What Are the Stylistic Characteristics of Art Nouveau?

Art Nouveau is interesting in that is has no simple to define characteristics, although the overall philosophy of the style was to bring the beauty of art to everyday objects no matter how utilitarian they may be, while at the same time rejecting the neoclassical forms that were popular during the time its inception. The term is still applied to a number of artistic works today, as many fall into the overall style of Art Nouveau.

Generally, Art Nouveau is seen more as a stylistic choice than binding philosophy of art, in that many Art Nouveau designs or pieces are representative or reminiscent of natural forms. As a result, curves and organic forms are often incorporated, or form the basis for work in this style.

The movement got its name from a French gallery (La Maison de l'Art Nouveau) that began showing avant garde art in the early 1900s, and spread to numerous countries such as Holland, Germany and Belgium, gaining significant popularity.

Original Art Nouveau designs were primarily limited to ceramics, textiles, jewelry and glassware, although almost any domestic object (such as furniture) was used for creative expression. Art Nouveau architecture was also a common during the early 1900s in almost all of Europe and America, in a rare case of universal cultural impulse.