Art Nouveau: Art of Darkness

First named such in Belgium, Art Nouveau was intimately tied up with that country’s brutal rule of the Congo.

From a poster by Henry Van de Velde for a food supplement, 1898

Art Nouveau remains one of the most popular forms of modern art. The style had multiple permutations and names in different countries in fin-de-siècle Europe, but it was first named “art nouveau” in Belgium in the 1880s. There, “pioneers in modern design” including Victor Horta, Henry van de Velde, Paul Hankar, and Philippe Wolfers created the curvy new style as the country exploded in development on the profits from King Leopold II’s murderous Congo Free State.  

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Scholar Debora L. Silverman argues that this context was no coincidence . Belgian Art Nouveau was an “imperial modernism,” with “profound and inextricable ties, long unexamined, between the Belgian arts and artists […] and the patrons, policies, violence, and even the expressive forms of Congo imperialism.”

“These artists’ creative consciousnesses were also vitalized by the sudden and successful Congo venture,” she notes, “and they shared the exhilaration of their contemporaries, as well as some of the collective derangement, over the fact that their small, new, and neutral nation has ‘acquired’ one-thirteenth of the African continent.”

Artists used raw materials from the colony, including ivory and tropical hardwoods. They were inspired by colonial motifs, including the “sinuous coils” of the rubber vine and the lash of the chicotte , or imperial flogging whip made of hippopotamus hide. (An early Belgium name for the new art was Style coup de fouet, or whiplash style.) And they were supported by patrons, above all Leopold II, who—engorged with profits from the colony, especially from rubber—commissioned their buildings and bought their works.

The colonial history here is unique. In 1885, as the European powers divided up Africa, Leopold II managed to gain control of the Congo region. The resulting L’État indépendant du Congo wasn’t technically a colony of what was then a half-century-old Belgian state. It was Leopold II’s personal colony. His minions proceeded to extract rubber, palm oil, ivory, and exotic hardwoods out a place much larger than Belgium itself. Shareholders in his exploitation of the Congo earned an average stock dividend of 220% from the plundering between 1892 and 1897.

“By 1905,” writes Silverman, “two decades of contact with the Congo Free State had remade Belgium as a global hub, vitalized by a tentacular economy, technological prowess, and architectural grandiosity.”

Buoyed by the wealth of what critics called bloody “red rubber,” the “Builder King” himself never visited his African fiefdom. By the time the state of Belgium annexed the Congo from Leopold II in 1908 in response to the world-wide scandal over conditions there, his regime “of forced labor, invasion terror, hostage taking, and hand severing” had murdered millions of Congolese. (Silverman cites a figure of four to eight million; Adam Hochschid’s King Leopold’s Ghost , which introduced the historical record to many in 1998, argues for a higher figure: ten million lives.)

Silverman focuses on the 2005 exhibition La mémoire du Congo, le temps colonial , at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (now known as AfricaMuseum) in Tervuren, Belgium. The exhibition “attempted to confront for the very first time the brutal history of Belgium in the Congo.” This history was “long suppressed in what had become the pivotal institution of official national denial and the most visible and provocative embodiment of the ‘great forgetting’” of Belgium’s role in Africa—a role that lasted long after Leopold II’s death in 1909. (In 2002, Belgium formally apologized for its role in the 1961 assassination of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s first Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, whose body was hacked up and dissolved in acid after death.)

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Calling the exhibit “flawed and evasive,” Silverman nevertheless argues that the display of long-unseen objects, especially works in ivory, helped to reveal the “art of darkness” behind Belgian Art Nouveau. The phrase intentionally echo’s Joseph Conrad’s famous 1899 novella Heart of Darkness , which explores European imperialism in the Congo .

Silverman ends with the words of Henry Van de Velde, who explained the “eruption of modern line” in the “breakthrough” of Art Nouveau, transposing Belgian violence in the Congo into the new art in Belgium: “We seized line like one seizes a whip. A whip whose sonorous cracks accompanied our adventurous course, and whose blows lashed the skin of an indolent public.”

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Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau Collage

Summary of Art Nouveau

Generating enthusiasts in the decorative and graphic arts and architecture throughout Europe and beyond, Art Nouveau appeared in a wide variety of strands, and, consequently, it is known by various names, such as the Glasgow Style, or, in the German-speaking world, Jugendstil. Art Nouveau was aimed at modernizing design, seeking to escape the eclectic historical styles that had previously been popular. Artists drew inspiration from both organic and geometric forms, evolving elegant designs that united flowing, natural forms resembling the stems and blossoms of plants. The emphasis on linear contours took precedence over color, which was usually represented with hues such as muted greens, browns, yellows, and blues. The movement was committed to abolishing the traditional hierarchy of the arts, which viewed the so-called liberal arts, such as painting and sculpture, as superior to craft-based decorative arts. The style went out of fashion for the most part long before the First World War, paving the way for the development of Art Deco in the 1920s, but it experienced a popular revival in the 1960s, and it is now seen as an important predecessor - if not an integral component - of modernism .

Key Ideas & Accomplishments

  • The desire to abandon the historical styles of the 19 th century was an important impetus behind Art Nouveau and one that establishes the movement's modernism. Industrial production was, at that point, widespread, and yet the decorative arts were increasingly dominated by poorly-made objects imitating earlier periods. The practitioners of Art Nouveau sought to revive good workmanship, raise the status of craft, and produce genuinely modern design that reflected the utility of the items they were creating.
  • The academic system, which dominated art education from the 17 th to the 19 th century, underpinned the widespread belief that media such as painting and sculpture were superior to crafts such as furniture design and ironwork. The consequence, many believed, was the neglect of good craftsmanship. Art Nouveau artists sought to overturn that belief, aspiring instead to "total works of the arts," the famous Gesamtkunstwerk , that inspired buildings and interiors in which every element worked harmoniously within a related visual vocabulary. In the process, Art Nouveau helped to narrow the gap between the fine and the applied arts, though it is debatable whether this gap has ever been completely closed.
  • Many Art Nouveau practitioners felt that earlier design had been excessively ornamental, and in wishing to avoid what they perceived as frivolous decoration, they evolved a belief that the function of an object should dictate its form. In practice this was a somewhat flexible ethos, yet it would be an important part of the style's legacy to later modernist movements, most famously the Bauhaus .

Key Artists

Gustav Klimt Biography, Art & Analysis

Overview of Art Nouveau

art nouveau research paper

Gustav Klimt famously said, “Enough of censorship…I refuse every form of support from the state, I’ll do without all of it,” – because he was attacked for his work’s swirling erotic forms, he went on pioneer his Gold Period – one of the highlights of Art Nouveau.

Artworks and Artists of Art Nouveau

Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo: Cover design for Wren's City Churches (1883)

Cover design for Wren's City Churches

Artist: Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo

Mackmurdo's woodcut is an example of the influence of English design, particularly the Arts and Crafts movement, on Art Nouveau. The woodcut as a genre points to the handcrafted, unique quality of the work and the simplicity of Mackmurdo's use of positive and negative space both contribute to this association. Meanwhile, Mackmurdo's abstract-cum-naturalistic forms and the trademark whiplash curves are characteristic of the visual sense of free movement and energy that would eventually define Art Nouveau. The emphasis on the floral and vegetal imagery adorning the cover which refuses any real consonance with the professed subject matter of the book also highlights its purposefully decorative quality, hinting at how Mackmurdo's work is of an experimental nature rather than a definitive, mature example of Art Nouveau. The woodcut proves far more valuable than the actual content, which consists of a rambling, loose description of the architecture of the Baroque London churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

Woodcut on handmade paper

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec: La Goulue at the Moulin Rouge (1891)

La Goulue at the Moulin Rouge

Artist: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Toulouse-Lautrec is one of Art Nouveau's most important graphic artists who were responsible for raising the poster from the realm of advertising ephemera to high art during the 1890s (the same decade that saw the establishment of artistic magazines solely dedicated to this medium). Lautrec and his fellow graphic artists understood that they were innovative, though the stylistic label "Art Nouveau" was probably never applied to them until after Lautrec's death in 1901. La Goulue at the Moulin Rouge takes the flourish and messiness of a French can-can dancer's dress and breaks it down to a few simple, rhythmic lines, thereby suggesting the sense of movement and space. The flattening of forms to mere outlines with the flat infill of color recalls Art Nouveau's debt to Japanese prints as well as the lighting in such nightclubs that naturally would render the surface details of figures and other objects indistinct. Likewise, the repetitive red lettering of the cabaret's name suggests the pulsating energy of the performances for which dancers like La Goulue (stage name of Louise Weber, one of Lautrec's friends) took center stage.

