Art Nouveau

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The Art Nouveau or Art Nouveau is an art historical epoch at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century. Movements that can be assigned to Art Nouveau are the reform style (after the reform movement ), the Secession style (after the Vienna Secession ), modernism (based on Catalonia), in Russia modern , Czech Secese , Slovak Secesia , Polish Secesja , Hungarian Szecesszió . In addition to the predominant expression Art nouveau in French, English and Italian, Modern Style is also used in English and Floreale or Liberty in Italian . In terms of time, Art Nouveau belongs to the fin de siècle .

Elvira court atelier for entrepreneurs Anita Augspurg and Sophia Goudstikker , designed by August Endell (photo around 1900), Munich
Heinrich Puchtas - Spiritual songs and poems, Ansbach, 1908.jpg
Heinrich Puchta - Sacred songs and poems , Ansbach, 1908
Golther Der Nibelunge Not Einbandbild.jpg
Wolfgang Golther : The Nibelunge Nôt , Göschen Collection , Leipzig, 1907

Book decoration : title with floral borders

Origin of the expression

The term Art Nouveau goes back to the illustrated cultural magazine Jugend founded by Georg Hirth in Munich at the end of 1895 and is to be understood as a counter-movement of young artists and artisans to backward-looking historicism , but also to industrialization, which is understood as soulless . The focus is on new materials, such as concrete or iron, and new construction methods. It is only in use in German-speaking countries, the Netherlands , Hungary , the Nordic countries and Latvia .

From Art Nouveau was the first time in 1897 in the Thuringian-Saxon industrial and commercial exhibition Leipzig 1897 speech. For this purpose Paul Möbius designed the extraordinary Nietzschmann-Wommer exhibition pavilion; the pavilion was described as deviating from the traditional with daring, humorous and fantastic motifs that develop a certain momentum.

Initially, the terms Art Nouveau and Secession Style in the relevant magazines ( Decorative Art , authors: Hermann Muthesius , Julius Meier-Graefe ) were a critical label for the fashionable popularization of the new forms by industry, which, with their “cheap” arts and crafts mass production, individual works by Imitated artists like Henry van de Velde .

Features and programming

Art nouveau floral ornaments on a house facade

Outwardly distinctive parts or elements of Art Nouveau are decorative curved lines and large-scale floral ornaments.

With such formal classifications, however, it should not be overlooked that Art Nouveau was by no means a closed movement. It is a series of partly divergent currents in Europe, which at best really agreed in turning away from historicism , i.e. rejecting the previously common imitation of historically traditional forms.

Numerous artistic programs and manifestos are associated with Art Nouveau. As we understand it today, it also stands for large overall artistic designs, such as that of the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, in which everything from the exterior to the decorative interior was designed in a uniform manner. This also linked the demand for the great merging of “art and life”, the reintegration of art into everyday life in the sense of a comprehensive artistic redesign of all everyday things, with the decorative arts being given special weight. On this point, however, Art Nouveau tied in with historicism, which had already made the “Gesamtkunstwerk” a program. It was a programmatic counter-draft to the remoteness of auratic works of art in the sphere of so-called “high” or “visual arts”.

The Art Nouveau programmatic also included the requirement for functionality, i.e. that, for example, the functions of a building should visibly determine its design. The facades no longer had to be symmetrical and determined by axial divisions, but were allowed to follow a spatial concept developed from the floor plan.

Overall, the abandonment of historicist building forms and the intensive search for new decorative design options in architecture and applied arts are part of the declared program of many Art Nouveau artists. One of the central concerns of Art Nouveau was the so-called “modern” style, a “style of our own time”.

Historical development and distribution

In the German-speaking world, the origins of Art Nouveau lie primarily in three cities: in Vienna as an architectural reaction to the historicism of the Ringstrasse epoch, in Munich primarily in the field of interior design and applied arts, and in Darmstadt through the Darmstadt artists' colony, which was inspired by Great Britain .


Historically, Art Nouveau stands between historicism and modern art. This style lasted about 20 years. It can be understood as an answer to various developments of the 19th century:

  • the industrial revolution, and with it the advent of ornamented, machine-made, mass-produced goods in Victorian Britain.
  • Historicism in France during the so-called Belle Epoque , which in connection with the needs of the upper middle class escalated into “extravagance”. In a somewhat simpler form, historicism also dominated in southern Germany. In Austria, historicism was hegemonic in the last third of the century, and the Ringstrasse was built in this style . The associated painting style was already felt by contemporaries as emblematic , especially that of Hans Makart with his neo-baroque allegories .
  • In Munich, too, the art of painting dominated by the upper class , characterized and dominated by the Lenbach circle around the painter Franz von Lenbach .

The Arts and Crafts Movement in Britain

Despite the different names in the various countries, Art Nouveau must be understood as an international phenomenon that encompassed all of Western art. Its origin lies in the Arts and Crafts movement in Great Britain . The pioneers were the work artist William Morris , the architect Philip Webb , the art critic and social philosopher John Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood around the artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones . The latter is similar in some aspects to the Nazarene movement in German-speaking countries. In 1861 Morris, who was convinced that “all arts and crafts were in complete degeneration”, founded the company Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. with friends . From 1875 the company was called Morris & Co. The ideals of this workshop were simple beauty, usefulness and quality . Machine work was out of the question. The Morris wallpapers are still famous today . In 1891, Morris founded a bibliophile publishing company, the Kelmscott Press . This publisher's first book, The Story of Glittering Plain , with specially designed new techniques, materials and typefaces, was an overwhelming success with audiences.

