Art Nouveau (1890—1910)__________________________


A decorative-art movement centered in Western Europe.

It began in the 1880s as a reaction against the historical emphasis of mid-19th-century art, but did not survive World War I.

Originated in London and was variously called

  • Jugendstil in Germany
  • Sezessionstil in Austria
  • Modernismo in Spain.

Practiced mostly in the decorative arts: furniture, jewelry, and book design and illustration.

Style Description


  • richly ornamental and asymmetrical

  • characterized by a whiplash linearity reminiscent of twining plant tendrils.

  • themes of symbolism, frequently of an erotic nature.

  • designs were dreamlike and exotic forms.


  • New design principle:
    Unifying decoration, structure, and intended function.

  • forms and lines were often invented rather than copied from nature or the past (like the arts and Crafts movement).

  • The design process pointed toward abstract art.

Emile Tassle townhouse (1892)
Baron Victor Horta

Image of Horta

More of the house: 01 | 02 | 03 | 04 |


English Art Nouveau


Aubrey Beardsley



The Studio (1893)
Aubrey Beardsley

First cover for The Studio
Beardsley’s career was launched when editor
C. Lewis Hine featured his work on this cover and reproduced eleven of his illustrations in the inaugural issue.

Mort D'Arthur (1893)

Mort D'Arthur —chapter opening (1893)

(Compare to this chapter opening by William Morris)


Yellow Book (1894)
Illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley



This illustration was seen in the Studio Volume Two (October 1893)


Salome (a play wrriten by Oscar Wilde)

Illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley


Decadent artist Aubrey Beardsley often depicted grotesque scenes in a formally elegant style as in this illustration for Oscar Wilde's Salomé



Dudley Hardy

A Gaiety Girl, (1898)

This provided Londoners with a media icon (Gaiety Girl)—like the Parisians' Cherette.

In the poster you will notice that the actor and play title stand out dramatically against the red background.

(Musical Comedy)


A Gaiety Girl 2, (1898)

This was the poster that advertised the performances, at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London, in 1893.

It shows an extremely slim waisted girl in a red dress, shoes and long white gloves, dancing with a big smile on her face.

Women and Wine (1899)

Photo of a Gaiety Girl


French Art Nouveau

Le Chat Noir Nightclub

Swiss artist,
Theophile Alexandre Steinlen

Durring the 1880's many artists and writers
gathered at the Le Chat Noir nightclub. (Black Cat)

It was the beginning of the Cabaret in Paris


Henri de Toulouse-Latrec

He mastered direct drawing on
lithographic stone and worked
from memory with no sketches.

He used an old toothbrush to
achieve tonal effects
(This was a careful splatter technique.)

Shapes become symbols; in combination, these signify a place and an event.



Jane Avril, (1899)
Henri de Toulouse-Latrec


Moulin Rouge (La Goulue) (1892)
Henri de Toulouse-Latrec


May Belfort, (1895)
Henri de Toulouse-Latrec


Poster for Artide Bruant (1893)
Henri de Toulouse-Latrec

The influence of the Japanese print is clearly evident in the flat silhouette, unmodulated color, and stylized curvilinear drawing.


Eldorado: Aristide Bruant (1892)
Henri de Toulouse-Latrec
La Passagere du 54 (1896)
Henri de Toulouse-Latrec


Alphonse Mucha

Gismonda, (1894)
Alphonse Mucha

The life-size figure, mosaic pattern,
and elongated shape created an overnight sensation.


La Dame aux Camélias (1896)
Alphonse Mucha


(Information about this poster
and his other paintings.


This was Mucha's first set of decorative panels and it remains one of his most popular.

Spring 1896
Summer 1896
Autumn 1896
Winter 1896


  • It was so popular that Mucha was asked by Champenois (his studio) to produce at least two more sets based on the same theme in 1897 and 1900.

  • Designs for a further two sets also exist. The theme lends itself well to personification and Mucha captures the moods of the seasons?

  • ......innocent Spring
  • ......sultry Summer
  • ......fruitful Autumn
  • ......frosty Winter



Mucha also produced numerous advertisements, calendars and illustrations, which were usually made to order and were widely accessible to the public. The women of Mucha 's paintings are beautiful and elegant and are depicted in a natural style with an emphasis on sensuous and feminine form.

Poster for Job cigarette papers, (1898)
Alphonse Mucha

Mucha delighted in filling the total space with animated form and ornament.


Advertisement for beer

This Mucha masterpiece is perhaps the most elegant beer advertisement ever produced. It has all the hallmarks of his best work, circular design, a woman with ornate hair and adornments, plus some clever tricks as well. Along with the flowers in the woman's flowing hair, you'll also find all the ingredients needed to make a fine lager: barley, hops, and poppy flowers from the fields of France...

Mucha's poster work of Sarah Bernhardt

En l'honneur de Sarah Bernhardt (1896)

La Samaritaine (1897)

Medee (1898)

Hamlet (1899)

La Tosca (1898)

Lorenzaccio (1896)

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Videos about the artists:

Alphonse Mucha - Art Nouveau Visionary (3 min)

Mucha part 1 of 6 (10 min)


American Art Nouveau

GE logo

Will Bradley

The American Chap-Book (1905)

Extra examples of his work:

Whiting Paper Company

Other book covers and spines he designed: Click here

Bradley executed a number of designs to promote The Chap-Book , a short-lived but important publication based in Chicago.

Chapbook defined: Chapbook is a generic term to cover a particular genre of pocket-sized booklet, popular from the sixteenth through to the later part of the nineteenth century.

Poster for the Chapbook (1895)
Will Bradley

Repetition of the figure in a smaller size, overlapping the larger figure, enabled Bradley to create a complex set of visual relationships.

  • Through his posters and book covers, Will Bradley is credited with introducing the American public to the undulating curves of the Art Nouveau style.

  • This holiday announcement for the literary periodical The Chap-Book was so enthusiastically collected that it was reportedly out of print in less than two months.


Poster for Bradley: His Book (1898)

Will Bradley

Medieval romanticism, Arts and Crafts-inspired patterns, and art nouveau are meshed into a compressed frontal image.
Belgium Art Nouveau

Poster for Tropon food concentrate

Henri van de Velde

Poster for Delftsche Slaolie salad oil
Henri van de Velde


German Jugendstil movement
( Art Nouveau )

The Kiss (1898)
Peter Behrens

This is a six-color woodcut.
It was controversial for its androgynous imagery.
First reproduced in Pan magazine.