In truth, a little Art Nouveau goes a long way. Characterized by organic shapes, curvilinear, sinuous lines and stylized, flowing elegance, the Art Nouveau movement in interior decorating, jewelry, tableware and architecture started in Paris and swept through the world in the late 19th century. Breathing new life into the art world and rejecting the prevailing academic approaches, the movement was dubbed Jungendstil, for "young style" in German.
Today interiors are are simpler, cleaner, perhaps more rustic, sometimes elegant, to say nothing of eclectic. We have moved away from decorative embellishment. The visual shock of an Art Nouveau element might be just what is in order to kick a little life into some of our more predictable rooms. Think of a small wall area covered in a beautiful William Morris wallpaper in an entryway, or an incredible Art Nouveau gilt mirror over an austere concrete or rustic limestone fireplace mantel surround.
I have seen the incredible Art Nouveau architecture all over Paris, and would love to see the Secessionist Building in Vienna. It was built to house the stunning works by the young group of artists who broke ranks with tradition in the 1890's: Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffman, Joseph Maria Olbrich and others. Their beautiful mantra "To every age its art and to art its freedom" is inscribed in stone over the entrance of the Secessionist Building.
Metro gate in Paris, circa 1903, one of hundreds installed
in Paris in the early 20th century, showcases the organic,
curvy, stylized flowing curvilinear lines of Art Nouveau
silver coffee service Vienna fin de siecle, Art Nouveau style
cover of first edition of magazine
of the Jugendstil ("youth-style") period when
Secessionist artists broke away
from traditional academic art and
started the bridge to modernism, 1898
stylized ornamentation found on the side of
the Successionist Building designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich
and built in 1897 for exhibitions of Secessionist art
lettering for "Ver Sacrum" appears on the front of
the Secessionist Building
a sinuous Otto Wagner staircase,
Stiegenhaus, Vienna, 1898
the fanciful "tattoo style" Majolikahaus, designed by
Otto Wagner, Vienna, 1898
a Metro station in Paris today
William Morris Ianthe wallpaper
Poires Pochées (poached pears) au Chocolat Noir
this dessert is elegantly Art Nouveau, non?
the recipe can be found at Les Recettes de Markus Neff blog
(in French... get your French friends involved here!)
a fin de siecle fish with bubbles drawing
by Koloman Moser 1898