New Art – Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau, the international art movement and philosophy popular during the 1890s until the first world war, can be regarded as the inspiration for most modern architecture and design styles we see today.  What began as a rejection of the eclectic revival art forms of the 19th century, can be seen as a turning point in how we view, feel, and experience art and design.   This philosophy eventually led to the Arts and Crafts movement, but Art Nouveau differed in that it fully embraced the use of machines and new materials.  This was reflected in the use of exposed iron and large shapes of glass as well as the whiplash curves and motifs that are characteristic of the style.  Architects and Designers sought to harmonize the built environment with the natural environment; door frames and window moldings would curve and vine into flowers.  The famous Paris Metro entrance by Hector Guimard, uses lettering that mimics the qualities represented through the structure.

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Paris Metro Entrance by Hector Guimard

Art Nouveau was an all-encapsulating philosophy for modernist thinking.  The idea of creating something new, designing buildings, using new techniques and materials for the service of design.  The Art Nouveau movement perceived Architecture and Interior Design as an abstract principle inspired by environmental elements rather than an imitation of historical forms.

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Nouveau Door, Paris; Hotel Tassel by Victor Horta; Casa Batllo by Antoni Gaudi

Around the start of World War I, Architects and Designers began using a less costly, more streamlined, geometric style which eventually became Art Deco.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Nouveau

http://www.amazon.com/History-Interior-Design-John-Pile/dp/0470228881

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