Lithograph - The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Aubrey Beardsley: The Peacock Skirt (1894)

The Peacock Skirt

Artist: Aubrey Beardsley

Beardsley's The Peacock Skirt is an illustration made for Oscar Wilde's 1892 play Salome , based on the Biblical narrative centered on Salome's order to behead and serve on a platter the head of John the Baptist. (Salome was a popular subject for many other Art Nouveau artists, including Victor Prouvé.) Beardsley's Salome is comparatively tame in comparison with some of the illustrator's more erotic and nearly pornographic works. It is a fine example of how many artists influenced by Art Nouveau laid great emphasis on line, often abstracting their figures to produce the fashionable sinuous curves so characteristic of the style. One might also take it as an example of how the formal vocabulary of the style could be used with exuberant excess, a quality that would later attract criticism. The influence of Japonese prints on Art Nouveau is also evident in Beardsley's work in its flattened rendition of form. But this illustration might also be taken as an example of the contemporaneous Aesthetic movement, and in that respect it demonstrates how Art Nouveau overlapped and interacted with various other period styles.

Ink illustration

Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos: The Budapest Museum of Applied Arts (1893-96)

The Budapest Museum of Applied Arts

Artist: Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos

Designed by Ödön Lechner, sometimes known as the "Hungarian Gaudi," with his partner Gyula Pártos, the Budapest Museum of Applied Arts is an example of the way that the Hungarian "national" strand of Art Nouveau (often called the Hungarian Secession because of its closeness to Vienna) consisted more of an amalgamation of various historical styles than a precise search for new ones. This building, on a trapezoidal site, encircles a courtyard that is largely filled by a glass atrium to the rear of the main facade. The forms used inside and out derive from a mixture of Islamic and Persian architecture, as seen in its elaborate multi-lobed arches, as well as Central European-derived baroque, bell-shaped domes and spires with onion-shaped carved finials. As with Gaudi's work, the highly ornamental building, articulated everywhere by tilework, stained glass and stone produces a lively, polychromed effect that keeps the viewer's eye moving and reminds one of the harmonious unity of the applied arts here in creating a "total work of art."

Budapest, Hungary

Hector Guimard: Entrances to Paris Subway Stations (1900)

Entrances to Paris Subway Stations

Artist: Hector Guimard

When Hector Guimard was commissioned to design these famous subway station entrances, Paris was only the second city in the world (after London) to have constructed an underground railway. Guimard's design answered the desire to celebrate and promote this new infrastructure with a bold structure that would be clearly visible on the Paris streetscape. The entrances use the twisted, organic forms typical of Art Nouveau that appear at first to be nearly seamless, yet they are constructed out of several cast iron parts that were easily mass produced, at Osne-le-Val to the east of Paris. In effect, Guimard had concealed an aspect of the object's modernity beneath its sinuous continuity, a strategy that is symptomatic of Art Nouveau's ambivalent attitude to the modern age. Guimard's design was thus instrumental in bringing Art Nouveau's otherwise complex, labor-intensive designs to a mass audience for whom the style seemed like a symbol of unattainable luxury.

Paris, France

Joseph Maria Olbrich: Ernst-Ludwig-Haus, Darmstadt (1900-01)

Ernst-Ludwig-Haus, Darmstadt

Artist: Joseph Maria Olbrich

This is the centerpiece of the new Darmstadt Artists Colony (Kunstlerkolonie), formed in 1899 under the patronage of Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse, an admirer of the Arts & Crafts movement. It was designed by J.M. Olbrich, one of the Colony's founding artists, whom the Duke poached from the Vienna Secession. (Olbrich had designed the Secession's exhibition building three years before.) Like the Secession building, the Ernst-Ludwig-Haus is highly rectilinear, with a gleaming white exterior capped by a gently sloping roof, set on the brow of a hill. This is offset by the arched, centrally-located main entrance, delineated by its gold-plated, cloudlike geometric pattern surrounding the doorway, which is fronted by Ludwig Habisch's twin male and female sculptures personifying Strength and Beauty. The sloping skylights stretching the length of the rear of the structure disclose its function as one of the rare Art Nouveau buildings designed solely as studio space, and it served as the centerpiece of the opening exhibition of the Darmstadt group in 1901. Although the Colony only lasted until the outbreak of war in 1914, today the structure serves as a museum of their artistic endeavors.

Darmstadt, Germany

Clara Driscoll for Tiffany Studios, New York: Model #342, “Wisteria” Lamp (c. 1901-05)

Model #342, “Wisteria” Lamp

Artist: Clara Driscoll for Tiffany Studios, New York

Table lamps are some of the most famous Art Nouveau items produced by Louis Comfort Tiffany's firm. The model #342, commonly called "Wisteria," is one of the most prized. The bronze base resembles the roots and lower trunk of a tree, with the leaded glass shade that appears like the branches of a wisteria at its crown cast in bronze. These suspend the flowering petals that appear to drip like drops of water, created from nearly 2,000 individually-selected pieces of glass whose screen produces a warm, yet soft glow, suggesting the filtering of sunlight. The irregularity of the armature at the crown along with the border of the bottom of the shade add to the naturalism of the design, but they also recall the influence of Impressionism and Japonism on Art Nouveau, as wisteria are native to both the eastern United States, where Tiffany was based, and to China, Japan, and Korea. Recently-discovered evidence proves that Model #342 was designed by Clara Driscoll, head of Tiffany Studios Women's Glass Cutting Department and creator of over thirty of the company's famed lamps, including the Daffodil, Dragonfly, and Peony models. It thus also represents an important moment for women designers at the turn of the century, who were put in charge of a significant sector of the firm's production. Driscoll herself commanded $10,000 a year as one of the highest-paid women of her time, until she was required to leave Tiffany Studios when she married in 1909.

Leaded glass and patinated bronze

Gustav Klimt: Hope II (1907-08)

Artist: Gustav Klimt

Klimt's work, like Aubrey Beardsley's, involves the distortion and exaggeration of forms and, often, highly sexually-charged subject matter. Unlike Beardsley, however, Klimt is famous, particularly in his post-1900 paintings, for his frequent use of gold leaf, often in concert with a kaleidoscope of other bright hues. This combination helped create Klimt's signature mature style, often summarized as a set of dreamy, visually luscious (and materially luxurious) paintings of women, sometimes real portraits but often imagined or allegorical personifications, including his Hope II . The nearly-surreal imagery of exaggerated and flattened bodily forms, highlighted by the emphasis on pattern and the lack of depth and detached from a recognizable environment, underscores the way that Klimt focused on creating a literal "new art" that was free from prescribed rules or principles. As a founding member of the Vienna Secession, he rejected the tenets of academic painting under which he had been trained. The shocking reactions that Klimt's work has provoked - during his lifetime up to the present day - helps contribute to his renown as the most innovative Art Nouveau painter and a master of modernism.

Oil and gold leaf on canvas - The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Antoni Gaudi and Josep Maria Jujol: Park Guell (1900-14)

Artist: Antoni Gaudi and Josep Maria Jujol

Antoni Gaudi, the foremost architect of Catalan Modernisme , may be best-known for his work on the still-unfinished Expiatory Church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, but his signature designs can be seen in dozens of buildings throughout the city. One of the last projects that Gaudi, a devout Catholic, undertook before devoting himself entirely to the Sagrada Familia in 1914 was a speculative hillside suburban community for his chief patron, the textile magnate Eusebi Guell. The development displays Gaudi's innovative design capabilities, even though the only homes completed were his own house plus one other residence and the project is generally considered a financial failure. The park's design is thoroughly integrated into the landscape, with rough-hewn inclined columns seemingly excavated out of the hillsides and covered by vines. The centerpiece consists of a columned market space supporting an open plaza bounded by a serpentine bench covered with a conglomerate of discarded ceramic tiles, called trencadís , a hallmark of Catalan craftsmanship. The market is connected to the Parc's entrance by a grand staircase with a tiled fountain sporting the face of a dragon and the striped Catalan flag. There, the gatehouse and concierge's residence consist of rocky lodges crowned by irregular, conical spires, appearing to be crafted out of gingerbread. The undulating forms, inspired by inverted catenary arches, and brilliantly-colored tilework point to the collaborative nature of Catalan Art Nouveau, involving teams of craftsmen specializing in different media and the reliance on the honest treatment of ecologically-sensitive materials.

