As an art movement, Art Nouveau has affinities with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolist movement, and artists like Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha, Edward Burne-Jones, Gustav Klimt and Jan Toorop could be classed in more than one of these styles. Unlike Symbolist painting, however, Art Nouveau has a distinctive visual look; and unlike the artisan-oriented Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau artists readily used new materials, machined surfaces and abstraction in the service of pure design.
Art Nouveau did not negate the machine as the Arts and Crafts Movement did, but used it to its advantage. For sculpture, the principal materials employed were glass and wrought iron, leading to sculptural qualities even in architecture. Ceramics were also employed in creating editions of sculptures by artists such as Auguste Rodin.
Art Nouveau architecture made use of many technological innovations of the late 19th century, especially the broad use of exposed iron and large, irregularly shaped pieces of glass in architecture. By the start of the First World War, however, the highly stylised nature of Art Nouveau design—which itself was expensive to produce—began to be dropped in favour of more streamlined, rectilinear modernism, which was cheaper and thought to be more faithful to the rough, plain, industrial aesthetic that became Art Deco.
Vase by Daum (c. 1900).
Chair designed by Henry Van de Velde for his house "Bloemenwerf" in Brussels.
"Majolikahaus" (det.) 1898 by Otto Wagner
Bechstein Art Nouveau grand piano 1902 made for Julius Gütermann