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Contents Introduction


Chapter 1


Types of Art Nouveau Chapter 2


Architecture Chapter 3


Interior Design Chapter 4


Fine Art Chapter 5


Graphic Design Chapter 6


Jewellery Conclusion




Introduction The “Art Nouveau” (new art) movement was one of the first departures from classical art and design, towards a new modernism. The Modernism and Art Nouveau movements occurred during what was known in France as the ‘Belle Époque’, or ‘beautiful era’ period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement was primarily influenced by the work of Czech (Moravian) artist Alfons Mucha, Swiss decorative artist Eugène Grasset, and English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, and the ground breaking architecture and design work of Hector Guimard of Paris and Antoni Gaudí of Barcelona.

Art Nouveau focused on the themes of nature, fantasy, and female form, with sensual flowing shapes that simulate organic growth that is reminiscent of the primeval Garden of Eden. Exotic floral motifs with animals, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, peacock feathers and marsh plants were incorporated with graceful feminine imagery or fairies, mermaids and nymphs, complete with their long manes of twisting hair. Some of the floral motifs that were used in the Art Nouveau style were borrowed from English artist William Morris from the ‘Arts and Crafts Movement’ of the late Victorian era.



Chapter One

Types of Art Nouveau The Art Nouveau movement was all about moving forward through history and not dwelling on the past. This attitude was unique but also modern during the late 18th century into the 19th. Nobody wanted to lay their eyes on something that was recycled from the past, the Arts and Crafts period did this well. Art Nouveau was about creating a new lifestyle, whether this was through art or the very roof that was over your head. Both residential and public buildings were formed in both the Curvilinear and Rectilinear styles.

The Fallingwater designed by Frank Lloyd Wright 1935


Curvilinear The Curvilinear style involves the use of curved and arched lines. Curvilinear forms lack vertices and strictly avoid the use of flat parallel surfaces. These forms are strongly linked to the Art Nouveau style as it reinforces the more organic and living side of design. The population of the world wanted to lay their eyes on something different which broke the rules that the past had bound to them. This new form first started within peoples gardens, most of which were neatly trimmed and organized in a symmetrical manner. However as soon as these geometric controlled spaces became overgrown with wild vegetation this became an entirely different trend. People started designing gardens that looked wild and overgrown. And so because of this Architecture took the same turn and became free formed. The famous Spanish Architect Gaudi designed some of the best examples of Curvilinear Architecture. Gaudi began the search for his own style in a vast changing environment where there were no fixed or binding norms. Many trends that occurred in the past such as the austere age or classicism greatly influenced many peoples work along with Gaudi of course. None of Gaudi’s work could solely be designed on pieces of paper. This was never because of the intricate natural curves and organic features but because of Gaudi’s feel for space. His aspiration was to avoid the use of conventional walls but to introduce more hollow flowing designs.


From 1882 up to Gaudi’s demise in 1926 an amazing part of history and well-known icons for the country were created. Gaudi dedicated most of his life working on the Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family). After the completion of many unique structures Gaudi began a project so big that he would never see the finished result of it. Not just the aesthetics took time to design but also the structure itself, resources were a lot more limited to today for example reinforced concrete was not currently present during that period of time. Designers like Gaudi weren’t afraid of the future and pushed technology to its limit. This sort of attitude is very different from other artists. This issue never flattened Gaudi’s imagination and form however it certainly made the whole process a lot more time consuming and structurally difficult. The 170m tall structure was started during 1882 and the competition is estimated in 2026, which is Gaudi’s 100th anniversary.

Antoni Gaudi (1852 - 1926)

Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada FamĂ­lia



Rectilinear Rectilinear is a more geometric and controlled form compared to curvilinear mentioned earlier. Although this form contains more columns and straight vertices similar to Curvilinear, it still possesses an organic living feel which is what links it to the Art Nouveau movement. Rectilinear architecture cannot be mentioned without Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Due to living in the city of Glasgow for most of his life, the Scottish Architect witnessed the rise of some of the biggest manufacturing centres that carried out heavy forms of engineering. As more and more large industrial areas where built up around the United Kingdom a vast consumer base was formed therefore productions where only to increase. Globalisation was a factor caused by this vast and increasing consumer base and the formation of a new technological era. As a result lots of countries were exposed to cultures from across the world via the large trading connections. One culture that influenced Mackintosh was Japanese art. As it became more accessible, the popularity of it grew quickly. It became such a fascination that western artists began to recreate Asian styles. This was later known as Japonism or Japonisme. This new fashion was easily compatible with the naturalistic and rectilinear aspects of Art Nouveau, as Mackintosh has shown.