In 1887, various artist-designers who felt committed to the arts and crafts founded the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society , which organized its first exhibition in 1888. Previously similar associations were formed, for example, in 1882 the Century Guild of Arthur Mackmurdo . 1888 was followed by School of Handicraft of Charles Robert Ashbee . Japanese style elements also found their way into European art via Great Britain and were to become formative components of Art Nouveau art. Large exhibitions of Japanese art took place in London in 1854 and 1862. In 1858 Great Britain signed a trade agreement with Japan. Japanese woodblock prints, furniture, ceramics and lacquerwork were imported into Great Britain in large numbers. Among those who were enthusiastic about this art was the designer and lecturer Christopher Dresser , who had a great influence on the movement with his craft designs, but above all with his books. In 1877 he traveled to Japan on behalf of the New York firm Tiffany.

Born in America, James McNeill Whistler , who has lived in London since 1859, was also one of the pioneers who popularized Japonism in Great Britain. Japanese woodblock prints were, in particular, the stylistic and technical model for Whistler's work.

Other protagonists are the architects and designers Ernest Gimson and Charles Voysey as well as the entrepreneur Sir Arthur Liberty and the artist Charles Ricketts . Oscar Wilde entrusted Ricketts with the illustration and production of the majority of his works.

Probably the most famous artist of the English Modern Style is the illustrator Aubrey Beardsley . The self-taught Beardsley was stylistically inspired by Burne-Jones, but above all by Whistler. Thematically enthusiastic and horrified Beardsley with his morbid, frivolous, artfully-cool chiselled graphics both his contemporaries and later viewers of his art up to the present day.

Distribution in Germany


Art Nouveau font

Art Nouveau emerged in Germany from local movements and artist avant-garde, which only came to a supra-regional exchange of ideas over the years and through the many newly founded art magazines.

The namesake of the movement, which was previously referred to as Art nouveau or Yachting Style in Germany , was the weekly artistic magazine Jugend , which was first published in Munich in May 1896. Other influential magazines are the Munich Simplicissimus and the Berlin magazine Pan .

One of the most active employees at Jugend und Pan was the painter and designer Otto Eckmann . Like his predecessors in Great Britain, he dealt intensively with Japanese art. He was particularly interested in the flat representation of nature motifs. His favorite animal, the swan, became one of the leitmotifs of Art Nouveau.


Other artists who contributed to Munich becoming one of the centers of Art Nouveau are:

  • Hermann Obrist , 1895 with its embroidery whip , a wall hanging, a Zyklame represents attracted great attention. In 1897, Obrist and friends, including Peter Behrens , founded the United Workshops for Art in Crafts to promote the production and sale of the new art direction.
  • August Endell , who designed the facade of the Elvira photo studio built in 1897 on Von-der-Tann-Strasse in Munich. With its dragon ornament, this house was a spectacular eye-catcher in the Munich cityscape. The house was destroyed in World War II and not rebuilt. The Art Nouveau dragon on the facade had already been knocked off in 1937 at the instigation of the National Socialists.
  • Richard Riemerschmid with his furniture and room designs.
  • The architect, interior designer, sculptor, painter and designer Bernhard Pankok .
  • Bruno Paul with his furniture designs , which were awarded prizes at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 and in St. Louis in 1904 .
  • The architect Martin Dülfer .
  • The architect and interior designer Hans Eduard von Berlepsch-Valendas .


Music room in the Behrens house in Darmstadt with a Schiedmayer grand piano

Alongside Munich, Darmstadt developed into the center of Art Nouveau in Germany. The engine of this development was Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and the Rhine . The cosmopolitan Grand Duke, a grandson of Queen Victoria , had familiarized himself with the Arts and Crafts movement on visits to Great Britain . In 1899 he called seven young artists to Darmstadt in the artist colony .

The Grand Duke had the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich build a studio house on Mathildenhöhe as the center of the artists' colony. The monumental wedding tower built by Olbrich in 1908 became a landmark that can be seen from afar . The artists also had the opportunity to build their own houses. The Mathildenhöhe and the adjacent Rosenhöhe are considered to be the most important and valuable art nouveau ensemble in Germany in terms of art history.

Art Nouveau spread from Darmstadt through the master classes, Darmstadt was also the intellectual center of the theoretical discussion about the new style. In addition to Olbrich, Peter Behrens , Hans Christiansen , Ludwig Habich and Patriz Huber were other important artists among the Darmstadt seven .

