What Is the Difference Between Art Nouveau and Art Deco?

Art deco was popular in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s and offered sleek lines, bold colors and lavish ornamentation, while art nouveau was popular in the late nineteenth century and offered floral prints, ornate wood carvings and curvy designs. Each type of art has a unique look that was inspired by the time in which it was created.

Art deco celebrated a change in the world and had a modernized look in comparison to art nouveau. The art was inspired by jazz, electricity and skyscrapers. Sharp angles and sleek lines were popular in the early art deco era and were found on mirrors, polished metal pieces and in the paintings created during that time. By the 1930s, art deco design started taking on a softer look with curved lines and less bold colors.

Art nouveau offers serious curves, detailed designs and ornate carvings and paintings. The detail is noticeable in small areas, such as feathers, insect wings, vines and flowers. Art nouveau includes stained glass, highly detailed hand carved wood and metal pieces. Before art nouveau, arts and crafts were introduced and used a more primitive design. Arts and crafts items were made using pottery, tile and stained glass, while art nouveau items were made using fine crafted woods and metals.