This building is still being used today within the centre of the school. Being an icon of 20th century design, and one of the world’s first modernist styled buildings, Mackintosh’s work is recognized by millions. The north and west wings of the structure provide the best angles of the building itself, where you can examine aspects of the design that best reflect the use of different designs. Not only was the design of the structure influenced by foreign cultures but also, the styles were local to the area of Scotland. The building carries a theme throughout that simulates traditional Scottish tower-houses and tenement blocks. This effect was tackled by the use of a dark coloured brick and creating sections of the building that were taller, or positioned at different angles to neighbouring towers. This, combined with the different types windows and the parallel positioning of them, gave the illusion that the structure was a row of buildings. These heavy elements create a contrast with the smaller but intricate iron fixtures that follow both geometric and organic themes. Overall the building is a fine example, showing how different Art Nouveau styles can be combined in harmony with modernist approaches. This style was fairly new during the construction of the school in 1899 and 1909.

One structure that Mackintosh is well known for is the Glasgow School Of Art. Founded in 1845 as the Glasgow Government School of Design.

Glasgow School of Art established in 1845 designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh



Chapter 2


Park Guell, Barcelona designed by Antoni Gaudi in 1914



Architecure of the Art Nouveau style apeared differently in a variety of countires and the artist of those different countries brought new ideas and representations to the Art Nouveau movement. Belgium Art Nouveau is not only present in architecture in the UK but also all over Europe and the united states of America. Art Nouveau is largely present in the architecture in Belgium. The movement began in Belgium around two main centres in Brussels and Liege. Brussels was a very cultural and artistic centre in the 1890s because of the array of artists and writers from the previous decade. One of which was Emile Verhaeren who managed to acquire George Seurat’s participation in the 1887 exhibition of the societe des Vingt (the society of twenty Belgian artists that was around at this time). Seurat’s style largely influenced many members of the Les Vingt society therefore bringing the Art Nouveau style to Belgium. Victor Horta was one of the architects that brought a lot of the Art Nouveau style to the architecture of Belgium. In 1894 he designed the Hotel Wissinger, which was one of the first mature expressions of the design Movement Art Nouveau. Hotel

The Hotel Tassel designed by 1894

Tassel was another important landmark of the design movement as Horta successfully changed a standard Belgium family house into a piece of art. The Building really emphasizes the whiplash style lines of the movement. This style generated all the decorative elements of the building giving it this individual style of Art Nouveau, the staircase in this building is what Horta became rather famous for as he used great innovation when using the Art Nouveau line style. This design became a great influence to other designers. It wasn’t until Horta’s Maison du Peuple that Horta started to incorporate the style into the design of the windows and supporting Iron work. This led to Horta designing the Hotel Solvey (18951900) which had a large impact on architecture design. As previously the use of cast iron made the windows appear much larger in the stone building, but having a combination of the two materials (cast iron and stone) Horta was able to create a whole new look for architecture design. Horta then went on to design the Hotel van Eetvelde, where he used iron piers and beams to incorporate the Art Nouveau style into his designs, creating web-like ironwork, which could incorporate glass. Therefore allowing more light into the building, taking the style of the movement to a whole new level.


Italy The Art Nouveau style was also largely influenced on buildings in Milan, Italy. Some of the most famous Art Nouveau architecture design can be found there. For example the Castiglioni Palace built in 1903,designed by Sommaruga. He incorporated a combination of Renaissance architecture and Art Nouveau, the use of the floral pattern and the curved lines in the metal work really show the main elements of the Art Nouveau style. Sommaruga along with Raimondo d’Aronco became the principal representatives of the Art Nouveau style in Italy. The Galimberti House (1905) is also another great example of the style in Milan, Giovan Battista Bossi has really emphasized the floral patterns of Art Nouveau. He, like many designers of this design movement has used both metal work and stonework on his buildings.


Holland The Art Nouveau movement was also present in Holland but didn’t come about like most other countries. It came to Holland through the taste of its middle class people. The movements was shown through traditional domestic buildings, which meant that the designs were limited to the materials that were used for the average domestic house, brick. This different interpretation of the Art Nouveau style is really shown in the work of Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856 – 1934) who based his work around rational and geometric forms, which brought a new modern expression to the architecture of Holland.

Palazzo Castiglioni Corso Venezia. Giuseppe Sommaruga.1903



Germany Germany was a very important place for architecture for Art Nouveau. Peter Behrens (1868 - 1940) had a very large influence on the deign movement. Behrens originally trained as a painter, but established himself as a highly competent architect after he designed and built his own house in Darmstadt. His use of elongated, curvy vertical lines received great interest. He had a great ability in blending the curved, vertical and horizontal lines of the buildings structure, making him an important milestone in the movement in Germany. Behrens moved into architecture in the late 1880s when he was asked to join the Darmstadt Artist Colony, a group of seven young artists in Darmstadt. In November 1889 Behrens designed and decorated a new house for the Grand Duke which then became the outline for the artists artistic program and their plan for their exhibition (Ein Deutscher kunst) a document of their art, in which some of the artists published statements of their work. At the age of 32, Behrens was at a point in his life when he did a varied amount work as he had moved from being a Painter, to a Graphic Artist, to a self taught Architect. Behrens started to become really well know for architecture after he designed

Casa Behrens – Darmstadt, 1910

his own house in Darmstadt. He incorporated the traditional style of houses along the North German Coast, with the Tudor style chimneys. In his early work he used solid geometry and so many of his buildings were roughly cubed shape­. After Behrens built up a good reputation, by 1901 he was starting to work on many projects outside Darmstadt including teaching in Nernberg, where he directed an art course for craftsmen. The course was intended to give understanding to the new movement Art Nouveau, and because the course was very successful he took on a second term (January to February 1902). Behrens was also involved in the First International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Arts (April – November 1902). Behrens designed three interiors, which was represented by Germany’s contribution to the exhibition. In 1903 Behrens work became more serious and he was selected to be director Kunstgewerberschule in Düsseldorf, this enabled him to help develop the national culture of Germany.