Bad Nauheim

At the instigation of Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and near the Rhine, a unique ensemble of spa facilities was created in Bad Nauheim, mainly by artists from the Darmstadt artists' colony: Sprudelhof , drinking spa, bath houses, parks and the machine center with salt works and laundry. These buildings still shape the cityscape today, along with several other Art Nouveau buildings, making it an extraordinary total work of art from around 1910. Because this ensemble is still largely preserved in its details, Bad Nauheim is the only German city next to Darmstadt in the Réseau Art Nouveau Network , in which 20 European cities and regions such as Barcelona, ​​Budapest, Brussels, Glasgow, Helsinki or Vienna as well as Havana are currently united as the only representative from overseas.


Art Nouveau clock on the Luther Church in Karlsruhe (1907)

Karlsruhe was - heavily influenced by Darmstadt, but parallel to it - another center of Art Nouveau in southwest Germany. Already before 1900 the architects Hermann Billing and Karl Coelestin Moser made a name for themselves with their avant-garde designs. Unlike in Darmstadt, the Art Nouveau in Karlsruhe is inconsistent, Billing represented an expressive, color-accentuated and floral ornamented style, which also freely adopted elements of other architectural styles, such as the neo-Gothic . Moser, on the other hand, stood for a more serene, geometric variant on the threshold of the reform style .

The courtyard pharmacy , which expressively exaggerates the acute-angled corner situation on Kaiserstraße / Waldstraße, is remarkable . Other important evidence of Art Nouveau in Karlsruhe are the villa colony Baischstrasse around Kaiserplatz (Hermann Billing), the development on Wendtstrasse in the Weststadt and around the Luther Church in the Oststadt ( Curjel & Moser ). A peculiar mixture of Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau shows the entrance building of the Karlsruhe main station, which was built in 1913 according to plans by August Stürzenacker .

Around 1900 Karlsruhe with the Grötzinger painter colony was also a center of German landscape painting with Gustav Kampmann as a strongly stylized, abstract line and surface artist. Finally, the arts and crafts school ( Max Laeuger ), the majolica factory ( Alfred Kusche , building ceramics) and Emmy Schoch's atelier (reform clothing) produced important examples of the arts and crafts of Art Nouveau. Today the Badisches Landesmuseum has one of the best Art Nouveau collections in Germany. The jewelry museum in Pforzheim also exhibits many works from the Art Nouveau period. The "artist manufacturer" Theodor Fahrner was one of the pioneers of fashion jewelry , which was designed by artists like Max J. Gradl and u. a. by Fahrner and Levinger & Bissinger from Pforzheim .


Nuremberg: Bismarck School , Architects: Georg Kuch and Carl Weber (1902/1904)
Nuremberg: Hall of the Bavarian State Exhibition 1906, architect: Theodor von Kramer
Nuremberg: Volksbad, swimming pool II, architect: Carl Weber

In Nuremberg , the workshops Johann von Schwarz, Gustav Frey and the metal goods factory for cabaret Walter Scherf & Co. produced handicrafts in the sense of Art Nouveau since 1898. Art Nouveau quickly gained momentum thanks to the arts and crafts master courses that Peter Behrens gave from 1901 and Richard Riemerschmid from 1903 in the Bavarian Industrial Museum. The master classes were later continued by Paul Haustein and Friedrich Adler . In the ceramic workshops mostly originated faience . Utensils made of cast pewter (“the little man's silver”) were upgraded by Walter Scherf by gilding or combining them with glass. The sculptor and draftsman Carl Sigmund Luber worked as artistic director for Johann von Schwarz . Other important Art Nouveau artists were Friedrich Müller , Valentin Oeckler , Christian Schönamsgruber and Ferdinand Semmelroth .

In 1902 the house of the jeweler August Merklein was built at Kaiserstraße 30 "in a new style based on the Parisian model" (by Friedrich Trost the Elder , interior by Heinrich Höllfritsch ). The building was destroyed in the war. The impetus for the architecture was the Bavarian anniversary state exhibition in 1906 in Luitpoldhain with the exhibition halls by Theodor von Kramer (demolished in the National Socialist era). The building of the industrial and cultural association (1902 by Theodor von Kramer) was destroyed in the Second World War.

Largely preserved large buildings are the Bismarck school building (1902/1904 by Georg Kuch and Carl Weber ) and the public bath with original interior fittings (1906 by Carl Weber, closed today). The Art Nouveau waiting room in the main train station (1905 by Bruno Paul ) has also been preserved. For private buildings, Art Nouveau was not able to assert itself until late against the Nuremberg style that was still predominant in Nuremberg around 1900 . In the Art Nouveau district in the Gardens district behind the Veste there are several significant Art Nouveau townhouses that have been preserved in the ensemble. Further significant individual buildings of the Art Nouveau can be found in the districts of St. Johannis , Galgenhof , St. Leonhard and on the Prinzregentenufer .


Bayreuth: office of the regional president of Bruno Paul

One of the most important Art Nouveau room ensembles can be found in the presidential building of the government of Upper Franconia in Bayreuth . The government president's reception room was designed by Joseph and Franz Rank . The President's office, which is directly adjacent to the reception room, was designed by Bruno Paul . The wood-paneled district council hall (coat of arms hall) on the second floor was designed by Martin Dülfer . All three furnishings were initially shown at the 1904 World Exhibition in St. Louis and were awarded prizes. The rooms that were brought to Bayreuth after the end of the world exhibition and built there as intended were published many times because of the international recognition and were exemplary and style-binding for German workshops. The ensemble including the furnishings has been completely preserved.


