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Art Nouveau. A style of decoration and architecture current in the 1890s and early 1900s. The name derives from a gallery for interior decoration opened in Paris in 1896, called the 'Maison de I'Art Nouveau'; the same style in Germany is called 'Jugendstit after a magazine called Die Jugend (Youth) and in Italy 'Floreale' or 'Liberty' after the London store. Characteristic decorative motifs are writhing plant forms, as in the wrought-iron entrances to Paris Metro stations (by Hector Guimard). Similar forms were used both in book ills and also in the applied arts, e.g. furniture or glassware of the French artist Emile Galle and of Louis Tiffany in the U.S.A. The best-known graphic artist is Aubrey Beardsley, whose sinister line drawings were exceptionally well adapted to book ill. The architectural movement was widespread, leading figures being Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Gaudi Antoni in Barcelona, whose work has a bold fantastic style. Interior decorators include Samuel Bing (Germany), Victor Horta and Henry Van de Velde (Belgium).


Aubrey Beardsley
The Toilet of Salome.



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