Art Nouveau

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Harmony in Blue and Gold by J. M. Whistler

Art Nouveau (French for New Art) was a late nineteenth century art form in reaction to the academic zeitgeist of the time. The art form was popular from approximately 1880 to 1914, and is characterized by a highly decorative style with dense asymmetrical ornamentation in sinuous forms, often symbolic and even of erotic nature. Art Nouveau is thought to take inspiration from both nature, as it was more organic than the academic art of the time, and women.

Gustav Klimt worked in an art nouveau style. Other important representatives of this style are Alphons Mucha (Czech, 1860-1939), Eugène Grasset (Swiss), Henri Toulouse Lautrec (French), Toorop (Dutch), Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (Russian), Vasiliy Polenov (Russian), Valentin Serov (Russian), Maurice Denis (French), James McNeill Whistler (American) Aubrey Beardsley (England) and Antonio Gaudi (Spaniard).

Art Nouveau was not restricted to painting or printmaking. It covered all forms of art: architecture, sculpture, jewelry, furniture, ceramics, glass and illustration.

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