Beginnings of Art Nouveau

The Hotel Tassel famous staircase designed by Victor Horta. Completed in 1894. Photo by  Henry Townsend

The advent of Art Nouveau - literally "New Art" - can be traced to two distinct influences: the first was the introduction, around 1880, of the British Arts and Crafts movement, which, much like Art Nouveau, was a reaction against the cluttered designs and compositions of Victorian-era decorative art. The second was the current vogue for Japanese art, particularly wood-block prints, that swept up many European artists in the 1880s and 90s, including the likes of Gustav Klimt , Emile Gallé , and James Abbott McNeill Whistler . Japanese wood-block prints in particular contained floral and bulbous forms, and "whiplash" curves, all key elements of what would eventually become Art Nouveau.

It is difficult to pinpoint the first work(s) of art that officially launched Art Nouveau. Some argue that the patterned, flowing lines and floral backgrounds found in the paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin represent Art Nouveau's birth, or perhaps even the decorative lithographs of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec , such as Moulin Rouge: La Goulue (1891). But most point to the origins in the decorative arts, and in particular to a book jacket by English architect and designer Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo for the 1883 volume Wren's City Churches . The design depicts serpentine stalks of flowers emanating from one flattened pad at the bottom of the page, clearly reminiscent of Japanese-style wood-block prints.

Art Nouveau Exhibitions

Art Nouveau-style poster for the 1900 Expositions Universelle in Paris

Art Nouveau was often most conspicuous at international expositions during its heyday. It enjoyed center stage at five particular fairs: the 1889 and 1900 Expositions Universelles in Paris; the 1897 Tervueren Exposition in Brussels (where Art Nouveau was largely employed to show off the possibilities of craftsmanship with the exotic woods of the Belgian Congo); the 1902 Turin International Exposition of Modern Decorative Arts; and the 1909 Exposition International de l'Est de la France in Nancy. At each of these fairs, the style was dominant in terms of the decorative arts and architecture on display, and in Turin in 1902, Art Nouveau was truly the style of choice of virtually every designer and every nation represented, to the exclusion of any other.

The Regional Names for Art Nouveau

Entrance to Siegfried Bing's shop L'Art Nouveau

Siegfried Bing, a German merchant and connoisseur of Japanese art living in Paris, opened a shop named L'Art Nouveau in December 1895, which became one of the main purveyors of the style in furniture and the decorative arts. Before long, the store's name became synonymous with the style in France, Britain, and the United States. Art Nouveau's wide popularity throughout Western and Central Europe, however, meant that it went by several different titles. In German-speaking countries, it was generally called Jugendstil (Youth Style), taken from a Munich magazine called Jugend that popularized it. Meanwhile, in Vienna - home to Gustav Klimt , Otto Wagner , Josef Hoffmann and the other founders of the Vienna Secession - it was known as Sezessionsstil (Secession Style). It was also known as Modernismo in Spanish, Modernisme in Catalan, and Stile Floreale (floral style) or Stile Liberty in Italy (the latter after Arthur Liberty's fabric shop in London, which helped popularize the style). In France it was commonly called Modern(e)-Style and occasionally Style Guimard after its most famous practitioner there, the architect Hector Guimard , and in the Netherlands it was usually called Nieuwe Kunst (New Art). Its numerous detractors also gave it several derogatory names: Style Nouille (noodle style) in France, Paling Stijl (eel style) in Belgium, and Bandwurmstil (tapeworm style) in Germany - all names which made playful reference to Art Nouveau's tendency to employ sinuous and flowing lines.

Art Nouveau: Concepts, Styles, and Trends

Art nouveau graphics and design.

Art Nouveau's ubiquity in the late-19 th century must be explained in part by many artists' use of popular and easily reproduced forms, found in the graphic arts. In Germany, Jugendstil artists like Peter Behrens and Hermann Obrist had their work printed on book covers and exhibition catalogs, magazine advertisements and playbills. But this trend was by no means limited to Germany. The English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley , perhaps the most controversial Art Nouveau figure due to his combination of the erotic and the macabre, created a number of posters in his brief career that employed graceful and rhythmic lines. Beardsley's highly decorative prints, such as The Peacock Skirt (1894), were both decadent and simple, and represent the most direct link we can identify between Art Nouveau and Japonism / Ukiyo-e prints . In France, the posters and graphic production of Jules Chéret , Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec , Pierre Bonnard , Victor Prouvé , Théophile Steinlen , and a handful of others popularized the lavish, decadent lifestyle of the belle époque (roughly the era between 1890-1914), usually associated with the seedy cabaret district of Montmartre in northern Paris. Their graphic works used new chromolithographic techniques to promote everything from new technologies like telephones and electric lights to bars, restaurants, nightclubs and even individual performers, evoking the energy and vitality of modern life. In the process, they soon raised the poster from the ranks of the pedestrian advertisement to high art.

Art Nouveau Architecture

The Vienna Secession Building as it looks today. Photo by Gryffindor

In addition to the graphic and visual arts, any serious discussion of Art Nouveau must consider architecture and the vast influence this had on European culture. In urban hubs such as Paris, Brussels, Glasgow, Turin, Barcelona, Antwerp, and Vienna, as well as smaller cities like Nancy and Darmstadt, along with Eastern European locales like Riga, Prague, and Budapest, Art Nouveau architecture prevailed on a grand scale, in both size and appearance, and is still visible today in structures as varied as small row houses to great institutional and commercial buildings. In architecture especially, Art Nouveau was showcased in a wide variety of idioms. Many buildings incorporate a prodigious use of terracotta and colorful tilework. The French ceramicist Alexandre Bigot, for example, made his name largely through the production of terracotta ornament for the facades and fireplaces of Parisian residences and apartment buildings. Other Art Nouveau structures, particularly in France and Belgium ( Hector Guimard and Victor Horta were important practitioners), show off the technological possibilities of an iron structure joined by glass panels.

In many areas across Europe, local stone such as yellow limestone or a rocky, random-coursed rural aesthetic with wood trim characterized Art Nouveau residential architecture. And in several cases, a sculptural white stucco skin was used, particularly on Art Nouveau buildings used for exhibitions, such as the pavilions of the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900 and Secession Building in Vienna. Even in the United States, the vegetal forms adorning Louis Sullivan's skyscrapers like the Wainwright Building and Chicago Stock Exchange are often counted among the best examples of Art Nouveau's wide architectural scope.

Art Nouveau Furniture and Interior Design

Like the Victorian stylistic revivals and the Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau was intimately associated with interior decoration at least as much as it was conspicuous on exterior facades. Also like these other styles of the 19 th century, Art Nouveau interiors also strove to create a harmonious, coherent environment that left no surface untouched. Furniture design took center stage in this respect, particularly in the production of carved wood that featured sharp, irregular contours, often handcrafted but occasionally manufactured using machines. Furniture makers turned out pieces for every use imaginable: beds, chaises, dining room tables and chairs, armoires, sideboards, and lamp stands. The sinuous curves of the designs often fed off the natural grain of woods and was often permanently installed as wall paneling and molding.

