Design: Art Nouveau and Art Deco

by Carla Hufstedler March 15, 2019

Design: Art Nouveau and Art Deco

Two types of design in jewelry, hair jewelry, veils, and capes you may see on our website for sale are Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Both are historical design styles based first in architecture. They then inspired great jewelers, then clothing designers. Both were responses to historical events: Art Nouveau to the Industrial Revolution in the 1880’s, and Art Deco to World War I. How so?

Art Nouveau’s response to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the machine—cars, factory manufacturing, streamlining work—was the use of organic images in creativity: flowers, plants, life itself. Art Nouveau showed up in architecture first, then graphic art such as painting and advertising, furniture and fabric, glass and china, metal, and jewelry. You see these motifs in jewelry and fabric in our store: flowers, petals, winding vines. Théophile Steinlen [Public domain]A famous example of Art Nouveau print art is the black cat post by Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen for the cabaret Le Chat noir (1896)—the red and orange background with the large, curved black cat taking up the entire foreground. (True crime followers will recognize this print as the one that figures heavily in “The Staircase” case of the North Carolina unsolved death of Kathleen Peterson; it hung at the top of the stairs. You can listen to an account of this case on the Generation Why podcast episodes 286 and 287.)

Art Deco was a streamlined response to Art Nouveau that appears first in France just before World War One. It too appeared in everything from jewelry to architecture to appliances. One good example is the stereotypical cathedral-like transistor radio, with its three domed speakers. Form started to express function; the idea was to take what the item was for, and then to fancy up those existing details. The most enduring, famous example of this theory of design is the Chrysler Builder in Chicago, Illinois, with its chrome finishings and its domes. Both styles are flattering for a wedding day look, either the ornate, organic, floral look of Art Nouveau framing your face or your attire, or the more streamlined but still regal lines of Art Deco. Both are a unique way to incorporate a historical, vintage look into your wedding apparel and look. New examples of each in stock are below; or you can click on the titles above each list below to access the search for each style. As always, please contact us if you have any questions, and thank you for shopping with us for your special day!

 

Art Nouveau:

Art Deco:

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