Chapter Three

Interior Design With the ornamental and nature worshipping ideals of Art Nouveau, it is no surprise that their era saw a vast variety of unique and remarkable works of interior design. This was fitting for an art movement that operated at the forefront of design and technology of it’s time, as well as one that sought to create an internationally recognised style based on decoration. Art Nouveau cannot be described as one unified style, the movement consists of a series of European styles, though it can be noted that the works are often in response to or against old-fashioned historicism. Some of the flows of Art Nouveau, rectilinear or curvilinear, as mentioned previously, inherently saw different approaches to interior design and furnishing.



Varied Styles Artists from the Glasgow school or the Austrian ‘Secession’ movement, would have showed more linear and geometric properties in their interiors. Take for example the ‘Secession’ building in Vienna designed by Joseph Olbrish, where Joseph Hoffman and other key Austrian figures like Gustav Klimmt founded their part of Art Nouveau. It should be noted that Klimmt’s famed Beethoven Frieze has been on display in this building since 1902. The building takes on very purist geometric properties, and its white and gold, ornamental yet minimalist design makes the building stand out in Art Nouveau history. The interior work is remarkable, the high ceiling, up-scaled geometrics and simplistic use of space is a beacon of the secession style, and in-turn a landmark in Art Nouveau interiors. The interior speaks for itself, as a different approach to architecture and interior design that does not borrow as much from past styles. We

Secession Building, Vienna in 1898 by Joseph Maria Olbrich

must also take into account the Glasgow School, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and constructed between 1897 and 1909. The building resembles a towering rectangular block, with little to no decoration on the exterior. This in itself was a statement and courageous step away from traditional styles, taking a more modernist approach. The interior proves that ornamentation and decoration is wholesomely integrated with and not applied to structure. In the details of unique carpets, mantelpieces, furniture and lighting, floral as well as geometric motifs give colour and scale to the rooms. The library is a feat in itself, a two story hall with very dark rectilinear wood structures to support the mezzanine looking down onto the first floor. Polychrome paint and metal details adorned the uniquely built chairs, tables and glass bookcases in Art Nouveau style.



In comparison, artists such as Victor Horta and Hector Guimard and others in France and Belgium preached a much more curved and biomorphic style. The Tassel Hotel in Brussels, designed by Victor Horta, has one of the more magnificently and decoratively ornamented interior designs of its time. As emphasised in chapter 2, the heavy use of floral, whiplash curves and morphed iron breathes organic life into the building in a completely different way. Its very complex and extravagant nature can describe the eccentric curvilinear end of the spectrum in Art Nouveau styles. The interior work of Hector Guimard cannot be forgotten when defining the curvilinear french and belgian style. The advent of cast iron truly influenced his works, whereby he used this freedom of malleability to create biomorphic and often surreal-seeming metal ornaments,

Tassel Hotel Staircase, Brussels, designed by Victor Horta in 1894

often seen in the vertices of the ceilings and walls. These unique and exceptional, movement defining curvilinear motifs are incorporated in almost all of his creations, from the legs of chairs to the handles on wardrobes, screaming at us to recognise to complex craftsmanship behind the works. The decorative motifs are even integrated in stained glass works, which must be in an attempt to unify the visual language of Art Nouveau within interiors. There are many ways to compare and contrast the different styles that contributed to Art Nouveau, however, the different styles could not have gone by without drawing from similar contextual influences as well as from each other.



Chapter 4

Fine Art The Poster was one of the earliest forms of advertisement and began to develop as a medium for visual communication in the early 19th century. They influenced the development of typography because they were meant to be read from a distance and required larger type to be produced, usually from wood rather than metal. The poster quickly spread around the world and became a staple of the graphic design trade. The appearance of posters is associated with the invention of multi-colour lithography printing. Alois Senefelde discovered it back in 1797, but during the first half of the 19th century, this technique was developing, the mass distribution of posters came later in the 19th century. A large number of promotional posters were pasted on the

city walls, it was called ‘skin disease’, in connection with which it was necessary somehow to regulate this activity. In 1862 in England established the first association of poster artists. The first attempt to introduce self-regulation of advertising in 1893 was organized by the ‘National Community Control of advertising abuse’. In France, the “poster boom” was even more intense. In Paris, almost from the beginning of the 19th century lithographers were opening workshops, by the 1830s, their numbers had increased significantly. During the 1890s, called the “Belle Epoque” in France, the poster craze came into full bloom.