Leipzig stands out from the numerous German cities where Art Nouveau has left its mark . Leipzig probably has the largest surviving inventory of buildings that have Art Nouveau architectural features. There are numerous Art Nouveau buildings both in the center and in the districts of Gohlis , Plagwitz, Leutzsch, in the Waldstrasse district and in Stötteritz. In addition to apartment buildings, numerous villas, public buildings and commercial buildings, Art Nouveau has also found its way into Leipzig's industrial architecture. Many buildings also have clear Art Nouveau features inside, such as the New Town Hall , built in the neo-renaissance style, and the ticket halls of Leipzig Central Station.

Probably the most important Art Nouveau architect in Leipzig was Paul Möbius (1866–1907), who planned and built around 40 apartment buildings, villas and commercial buildings between 1893 and 1907. Other well-known Art Nouveau architects in Leipzig were Fritz Drechsler , Max Pommer , Paul Lange and Emil Franz Hänsel .

Halle (Saale)

In Halle , Art Nouveau shows a provincial, but also complex and original face. Above all, the combination of the new style with historical building fabric and historicizing, especially neo-Gothic forms have led to a peculiar and sometimes bizarre mix. The few buildings largely designed in Art Nouveau style include the Volkspark , the main building of the Gertrauden cemetery , the commercial building on Universitätsring, a few department stores and, in some cases, the Stadtbad . With the breweries Glauchaer Straße and Böllberger Weg, there are also important industrial buildings in the Art Nouveau style. The architectural style prevalent in the Wilhelminian style quarters such as the Paulusviertel or the southern inner city is largely shaped by historicism , but here, too, facade decorations from Art Nouveau appear here and there.


Art Nouveau door handle in Berlin
Art Nouveau in Berlin, Thomasiusstr. 5

In the capital of Berlin, Wilhelmine pomp dominated around 1890 . An exhibition by the Norwegian Edvard Munch caused a scandal in 1892, but this resulted in the resistance of some artists against official art. A group of eleven artists protested against the closure of the exhibition, including Walter Leistikow , Max Liebermann and Max Klinger . On the initiative of the writer Otto Julius Bierbaum and the writer, publisher and entrepreneur Julius Meier-Graefe , the exclusive and expensive magazine Pan appeared in 1895 , which was intended to provide impetus for new art. As early as 1900 the magazine had to be discontinued due to a lack of economic success. In the five years that the magazine was granted, however, a large part of Germany's artistic elite published in it. Particularly noteworthy as Art Nouveau artists of Pan are:

Berlin developed into the center of German Art Nouveau jewelry art. In addition to Cranach, Hugo Schaper , Hermann Hirzel and Bruno Möhring should be mentioned. Her floral style is in some ways reminiscent of that of the Belgian Henry van de Velde .


The patron Karl Ernst Osthaus gave the impetus for the Hagen impulse in Hagen . Between 1900 and the First World War he wanted to create an artists' colony in Hohenhagen. However, the First World War prevented its completion. Only a few of the planned buildings were realized, but these were by well-known artists whom Osthaus brought to Hagen. These include Henry van de Velde , Peter Behrens , Richard Riemerschmid . On Osthaus' initiative, the Dutch artist Jan Thorn Prikker designed the stained glass window “The artist as teacher for trade and commerce”, which is still there today, for the main train station in Hagen, which was inaugurated in 1910.

The Hohenhof is a well-known national monument . It was designed as a total work of art based on a design by Henry van de Velde. It served Karl Ernst Osthaus as his residence and was to become the center of the garden suburb of Emst, which was planned but not completed after 1910.


In Traben-Trarbach on the Moselle, several Art Nouveau villas, hotels and wineries were built by the Berlin architect Bruno Möhring .

Other structures are the bridge gate , the Buddha Museum and a mausoleum in the Protestant cemetery.

Other artists and centers of Art Nouveau in Germany

Arnold Lyongrün, template for an Art Nouveau window (Berlin and New York 1900)

The spa architecture in the German seaside resorts , which emerged in classicism and historicism , shows numerous Art Nouveau influences around the turn of the 20th century, one example is the Lietzenburg on the island of Hiddensee .

In 1896 an art weaving school was founded in Scherrebek in northern Schleswig , which was immediately recognized throughout Germany. Under Justus Brinckmann, she produced sculptures based on designs by artists such as Otto Eckmann, Walter Leistikow, Heinrich Vogeler, Hans Christiansen and Gadso Weiland .

Henry van de Velde was a protagonist of Art Nouveau not only in his home country Belgium, but later also in Germany. In 1897 he showed much acclaimed interiors at the arts and crafts exhibition in Dresden . In 1904 and 1905, he designed the much-acclaimed porcelain service for the Meissen porcelain factory. In Weimar , van de Velde created the building for the Weimar School of Applied Arts (1905–1906), of which he was director until 1915, and the studio building for the Grand Ducal Saxon Art School opposite in Weimar (1904–1911). Both buildings were committed to Art Nouveau, as was his own house, Haus Hohe Pappeln , and the interior of the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar, for which he was responsible. In the purest Art Nouveau style, the academic painter Arnold Lyongrün created various masterpieces for decorative arts and crafts, including “Decoration Motifs” (1899), “New Ideas” (1901), styles and natural forms, modern models for ceiling and wall painting (together with A. Eiserwag). Some of these books are still being published today.

