Art Nouveau Furniture

Furniture created in the Art Nouveau style was prominent from the late 19th century to the advent of the First World War. Unlike furniture made by the British Arts and Crafts movement, from which it emerged in stylistic respects, most Art Nouveau furniture was produced in factories by normal manufacturing techniques, which led to tensions with Arts and Crafts figures in England, who criticised continental Art Nouveau furniture for not being “‘honestly’ constructed. It also tended to be expensive, as a fine finish, usually polished or varnished, was regarded as essential, and continental designs were usually very complex, with curving shapes that were expensive to make. It by no means entirely replaced other styles of furniture, which continued to be popular, with Art Nouveau styles largely restricted to an expensive “art furniture” category.  The style was named for Siegfried Bing‘s Maison de l’Art Nouveau gallery and shop in Paris, which opened in 1895,  and in France and Belgium furniture designers took up the style with more enthusiasm than those of most countries.

Several notable designers were architects who designed furniture for specific buildings they had also designed, a way of working inherited from the Arts and Crafts movement; these include Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Antoni Gaudí, Hector Guimard and Victor Horta. Mackintosh’s furniture was relatively austere and geometrical, marked by elongated dimensions and right-angles. Continental designs were much more elaborate, often using curved shapes both in the basic shapes of the piece, and in applied decorative motifs. In many ways the old vocabulary and techniques of classic French 18th-century Rococo furniture were re-interpreted in a new style. Luxury veneers were used in the furniture of leading cabinetmakers Georges de Feure and others.

Alphonse Mucha produced a few designs, but was little involved with production. The École de Nancy (School of Nancy in France), the Wiener Werkstätte in Vienna and the Deutscher Werkbund were groupings including many designers of Art Nouveau furniture. The Exposition Universelle de Paris in 1900 was an important showcase for designers, and the Prima Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa Moderna at Turin in 1902 heavily featured the work of furniture designer Carlo Bugatti of Milan.



Alphonse Mucha

Alphonse Mucha was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, most well known for his images of women he also produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements and designs.He worked at decorative painting jobs in Moravia, mostly painting theatrical scenery. In 1879, he relocated to Vienna to work for a major Viennese theatrical design company, while informally augmenting his artistic education. When a fire destroyed his employer’s business during 1881 he returned to Moravia, to do freelance decorative and portrait painting. Count Karl Khuen of Mikulov hired Mucha to decorate Hrušovany Emmahof Castle with murals and was impressed enough that he agreed to sponsor Mucha’s formal training at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts.

In addition to his studies, he worked at producing magazine and advertising illustrations. About Christmas 1894, Mucha happened to go into a print shop where there was a sudden and unexpected need for a new advertising poster for a play featuring Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris, at the Théâtre de la Renaissance on the Boulevard Saint-Martin. Mucha volunteered to produce a lithographed poster within two weeks, and on 1 January 1895, the advertisement for the play Gismonda by Victorien Sardou was posted in the city, where it attracted much attention.

Bernhardt was so satisfied with the success of this first poster that she began a six-year contract with Mucha.

Mucha produced a flurry of paintings, posters, advertisements, and book illustrations, as well as designs for jewelry, carpets, wallpaper, and theatre sets in what was termed initially The Mucha Style but became known as Art Nouveau (French for “new art”). Mucha’s works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing, vaguely Neoclassical-looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers which sometimes formed halos behind their heads. In contrast with contemporary poster makers he used pale pastel colours.

Mucha’s style was given international exposure by the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris, of which Mucha said, He decorated the Bosnia and Herzegovina Pavilion and collaborated with decorating the Austrian Pavilion. His Art Nouveau style was often imitated. The Art Nouveau style, however, was one that Mucha attempted to disassociate himself from throughout his life; he always insisted that rather than maintaining any fashionable stylistic form, his paintings were entirely a product of himself and Czech art. He declared that art existed only to communicate a spiritual message, and nothing more; hence his frustration at the fame he gained by his commercial art, when he most wanted to concentrate on more artistic projects.

Antoni Gaudi

Gaudi was a Spanish  Catalan architect from Reus and the best known practitioner of Catalan modernism. his work reflect an individualised and distinctive style . the majority of his work is located in Barcelona including his magnum opus and the Sagrada Familia.