Jules Cheret In 1866 Jules Cheret opened a workshop in Paris to work on poster design. One of the most famous works by Cheret is a poster made for cabaret ‘Moulin Rouge’ - ‘Ball Moulin Rouge’ capturing figures in motion, using multiple colours, concentrating on the main figure compositions and characteristic signs of the Art Nouveau style that prevailed at the time of poster artists. Chéret also made several contributions to poster art. He made beautiful women the focus of his images and often positioned them at unusual angles, drawing attention to the composition. There is no mistaking the attractive women, who were nicknamed “Cherettes”. This is a play on words, modifying his last name into a French word which may be translated to mean dear little girls. Actually, his main model was not French at all, but a redheaded Danish actress. Talented rival of J. Cheret was Henri de ToulouseLautrec, a French post-impressionist painter. Like Cheret, Toulouse-Lautrec created one of the most successful commercial activities for ‘Moulin Rouge’, his biographer describes this poster as “A group of spectators are portrayed as large solid black mass, outlined by artful arabesque, contoured cylinders and women’s hats with feathers in the foreground - La Goulue in a pink blouse and white skirt. The gold hair of a prima dancer stands out against this dark mass. It targets all the light, she epitomizes the essence of dance” (La vie


de Toulouse-Lautrec by Henri Perruchot-1958). Moulin Rouge poster “La Goulue dance” was found very popular on the streets of Paris, and so Lautrec began to receive orders on a regular basis. Lautrec also worked on small advertising genres such as postcards and theatre booklets etc. The most consummate artist who worked in the Art Nouveau style was Alphonse Mucha. He created art posters for performances of famous actress Sarah Bernhardt. He combine high art and masterfully crafted promotional products. His special unique style was called the ‘Mucha style’, his signature style made him well known in the history of the poster advertising. Besides the spectacular posters, Mucha drew and traded with Food Company ‘Nestle’, bicycle manufacture ‘Perfecta’, etc. The centre of his posters always presented romantic feminine image, shrouded in a haze of mystery and imbued with subtle eroticism. Often, the female figure occupies almost the entire space of the poster. In his work on small advertising genres, Mucha continued this motif of the female image, flexible line of the body and the hair as perfect decoration.

Bal au Moulin Rouge designed by Jules Cheret in Chaix, Paris 1893



In Germany, unlike the general European trends, billboard developed quite differently. Advertising tricks and lures were used, as in their eyes they were no more than deceptive than tricks to sell lowquality goods. So the German poster artists took a different approach. The art critic Yakov Tugenhold, leading poster artist who worked in this style was Lucian Bernhard. Other poster artists Max Klinger and Franz Ritter von Stuck created the Teutonic style. These artists recreated images of medieval German epics. In the last third of the 19th century Poster design was developing very intensively. The verbal parts of posters started to be reduced, leading to the creation of slogans, intensive advertising and eloquent appeals. Posters, as a new kind of outdoor advertising, diluted urban landscape with bright colours and dynamic plot, which seemed to fit into the dynamics of streets.

La Goulue at the Moulin Rouge, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1891



Cycles Perfecta Alphonse Mucha 1897

Mucha Date 1896 Medium Art Print



Alfons Maria Mucha In the second half of the 19th century the transition from graphic and pictorial signs to multicolour poster led to a significant breakthrough in advertising. This process coincided with the withering away of the Victorian style in painting and design, creating opportunities for the emergence of Art Nouveau. French artists enthusiastically seized upon this new direction. They welcomed the breaking of the old traditions, and developing interest in oriental motifs. And as part of this trend principles emerged, based on a pluralistic approach to works of art. Art Nouveau, embodied in the works of artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec A. , J. Cheret , A. Mucha, O. Beardsley, contains a lot of paradoxes, combining the declaration of new forms with reference to images of older culture. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find work more graceful and charming, triggering imagination, then Art Nouveau advertising posters. Mucha’s work was so inspired that it became known as the ‘Mucha Style’, which then served as a role model to a whole generation of designers.

image was used for promotional purposes for the first time, but history has shown what a success was gained from this experience, and to this day it is used by leading experts in the field of advertising industry countries like the U.S. On the one hand, Mucha used a variety of symbolism in his work and on the other hand, he contributed to the complication of many ornamental posters. - Floral motifs - Ornament - Ornament with mythical creatures - Mythological symbolism Floral motifs borrowed from Eastern culture, became an essential attribute of the modern era paintings for many artists, floating stems and pale petals fully met the concept of Art Nouveau. In Mucha’s work you can find striking confirmation of pastels, exotic shapes, as repetition of images a beautiful lady, located in the foreground with her long hair, dressed in light, Greek tunics, all this created a unique harmony in his designs.

