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The Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements were born as a response to events of great magnitude and relevance, which changed the perspective of many and their way of seeing the world.
The first, the Industrial Revolution in the second half of the 18th century and ending in the first half of the 19th century, results in (the Belle Époque), and a “new” artistic perspective in architecture and design. The second, the Great War or World War I, which runs from July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918, ends up notoriously influencing the vision of the artists, who from then on, and thanks to the new era of prosperity, they decide to characterise their works with details of “opulence and extreme luxury”.
These two movements adopted modernist elements for their time, but each of them has special characteristics.
What makes Art Nouveau a unique art?
Its name comes from an exhibition held in a Paris gallery called La Maison de Art Nouveau. This art form focuses on nature. There is a lot of prominence on the part of the flowers and the vegetation, but in a very fine and stylised way; it is usually combined with geometric figures with oval or semicircular features. The participation of small animals such as insects and even mythical fairies was also included. The Eiffel Tower, Alphonse Mucha’s paintings, and Joseph Lorenzi’s sculptures are representative samples of this style. On the other hand, in jewellery items, we find examples such as Lalique jewellery or Tiffany lamps; the idea was to socialise feminine beauty but without abandoning artisan manufacturing, preserving the exclusivity of the pieces and therefore, the jewels would-be stars in the show.
The magic of Art Deco.
The Art Deco movement took its name from the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts and Modern Industries that was held in France in 1925. This artistic style was characterised by highly streamlined shapes and straight geometric lines such as the cube and the rhombus, the predominance of colours such as white, black, grey and silver and contrasts with striking colours but in a lesser proportion.
In constructions and sculptures, the use of modern materials such as stainless steel, chrome, marble, or noble woods such as ebony and rosewood, whether carved or inlaid, made a difference and distinguished “decorative art” of the “new art” that preceded it. The exuberance and eccentricity that defined the Jazz era also did so with the Art Deco esthetic. Many experts agree that the tower of the Chrysler Building in New York is the perfect definition of this style.
As for fashion and the establishment of new paradigms, Gabrielle Chanel is considered one of its greatest exponents, being the designer who marked the final break of (the Belle Époque). Coco Chanel (1883-1971).
If we talk about jewellery, the use of crystals was predominant and currently, Art Deco based jewellery designs include precious stones whose characteristics of transparency or translucency, resemble the glassware used at the time, which is why emeralds are the stones that best adapt to the new Deco proposals.
The decorative movement prevailed until the beginning of World War II. We already know that events of such magnitude open the door and give way to the creation of new perspectives and trends…
So, with what style do you define yourself, Art Nouveau or Art Deco? Tell us in the comments!