Art Nouveau

Throughout the museum

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Decorative, sensual, and uncompromising, Art Nouveau ('New Art') emerged as a dynamic and expressive style in the visual arts from the early 1890s to the First World War. Taking its inspiration from the natural world, its characteristic motifs include delicate tendrils, organic forms, swooping, swirling lines, eccentric geometry and exotic bodies.

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Viewed by some as the first self-conscious attempt to create a modern style, Art Nouveau steadily developed across Europe and America, and can be seen in painting, sculpture, jewellery, metalwork, glass and ceramics of the period. The seductive drawings of Aubrey Beardsley, the curvaceous architecture of Victor Horta and Paul Hankar and the ornate poster designs of Alphonse Mucha are some of the most familiar examples of the Art Nouveau style.

Collection Highlights

Set of knives and coffee spoons
Set of two paper knives, fruit knife and six coffee spoon, designed by Prince Bojidar Karageorgevitch, about 1900, Paris, France
tiara comb and bodice ornament
Tiara comb and bodice ornament, made by Rene Lalique, 1903 – 4, Paris, France
La Plume, poster-calendar, by Alphonse Mucha, 1897, France
The Prey, vase, designed by Auguste Ledru, made by Susse Frères, 1895 – 1905, Paris, France
Cabinet, designed by Louis Majorelle, about 1900, Nancy, France
Job, poster, by Alphonse Mucha, 1898
Armchair, designed by Louis Majorelle, 1899 – 1900, Nancy, France
Desk, made by Hector Guimard, about 1895, Paris, France
Favrile, vase, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany Glass & Decorating Co, manufactured by Stourbridge Glass Co., about 1895, Long Island, US
Bowl, by Alexandre Bigot and Edouard Colonna, 1895, Paris, France
Duval Janvier, Medallists, plaquette, by Alexandre-Louis-Marie Charpentier, 1902, Paris, France
balcony front
Balcony front, designed by Hector Guimard, made by Bayard et Saint Didier, about 1900, Paris, France
The Climax, print, by Aubrey Beardsley, published by John Lane, 1894, London, England
fruit basket
Fruit basket, designed by Josef Hoffmann, made by Wiener Werkstätte, 1904, Vienna, Austria
furnishing fabric
Kimberley, furnishing fabric, designed by Harry Napper, made for The Silver Studio, about 1902, England
Design for The Golden Lion public house, about 1899 – 1900, Birmingham, England
Cabaret du Chat Noir, poster, designed by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, printed by Charles Verneau, 1896, Paris, France