Art Term

Art nouveau

Art nouveau is an international style in architecture and design that emerged in the 1890s and is characterised by sinuous lines and flowing organic shapes based on plant forms

Aubrey Beardsley, ‘Design for the Frontispiece to John Davidson’s Plays’ 1894
Aubrey Beardsley
Design for the Frontispiece to John Davidson’s Plays 1894
Tate

This complex international style in architecture and design was parallel to symbolism in fine art. Developed through the 1890s it was brought to a wider audience by the 1900 Exposition Universelle.

In Britain, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s designs exemplify the style, but in his work its characteristic flowing lines and organic shapes are seen within severe but eccentric geometry. Key examples of Art Nouveau are Paris Metro station entrances by Guimard; Tiffany glass; chair designs by Charles Rennie Mackinstish and his Glasgow School of Art; and the book designs of Aubrey Beardsley, Charles Ricketts and followers such as Arthur Rackham.

Art nouveau flourished in the first decades of the twentieth century but was killed off by the First World War.

selected artists in the collection

Artist

Aubrey Beardsley

1872–1898
Artist

Charles Ricketts

1866–1931
Artist

Arthur Rackham

1867–1939

selected artworks in the collection