In France, the chief Art Nouveau designers included Louis Majorelle, Emile Gallé, and Eugène Vallin, all based in Nancy; and, Tony Selmersheim, Édouard Colonna and Eugène Gaillard, who worked in Paris - the latter two specifically for Siegfried Bing's shop named L'Art Nouveau (later giving the whole movement its most common name). In Belgium, the whiplash line and reserved, more angular contours can be seen in the designs of Gustave Serrurier-Bovy and Henry van de Velde, who both admired the works of the English Arts & Crafts artists. The Italians Alberto Bugatti and Augustino Lauro were well-known for their forays in the style there. Many such designers moved freely between media, often making them hard to categorize: Majorelle, for example, manufactured his own wooden furniture designs and opened up an ironworking foundry, which also produced many of the metal fittings for the glasswork put out by the Daum Brothers' glassworks.

Painting and "The High Arts"

Few styles can claim to be represented across nearly all forms of visual and material media as thoroughly as Art Nouveau. Besides those who worked mainly in the graphics, architecture, and design, Art Nouveau counts some prominent representatives in painting, such as the Vienna Secessionist Gustav Klimt, known for Hope II and The Kiss (both 1907-08), and Victor Prouvé in France. But Art Nouveau painters were few and far between: Klimt counted virtually no students or followers ( Egon Schiele went in the direction of Expressionism ), and Prouvé is known equally well as a sculptor and furniture designer. Instead, Art Nouveau was arguably responsible, more than any style in history, for narrowing the gap between the decorative or applied arts (to utilitarian objects) and the fine or purely ornamental arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture, which traditionally had been considered more important, purer expressions of artistic talent and skill. (It is debatable, however, as to whether that gap has ever been completely closed.)

Art Nouveau Glasswork and Jewelry

Charismatic portrait of Art Nouveau glass designer Emile Gallé by Victor Prouvé (1892)

Art Nouveau's reputation for luxury was also evident by its exploitation by some of the best-known glass artists in history. Emile Gallé, the Daum Brothers, Tiffany, and Jacques Gruber all first found renown, at least in part, through their Art Nouveau glass and its applications in many utilitarian forms. Gallé and Daum's firms established their reputations in vase designs and art glass, pioneering new techniques in acid-etched pieces whose sinuously curved, shapely surfaces seemed to flow between translucent hues effortlessly. The Daum Brothers and Tiffany also exploited the artistic possibilities of glass for utilitarian purposes such as lampshades and desk utensils. Both Tiffany and Jacques Gruber, who had trained in Nancy with the Daum Brothers, became specialists in stained glass that celebrated the beauty of the natural world in large-scale luminant panels

In jewelry, René Lalique, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Marcel Wolfers created some of the most prized pieces of the turn of the century, producing everything from earrings to necklaces to bracelets to brooches, thereby assuring that Art Nouveau would always be associated with fin-de-siècle luxury, despite the hope that its ubiquity might make it universally accessible.

Retailing and Corporate Identity

Art Nouveau rose to prominence at the same time that retailing expanded to attract a truly mass audience. It was featured prominently by many of the major urban department stores established during the late-19 th century, including La Samaritaine in Paris, Wertheim's in Berlin, and the Magasins Reunis in Nancy. Furthermore, it was marketed aggressively by some of the most famous design outlets of the period, beginning with Siegfried Bing's shop L'Art Nouveau in Paris, which remained a bastion of the dissemination of the style until its closure in 1905 shortly after Bing's death. His was far from the only store in the city to specialize in Art Nouveau interiors and furniture.

Meanwhile, Liberty & Co. was the major distributor of the style's objects in Britain and to Italy, where Liberty's name became nearly synonymous with the style as a result. Many Art Nouveau designers made their names working exclusively for these retailers before moving in other directions. The architect Peter Behrens, for example, designed virtually everything from tea kettles to book covers to advertising posters to exhibition pavilions' interiors to utensils and furniture, eventually becoming the first industrial designer when in 1907 he was put in charge of all design work for AEG ( Allgemeine Elektrisitats-Gesellschaft , the German General Electric).

Later Developments - After Art Nouveau

If Art Nouveau quickly took Europe by storm in the last five years of the 19 th century, artists, designers and architects abandoned it just as quickly in the first decade of the 20 th century. Although many of its practitioners had made the doctrine that "form should follow function" central to their ethos, some designers tended to be lavish in their use of decoration, and the style began to be criticized for being overly elaborate. In a sense, as the style matured, it started to revert to the very habits it had scorned, and a growing number of opponents began to charge that rather than renewing design, it had merely swapped the old for the superficially new. Even using new mass-production methods, the intensive craftsmanship involved in much Art Nouveau design kept it from becoming truly accessible to a mass audience, as its exponents had initially hoped it might. In some cases, such as in Darmstadt, lax international copyright laws also prevented artists from monetarily benefitting from their designs.

Art Nouveau's association with exhibitions also soon contributed its undoing. To begin with, most of the fair buildings themselves were temporary structures that were torn down immediately after the event closed. But more importantly, the expositions themselves, though held under the guise of promoting education, international understanding, and peace, instead tended to fuel rivalry and competition among nations due to the inherently comparative nature of display. Many countries, including France and Belgium, considered Art Nouveau as potential contenders for the title of "national style," before charges of Art Nouveau's foreign origins or subversive political undertones (in France, it was variously associated with Belgian designers and German merchants, and was sometimes the style used in Socialist buildings) turned public opinion against it. With a few notable exceptions where it enjoyed a committed circle of dedicated local patrons, by 1910 Art Nouveau had vanished from the European design landscape.

From Wiener Werkstätte to Art Deco

Art Nouveau's death began in Germany and Austria, where designers such as Peter Behrens, Josef Hoffmann, and Koloman Moser began to turn towards a sparer, more severely geometric aesthetic as early as 1903. That year, many designers formerly associated with the Vienna Secession founded the collective known as the Wiener Werkstätte, whose preference for starkly angular and rectilinear forms recalled a more precise, industrially-inspired aesthetic that omitted any overt references to nature. This reification of the machine-made qualities of design was underscored in 1907 by two key events: the installation of Behrens as AEG's chief of all corporate design, from buildings to products to advertising, making him the world's first industrial designer; and the founding of the German Werkbund, the formal alliance between industrialists and designers that increasingly attempted to define a system of product types based on standardization. Combined with a newfound respect for classicism, inspired in part by the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and given an official blessing by the City Beautiful movement in the United States, this machine-inspired aesthetic would eventually develop, in the aftermath of World War I, into the style that we now belatedly call Art Deco. Its distinctly commercial character was expressed most succinctly at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in 1925, the event which would, in the 1960s, give Art Deco its name.

Postmodern Influences

Despite its brief life, Art Nouveau would prove influential in the 1960s and '70s to designers wishing to break free of the confining, austere, impersonal, and increasingly minimal aesthetic that prevailed in the graphic arts. The free-flowing, uncontrolled linear qualities of Art Nouveau became an inspiration for artists such as Peter Max, whose evocation of a dreamy, psychedelic alternative experience recalls the imaginative, ephemeral, and free-flowing aesthetic world of the turn of the century.

Always recognized from the start as an important step in the development of modernism in both art and architecture, today Art Nouveau is understood less as a transitional bridge between art periods as it is an expression of the style, spirit, and intellectual thought of a certain time frame, centered around 1900. In its search to establish a truly modern aesthetic, it became the defining visual language for a fleeting moment of the age.

Useful Resources on Art Nouveau

  • Art Nouveau: Utopia: Reconciling the Irreconcilable (Taschen) Our Pick By Klaus-Jurgen Sembach
  • Art Nouveau By Gabriele Fahr-Becker
  • Art Nouveau: An Anthology of Design and Illustration from "The Studio" (Dover Pictorial Archive)
  • Art Nouveau (Architecture & Design Library) By Robert Fitzgerald
  • Art Nouveau Architecture Our Pick By Keiichi Tahara
  • Treasures of Art Nouveau: Painting, Sculpture, Decorative Arts in the Gillion Crowet Collection By Michel Draguet
  • An Art Nouveau Master Remembered in Prague Our Pick By Dinah Spritzer / The New York Times / September 1, 2010
  • Guest Column: The Social Agenda of Art Nouveau By Elisabeth Horth / Collectors Weekly / August 21, 2009
  • An Art Nouveau Room Thick With Wisteria Our Pick By Carol Vogel / The New York Times / November 23, 2007
  • Louis Tiffany's Eclecticism a Harbinger of Art Nouveau By Roberta Smith / Taipei Times / November 30, 2006

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Related artists, related movements & topics.