In the centre of his posters Mucha places idealized images of women, smooth lines, proximity to natural forms, waiver of sharp angles. These characteristics of Art Nouveau left an indelible impression on the minds of the recipients. Female

Nestlé`s Food for Infants by Alphons Mucha 1897 La dame aux Camelias designed by Alfons mucha in 1896


Turning to the ornament, it should be noted that the most commonly used geometric figure in the works of Mucha is a circle as a symbol of endless repetition, circulation, as a symbol of the feminine principle. It was even used in advertising inscriptions behind the image of a beautiful lady arranged in a semicircle with smoothly rounded letters. Mucha used motives, like in his 1897 – ‘Bières de la Meuse’ he uses a symbol as a representation of a horseshoe in a larger size, with painted ornament inside. The creative concept of Mucha’s work is reflected in every detail he created, paintings and posters, he emotionally filled key figures occupy most of the space that would be incomplete without the proper background, combining the features of fine and applied art. Mucha continuously searched for a balance between the Byzantine and Oriental origins, between modernity and rich mythological subjects.


Summing up the above, it should be noted that the poster advertising by the end of the 19th century consists of original masterpieces of fine art, outdoor posters were created not only for marketing purposes, but were expressed sentiments of an era and thus seek to conquer minds not for commercial gain, but for wholehearted transition to a new vision of reality, free from the conservatism of previous years.

Alfons Mucha - Salon des Cents designed by Alfons Mucha in 1901



Image pg. 38/39 - The Four Seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) 39 designed by Alfons Mucha in 1896



Leonetto Cappiello Master of Vintage Poster Leonetto Cappiello is now known as one of the best classical masters of European poster advertising. This Italian artist was born in 1875 in Livorno (Italy), but lived in Paris, which is not surprising as in the late 19th - early 20th century; this city was the centre of bohemian life, especially the French capital. Cappiello skillfully transformed the appearance of many famous people of the time in his artwork, (he started out as a cartoonist). He quickly gained popularity, and the work of the Italian began to appear on the pages of the metropolitan journals. Cappiello painted Posters in the style of Art Nouveau, like his famous contemporaries (Alphonse Mucha , Henri de Toulouse -Lautrec , Theophile steinlen). In the centre of the composition located vivid image, usually embodied in motion so that the expression was apparent in every curve of depicted figures. Despite the predominance of female characters (a tribute to Art Nouveau) on posters, Cappiello used men, children and even fictional characters. The artist as not trying to reveal the image psychologically, as did Toulouse-Lautrec, the emotionality of his images was closely linked with their dynamism.


Cappiello, following the example of other brilliant artists of the time, began to rise to the rank of posters of the art that filled the streets of Paris. The Art Nouveau style, brightness, conciseness, saturation, content of posters transformed commercial work into collectibles. Most of the brands for which Cappiello drew their colourful posters, exist to this day. This gives researchers an opportunity not just to admire the works of the master, but also to compare them with later advertising of the same goods. Cappiello, quoted in the newspaper Bravo (October 1932) “I was 21 years old and I was mad about all beauties which I discovered. Paris gave too much subjects to the tourist I was, so that the artist employs it and uses it. Enticed by the indefinable and witty charm of the Parisians, I become madly enthusiastic in writing it in synthetic drawings. I showed them to friends who recommended me to publish them. I carried them to the ‘Rire’, which published them immediately. You imagine my joy!”

Cachou Lajaunie designed by Leonetto Cappiello in 1920



Figure 25

Figure 26


Figure 27

Tour of Rodolphe Salis’ Chat Noir designed by Théophile Steinlen 46 in 1896

Clinique Cheron designed 47 by ThĂŠophile Steinlen in 1905




Theophile Alexandre Steinlen Theophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859 - 1923) a French painter and graphic artist, best known for creating posters in the style of ‘modern’. Steinlen not only loved cats and kept them at home, but also painted them with passion. Perhaps the most popular of his works is now advertising cabaret ‘Black Cat’, which can be found almost anywhere. And the most cat obsessed painting ‘The Apotheosis of cats’ in which the number of cats is simply impossible to calculate. In addition to drawing cats Steinlen worked for book illustrations, painted in oil and he also cast bronze sculptures. Apart from finished works Steinlen left countless sketches and sketches of cats in different poses and quantities. And yet few people know that Steinlen and his family lived in the house, which was called Cat’s Cottage.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. designed by Gustav Klimt in 1907


Gustav Klimt Austrian painter Gustav Klimt was Vienna’s most renowned advocator of Art Nouveau, or as the style was known in Germany, Jugendstil - ‘youth style’. He is remembered as one of the greatest decorative painters of the twentieth century, and he also produced one of the century’s most significant bodies of erotic art. Initially successful as a conventional academic painter, his encounter with more modern trends in European art encouraged him to develop his own eclectic and often fantastic style. His position as the co-founder and first president of the Vienna Secession also ensured that this style would become widely influential, although Klimt’s direct influence on other artists was limited. He never courted scandal, but it dogged his career, and although he never married, he is said to have fathered fourteen children. Klimt was one of the most influential exponents of Art Nouveau, the movement that spread throughout Europe in the late 19th century. His approach was inspired by the ethereal atmosphere of work by artists such as Aubrey Beardsley, and by some aspects of Impressionist technique; it was also determinedly eclectic, borrowing motifs from Byzantine, Greek and Egyptian art. Although his art is now widely popular, it was


