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Art Nouveau Paintings

The Kiss By Gustav Klimt

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Lady with Fan By Gustav Klimt

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Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer By Gustav Klimt

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Le Chat Noir By Steinlen

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Water Serpents By Gustav Klimt

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Stoclet Frieze Mosaic By Gustav Klimt

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Four Seasons By Alphonse Mucha

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The Kiss By Gustav Klimt (long)

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Beech Grove By Gustav Klimt

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The Kiss By Gustav Klimt (square)

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Fulfillment, Stoclet Frieze By Gustav Klimt

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Stoclet Frieze - Expectation By Gustav Klimt

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Judith I By Gustav Klimt

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Sunflower By Gustav Klimt

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Dance By Alphonse Mucha

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Birds

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Alphonse Mucha - Zodiac

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The Rose by Alphonse Mucha

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Flowers By Alphonse Mucha

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La Dame Aux Camelias By Alphonse Mucha

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Music By Alphonse Mucha

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Frieze By Gustav Klimt By Gustav Klimt

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Vintage Door Collage (Square)

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Le Frou Frou

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Bieres de la Meuse By Alphonse Mucha

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Reverie By Alphonse Mucha

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Champenois By Alphonse Mucha

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Peonies by Alphonse Mucha

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Art Nouveau Prints

Translating to “New Art” in French, Art Nouveau is recognisable by its ornamental style and expressive nature. You’ll find your muse in our timeless collection of European prints. Art Nouveau was originally used to describe the movement in form of a collective of artists in Europe in 1895 that saw a break-away from the Victorian style of the times. Art Nouveau paintings began and developed throughout Europe a distinctive style that was defined by their expressiveness, coordination of art and design, and championing of functional design into the objects of everyday life. Although seen retrospectively as a brief but spectacular period, Art Nouveau prints are considered the first form to cast aside any concept of hierarchy in art styles. Engaging an affinity for the natural world, stylised line work and the feminine form, Art Nouveau art blazed its own path to influence many of the greatest contemporary pieces we know today.


What is Art Nouveau?

The term Art Nouveau emerged in Belgium in 1884 to describe a group of twenty artists looking to break away from the classical and historical style of art. The group was called Les Vingts, and its members were painters and sculptors who looked to break the barriers between fine art and decorative arts, which, at the time, was believed to be a lesser form of art. Truly innovative in its pursuit, Art Nouveau was interested in integrating art with everyday life, resulting in a treasure trove of production. This style of art could be found in train stations, book covers, tea rooms, and in other public and private spaces across Europe and the United States.


Characteristics of Art Nouveau Paintings

Art Nouveau is characterised by flowing lines, geometric forms, floral ornaments, and symbolic figures. It is best known for sourcing subject matter from nature. The figures represented in Art Nouveau include women who looked like the pre-Raphaelite figures, elongated and beautiful. Other typical subject matters are flowers and insects. The movement is also known for its heavy use of flowing lines, which are often curvy, graceful, natural rather than angular and stiff. Not everyone was a fan of Art Nouveau, and it was heavily criticised for its excessive use of lavish decoration and elaborate style.


Art Nouveau Artists

Alphonse Mucha

Alphonse Mucha was a Czechian artist known primarily for the poster art he created between 1895 and 1900. Even though Mucha didn’t see himself as an Art Nouveau artist, his work strongly influenced the movement. He created commercial posters which heavily featured women as the subject. Some of them were actresses he portrayed in the characters they played, and other times he depicted women as symbols, motifs, and allegories. These women had a distinct look and style about them, always sensual, elegant, with long flowing hair, and came to be known as the ‘Mucha woman’.

Theophile Steinlen

Like Mucha, the Swiss-born French artist Theophile Steinlen was best known for his Art Nouveau posters. However, these posters also depicted a sleek black cat. Steinlen’s affection towards cats may have been one reason why he included them so much in his art, another reason would be that cats were symbolic of a bohemian lifestyle. This added more meaning to Steinlen’s art as he was intent on creating work that resonated with the working class. Steinlen, like Alphonse Mucha, was one of the leading poster artists in Paris.