Jugendstil Art & Analysis

Content compiled and written by Justin Wolf

Edited and revised, with Summary and Accomplishments added by Peter Clericuzio

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History Essays

Art nouveau.


Factory of Olivier de Sorra

Vase with peacock feathers

Vase with peacock feathers

Auguste Delaherche

art nouveau research paper

"Ombellifères" (cow parsley) Cabinet

Emile Gallé

Moulin Rouge:  La Goulue

Moulin Rouge: La Goulue

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec


Designed by Louis C. Tiffany


Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer

The Scream

Edvard Munch


Designed by Philippe Wolfers

Monumental vase

Monumental vase

Georges Hoentschel

Side chair

Edward Colonna

Milk jug

Alexandre Bigot



Gustave Serrurier-Bovy


Dress panel

Hector Guimard


Georges Fouquet


Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat

Coffeepot (part of a service)

Coffeepot (part of a service)

  • Sèvres Manufactory


René-Jules Lalique


Henry van de Velde


Charles Rennie Mackintosh


Designed by Henri-Jules-Ferdinand Bellery-Desfontaines

Maude Adams (1872–1953) as Joan of Arc

Maude Adams (1872–1953) as Joan of Arc

Alphonse Mucha

Tea service

Tea service

Josef Hoffmann

Mäda Primavesi (1903–2000)

Mäda Primavesi (1903–2000)

Gustav Klimt

Cybele Gontar Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

October 2006

From the 1880s until the First World War, western Europe and the United States witnessed the development of Art Nouveau (“New Art”). Taking inspiration from the unruly aspects of the natural world , Art Nouveau influenced art and architecture especially in the applied arts, graphic work, and illustration. Sinuous lines and “whiplash” curves were derived, in part, from botanical studies and illustrations of deep-sea organisms such as those by German biologist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834–1919) in Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature, 1899). Other publications, including Floriated Ornament (1849) by Gothic Revivalist Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin (1812–1852) and The Grammar of Ornament (1856) by British architect and theorist Owen Jones (1809–1874), advocated nature as the primary source of inspiration for a generation of artists seeking to break away from past styles. The unfolding of Art Nouveau’s flowing line may be understood as a metaphor for the freedom and release sought by its practitioners and admirers from the weight of artistic tradition and critical expectations.

Additionally, the new style was an outgrowth of two nineteenth-century English developments for which design reform (a reaction to prevailing art education, industrialized mass production, and the debasement of historic styles) was a leitmotif—the Arts and Crafts movement and the Aesthetic movement. The former emphasized a return to handcraftsmanship and traditional techniques. The latter promoted a similar credo of “art for art’s sake” that provided the foundation for non-narrative paintings, for instance, Whistler ‘s  Nocturnes . It further drew upon elements of Japanese art (“ japonisme “), which flooded Western markets , mainly in the form of prints, after trading rights were established with Japan in the 1860s. Indeed, the gamut of late nineteenth-century artistic trends prior to World War I, including those in painting and the early designs of the Wiener Werkstätte, may be defined loosely under the rubric of Art Nouveau.

The term art nouveau first appeared in the 1880s in the Belgian journal L’Art Moderne to describe the work of Les Vingt, twenty painters and sculptors seeking reform through art. Les Vingt, like much of the artistic community throughout Europe and America, responded to leading nineteenth-century theoreticians such as French Gothic Revival architect Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814–1879) and British art critic John Ruskin (1819–1900), who advocated the unity of all the arts, arguing against segregation between the fine arts of painting and sculpture and the so-called lesser decorative arts. Deeply influenced by the socially aware teachings of William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement , Art Nouveau designers endeavored to achieve the synthesis of art and craft, and further, the creation of the spiritually uplifting Gesamtkunstwerk (“total work of art”) encompassing a variety of media. The successful unification of the fine and applied arts was achieved in many such complete designed environments as Victor Horta and Henry van de Velde’s Hôtel Tassel and Hôtel Van Eetvelde (Brussels, 1893–95), Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald’s design of the Hill House (Helensburgh, near Glasgow, 1902–4), and Josef Hoffmann and Gustav Klimt’s Palais Stoclet dining room (Brussels, 1905–11) ( 2000.350 ; 1994.120 ; 2000.278.1–.9 ).

Painting styles such as Post-Impressionism and Symbolism (the “Nabis” ) shared close ties with Art Nouveau, and each was practiced by designers who adapted them for the applied arts, architecture, interior designs, furnishings, and patterns. They contributed to an overall expressiveness and the formation of a cohesive style ( 64.148 ).

In December 1895, German-born Paris art dealer Siegfried Bing opened a gallery called L’Art Nouveau for the contemporary décor he exhibited and sold there ( 1999.398.3 ). Though Bing’s gallery is credited with the popularization of the movement and its name, Art Nouveau style reached an international audience through the vibrant graphic arts printed in such periodicals as The Savoy, La Plume, Die Jugend, Dekorative Kunst, The Yellow Book , and The Studio . The Studio featured the bold, Symbolist-inspired linear drawings of Aubrey Beardsley (1872–1898). Beardsley’s flamboyant black and white block print J’ai baisé ta bouche lokanaan for Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé (1894), with its brilliant incorporation of Japanese two-dimensional composition, may be regarded as a highlight of the Aesthetic movement and an early manifestation of Art Nouveau taste in England. Other influential graphic artists included Alphonse Mucha, Jules Chéret, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec , whose vibrant poster art often expressed the variety of roles of women in Belle Époque society—from femme nouvelle (a “new woman” who rejected the conventional ideals of femininity, domesticity, and subservience) to demimonde ( 20.33 ; 32.88.12 ). Female figures were often incorporated as fairies or sirens in the jewelry of René Lalique, Georges Fouquet, and Philippe Wolfers ( 1991.164 ; 2003.560 ; 2003.236 ).

Art Nouveau style was particularly associated with France, where it was called variously Style Jules Verne, Le Style Métro (after Hector Guimard’s iron and glass subway entrances), Art belle époque , and Art fin de siècle ( 49.85.11 ). In Paris, it captured the imagination of the public at large at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, the last and grandest of a series of fairs organized every eleven years from 1798. Various structures showcased the innovative style, including the Porte Monumentale entrance, an elaborate polychromatic dome with electronic lights designed by René Binet (1866–1911); the Pavillon Bleu, a restaurant alongside the Pont d’Iena at the foot of the Eiffel Tower featuring the work of Gustave Serrurier-Bovy (1858–1910) ( 1981.512.4 ); Art Nouveau Bing, a series of six domestic interiors that included Symbolist art ( 26.228.5 ); and the pavilion of the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, an organization dedicated to the revival and modernization of the decorative arts as an economic stimulus and expression of national identity that offered an important display of decorative objects ( 1991.182.2 ; 26.228.7 ; 1988.287.1a,b ). Sharing elements of the French Rococo (and its nineteenth-century revivals ), including stylized motifs derived from nature, fantasy, and Japanese art, the furnishings exhibited were produced in the new taste and yet perpetuated an acclaimed tradition of French craftsmanship. The use of luxury veneers and finely cast gilt mounts in the furniture of leading cabinetmakers Georges de Feure (1868–1943), Louis Majorelle (1859–1926), Edward Colonna (1862–1948), and Eugène Gaillard (1862–1933) indicated the Neo-Rococo influence of François Linke (1855–1946) ( 26.228.5 ).

The Exposition Universelle was followed by two shows at which many luminaries of European Art Nouveau exhibited. They included the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1901 that featured the fantastical Russian pavilions of Fyodor Shekhtel’ (1859–1926) and the Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte Decorativa Moderna at Turin in 1902 that showcased the work of furniture designer Carlo Bugatti of Milan ( 69.69 ).

