Art Quiz: The Answer is Art Nouveau

You knew this one, right? Indeed, “art nouveau” (meaning “new art”) flourished in Europe and the United States beginning around 1890 and lasting for several decades. Here is a quick description of the movement:

The Art Nouveau movement began in 1890 with the goal of modernizing design and abandoning the classical, historical styles that had previously been popular. Art Nouveau artists drew inspiration from natural elements, such as flowers or insects. Curves, asymmetrical forms, and intense colors were other common motifs of the movement. The Art Nouveau aesthetic also appeared in various media, including decorative artpaintings, architecture, and even advertisements.

Art Nouveau’s origins can be traced back to the Arts and Crafts movement, a reaction to the academic art styles of the 19th century. An influx of Japanese woodblock prints that contained floral motifs and strong curves also influenced the style. Art Nouveau remained popular until 1905 but today is considered an important predecessor to Modernism.

The Art Nouveau movement produced many gifted artists specializing in decorative art, architecture, and glass work, including slag glass. Today, much of their work is sought after by collectors and Art Nouveau followers alike.  From “Invaluable — In Good Taste

Artists and craftsmen associated with the Art Nouveau movement include:

Aubrey Beardsley

Gustav Klimt

Alphonse Mucha

Henri de Toulouse-Latrec

Egon Schiele

Antoni Gaudi i Cornet

Victor Horta

Louis Comfort Tiffany

Emile Galle

Louis Majorelle

To learn more, you might want to take a look at Art Nouveau: The Essential Reference published in 2015 by Dover Books.


Although I did select the correct answer when I first took this art quiz, I was a little unsure. Was it Art Nouveau? Or was it Art Deco? Were these styles the same? Or, if not, what were the difference between them? Here’s what I found out.

Art Nouveau and Art Deco are both defining movements of 20th century art. Art Nouveau is characterized by graceful, elegant curves and long flowing lines. Art Deco, by contrast, is composed primary of sharp angles and geometrical shapes.  It began to emerge around 1925, as interest in Art Nouveau was waning.

An article from Mental Floss breaks it down this way:

  • Art Nouveau is flowery
  • Art Deco is sleek

You can read more here — What’s the Difference Between Art Deco and Art Nouveau?

I enjoyed learning these differences and reading more about some of my personal favorites from the art world, such as Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look back at the Art Nouveau style.

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