Antoni Gaudi

If ever you were to step into Barcelona, you wouldn’t have to visit the national museum to find the work of Antoni Gaudi. You’d just hit the streets. Gaudi’s innovative architecture was inspired by nature and his Catholic faith. His architectural building, La Sagrada Familia, has been under construction since 1882 and attracts hordes of tourists year-round.

Gustav Klimt

Before Gustav Klimt made enemies in Austria by painting The Kiss (1908), he was known for his decorative paintings depicting historical scenes and figures. Klimt used females figures in his Art Nouveau paintings. His ‘golden period paintings’ are also considered to be leading examples of Art Nouveau.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Before Alphonse Mucha and Theophile Steinlen, commercial advertising elevated to the level of art thanks to the art of Frenchman Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The talented Toulouse-Lautrec was associated with both the Art Nouveau style and Post-Impressionism. His best-known posters are those he created for the cabaret club Moulin Rouge. His artworks depicted scenes of bohemian life in Paris.


Artworks of Art Nouveau

La Sagrada Familia (1882-) Antoni Gaudi

Before Antoni Gaudi could see the completion of La Sagrada Familia, he was accidentally killed in 1926. Interestingly though, Gaudi took on the project of constructing the cathedral knowing he would not live to see its completion. This is because the architectural project, commissioned by the church to create a cathedral, is Gaudi’s magnum opus. The Sagrada Familia wasn’t intended to be a Gaudi project because when the plans for the basilica were beginning to sprout, Gaudi was an up-and-coming architect with no finished buildings on his resume. He was offered the job of building La Sagrada Familia in 1883, at 31 years old, after the first architect was fired. In 1909, he stopped pursuing any side projects and commissions and focused his attention entirely on the basilica.

At the Moulin Rouge (1892-1895) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

One of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s early contributions to Art Nouveau was the painting At the Moulin Rouge. The painting depicts a night scene at the cabaret club, which opened in Paris in 1889. Toulouse-Lautrec also produced posters for the Moulin Rouge, a cabaret club he frequented. Toulouse even painted himself in the scene of At the Moulin Rouge, showing him sitting at a table with his physician cousin enjoying the spectacle of the night.

Gismonda (1894) Alphonse Mucha

A lithograph poster of a costumed Sarah Bernhardt was created by Alphonse Mucha in anticipation of Bernhardt’s new theatrical play, Gismonda. The poster has all the elements of the Art Nouveau style, thanks to the elaborate floral pattern design on the costume, and Bernhardt’s elongated and sensual figure. The poster, which was glued onto walls across Paris, made Mucha an overnight success.


Is there a difference between Art Nouveau and Art Deco?

Art Deco developed after Art Nouveau and was characterised by its sleek, geometric shapes rather than soft, flowing lines. While Art Nouveau ended at the outbreak of World War One, Art Deco reacted against Art Nouveau. Some of the famous works of Art Deco are the Chrysler Building (architecture), Lady with Panther (1914) by George Barbier, and Rockwell Kent’s Art in the Tropics (1938).


Sources

www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/artn/hd_artn.htm

www.europeana.eu/en/exhibitions/art-nouveau-a-universal-style/origins-of-art-nouveau

www.invaluable.com/blog/baroque-art-rococo-art/

www.europeana.eu/en/exhibitions/art-nouveau-a-universal-style/origins-of-art-nouveau

www.madaboutthehouse.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-art-nouveau/

www.federation-house.com/art-nouveau

www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-tortured-136-year-history-building-gaudis-sagrada-familia#:%7E:text=By%20the%20first%20decade%20of,full%20attention%20to%20the%20basilica.

www.metmuseum.org/blogs/now-at-the-met/2017/theophile-alexandre-steinlen-cats-socialism-world-war-i

www.invaluable.com/blog/art-nouveau-artists/

historylists.org/art/7-greatest-art-nouveau-masterpieces.html

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