As in France, the “new art” was called by different names in the various style centers where it developed throughout Europe. In Belgium, it was called Style nouille or Style coup de fouet . In Germany, it was Jugendstil or “young style,” after the popular journal Die Jugend ( 1991.182.2 ). Part of the broader Modernista movement in Barcelona, its chief exponent was the architect and redesigner of the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) cathedral (Barcelona, begun 1882), Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). In Italy, it was named Arte nuova, Stile floreale , or Lo stile Liberty after the London firm of Liberty & Co., which supplied Oriental ceramics and textiles to aesthetically aware Londoners in the 1870s and produced English Art Nouveau objects such as the Celtic Revival “Cymric” and “Tudric” ranges of silver by Archibald Knox (1864–1933). Other style centers included Austria and Hungary, where Art Nouveau was called the Sezessionstil . In Russia, Saint Petersburg and Moscow were the two centers of production for Stil’ modern . “Tiffany Style” in the United States was named for the legendary Favrile glass designs of Louis Comfort Tiffany .

Although international in scope, Art Nouveau was a short-lived movement whose brief incandescence was a precursor of modernism, which emphasized function over form and the elimination of superfluous ornament. Although a reaction to historic revivalism, it brought Victorian excesses to a dramatic fin-de-siècle crescendo. Its influence has been far reaching and is evident in Art Deco furniture designs, whose sleek surfaces are enriched by exotic wood veneers and ornamental inlays. Dramatic Art Nouveau—inspired graphics became popular in the turbulent social and political milieu of the 1960s, among a new generation challenging conventional taste and ideas.

Gontar, Cybele. “Art Nouveau.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2006)

Further Reading

Arwas, Victor. Art Nouveau: The French Aesthetic . London: Andreas Papadakis, 2002.

Escritt, Stephen. Art Nouveau . London: Phaidon, 2000.

Fahr-Becker, Gabriele. Art Nouveau . Cologne: Könemann, 1997.

Greenhalgh, Paul, ed. Art Nouveau, 1890–1914 . Exhibition catalogue. London: V&A Publications; Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2000.

Weisberg, Gabriel P. Art Nouveau Bing: Paris Style 1900 . Exhibition catalogue. New York: Abrams, 1986.

Weisberg, Gabriel P., Edwin Becker, and Évelyne Possémé, eds. The Origins of L'Art Nouveau: The Bing Empire . Exhibition catalogue. Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum, 2004.

Additional Essays by Cybele Gontar

  • Gontar, Cybele. “ Empire Style, 1800–1815 .” (October 2004)
  • Gontar, Cybele. “ Neoclassicism .” (October 2003)
  • Gontar, Cybele. “ Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux (1827–1875) .” (October 2004)
  • Gontar, Cybele. “ The Neoclassical Temple .” (October 2003)

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Anne Buckwalter on Art, Life & Everything In Between

By Artspace Editors

Oct. 18, 2018

What Was Art Nouveau? The Artists and Histories Behind One of the Most Short-Lived Yet Memorable Movements

The following was excerpted from Phaidon's "Art and Ideas" series book, Art Nouveo:

Extraordinary things were afoot in the visual arts at the turn of the nineteenth century. Between about 1890 and 1910 artists, designers and architects from Paris to St Petersburg, from Brussels to Buenos Aires, produced work that evoked the spirit of the age at the same time as provoking the bitterest critics. Since its brief apogee, this work, which contemporaries labelled Art Nouveau, has continued to fascinate, disturb and inspire us in equal measure.

The mention of Art Nouveau, also then known as the ‘modern style,” over a century after its triumphal appearance at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900 conjures up images of feminine curves, organic tendrils, and linear forms. In the popular imagination Art Nouveau brings to mind seductive posters for French musical reviews or the sinuous ironwork of the Paris Metro stations. Museums proudly display their examples of opaque naturalistic glassware and contorted carved furniture, representatives of a now alien style that brought the old century to a close and heralded the new.

Yet, the influence of Art Nouveau reached far beyond the streets of Paris, and its aesthetic was far richer than mere organic fantasy. For alongside the tumbling arabesques caricatured in a contemporary cartoon, Art Nouveau also encompassed the geometry and radical simplicity of Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow and the artists of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop). Early centers of the style included Brussels in Belgium, Nancy in France and Munich in Germany, as well as Paris. Moreover, the style also accommodated designers across central and eastern Europe, inspired in part by their own specific national traditions.

The pan-European nature of Art Nouveau resulted in a correspondingly diverse nomenclature. In Germany it was Jugendstil, in Austria and Hungary it was the Secession style, and in Barcelona it was part of the broader Modernista movement. In Italy it was La Stile Liberty, named after the London shop Liberty’s, which was perceived, by the Italians at least, as the fount of the new aesthetic. In England and America practitioners whom we might now describe as Art Nouveau were still considered to be part of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Art Nouveau not only spread across Europe; it manifested itself wherever Europeans went. It became a global style, one that, in different hands, could be both imperial and nationalist.

As well as being aesthetically varied and genuinely international, Art Nouveau was also an incredibly versatile style. Noting within architecture and the decorative arts escaped its influence, from door handles to chairs, chandeliers to apartment blocks, wallpapers to shop fronts. The style had no respect for the boundaries of class or quality. The finest luxury objects were conceived and handcrafted in the Art Nouveau manner, as was the cheapest jewelry and the most ordinary industrially produced tableware, along with all manner of printed ephemera. This dichotomy meant that Art Nouveau embodied all the tensions within art, design, and society at the turn of the century. In its variety of manifestations Art Nouveau was both elitist and populist, private and public, conservative and radical, opulent and simple, traditional and modern.

Copious amounts of ink were split by critics at the 1990 Universal Exposition over the merits and failings of Art Nouveau, proof that it was a highly self-conscious style. This peculiar self-consciousness was a product of the role Art Nouveau played in the history of late nineteenth-century design. Heralded as revolutionary by some of its mentors (and damned for the same reason by some of its detractors), it came at the end of a century that for the most part had seen architecture and the decorative arts gradually descend into a rut of increasingly derivative historicism. Past styles were endlessly regurgitated in debased fashions until they resembled pastiche. The great exhibitions of the nineteenth century were characterized by incongruous combinations of Renaissance, Baroque and classical styles that revealed an unease with the progress afforded by the industrial age. Radical Art Nouveau designers set out to shatter historicism and create a style appropriate to their time, the age of cinema, the telephone, and the automobile. Yet the more conservative embarked upon a mission to rescue the guiding principles of traditional craftsmanship and elegance, to update them rather than overthrow them.

In either case, Art Nouveau was perceived as being much-needed, and in some ways long-awaited. When it arrived, the style was the product of an extended gestation period and had a brilliant, albeit, brief, lifespan. The movement took shape in the 1880s and 1890s, burst onto a wider public at the 1900 Universal Exposition, but was largely eclipsed after 1914. If Art Nouveau saw itself as a reaction against an aesthetically corrupt century, it was also a product of it. In order to explain Art Nouveau it is necessary to survey a maze of interlinked influences, from the Gothic and Rococo revivals, to the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Aesthetic Movement, as well as the political and economic motives of those who engendered its development.

All these apparently contradictory facets mean that the study of Art Nouveau offers a fascinating insight into the often schizophrenic mind-set of an age. Through the style we can see the fears, anxieties, hopes and dreams of the fin de siècle , but Art Nouveau has also lived on as an influence and a propaganda tool for both its friends and enemies. First came the immediate period of disdain. The Modern Movement pilloried the organic ornament of Art Nouveau as the last gasp of bourgeois decorative excess, while claiming the more geometric Viennese tradition as the parent of its own functionalism. What was once so fashionable inevitably fell out of favor—the French even threatened to knock down the Art Nouveau entrances to the Paris Métro in the 1930s. Yet at the same time Art Nouveau effectively evolved into Art Deco, the modern decorative style of the inter-war period (which was equally reviled by the more zealous Modernists).

After World War II, Art Nouveau gradually evolved as a subject fit for scholarly study. Then came the revivals. Although Scandinavian and Italian post-war design never forgot the organic roots it shared with Art Nouveau, it was not until the 1960s that the psychedelic movement on the West Coast of America and Barbara Hulanicki’s Biba store in London brought the style back into vogue. As this initial burst of pop-revivalism evolved into an intellectual critique of Modernism, Art Nouveau, together with Art Deco, provided the new alternative decorative history of twentieth-century design.

Below are nine of the most significant practitioners of the period.

