Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau's international style of art, architecture, and applied art, especially the decorative arts. It was most popular between 1890 and 1910. Art Nouveau was a reaction to the academic art, eclecticism, and historicism of 19th-century architecture and decoration that favored fine art, such as paintings and sculptures, over applied art. It was inspired by natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants, flowers, and whiplash forms. Other defining characteristics of Art Nouveau were a sense of dynamism and movement, often given by asymmetry and curving lines, and modern materials, such as iron pillars, sculpted and curved in naturalistic designs. Art Nouveau was known under the names of Jugendstil in Germany, Nieuwe Kunst in the Netherlands, and Modern Style in Great Britain. It also inspired the psychedelic art of the 1960s.


  • Vibrant colors such as greens, browns, yellows, and gold
  • Feminine figures
  • Hand-lettering
  • Plants such as cyclamen, iris, orchid, thistle, mistletoe, holly, water lily
  • Animals such as swans, peacocks, dragonflies, and butterflies.
  • Whiplash curves: asymmetrical, curved lines in an S shape, frequently incorporated into natural forms such as women's hair and the stems of plants.




Gaudí, Antoni: Casa Milá

Casa Milá, Barcelona, by Antoni Gaudí, 1905–10.


Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest


Mucha, Alphonse: Zodiac

Zodiac, colour lithograph by Alphonse Mucha, 1896; in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California.


Tiffany lamp

“Pond Lily” table lamp, model no. 344, by Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1900–10; in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


Hotel Tassels in Brussels