Design periods are always fun. They have defining flavor and illustrate a period in history. One of my favorite periods is the Art Nouveau period which literally translates as New Art in French. The artistic style was a reaction to the sytlized Academic art which grew out of the idealized art of Europe. It was considered a young, new and organic style, taking its themes and treatment from natural themes. Art Nouveau pieces were often naturalistic themes with flowing design. Nature became the reference book and a languid, flowing beauty was the result. The design period is roughly from the late 1880s to 1910 when the angular art deco period came into vogue.
Great Art Nouveau designs were showcased at Liberty's in London and the Jugenstil in Germany. Basically, all items, whether clothing, paintings, jewelry or even cigarette ads...think Mucha's famous ad for Job cigarette papers...was influenced by art nouveau. Below is an art nouveau design rhinestone lavaliere or pendant with genuine coral and freshwater pearl.
Art Nouveau design was applied to all items in the home. Here is a biscuit jar...cookie jar to Yanks...made by George Jones & Sons, England between 1891-1893. The water lily is so evocative of the art nouveau period. Note the stylized rose motif which is a nod to the Scottish branch of Art Nouveau ala Charles Rennie MacIntosh.
The next example is an unmarked cup and saucer that screams art nouveau. Look especially at the handle area. I love it!
And art nouveau design didn't stop with these type of materials. Below are examples of 2 sets of 2 art nouveau design drawer pulls with fabulous organic designs made of tin with cast iron handles from England dating to the 1890s. Both these sets of drawer pulls or hardware were originally gilded with varying remnants still remaining. They must have been spectacular! They're pretty neat right now!
Pretty cool! And what a great addition to items today these would be! All of the items shown are out of current stock at Time Was Antiques. For more info on any of them, click on the photos.
So...I hope you can see why Art Nouveau design is such a favorite of mine. Look for examples yourself. They are getting harder to find, but you never know! Art nouveau had a renaissance in the 1960s with the drug culture when Mucha was rediscovered and that form used for psychedelic rock band posters which was pretty fun.
Have a great weekend, and have a cup of tea with a friend.