neglected for much of the 20th century, and provoked opposition in his own day, facing charges of obscenity and objections to his lightly allusive approach to symbolism. His treatment of erotic themes was generally delicate and veiled in his paintings, but his drawings gave full expression to his considerable sexual appetite. “Whoever wants to know something about me, as an artist which alone is significant, they should look attentively at my pictures and there seek to recognize what I am and what I want.” Gustav Klimt In 1918, Gustav Klimt suffered from a stroke in his apartment, and on February 6th of that year, he died due to pneumonia. Although much of his work was not accepted during his career, due to his intense style, and graphic depictions, it was far more accepted following his death. In addition to the sales of his pieces increasing post death, many of the pieces that Gustav Klimt did create during the course of his career, were seen as some of the best to come out of Vienna, and some of the most influential pieces for future artists coming out of the city.

The Kiss- designed by Gustav Klimt in 1907-1908


English artist Aubrey Beardsley Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (born 24/8/1872, Brighton - died 16/03/1898, Menton ) was a famous English graphic artist, illustrator, grand master of Art Nouveau style, decorator, musician and poet of ‘genius miniatures’. Beardsley’s father was from a family of jewellers in London, and his mother came from a family of respectable doctors. The artist’s father, Vincent Paul Beardsley, suffered from tuberculosis, the disease was hereditary, so he could not engage in regular employment. When he was seven years old, he already knew that the disease was transmittable. In the 19th century it was unknown how to fight this terrible disease, so Beardsley at very early age understood that he could also die unexpectedly, the feeling of death relentlessly stood behind him, forcing him to live as if every day could be the last. Aubrey Beardsley has not received formal artistic education; his education was limited to three months of training at the Westminster Art School under the direction of Professor F. Brown in 1891. He studied European art in the museums of England and France, showing particular interest in heritage of Mantegna, Botticelli and Dürer. In


addition, his style drew inspiration from Greek vase painting, Pompeian painting, Chinese porcelain, Japanese prints, medieval miniatures and European art of the 18th century, in particular, Watteau and Hogarth. As an artist, originally William Morris and Burne-Jones influenced Beardsley. He was studying Japanese prints, where he has discovered the harmony of lines and spots. Depth of the traditional Japanese art allowed him to create an amazing fusion between East and West in his own drawings. Masterful virtuoso of graphically expressed line Beardsley was playing with black and white spots and silhouettes, and just in a year or two has become a world famous artist. By 1895 Beardsley’s style was already considered as mature, characterized by a wavy line pattern solid delineating patches of black and white, mid-tones, crosshatched and engraved dotted lines. This edgy, elegant style is a perfect match of literary predilections, which made him a leading figure in Art Nouveau.

Features creativity Beardsley Most of the works were Beardsley book illustrations or drawings. Many illustrations were journals ‘The Yellow Book’, ‘The Savoy’ and books ‘ Salome’ Oscar Wilde. The artist developed a symbolist and decadent tendencies of late Pre-Raphaelite art, combining them with influences of Japanese prints sophisticated and whimsical. Beardsley, with virtuoso playing silhouettes and contour lines, identified many of the features of Art Nouveau graphics.

before her death — J’ai Baisé ta Bouche, Iokanaan (‘I Have Kissed Your Mouth, Iokanaan’). The illustration impressed Wilde so much, that Wilde commissioned Beardsley to illustrate all of Salome.

Beardsley was the intellectual creator at its core; the most important source for the master was the literature. Books became the core and essence of his creative life; he was inspired exclusively by literary characters. His legacy is mainly illustrations of various covers, borders, backgrounds, endings, venzel keys and bookplates. Beardsley, as well as the Pre-Raphaelites, was passionate about the art of medieval books with its holistic approach to the design of the page, the ratio of font lane illustrations, images in the fields master skilfully combines decorative framework with prisoners in their scenes. His work addresses to really educated people. Fantastic reminiscences of the classic themes are striking in their depth and severity. J’ai baisé ta bouche Beardsley’s graphical interpretation of Wilde’s femme fatale was published in the London journal, The Studio, in April of 1893. It was published with 8 other drawings, the title of the Salome illustration was an echo of her final words

J’ai baisé ta bouche designed by Aubrey Beardsley in 1894


The Woman in the Moon In The Woman in the Moon we see Beardsley bringing the theme of same sex passion appearing throughout the text to the foreground and refers to Wilde’s own homosexuality by here inscribing him into the moon. What is more, to the left of the moon there is what seems to be a single carnation, possibly indicative of the ‘green carnation’ worn as an emblem by nineteenth century Parisian homosexuals (Greslé 38), again sending the message that the homosexual author of the work is inextricably part of the work itself. Beardsley’s A Platonic Lament, Enter Herodias and most likely also in The Eyes of Herod, are indicative of the method he used to illustrate his work. The true symbolist he was, he looked beyond the text. His approach infused his illustrations in much wider context, the homosexuality of its author, the changing role of woman in Victorian society and the fear of her felt by Victorian man.

