Times & Places

Art Nouveau

Developed and popularized in Europe between 1880 and World War I, the Art Nouveau style was characterized by undulating lines and swirling ornament. In its appreciation of pattern and complicated forms, the style was a continuation of earlier 19th-century traditions. Simultaneously, however, it was a "new art," a reform style that was not derived from some exotic or long-dead culture, but a contemporary reaction against revivalism. Furthermore, the objects produced in this taste were, for the most part, visually simpler than their immediate predecessors and thus embodied change. In Europe the new style made important contributions to continental design in virtually all media, including architecture. Its effects in the United States were restricted primarily to graphic, ceramic, jewelry, and silver design.

Adapted from

Charles L. Venable. Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art; New York, New York; Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994), 251.