Heinrich Vogeler: The concert (summer evening) , 1905

Among the artists of the Worpswede artists' colony , Heinrich Vogeler was the one who was most closely guided in his work by Art Nouveau and its ideals. Vogeler's painting Sommerabend auf dem Barkenhoff , made in 1905, is particularly well-known and shows him and his Worpswede artist friends - among them Paula Modersohn-Becker , her husband Otto Modersohn and the sculptor Clara Westhoff .

The architect Albin Müller worked in Magdeburg and from 1908 in Darmstadt; apart from these places of activity he built, among other things, 1911-1913 the sanatorium Dr. Barner in Braunlage in the Harz Mountains.

Another important representative was the glass painter and artist Josef Goller .

Kayserzinn : The pewter products manufactured by Engelbert Kayser in Cologne stand for exceptional German Art Nouveau pewter.

Art nouveau in France

The Salon de l'Art Nouveau

In 1871 Samuel Bing from Hamburg moved to Paris. He had previously been to the Far East and now traded in Japanese woodblock prints, ceramics and practical art. In 1894 he met Louis Comfort Tiffany on a trip to the USA and then sold his products in Europe. In 1895 he founded a spacious new gallery, which he called Salon de l'Art Nouveau , in order to do justice to the rapidly growing business . In 1896, an exhibition of furniture of the new style caused such a stir that the salon became the namesake for the new movement. In this gallery, paintings and graphic works by artists of all styles living in France were for sale, for example sheets by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec , but also impressionists , symbolists and many more. You could buy handicrafts by the American Louis Comfort Tiffany, the German Karl Koepping, or Emile Gallé , one of the best masters of the Nancy School. Bing ensured that Henry van de Velde's furniture was available for the first time in France. Bing later founded his own workshop and had furniture made there based on designs by Edouard Colonna , Georges de Feure and Eugène Gaillard .

In 1903 he sold his gallery to the furniture artist Louis Majorelle . It was only logical that his gallery, which had contributed so decisively to France and Paris becoming European centers of this art movement, should give the movement its name.


Paris became a center of Art nouveau in many ways :

Mirror and armchair by Hector Guimard
  • From 1885 the jewelry artist René Lalique developed a new world of shapes and colors for pieces of jewelry: He was guided by the world of ideas of symbolism and the forms of nature, of plants, their flowers, insects and fish. He preferred materials such as glass, enamel, mother-of-pearl, ivory and horn. He asserts that instead of the material value of the piece of jewelry, the artistic value came to the fore. His work was so successful that by 1890 he had 30 employees.
  • Another important master of jewelery art in Paris was Georges Fouquet , who often worked on designs by Alfons Mucha . He was particularly known for his jewelry for the actress Sarah Bernhardt . Other well-known Parisian jewelry artists were Lucien Gaillard , who was particularly inspired by Japanese art, as well as Maison Vever , the company of the brothers Paul and Henri Vever .
  • The furniture art of men like Eugène Gaillard , Edouard Colonna and Georges de Feure set the tone for France and beyond.
  • The most famous name among French Art Nouveau artists is likely to be Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec . Even Jules Cheret , Eugène Grasset , Alfons Mucha , Théophile Steinlen contributed hers cause the poster art was with new techniques such as lithography and demanding artistic design into a recognized art form and a collector's item for art lovers.
  • Even the Paris metro became an Art Nouveau object around 1900 . That this came about is thanks to Hector Guimard , who designed the Paris metro entrances with imaginative wrought iron grilles and the famous curved lettering. The expression Style Métro even became a second synonym for French Art Nouveau. In addition, Guimard also gained a reputation as a furniture artist that has lasted to this day.
  • Numerous ceramists such as Maurice Bouval , Léon Noël Delagrange , Louis Chalon , Hans Stoltenberg Lerche , Larsson , Allouard , Alexandre Charpentier , Paul Philippe etc. also shaped the French Art nouveau , who published their works via the editeurs d'Art such as Houdebine , E. Blot , Colin & Cie or Arthur Goldscheider , the son of Friedrich Goldscheider , sold.


Typical Art Nouveau facade: Villa Majorelle, Nancy

After Paris, Nancy was the second center of Art Nouveau . The École de Nancy ( Nancy school that distinguished itself for glass, porcelain, furniture and other handicrafts) was founded in 1901 by Emile Gallé . In the previous years, from 1894 onwards, Gallé had excelled as an artist and entrepreneur, first with a glass blowing workshop and later with a furniture workshop. He experimented with new techniques of glassblowing (marbling, reflections, layers of glass with melting of gold and silver foils, blistering). His work was awarded prizes at the world exhibitions in 1889 and 1900 .