The Woman in the Moon. designed by Aubrey Beardsley in 1894


The Black Cape The Black Cape must be a representation of Salome. Beardsley portrays her with a mock dignity, putting the shameless temptress nose in the air and clothing her in elegantly rigid attire, her true nature revealed only in the form of her grotesque fist falling out from under the cape. Perhaps this illustration was one of the ‘irrelevant’ ones Beardsley referred to, as it was in fact a replacement.

The Black Cape deigned by Aubrey Beardsley in 1894


John and Salome

Influence on art

Love and hate, intertwined and playing against each other in irrational passion and present in Salome’s dialogues are reflected in the balanced, contrasting yet complementary images of John and Salome.

Opening Beardsley style has greatly influenced contemporary art in general, from the roots and monograms to a multiple areas of modern and avant-garde formed schools and inspired many followers. His work has had an enormous influence on the further development of European art, specifically in posters, advertising and fashion magazines. It was Aubrey Beardsley who was credited for the emergence of such wonderful pieces of architecture, as later work Schechter Fedor and Antonio Gaudi.

Enter Herodias and The Eyes of Hero In The Eyes of Herod. We see Salome, again unfeminine save her breast which falls out of her robe, literally upstaging Herod, indicative of her forthcoming victory in the power game the two are engaged in. The leering eyes of Herod are transposed onto a face which, familiar to us by now, resembles that of Wilde himself, and again it shows how the artist and the work can hardly be separated when one is aware of the former, and Beardsley does not even strive to separate them, as already noted, he apparently believes Wilde’s presence to be an important element of the work itself.


Enter Herodias and The Eyes of Hero 1 designed by Aubrey Beardsley in 1892

John and Salome designed by Aubrey Beardsley in 1894

Enter Herodias and The Eyes of Hero 2 designed by Aubrey Beardsley 1892



Chapter Five

Posters and Printing Advertising was a prominent part of the Art Nouveau movement and made art accessible for the masses through its commercial printing. The posters for events and products exposed the general public to art instead of a privileged few – it was called the ‘art of the street’. It made art a daily thing for the people. Lithography, a printing method for making multi-colour prints, provided artists, designers and printers with a platform for the possibility of mass communication.

‘Olympia’, Boulevard des Capucines, 1892 designed by Jules Cheret


The most crucial development for advertising during this period was the realisation that a successful advertisement sold an idea or lifestyle, rather than a product, and sex sold products better than anything else. For this reason women became a staple subject in advertising, and artists and designers embraced the opportunity to promote the beauty of women. The women would present all that a consumer would long to be and all the things a consumer wanted. Designers did not just aim to sell the promise of sexual fulfilment to a male audience, but also, they were selling the idea of a sophisticated, decorative and glamorous identity to women. Women wanted to share that similarity with the women in the advertisement and the men desired women in the advertisements.

advertising during the Art Nouveau movement was Jules Chéret. He was known for his romantic and flirty vision expressed through his illustrations and promotional work. This advertisement for American dancer ‘Loïe Fuller’ showcases Chéret’s popular style of portraying modestly free-spirited women. The dancer is seen twirling in joy exuding an aura of extravagance, bliss and cheekiness. The work captures the spirit of sensuality and excitement of that was in Fuller’s cabaret shows. Loïe Fuller’ with her ingenious choreography and delicate silk costumes illuminated by multi-coloured lights – is resembled in the poster by the illustration of her.

Women were always kept in the background of society and it wasn’t until this time period that they became more known and accepted in society. Before the 1980’s, women held motherly roles and would take care of the household taking on tasks such as cleaning and sewing. However, during the time of Art Nouveau movement women broke this traditional role. They became more active in politics and women writers and poets began to receive recognition for their creativity. Women wanted to flaunt the independence they had achieved and break their years of silence. This art movement was a time of glamour and wealth and this was idea was reflected in adverts, posters and art. As mentioned in chapter 4, a key artist in


Jules Chéret (1836 - 1932)

La loie fuller by jules cheret



By the end of the 19th century the general public recognised and understood the artistic values of posters. They became collectable items and posters were stolen from the streets. Art collectors demanded special editions, galleries began to exhibit them and art critics began to asses them in art journals. Lithography became the popular printing method used to produce the posters, used by Jules ChĂŠret himself; it provided artwork with colourful hues.

Stone lithography was another type of printing method used during the Art Nouveau time period. The process required the artist or designer to use a slab of stone as their canvas. To begin, pictures were drawn onto the stone slab with greasy crayons to which ink was applied and then placed onto the press machine to produce identical copies of the image onto the paper. The creation of this printing technique changed the art of the poster, and with its low production costs, made art available and accessible for the public.

Chromolithography printing was developed circa 1840. It vanished by the1930’s. However it was prevelantt during the time of the Art Nouveau. It revolutionised the printing industry and delighted the world with bright and vivid prints. It transformed not only posters, but also packaging into eye-catching pieces of art that proved too beautiful to be thrown away after temporary use.