AUBREY VINCENT BEARDSLEY 1872-98 English graphic artist

art nouveau research paper

Beardsley’s linear style, rendered in pen and ink, was among the earliest manifestations of mature Art Nouveau. He came to widespread attention through his illustrations for Sir Thomas Malory’s Le More d’Arthur in 1893 and 1894. His 1894 illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé remain his most famous work; in the same year he became art editor of The Yellow Book , the flagship of the Aesthetic Movement in London. By 1896 Beardsley had adopted a more intricate manner to depict the finery and decadence of 18th-century France. In 1897 the tuberculosis he had suffered from since childhood worsened, leading to his death at the age of 25.

HENRI DE TOULOUSE-LAUTREC 1864-1901 French painter and graphic artist

art nouveau research paper

Toulouse-Lautrec began painting in Paris in the 1880s and studied under the Symbolist Émile Bernard, exhibiting at the Salon des Indépendants from 1889. In 1891 he designed his first posters, for which he received widespread acclaim. His posters brought his stylized representations of decadent Parisian life to a broad public.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT 1867-1959 American architect and designer

art nouveau research paper

Between 1888 and 1893 he worked in Chicago for Louis Sullivan, and the influence of Sullivan’s organic forms is apparent in his designs and writings. Wright’s early work displays close parallels with the development of Art Nouveau in Europe. From 1901 to 1913 he built a series of “prairie houses” that combine low geometric forms and spaces with stylized ornament. For Wright, natural setting was crucial to his designs.

GUSTAV KLIMT 1862-1918 Austrian painter and designer

art nouveau research paper

Klimt opened a studio in 1883 after training at the School of Arts and Crafts in Vienna. His early paintings were academic in style, but he became increasingly influenced by Symbolism, provoking bitter criticisms from Vienna’s artistic establishment. Klimt was one of the founders of the Secession in 1897, becoming the group’s first president; he also set up the journal Ver Sacrum. The Beethoven Frieze , painted in 1902 to decorate the Secession Building, signaled an even more stylized aesthetic. Klimt remained a prominent figure in the Secession until he resigned in 1905. He was associated with the Wiener Werkstätte, his most notable contribution being his friezes for the Palais Stoclet in Brussels designed by Josef Hoffmann in 1905-11.

PAUL GAUGUIN 1848-1903 French artist

art nouveau research paper

Gauguin was born in France and brought up mainly in Peru. He became a banker in Paris, but painted in his spare time and exhibited with the Impressionists from 1878. In 1883 he gave up his job and his relations with his family broke down. Gauguin worked with Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne in Pontoise. He became the leader of the Pont-Aven group in Brittany between 1886 and 1889, and developed a distinctive brand of Symbolism, using simplified decorative lines and flat bright colors inspired by Japanese art to represent mystic and primitive subjects. From 1891 he lived for extended periods in Tahiti.

WILLIAM H. BRADLEY 1868-1962 American graphic artist

art nouveau research paper

Bradley’s work drew on the contrasting influences of William Morris and Aubrey Beardsley and his illustrations were among the earliest examples of American Art Nouveau. Trained as a wood engraver in the mid-1880s, he turned to line engraving as his first technique became obsolete. His covers for the Chicago journal Inland Printer in 1894 established him as an exponent of the new style, and he gained widespread acclaim for his posters for another Chicago publication, The Chap Book . In 1895 he returned to his birthplace Massachusetts, where he turned to traditional printing methods, the result being his own periodical Bradley: His Book . He exhibited work at the Paris gallery of Siegried Bing in 1895, but by 1900 his career was in decline and thereafter he worked largely in commercial printing and type design.

GEORGES FOUQUET 1862-1957 French jeweler

art nouveau research paper

Bracelet Madea (1899) made for actress Sarah Bernhardt, made in collaboration with Alphonse Mucha

The son of a goldsmith, Fouquet took over the family firm in 1895 and soon adopted the Art Nouveau style. In 1900 he produced jewelry designed by Alphonse Mucha and won a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exposition. Much also created the interiors of Fouquet’s shop in 1901. Although initially inspired by nature and Japanese art, he went on to make more geometric pieces with Egyptian motifs, resulting in a revival in his fortunes in the 1920s with the advent of Art Deco.

EUGÈNE GAILLARD 1862-1933 French designer and architect

Chambre Ó coucher at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition

Gaillard rejected a career in law to take up interior design and decoration. Siegried Bing employed him alongside Georges de Feure and Edouard Colanna to create interiors for his pavilion at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition. The abstract natural forms of his furniture reflected a mistrust of historicism and he became a vocal advocate of modern design. Around 1903 he left Bing’s atelier and set up his own firm. In 1906 he published A Propos du Mobilier (On Furniture.)


House for an Art Lover (1901)

Macdonald was a painter and designer who worked closely with her husband Charles Mackintosh, a Scottish architect, designer, and painter, whom she met at the Glasgow School of Art. Mackintosh was taken on by the architects Honeyman and Keppie in 1888, where he met the artist Herbert MacNair. Mackintosh developed an individual style with Symbolist overtones. In 1894, he exhibited with MacNair, Macdonald, and her sister Frances for the first time. Mackintosh is best remembered today for his post-1895 work, beginning with the Glasgow School of Art (begun in 1896) and followed by tea rooms for Catherine Cranston. Mackintosh and MacDonald also received decorative commissions, the most celebrated being the Hill House (1902-4) in Helensburgh. His success declined in the years after 1905.

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What Was Art Nouveau? The Artists and Histories Behind One of the Most Short-Lived Yet Memorable Movements

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Related Papers

Secesijska arhitektura v Sloveniji : Art Nouveau architecture in Slovenia

Jelka Pirkovič

The chapter represents a part of the introduction to the book on Slovenian Art Nouveau (the co-author of the book is Breda Mihelič). A brief history of Art Nouveau and its general characteristics are presented in the chapter.

art nouveau research paper

Katalin Gellér

At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, fine arts in Hungary, as in the Northern and Eastern European countries, could be characterized by a rapid influx of Western European trends and a buoyant artistic life. Naturalism, impres­ sionism, symbolism and art nouveau all appeared on the scene almost simultane­ ously and their coexistence might be regarded as one of the principal features of the age. Only a few years passed between the foundation of the Nagybánya colony (1896), the association of Hungarian plein air painters, and the establishment of the Gödöllő colony (after 1902), the most characteristic art nouveau group. As a consequence of their rather belated foundation there is a great interconnection between them. The graphic art of the painters of the Nagybánya colony was influenced by art nouveau, and most of the Gödöllő masters produced plein air paintings. The acceptance of new ideals and trends in painting was accompanied by a search for a national tra...

“Dreaming of Russia”. National-Romantic Features in Art Nouveau

Olga Davydova

The National-Romantic trend in Russian Art Nouveau is characterized by a lyrical approach to the past, including imagery from folklore. This tendency is also identifiable within the global development of Art Nouveau, each country expressing its national identity in highly characteristic forms in design and architecture. Art Nouveau coincided with the zenith of Symbolism and, therefore, transmitted both its universal ideas and the unique creative psychology of the individual artist, who often based personal quest upon local traditions and innate cultural memory. This article analyzes the poetics of this style in Russia. The lyrical and mythological approach towards artistic images, influencing design, form, and meaning, is studied through an examination of the works of artists close to the Abramtsevo circle and the innovative experiments of the World of Art group (1898-1904).

Melita Čavlović

This paper traces the implications of Semper's Bekleidung theory on working processes in the field of architecture in Zagreb. The idiosyncrasies of the work of freshly graduated architects in a peripheral Austro-Hungarian city are analysed, both in the context of developing and spreading the city block system and the appearance of the new Art Nouveau style. Buildings in this new modern style, which appeared in 1897, were built sporadically throughout the city's urban fabric, which generally consisted of historicist residential buildings at the time. Parallel to historicism, the demand for Art Nouveau from clients grew, especially around the turn of the 20th century. At the time, typical migration processes resulted in the arrival of a well-educated populace that would commission Art Nouveau buildings in the coming years. The unique characteristics of Art Nouveau style, especially its ability to directly engage citizens and transmit messages of modern times, proved to be an important determinant in its increasing popularity in the city. Many professions and products were advertised on the façades and ornamentation of buildings, the main bearers of Art Nouveau style.