Antoni’s work was influenced by his passions in life; architecture, nature and religion. considering every detail in his creations gaudi  integrated such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry.

under the influence of neo-gothic art and oriental techniques, guadi became part of the Modernista movement, this movement reached its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. guadis work transcended mainstream Modernisme with an organic style inspired by natural forms.

preferring to make 3d scale models of his ideas and moulding details as he conceived them Guadi rarely drew his plans.


Echo Chernik ~ Art Nouveau



Echo has over twenty years of experience as a professional commercial artist in the advertising field, and five years as an instructor of graphics and digital illustration at Pratt institute, Westchester community college, Marymount Manhattan and Skidmore CCI.  Specializes in Art Nouveau influenced poster designs, advertisements, package design and book covers. Echo is a traditionally trained artist – graduate of Pratt Insitute, Summa Cum Laude  received a Presidents award for her academic excellence. A traditional background in art focuses on skills such as drawing and painting as well as perspective and colour theory. this allows the artist to translate their concept into whatever media best suits the job – resulting in a very versatile artist, who is not limited by any one medium.

Echo works in both raster and vector formats – beginning with a scanned drawing and manipulating it in photo shop, illustrator or painter programs as well as the occasional 3d program. she is also fluent in traditional media, and has been working on a series of oil paintings recently for a collector.

Echo has been featured in many commercial design magazine articles and galleries for her talents as an artist, business-person and instructor. With over sixteen years of experience as a commercial artist.  Echo’s list of notable clients is pages long from Advertising Clients to Book Covers to calenders and much more


Walter Crane – Art Nouveau

Walter Crane was an English book illustrator whose wonderfully romantic depictions of famous fairytales and stories can be found in numerous old books for children. He is one of the most influential and most prolific children’s illustrators of the late 19th and early 20th century. His work is known to feature colorful child-in-the-garden motifs, which became more common among artists after he popularized them. Walter Crane was also a part of the Arts and Crafts movement and it addition to his illustrations, he made many paintings, ceramic tiles and similar objects typical for Art Nouveau. The artist is also associated with the international socialist movement.
Crane comes from the artistic family. His father, Thomas Crane, was a portrait painter and miniaturist, his brother Thomas was also an illustrator, while his sister Lucy was a famous writer. It was quite natural that Crane was interested in arts since his teenage days. He was curious about various new art movements and he was appreciating the aesthetics of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Crane has achieved a great success already with one of his earlier pieces, which was the illustration of Tennyson’s poem Lady of Shalott. Initially, this illustration strongly impressed a wood-engraver William James Linton, with whom Walter Crane worked for three years, studying the art of engraving. Crane has also admired the masterpieces from the era of Italian Renaissance as well as the Japanese color prints. All these different influences can be seen in his beautiful, romantic imagery, which skillfully and seamlessly bring together diverse styles.

Crane’s Interest in Politics and Anarchists

Around the 1860s, Crane began to actively participate in politics. He was supporting the Liberal Party and some of their radical politicians such as John Bright, Henry Fawcett, and William Gladstone. Over the time, Crane developed socialistic views and he was known to speak in favor of the party who tried to overthrow the French government in the 1870s. His art at the time was quite influenced by his political ideas. He devoted a lot of attention to designing useful textiles and house decoration and he provided visual solutions for art for the weekly cartoons of the socialist institutions, such as Justice, The Commonweal, and The Clarion. Crane has also devoted a lot of his time and energy to the Art Workers Guild and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. His political activity also lead to his role of a Vice President of the Healthy and the Artistic Dress Union. This union has interesting and innovative ideas when it comes to fashion and they were opposing the mainstream trend of wearing corsets. They even wrote numerous pamphlets on these issues, including one named How to Dress Without a Corset. Even though Crane wasn’t an anarchist, he was collaborating with a couple of libertarian publishers, like Liberty Press and Freedom Press. He even decorated the facade of The Bomb Shop, which was a left-wing and radical literature bookstore. The most controversial thing Crane has done when it comes to politics was his support of the four Chicago anarchists, which got executed in 1887. Because of this incident and Crane’s support of the Chicago anarchists, Crane couldn’t find any patrons and financial support in the United States. The incident is known as the most dramatic episode in Crane’s career.

