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Art Nouveu - 1880-1914

Periods & Motifs are brought to you by: Jarretts Jade Jewelry & Small Antiques

(Individual descriptions, meanings, materials, etc. can be found in the Antique Library Database)


The term "Art Nouveau" means "New Art" and possessed a sinuous style of design including the exotic and sometimes erotic influence in art and decoration. The movement strived to use materials for their natural qualities and beauty. Nature was the primary theme throughout.

Historical Influences/Inventions:

  • Refusal to conform to the industrial society and a movement began to return man to the production and design fields.
  • The 1900 World's Fair in Paris presented the new arts to the world.
  • The roots of the Art Nouveau movement were in England but soon spread.
  • Founding of the Century Guild by Arthur H. Mackmurdo in 1882.

Designs and Decorations:

  • Whiplash Curves
  • Human forms with insect wings
  • Butterflies
  • Peacocks
  • Women with Flowing hair
  • Grasshoppers
  • Bees/Wasps
  • Swans, Flowers Snakes
  • Owls & Bats
  • The Iris Flower
  • Dragonflies
  • Sensuous Lines
  • Moon/Stars
  • Japanese/Oriengal themes
  • The "Siren" Look
  • Romanticism
  • High Renaissance
  • Fantasy
  • Revival of Sculptural Jewelry
  • Repousse

Materials Used:

  • Bright Translucent Enamels
  • Pearls
  • Synthetic Ruby/Sapphires
  • Quartz
  • Crystals
  • Moonstone
  • Lapis
  • Demantoid Garnet
  • Malachite
  • Mother of Pearl
  • Opal
  • Diamond
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Gold Filled
  • Gold Plated
  • Copper
  • Steel
  • Marcasite
  • Vulcanite
  • Gemstones cut En Cabochon

Important Designers & Manufacturers:

  • William Morris (Also See Art & Crafts)
  • Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo and Charles Robert Ashbee (English)
  • Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald (Scotland) and Frances McNair known as the "Glasgow Four"
  • Rene' Lalique, Master of Jewelry and Glass. Introduced Plique A'Jour method of enameling whith enthralled the world at the 1900 World's Fair where even Queen Victoria purchased his works.
  • George Fouquet - made a wrap snake bracelet for Sarah Bernhardt
  • Alphonse Much, famous for his sinuewy flowing haired women figures.
  • Liberty and Company in London
  • George Jensen from Denmark for his Art Nouveau work in silver
  • Phillippe Wolfers from Belgium for his jewelry designs.
  • Louis Comfort Tiffany for his stained glass, picture frames, trinket boxes, perfume bottles as well as jewelry and glassware.
  • Painters Henride Toulouise Lautrec, Aubrey Beardsley


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