In addition to Gallé, the famous furniture artist Louis Majorelle and Jean-Antonin Daum and Eugène Vallin were the founding members of the Nancy School.

Secession style in Austria-Hungary

In Austria , the development was promoted from 1897, especially in Vienna, by the magazine Ver Sacrum and by the artist group of the Vienna Secession , led by Gustav Klimt , Joseph Maria Olbrich and the poet Hermann Bahr , among others . As a result, the art movement in Austria was named Secession style . In addition to Klimt, Otto Wagner , Josef Hoffmann and Josef Plečnik were well-known artists of the Secession style. In addition, the ceramics, terracottas and bronzes from the Vienna manufactory Friedrich Goldscheider were internationally recognized.

The Wiener Werkstätte also became known worldwide with Koloman Moser , Josef Hoffmann, Otto Prutscher and Dagobert Peche , who drove handicrafts (interior design, ceramics, textiles, fashion, glass) to perfection.

In the Czech Republic one speaks of the secession style ( Secese ). In Prague, large representative buildings were built in this style with the main train station , the industrial palace and the town hall. Other Art Nouveau buildings are the Villa Primavesi in Olomouc, the East Bohemian Museum in Hradec Králové , the burial mound of peace near Brno. Alfons Maria Mucha is considered to be one of the outstanding representatives of Art Nouveau painting . The Czech graphic artist, painter and craftsman is famous for his poster art .

In Hungary , Ödön Lechner is a well-known representative with his buildings.

In Serbia , a large part of the old town in Maria-Theresiopel (today's Subotica ) was built in Art Nouveau style. These include the town hall and the listed synagogue . Nearby is the spa town of Palić on the lake of the same name , whose spa houses and baths were also built in Art Nouveau style.


Art Nouveau facade: Maison Charlier in Spa (Belgium)
Henry van de Velde's chair

The influence of Art Nouveau in Belgium can still be seen today in the capital, Brussels . The Brussels municipality of Sint-Gillis (or Saint Gilles) is characterized by Art Nouveau in its center. There are also many Art Nouveau buildings in the municipalities of Schaerbeek , Etterbeek and Ixelles . The architect Victor Horta in particular contributed to this shaping of the city.

There are also a large number of Art Nouveau buildings in Antwerp (especially in the Zurenborg district), Ghent , Liège , Charleroi , Namur and other cities.

Other important Belgian Art Nouveau artists besides Victor Horta are:

Paul Hankar , Gustave Serrurier-Bovy , Philippe Wolfers and Henry van de Velde , who has already been mentioned several times and who also made such a decisive contribution to the development of Art Nouveau in Germany.

Spread in other countries

There is hardly a western country that was not influenced by Art Nouveau. Worth mentioning are among others:


The Italians named the style Liberty after an English company, Liberty Ltd., which was active in the commercial sector. The Italian Art Nouveau was mainly at home in Milan , Turin and the rest of northern Italy. The stilo coppedè (mainly in Rome ) also belongs to this type of Art Nouveau. The Art Nouveau exhibition with Klimt and Mucha in the center at the Venetian Biennale in 1910 and the Great International Exhibition in Rome in 1911 for the 50th anniversary of the unified Italy had a great influence . Painters like Felice Casorati temporarily succumbed to the example of the Vienna Secession. Adolfo Wildt is considered the most important, albeit little-known sculptor outside of Italy .

Elisabeth Street (
Elizabetes iela ) in Riga, Latvia

Under the influence of German architects in the city of Riga in Latvia, Art Nouveau has become one of the architectural trends that still have a significant impact on the cityscape today. Riga is one of the most brilliant pearls of Art Nouveau and was put on the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage in 1997 as the “highest quality concentration of Art Nouveau buildings”.

Scandinavia / Finland

Especially in Finland and Scandinavia is national romanticism akin to Art Nouveau; but at the same time it absorbed elements of the awakening national consciousness. In Denmark , the Skønvirkestil is also to be mentioned, a mixture of Art Nouveau, Heimatstil and national romanticism .


In Spain , the arte noven developed first , from which in Catalonia the highly playful Modernisme arose from , among others, Antoni Gaudí , Lluís Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch . An outstanding place with preserved architecture from this time is Barcelona .

United States

In the USA, Louis Comfort Tiffany , who became famous for his unique, patented glass technology and who also strongly influenced European development, has already been mentioned. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright should also be mentioned, whose early works were strongly influenced by Japanese influences. The graphic artist and type artist William H. Bradley was heavily influenced by William Morris , Aubrey Beardsley and other English artists and so carried the European influence back to America.

End of Art Nouveau

A clear end to Art Nouveau cannot be determined, but it is generally set before the beginning of the First World War.

The onset of the gradual end of Art Nouveau in Germany can be traced back to III. Date of the German arts and crafts exhibition in Dresden, 1906. As a result, the German Werkbund was founded in 1907 . He raised objectivity, simplicity and solidity to new models. Hermann Muthesius was chairman ; Well-known Art Nouveau artists such as van de Velde, Behrens, Niemeyer, Endell and Obrist were involved in the founding or later joined.