Paintings,Illustrations, and Books

In 1862, Crane’s legendary work The Lady of Shalott was exhibited at the Royal Academy, but later on, the Academy refused to showcase his mature work, so Crane stopped his collaboration with them. He accepted the offer of a printer Edmund Evans to illustrate yellowbacks and they began working on toy books and fairy tales. From 1865 to 1876 Crane and Evans together made several very successful books each year. Thanks to Evans, Crane discovered that he had a natural predisposition to illustration, just like his father and brother. Crane’s illustration style is prevalently rooted in the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance. However, in order to enrich his art, Crane began implementing the elements of Japanese woodblocks and of Greek sculptures. The main elements he uses are the emphasis on the lines and the use of negative space, typical for Japanese pieces. All of his works are inspired by the world of fantasy because Crane preferred his wild imagination and avoided depicting scenes of routine daily life. His works in children’s books brought him a strong world-wide reputation. He had worked with the eminent Brothers Grimm as an illustrator for their tales such as Snow White and The Frog Prince. Together with Evans, Crane illustrated the nursery rhymes such as Sing a Song of Six Pence and even educational books such as Grammar in Rhyme. His other famous pieces include illustrated editions of Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene and The Shepheard’s Calendar, as well as Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1873), The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde (1888). Crane also wrote and illustrated three books of poetry, Queen Summer (1891), Renascence (1891), and The Sirens Three (1886).

Association with Art Nouveau

Decorative Art movement was initiated by William Morris in the second half of the 19th century and Crane was one of its main representatives. The movement was trying to oppose the degradation of life which was initiated by the mass production in the Victorian Era. The result of the mass production was the poor and lifeless design of household objects and the goal of the Decorative Art movement was to induce a handcrafted feel into non-artistic products and objects of everyday use. Crane has created many beautiful pieces which were meant to serve as a decoration for housing, such as creative floor tiles, unusual wallpaper, ceramics, textiles, and beautiful stained glass. By the means of his dedication to this movement, Crane proved that he could inhale beauty and grace into any product or medium.

Mature Works

Crane’s mature work became quite versatile. Instead of concentrating just on illustration, Crane began producing plaster relief, tiles, stained glass, pottery, wallpaper and textile designs. In all of these pieces, he applied the famous principle of design – the artist works freest and best without direct reference to nature, and should have learned the forms he makes use of by heart. The first exhibition of his non-illustration works was held at the Fine Art Society gallery in 1891. Eventually, this became a traveling exhibition and it toured not only the United States but also Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. Around the same time, Crane was also commissioned to paint a series of murals for Red Cross Hall in Southwark. This was an entirely new and exciting project for Crane and he has created designs for nine panels which were afterward converted into large size murals. Later in his career, Crane has joined the academia and started a new chapter of his career. He gave lectures at the Birmingham School of Art and these lectures were eventually published in his book Line & Form. His lectures were known to be quite straightforward and practical. For example, in Line & Form, he explains that the shape of a fruit used in decorative arts should influence the shape of leaves surrounding it, in order to create a good balance of forms. One of Crane’s last important works was his lunettes, shown at the Royal West of England Academy in 1913. The artist died in 1915 in Horsham Hospital, West Sussex and he was survived by his three children, Beatrice, Lionel, and Lancelot.

Meticulous Attention to Detail

Crane’s works, no matter are they illustrations or his other pieces, display a painstakingly beautiful attention to detail and balance of colors and forms. The artist’s huge legacy includes his book drawings which are still popular among the children around the world, just like the Grimm brothers’ stories. The same goes for his precious everyday items, such as tiles. Crane’s work is still being the part of group exhibits, an entire century after his death. His latest show was held in 2016, in Victorian and Albert museum in London, under the name Botticelli Reimagined.

Walter Crane lived and worked in London, UK.

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Art Nouveau Antoni Gaudi


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Antoni Gaudí i Cornet  commonly known as Gaudi was born in 1852 and lived until 1926.

Gaudi was a revolutionary architect in late 1800’s and early 1920’s. His work is in Barcelona in Spain. His collection is vast and is vision was amazing. He thought and designed not only for his time but also for the future. His most significant design was Sagrada Familia which was started in 1882 and is still continuing to be built today.This is one of the most visited building in the world. His buildings and designs were very distinct and unusual. They featured many buildings such as Mila House built with completely curved walls, and no straight lines. The sculpture at Park Guel is a huge mosaic salamander lizard surround by a water feature traveling down the hill of the park.

He used products such as ceramics, stained glass, wrought iron, forging and carpentry in ways that had not  been used before. He introduced new techniques in the treatment of the materials he used. One of these was Trencadis as mosaic sculptures using waste ceramic pieces.

His work was his passion and was an organic style inspired by natural forms.  He was also very religious and religious figures were in many of his works.

