Stained Glass - Table of Contents................... Illustrated Architecture Dictionary .................. Art Nouveau Architecture

Art Nouveau Stained Glass

French for "The New Art," Art Nouveau was a style of decoration that began in Europe and America in the late 1890s and continued through the early 1930s. It was a rebellion against the old repetitious designs of the industrial revolution and lingering Victorian traditions.

Art Nouveau first emerged as a distinct style, in around 1895 and achieved widespread popularity shortly afterwards, when the style was showcased at the Paris Exhibition of 1900.

Its origins somewhat rooted in the British Arts and Crafts Movement of William Morris, which, in turn, had been influenced by the Aesthetic Movement. Art Nouveau was popular across Europe and in the United States as well. Leading practitioners included Alphonse Mucha, Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt and the American glassmaker Louis Comfort Tiffany.

John LaFarge: "Lafarge's most significant artistic achievement was the development of opalescent stained glass, which he invented in 1879 and for which he received the Légion d'honneur in 1889. It was rapidly imitated by Louis Comfort Tiffany, among others, and proved to be America's only original contribution to Art Nouveau." - The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts

Art Nouveau was inspired by nature and Japanese art. Organic forms -- curvilinear depiction of leaves and flowers, often in the form of vines, whether stylized or realistic -- sensuous curving lines, vibrant iridescence, and a general feeling of lightness are hallmarks of the movement.

The name Art Nouveau came from the Parisian gallery owner, Samuel Bing, who called his pavilion L'Art Nouveau. Bing was a key figure in the history of decorative arts. He was the first to recognize and exhibit the works of these avant-garde artists, which included the American, Louis Comfort Tiffany.

One of America's greatest architects was Chicago-based Louis Sullivan; he also designed geometric stained glass and frequently used opalescent glass (see below). Like Wright, Sullivan designed the glass as an integral component of the architecture.

Art Nouveau remained popular until around the time of World War I, and was ultimately replaced by the Art Deco style.


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