Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Art Nouveau Design
Although Art Nouveau (the New Art) began in Paris and was predominantly a European movement, it also had quite a foothold in America due to the fast growing industrialisation and increasingly mundane look of the cityscapes. This style began from artists desire for a ‘new art,’ therefore new materials and techniques of ornament were used and it was quite a decorative movement as it began in response to the beginning of the industrial revolution during the late 19th, early 20th centuries. The wealthy and confident society of America adopted this style as it complimented their existing architecture of libraries, museums and mansions and also inspired a brake away from the straight edged structures of the past. Art nouveau with its curvilinear lines, floral designs and direct inspiration from nature brought the freshness of natural designs into the developing urban landscape. Another aspect of this style is that it was a collective of artists reaching away from traditions of Western art, designers, “… tired of the routines they had been taught.” This style is highly influenced by Japanese prints where they learned, “How much more striking a picture can become if modelling and other detail were sacrificed to bold simplification.”
This movements’ popularity only lasted until WW1 when other modern movements such as Art Deco became prominent. Some of the well known American artists of this style include the advertisement poster lithographer William B. Bradley and Katherine Newbury a graphic designer.
Katherine Newbury designed many monograms and letterheads during her career. The example to the left is one of her bookplates featuring natural elements in a very balanced design, even the typography has natural curves and an original, hand written feel to it. The productions of this movement mainly involved book covers, posters, advertisements, illustration (Aubrey Beardsley, William B Bradley) and paintings (Gustave Klimt, Henri de Tolousse Lautrec).