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Art Nouveau Furniture Art

Art Nouveau is a style that orginated at the turn of the 20th century. It has a different name in most European countries as it is, for example, called Jugendstil in Germany and Nieuwe Kunst in the Netherlands. The movement's characteristics also differ per country as they can often be traced back to national folk art. Art Nouveau in Scotland and England (where it is known as Modern Style or Liberty) is based on Celtic motifs from centuries ago. This means that there is not really one universal Art Nouveau style. Charles Rennie Mackintosh's furniture (Scotland) varies immensely from the designs of Antoni Gaudi (Spain), Emile Gallé (France) and Carlo Bugatti (Italy).

The two most important movements in Art Nouveau furniture art are the curvilinear and the geometrical movement.

Curvilinear movement

Curvilinear, Art Nouveau furniture or decorative furniture sets itself apart by displaying elegant, bending, winding and often a-symmetrical lines. Its shapes and decorative motifs are based directly on nature; leaves, flowers, fruits, animals (bats, dragonflies, snakeskin pattern, feathers of peacocks), shells, lianas (winding plants that resemble whips), creepers and many other natural forms. These universal shapes are often shown on exclusive furniture in the form of a woodcarving, intarsia (inlay of different kinds of wood but also of shells and ivory) or marquetry. The construction of the furniture can be completely inferior to the decorative ornament. Some furniture seems to have been shaped organically and will combine beautifully with particular paintings or ingeniously woven fabrics. This really is traditional furniture at its best! It is a pity that only a small group of artists and intellectuals were interested in this new visual language. The conservative-minded civilians were not interested in it at all... But, nowadays, more people are gaining interest in the Art Nouveau/Jugendstil movement. It is only a matter of taking risks and accepting new things.

Geometrical movement

The so-called geometrical (businesslike) Art Nouveau movement desires to keep the shape of furniture simple and strict. This way, more attention is paid to the construction of the model. When ornaments are added, they are always inferior to the general lines and shape of the furniture. This causes a straight line, rather than a winding one, to dominate. Circles, squares, long angular lines and cubistic shapes are frequently displayed in this type of smooth furniture. The geometric shapes are usually shown through metal or ebony inlay. The most important pieces of furniture were fitted with metal socks. Black and white contrasts were also popular and were used frequently. Modern looking, geometric Art Nouveau furniture is often very refined and it is made of the most exclusive kinds of wood. Even the upholstery of the furniture shows geometrical motifs. Josef Hoffmann's famous fabrics are a good example of the Art Nouveau style.

Furniture art created by the Art Nouveau movement has its roots in idealistic basic principles. It was believed that by making the surroundings more beautiful and harmonious,  people would become more social and they would have a better quality of life! Change the world and start with your surroundings by incorporating applied arts in your interior.

When it comes to shapes, the geometric movement of Art Nouveau resembles the Art Deco style from the twenties quite closely.
Art Nouveau NachtkastjeFledermaus Tafel en Stoelen