For the period between 1906 and 1914, the art history literature u. a. the style designation " reform architecture " or "reform style" is used (in the context of general life reform ). Sometimes this period (in Munster to the exhibition of the same in 1991) or "premodern" also known as "half of modernity" (not to be confused with the historiographical term pre-modern ).

Around 1905, the founding of the Brücke artists' association in Germany marked the beginning of Expressionism , which is presented in a simplified historical representation as a replacement for Art Nouveau. As early as 1900, however, a more intense color scheme in Art Nouveau already indicated a preform of Expressionism. Art Nouveau persisted in interior painting, furniture, other everyday objects and handicraft products until the mid-1920s, maintaining the formal language, but responding to the expressionism of painting in terms of color.

Significant structures


The following museums present works from the Art Nouveau era:

  • The Berlin Bröhan Museum shows furniture, porcelain, glass, ceramics and metalwork from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco era .
  • The Musée Horta in Brussels shows the house of the Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. The architecture and interior design are largely freely accessible to the visitor and form a stylistic unit.
  • The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg has an Art Nouveau department that goes back to the museum's founder Justus Brinckmann , who mainly used the Paris World Exhibition in 1900 to build up a large collection of contemporary applied art. The focus of his acquisitions were furniture and room furnishings, tapestries, textiles, lamps, decorative objects made of glass, metal, ceramics, as well as sculptures, books and jewelry. Brinckmann combined them into a “total work of art”, the Paris room. Later generations added countless other objects to this inventory, including the furniture ensemble of the Wiener Werkstätte and the Darmstadt artists' colony. All objects can be seen in the permanent exhibition.
  • The Dreiländermuseum in Lörrach shows art ceramics by Max Laeugers from the Art Nouveau era.
  • The Musée d'Orsay and the Petit Palais in Paris show furniture, household items, jewelry and ornaments of the Art Nouveau from Belgium and from the French centers Nancy and Paris in several rooms .
  • In Schleswig's Gottorf Castle , which houses two state museums, there is a separate Art Nouveau department. Several rooms are furnished with furniture and other works of art from this era, and visitors can even walk over original carpets.
  • The MAK, Museum of Applied Arts Vienna shows handicrafts from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco era .
  • Musée de l'école de Nancy (Nancy)
  • In the Musée historique in the small Alsatian town of Hagenau there is a department for glassware and ceramics from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco epochs, which goes back to the work of the Henninger couple.
  • The Wiesbaden Museum shows since late June 2019 important collection of about 500 paintings, furniture and sculptures assembled by Ferdinand Neess over decades and donated to the museum.



sorted alphabetically by author

  • Friedrich Ahlers-Hestermann : Style change. The beginning of youth around 1900. Ullstein, Frankfurt / M. 1981, ISBN 3-548-36063-7 (reprint of the Berlin 1956 edition; on the history of movement).
  • Claudia Banz , Leonie Beiersdorf, Sabine Schulze (eds.): Art Nouveau. The great utopia. Museum of Arts and Crafts, Hamburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-923859-84-9 .
  • Claus Bernet : Art Nouveau, Secession, Art nouveau. Norderstedt 2013, ISBN 978-3-7322-4026-5 .
  • Dr. Maria-Christina Boerner (text), Achim Bednorz (photographs): Art Nouveau . hfullmann publishing GmbH, Rheinbreitbach 2019, ISBN 978-3-8480-1166-7 .
  • Kai Buchholz: In the rhythm of life. Art Nouveau and stage art. Verlag Arnold, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-89790-270-1 .
  • Lydia L. Dewiel: Crash course Art Nouveau. 2nd edition DuMont, Cologne 2007, ISBN 3-8321-5384-5 .
  • Gabriele Fahr-Becker: Art Nouveau. Tandem-Verlag, Königswinter 2007, ISBN 978-3-8331-3544-6 . (Magnificently furnished, but inexpensive illustrated book with, however, quite a demanding text part.)
  • Giovanni Fanelli: Viennese Art Nouveau. The print. Propylaen Verlag Ullstein GmbH Frankfurt am Main Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-549-05204-9 .
  • Pierre-Olivier Fanica, Gérard Boué: Céramiques impressionnistes et grès art nouveau. Montigny-sur-Loing et Marlotte 1872–1958. Édition Massin, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-7072-0512-5 .
  • Peter Guth, Bernd Sikora : Art Nouveau & Werkkunst. Architecture around 1900 in Leipzig. Edition Leipzig, Leipzig 2005, ISBN 3-361-00590-6 .
  • Géza Hajos: Garden architecture of Art Nouveau and the interwar period. In: The garden art . 7, No. 2, 1995, pp. 177-181.
  • Richard Hamann, Jost Hermand: Style art around 1900. Volume 4 of the series Epochs of German Culture from 1870 to the Present. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag 1977, ISBN 3-436-02510-0 .
  • Sara Hamm, Sabine Kübler (eds.): “Building for a new life”. The creation of the Bad Nauheim Art Nouveau complex, photographed by Albert Schmidt, 1905–1911. Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-2161-9 .
  • Hiltrud A. Hölzinger, Christina Uslular-Thiele (ed.): Art Nouveau in Bad Nauheim. Langewiesche publishing house, Königstein / T. 2005, ISBN 3-7845-7100-X (with 17 artist biographies; all texts in German / English).
  • Dr. Dieter Klein: Martin Dülfer - pioneer of German Art Nouveau architecture. Workbook 8 - Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation Munich 1993, Lipp Verlag, ISBN 3-87490-531-4 .
  • Stefan W. Krieg, Bodo Pientka: Paul Möbius. Art Nouveau in Leipzig. Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-421-03438-0 .
  • Stefanie Lieb : What is Art Nouveau? An analysis of Art Nouveau architecture from 1890–1910. Primus-Verlag, Darmstadt 2000, ISBN 3-534-14910-6 .
  • Hermann Muthesius : applied arts and architecture. Kraus-Thomson, Nendeln 1976 (reprint of the essays “New Ornament and New Art” and “Culture and Art”; source on the origin of the term Art Nouveau, contemporary criticism).
  • Edda Neumann-Adrian, Michael Neumann-Adrian: Munich's lust for Art Nouveau. Houses and people around 1900. MünchenVerlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-934036-93-7 .
  • Frank Russell: Art Nouveau Architecture. Overcoming historicism in Europe and North America. Stuttgart 1982.
  • Angela Sanna, Violetta Farina: Art Nouveau, Secession Style, Modernisme, Stile Liberty, Nieuwe Kunst, Modern Style. Scala Group SpA Florence 2011, ISBN 978-88-6637-005-5 .
  • Friedemann Schäfer: City walks in Karlsruhe. Art Nouveau. Verlag Braun, Karlsruhe 2007, ISBN 978-3-7650-8360-0 . (Paperback with a comprehensive, but compact and easily understandable introduction to European and German Art Nouveau. Excellent illustrations).
  • Klaus-Jürgen Sembach: Art Nouveau. The utopia of reconciliation. Taschen Verlag, Cologne 2007, ISBN 978-3-8228-2971-4 .
  • Christopher Vernon: Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, Jens Jensen and the Jugendstil Garden in America. In: The garden art . 7, No. 2, 1995, pp. 232-246.