Fetes de Nice, Jules Cheret, 1907



Chapter Six

Jewellery Art Nouveau style personified the spirit of revolution, seeking an aesthetic in keeping with modern techniques and technology for manufacturing. The decorative, elegant nature of the Art Nouveau era lends itself directly to jewellery. Extravagant baroque jewels adorned the modern minded woman of this century.

Dragon Fly Woman Corsage Ornament designed by RenĂŠ Lalique in 1897


The ‘whiplash’ line is a distinguishing feature of Art Nouveau designs. This was an ornate line that broke free from the conventional constraints. This gave the designs their energy and moment. Often this took the form of a female figure and her loose flowing hair. As artists looked for a means to reinvent their visions this ‘new art‘ form took inspiration from other cultures, seeking to escape western tradition. As the trade links with the east strengthened, so did the influence of Japanese art and style. It was not, however, without its historical European design influences such as ancient Celtic decoration. Art Nouveau emerged in numerous countries at once, this new style of design arrived in the early 1890’s. The style was fully established across Europe between 1893 and 1895. Art Nouveau designers were attracted to the opaque mysteries of semi precious stones. A jewel’s worth depended not on the perfection of the stone but on elaborate craftsmanship. A key artist and designer from this avant-garde age was René Lalique. Businessman and philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian wrote ‘He ranks amongst the greatest figures in the history of art of all time, and his so personal masterly touch, his exquisite imagination, will excite the admiration of future elites…’ Born in 1860 René Lalique helped to define the aesthetic of the movement. He worked as an apprentice to the renowned Parisian jeweller and goldsmith Louis Aucoc from the age of 16. He moved to England to study at the school of Art, in Sydenham. Here his skills for graphic


design were developed and enhanced. As was his weaving of fantasy and nature. It became a trademark of his naturalistic style. All of his designs use organic imagery; flora and fauna, waves, fire, flowing hair of women. He went on to produce freelance jewellery designs. Several firms such as Boucheron, Aucoq and Cartier used his designs. The trademark quality of Renee Lalique’s designs are curvilinear; these are fluid lines that resemble the moment of water. In 1887 Renee Lalique had two workshops and his work had international reputation. He used a highly sophisticated enamelling technique called plique-ajour, which involved firing the enamel to achieve an effect of light translucence. The Dragonfly Corsage (below) embodies many of the themes of the Art Nouveau era. It combines fantasy and nature. The metamorphosis produces an image that is in some ways dark and erotic. This idea of the femme fatale, or dangerous woman of fin-de-siècle fantasy, was a recurrent theme with in the movement’s style.

Dragon fly corsage ornament designed by Rene Lalique in 1897-1898

While Parisian jewellers were known to be the most exceptional the Belgium jeweller Philippe Wolfers was also extremely talented and his work rivalled that of the French designers. He came from a background of distinguished goldsmiths and proved to be a gifted pupil at the Brussels Fine Art Academy. His work was heavily influenced by Japanese aesthetics. He made use of his family’s workshop where he designed numerous pieces during the 1880s. His designs show strong traces of a return to nature for inspiration. The Orchid hair ornament (right) was one such design. The piece is made from translucent enamel and small rows of gemstones such as diamonds and rubies. Because of his background in gold his work won him international praise. The sinuous design complements itself to the shape of the orchid. Orchids were one of the favourite themes of art nouveau jewellery. They embodied the movement’s fascination with sensuality and nature. Philippe Wolfers used the orchid as a motif in many of his designs.

Orchid hair ornament Brussels, dated 1902 Designed by Philippe Wolfers (1858-1929) Orchid Hair Ornament designed by Philippe Wolfers in 1905-7

Gold with enamel, diamonds and rubies



Conclusion Art Nouveau may have been one of the most innovative and largest international styles in the world however it came to a quick end around 1918 when the Great War started. The purpose of the style was to compete and revolt against tradition art styles (which it did) however mass produced and much cheaper pieces of design caused the style to slowly fade away. Although the movement has had its peak era in the sun it is still used in a variety of mediums today. For example the designer of the fashion brand Biba has used the art nouveau style for their logo to portray their brand name. Many high-end wine and chocolate brands have also incorporated an Art Nouveau theme into their packaging. Art nouveau was totally different from previous trends like Arts and Crafts however it strongly influenced the future. Shorty after the Art

Nouveau movement faded away Art Deco became one of the most popular styles during the 1920s. Art Deco embraced the current lifestyles people where beginning to live and portrayed the rhythm of the growing industrial endeavours that where occurring. As Art Nouveau was in harmony with the environment around, so was Art Deco. The movement also focused around pattern making very much like Art Nouveau, overall the whole movement expressed different emotions and aspects however designs where executed in the same fashions. Art Nouveau may have lost its popularity but it left its mark on the world’s permanent timeline. In a current climate where many older styles are being re-introduced, who’s to say art Nouveau wont pull itself out of the past?


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