What Influenced Art Nouveau

Art nouveau is an artistic movement characterized by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms and was influenced by many factors. Before learning what influenced art nouveau, let us see what is art nouveau.

What is Art Nouveau

Art nouveau is an artistic movement that started in Europe around the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The term art nouveau comes from French and means ‘new art’. This movement was known by different names across Europe. In Spain, it was known as Modernismo, in German Jugendstil, in Italy Stile floral or Stile Liberty, in Scotland, Glasgow style and in Hungary Szecesszi. Most of the famous designers of this movement have dissimilar styles, but they are united in the search for a new artistic vocabulary that could best express the modern world.

The art nouveau style was used in paintings, posters, advertisements, book covers, architecture, interior design, decorative objects such as textiles, jewelry, household items, etc.

Styles in this movement were a combination of organic and geometric forms; the designs were elegant and united flowing natural forms with more angular contours. Dark red, brown, mustard yellow, olive and brown were the most used colors in these designs. Thus, it can be said that art nouveau is characterized by sinuous, long, organic lines and temperate and dark colors.

What Influenced Art Nouveau

Industrial Revolution can be identified as the main influence of art nouveau. The designers welcomed the technological progress which gave them many aesthetic possibilities such as new materials and processes to create art.

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Nature also had a major impact on this movement. Most of the art nouveau designs are influenced by exotic fauna and flora such as butterflies, dragonflies, insects, reptiles, orchids, tulips, water lilies, irises, etc. Designs often took the form of flower buds, stalks, vine tendrils, insect wings, and other delicate and sinuous natural objects.

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Art nouveau movement was also influenced Arts and Crafts Movement that flourished in Europe at the time. This movement advocated traditional craftsmanship using simple forms. Medieval, romantic and folk styles were often used in this movement. William Morris  is considered to be the leading figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement and many nouveau art designers were influenced by his use of stylized organic and floral forms.

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Japonisme is another major style that influenced art nouveau movement. When Japan decided to enter into international trade in the late nineteenth century, there was a high demand for Japanese arts and crafts. Japanese porcelain, fans, textiles and lacquer work began to be very popular and created a major impact on western art. Cherry blossoms, bamboo, carp and wisteria became a part of art nouveau designs.

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  • Art nouveau is an artistic movement that started in Europe around the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • It was characterized by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms.
  • The industrial revolution, the natural world, Arts and Craft Movement, and Japonisme are the main factors that influenced art nouveau movement. 

Image Courtesy:

“Tassel House stairway” By Henry Townsend – Own Work (Public Domain) via

 By Claire H. – originally posted to Flickr  via

“Alfons Mucha – F. Champenois Imprimeur-Éditeur” By Alphonse Mucha – Art Renewal Center Museum, image 4411 (Public Domain) via

“Beardsley-peacock skirt” By Aubrey Beardsley – (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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