Gaudí rarely drew detailed plans of his works, instead preferring to create them as 3 dimensiona scale models and molding the details as he conceived them.

 In 1984 and even as recently as 2005, his works were declared Worldl Heritage site by UNESCO. Seven sites in total which is very impressive. Gaudí’s  Roman Catholic faith, became stronger as he progressed through his life  intensified during This earned him the nickname “God’s Architect”.

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Gustav Klimt

gustav klimt – google search images
Born in 1862, Austrian painter Gustav Klimt became known for the highly decorative style and erotic nature of his works, which were seen as a rebellion against the traditional academic art of his time. His most famous paintings are The Kiss and
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.

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In 1876, Klimt was enrolled in the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts (Kunstgewerbeschule), where he studied until 1883, and received training as an architectural painter. He revered the foremost history painter of the time, Hans Makart. Unlike many young artists, Klimt accepted the principles of conservative Academic training. In 1877 his brother Ernst, who, like his father, would become an engraver, also enrolled in the school. The two brothers and their friend Franz Matsch began working together; by 1880 they had received numerous commissions as a team they called the “Company of Artists”. Klimt began his professional career painting interior murals and ceilings in large public buildings on the Ringstraße including a successful series of “Allegories and Emblems”.

Klimt’s ‘Golden Phase’ was marked by positive critical reaction and success. Many of his paintings from this period utilized gold leaf; the prominent use of gold can first be traced back to Pallas Athene (1898) and Judith(1901), although the works most popularly associated with this period are the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) and The Kiss (1907 – 1908). Klimt traveled little but trips to Venice and Ravenna, both famous for their beautiful mosaics, most likely inspired his gold technique and his Byzantine imagery. In 1904, he collaborated with other artists on the lavish Palais Stoclet, the home of a wealthy Belgian industrialist, which was one of the grandest monuments of the Art Nouveau age. Klimt’s contributions to the dining room, including both Fulfillment and Expectation, were some of his finest decorative work, and as he publicly stated, “probably the ultimate stage of my development of ornament.” Between 1907 and 1909, Klimt painted five canvases of society women wrapped in fur. His apparent love of costume is expressed in the many photographs of Flöge modeling clothing she designed.
As he worked and relaxed in his home, Klimt normally wore sandals and a long robe with no undergarments. His simple life was somewhat cloistered, devoted to his art and family and little else except the Secessionist Movement, and he avoided café society and other artists socially. Klimt’s fame usually brought patrons to his door, and he could afford to be highly selective. His painting method was very deliberate and painstaking at times and he required lengthy sittings by his subjects.

Though very active sexually, he kept his affairs discreet and he avoided personal scandal. Like Rodin, Klimt also utilized mythology and allegory to thinly disguise his highly erotic nature, and his drawings often reveal purely sexual interest in women as objects. His models were routinely available to him to pose in any erotic manner that pleased him. Many of the models were prostitutes as well.

Victor Horta

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Victor Horta qualified to become an architect and interior designer in 1884 and continued on to become the early pioneer of the Art Nouveau movement.  He became inspired in the style after visiting an exhibition in 1892, and went on to designs like the award winning Hotel Tassel in 1884, which broke away from the traditional floor plans of Belgium homes at the time.  The Hotel Tassel townhouse is considered to be the first true Art Nouveau building.

“undoubtedly the key European Art Nouveau architect” described by John Julius Norwich

Victor Horta went on to design four major townhouses, Hotel Tassel, Hotel Solvay, Hotel Eetvelde and his own home (Mason and Atelier Horta) in Brussels, which was recognised by UNESCO World Heritage in 2000 as the earliest initiator of Art Nouveau, which are characterised by their open plan, diffusion of light and brilliant joining of curved lines.  In using his skills as an interior designer, he created every detail in his buildings, which included, door handles, paneling, woodwork, stained glass, mosaic flooring and furniture.

Between 1896-1899 Victor Horta designed Maison Du People, the head quarters of the Belgian Socialist Party, its facade was entirely constructed of cast iron and glass, which was the first of its kind in Brussels.  He was considered to be Belgium’s leading architect of Art Nouveau and his work inspired and helped to promote the whiplash style throughout Europe.

After ten years of designing in the Art Nouveau style that he pioneered in Belgium, it began to lose public favour due to post war austerity, which meant it was no longer affordable or fashionable.  Horta’s work moved away from Art Nouveau and moved more towards Art Deco and  Modernism, which has more reinforced concrete structures and lacked the grace and charm of his Art Nouveau work.