See also

Web links

Commons : Art Nouveau  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Art Nouveau architecture  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Art Nouveau  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. In German, “der, die, das Art nouveau” is equally common; see. Art nouveau online at Duden.
  2. Georg Hirth: Paths to Freedom. Verlag der Münchner Jugend, 1903, p. 525 ( ).
  3. ^ Michael Georg Conrad (1885-1900), Arthur Seidl (1901-1902): The society. Volume 16, Part 2, Verlag E. Pierson, 1970, p. 246 ( ).
  4. ^ Rosalind P. Blakesley, The Arts and Crafts Movement , Phaidon, London 2006.
  5. ^ Ines Wagemann: Art Nouveau in Traben-Trarbach (= Rheinische Kunststätten. Issue 331). Neuss 1988.
  6. ^ Parish church council of the Evang. Church community Marienfelde (ed.), Hans-Werner Fabarius: Bruno Möhring. Architect, designer, town planner. Berlin 2004.
  7. ^ Ernst Schlee : Scherrebeker tapestries (= Art in Schleswig-Holstein. Volume 26). Wachholtz, Neumünster 1984, ISBN 3-529-02542-9 .
  8. ^ Arnold Lyongrün . In: Internet Archive : Hans W. Singer (Hrsg.): Allgemeine Künstlerlexikon. Lives and Works of the Most Famous Visual Artists, Volume 6 . Rütten, Frankfurt am Main 1922, accessed on October 19, 2010.
  9. ^ Arnold Lyongrün: A collection of naturalistic motifs. Bernhard Friedrich Voigt publishing house, Leipzig 1898.
  10. ^ Arnold Lyongrün: New ornaments. Ernst Wasmuth Verlag, Berlin, 1899–1902.
  11. ^ Arnold Lyongrün: Role models for art glazing in the style of modern times. Publisher Hessling, Berlin and New York 1900.
  12. ^ Arnold Lyongrün: New ideas for decorative arts and applied arts. Publishing house Kanter and Mohr, Berlin 1903.
  13. ^ Arnold Lyongrün: Masterpieces of Art Nouveau, Stained Glass Design, 91 Motifs in full color. Dover Pubn Inc., 1989.
  14. ^ Arnold Lyongrün: From Nature to Ornament, Organic Forms in the Art Nouveau Style. In: Dover Pictorial Archive Series. 2010.
  16. Andris Bruderis: Riga. The Art Nouveau. Madris Verlag, Riga, ISBN 978-9984-31-541-6 .
  17. According to Lieb and Kadatz, Art Nouveau covers the period from 1890 to 1910 (see Stefanie Lieb: Was ist Jugendstil. Darmstadt 2000, p. 14, and Hans-Joachim Kadatz: Seemanns Lexikon der Weltarchitektur. Leipzig 200, p. 129), the Kunst-Brockhaus, on the other hand, indicates the end of Art Nouveau in 1914 ( Kunst-Brockhaus in 10 volumes, Mannheim 1987, p. 77).
  18. ^ Art Nouveau Museum Wiesbaden. Retrieved August 19, 2019 .