Aubrey Beardsley



The brilliant, highly original but controversial English Art Nouveau illustrator Aubrey Beardsley is best-known for his erotic black-and-white illustrations which typified fin de siecle English decadence at the end of the 19th-century. A workaholic and art editor of The Yellow Book, Beardsley’s most famous drawings include his illustration of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur and Oscar Wilde’s Salome (Princeton University Library, New Jersey). Satirized in Punch magazine as “Aubrey Weirdsley”, he became – despite a short life and an artistic career of only 6 years – one of the best known artists of his day and a major figure in Art Nouveau design as well as the Aesthetic movement. Throughout his life, Beardsley suffered from recurrent disabling attacks of tuberculosis, the disease that would finally kill him at the age of 25. With his contemporary Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), he is regarded as England’s greatest master of illustration .


Beardsley’s style was a reflection of the liberal decadence of fin de siecle Europe, and he also drew inspiration from a number of other artists, from the Renaissance as well as his own era of modern art. But his illustrative genius was all his own. Detached from the moral norms of mainstream Victorian society, his art remains vividly original, and it is no surprise that his influence over later artists and illustrators was enormous. Notable followers included the French Symbolists, the Poster art Movement of the 1890s and the work of many later Art Nouveau artists.


Illustrations by Aubrey Vincent Beardsley can be seen in several of the world’s best art museums, including the Victoria & Albert Museum in London




René Lalique – Art Nouveau

“Art Nouveau aims to introduce some sensible life, sensuality, dream and emotions to the daily life. It aimed to bring beauty outside the museums and into the daily life, including cities, people’s houses and closets. That is why Art Nouveau is considered an ‘absolute’ art style, using mainly applied arts and taking form into utilitarian fields like decoration, furniture, architecture, fashion and jewelry.” – Barbara Boumaraf-Tissier

60_block_24_2René Lalique was born on April 6,1860 in Ay, France. He was a notable French glass designer known for his creations of glass art, perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, chandeliers, clocks and automobile hood ornaments.


After the death of his father, René Lalique became an apprentice to one of the leading craftsman and jeweller in Paris, Louis Aucoc. It was during this time that he learned jewellery-making techniques, while attending classes at the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. He then left for England where he continued his studies for two more years. In 1878 he attended college in Sydenham England and returned to France in 1880. By 1881, Lalique was working as a freelance designer for many French jewelry firms, which came to include Cartier and Boucheron among others, and also for a growing list of private clients. By 1886 he had begun operations at his own workshop in Paris. This was the year when Rene married with his first wife, Marie-Louis Lambert. His second wife was daughter of the sculpture Auguste Ledru, Augustine-Alice Ledru, and they had two children, Suzanne and Marc. 

Transition from jewellery to enamel and glass

Lalique was recognised as one of France’s best Art Nouveau jewellery designers in 1890. He had begun to research and experiment with glass – has unique properties, one of which is its ability to transmit, reflect, and diffuse light ; a more forgiving and less expensive material to work with, compared to ivory or gemstones, and it was an endless source of inspiration for Lalique. As a breakthrough designer, he became synonymous for modernity and elegance during the Belle Époque. His luscious jewels adorned the bodies and costumes of leading theater actresses such as the great Sarah Bernhardt, and his stage jewelery underlined female body curves. He has always been mesmerized by nature’s miracles; as a child, he studied botany and drew flowers and insects.

Partnership with Francois Coty

The foremost French perfumer, Francois Coty, was greatly impressed with Lalique’s glass artworks and asked him for a perfume bottle design in 1909. After revolutionizing jewelry, Lalique revolutionized the perfume industry. By that time, attractive and artistic bottles could be mass-produced. Their collaboration transformed the perfume industry and made it possible for the first time to offer perfumes in attractive bottles at affordable prices.

From Art Nouveau to Art Deco

His technique of contrast between clear and frosted glass was celebrated as a triumph for the Art Deco movement. He passed with success from Art Nouveau to the more geometric Art Deco without any rupture but a smooth evolution.


When he died in 1945, René Lalique left his heirs quite an empire. His son took over the firm and developed the crystal glasswork, and then his grand-daughter (Marie-Claude Lalique) developed the perfumery section and created an eponymous fragrance called, “Lalique de Lalique” in 1992.

Today, the legacy of Lalique can be discovered at the Lalique Museum in Wingen-sur-Moder, in the French Alsace region which was opened in 2011.

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