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A short essay on art nouveau.


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Rosa Tamborrino

Harbin (Northern China) and Czernowitz (Bukowina, Habsburg Empire until 1918, then Rumania until 1945, now Ukraine), are two examples of cities at the edges of empires, close to the borders of countries with a consequent melting pot of people and nationalities. In this framework of needs of representation of different national or religious characters, at the beginning of XXth century the Art Nouveau architecture played a key role on a background of never-ending Eclecticism. Less as a fight against Eclecticism and more as a symbol of modernity and super-national feature, Art Nouveau reached these outposts of Western culture directly by Vienna or through the Russian version of it. The Postsparkasse in Czernowitz (1900) and the Chinese Eastern Railway buildings (1902) in Harbin are the best examples of this search of modernity. The Art Nouveau era in Czernowitz, strongly related to the imperial core, vanished in 1918, but in Harbin it lasted until the 20’s, thanks to its iconic value.

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Visual Research on the Art Nouveau Style Essay


The Art Nouveau style was popular at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. It originated in Europe and challenged the Victorian style with its austerity and restraint of colors and shapes (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). Art Nouveau is exceptionally decorative and refers to natural motifs. The main elements of the style are bright colors, floral themes, ornaments, and the use of light, texture, and new materials for the creation of flowing shapes.

Glassware is one of the most prominent examples of the Art Nouveau style. Tiffany Glass, as a product of Tiffany Studios, became the symbol of the American Art Nouveau movement (“Aigner, C. J. (2020). Artistic glass: One studio and fifty years of stained glass. Ottawa, Canada: ECW Press”). It used natural themes, vibrant colors, and light to create bright but flowing designs. Tiffany Studios created lamps on a bronze base with lampshades made of special stained glass, as well as large stained-glass compositions. All their work included floral or botanical motifs, including flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, and others. Compositions usually featured landscapes depicting nature in bright colors and with great details.

 Daffodil table lamp

Art Nouveau style designers were also actively experimenting with various materials and techniques to create jewelry. The jewelry of this movement depicted decorative elements inspired by natural motifs and did not focus on the preciousness of the materials. A distinctive feature of Art Nouveau jewelry designers was the use of amber, enamel, glass, horn, and others (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). These materials allowed to creation a unique interplay of texture, light and color, which became the basis of the style. Typical themes were also nature, flowers, graceful women, and mythical creatures.

Dragonfly-woman brooch made of gold

Posters and Graphic Art

With the development of new printing technologies, including lithography and color printing, it became possible to create edition illustrations and posters. Artists predominantly depicted women as a symbol of modernity and beauty. The posters and illustrations also featured floral and natural elements, vibrant colors, and two-dimensional composition. A distinctive feature of posters and illustrations of the Art Nouveau style are smooth, fluid forms and clear contours, referring to stained glass compositions (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). The illustrations were filled with ornaments but completely devoid of depth.

Poster for biscuits and chocolate

If the illustrations and posters were intended for use in advertising and on the streets, some Art Nouveau artists were still involved in creating traditional paintings. One of the most prominent examples of paintings of this movement are works by Gustav Klimt. His paintings were distinguished by their decorative style, the use of flowing forms, bright colors, ornaments, and floral motifs. The center of the plots of Klimt’s paintings, as well as the graphic art of the Art Nouveau style, was a woman (“Wenzel, A. (2022). Klimt: Masters of art . Berlin, Germany: Prestel Publishing”). The Kiss is one of Klimt’s most famous paintings and represents the Art Nouveau style of art.

The Kiss

Interior Design and Sculpture

The Art Nouveau style includes the use of natural themes, ornaments, and bright colors, making it purely decorative. However, there are also examples of the use of this style in interior design. The salon–dining room of Lord Rothermere is one of them. All elements of the room are made in the same style, so each element is part of a large composition. In the formation of the company, a tree was used, which refers to natural motives. Additionally, the use of glass made it possible to create a unique play of light, which is also one of the techniques of the Art Nouveau style (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). Many panels also depict women and floral ornaments, which is typical for the movement.

The salon–dining room of Lord Rothermere


The Art Nouveau style is also reflected in architectural works, the most famous of which are the works of Antonio Gaudí. The buildings created by the architect are typical examples of this movement, as they include natural motifs, bright colors, flowing shapes, and use the play of light as one of the decorative techniques (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). The buildings are distinguished by the active use of tiles and ceramics, which allow to create unique shapes and combinations of textures. Additionally, this architecture lacks straight lines, as walls, windows, balconies, and stairways are curved to resemble tree branches or mollusks.

Casa Batlló

Poster Decoding

Advertising on cardboard

The poster that is being deconstructed is the advertisement of Lotion Un Rêve Lorenzy-Palanca Paris created by Roger Dion. It is noteworthy that the image does not look flat as is customary in the Art Nouveau style. On the poster, one can clearly distinguish the foreground with a bottle and a girl, as well as the background with clouds. This layering of objects on top of each other gives the image a bit of volume. However, the blue background still lacks the depth that is typical of the Art Nouveau style. The artist also does not depict shadows, which gives the objects a two-dimensional look.

The composition of the poster is quite standard and presents a bottle of lotion in the very center of the poster. On the neck of the bottle is placed a girl with flowing hair, which is a typical element of the Art Nouveau style (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). There are clouds in the background, which refers the viewer to the name of the lotion, which translates as a dream. The composition indicates the main marketing attributes of the object, emphasizing its lightness and associating it with beauty and youth.

The poster includes the main elements of the art nouveau style combined with the advertised product. First of all, the woman is one of the main attributes of Art Nouveau style graphics. Around the figure of a woman, one can also notice vines with flowers, which refers the viewer to floral motifs. Clouds, in addition to the decorative and compositional load, also fulfill the communicative purpose, emphasizing the characteristics of the product. There is no active ornamental background on the poster, which is compensated by many details in the female figure.

The colors presented in the poster are also related to the theme of nature, and reflect the features of the advertised product. The blue background color matches the color on the lotion label. The artist chose a creamy color for the clouds, which emphasizes their softness and airiness. The bottle is natural green, which also refers to Art Nouveau glass. The woman is executed in bright warm colors, including pink and orange, which emphasizes her youth like summer. There are contrasting colors in the poster, which unites the entire composition.

The artist used smooth curved lines, which is also characteristic of the Art Nouveau style. Even a bottle of lotion is devoid of sharp corners and straight lines. The labels on the bottle and at the bottom of the poster refer to the style’s typical peacock tail shape, which is also in keeping with the natural theme. Below one can see clear rectangular shapes that form a kind of pedestal. The artist uses this form to convey the best quality of the product, as if putting it in the first place.

The artist uses various textures, which is also characteristic of the Art Nouveau style. In particular, the bottle has a semi-transparent glass texture, which contrasts with the thick clouds in the background. Clouds have their own texture, which emphasizes their airiness but at the same time density. The texture of the girl’s skin is smooth and radiant, which emphasizes her health and youth. Overall, the poster is handcrafted with attention to detail and brushstrokes. This is also typical of the Art Nouveau style which emphasizes the connection between human and nature and focuses on the role of the creator.

The poster uses sans-serif typography, which makes it look modern. At the same time, the curves of the letters are irregular and the distance between them is different, which gives the font a handmade look. The name of the lotion is written in letters with complex curls, which refers the viewer to older typographic traditions. The use of decorative elements in the name of the lotion sets it apart from the rest of the inscriptions. Additionally, this type of font emphasizes the main idea of the product by giving the letters an older and even mythological look.

Bed Decoding

Ryan Bed

The object which is being considered is Ryan Bed created by Briggs Design and commissioned by Jody and Lisa Ryan. The shape of this bed immediately refers the viewer to the main elements of the Art Nouveau style (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). The main element of this furniture is the weave, which resembles tree branches. On the headboard one can also notice elements that are similar to the roots. The bed is both a piece of furniture and a sculpture that contains a decorative composition. The base of the bed resembles the ground from which the tree grows. Lying on this bed, people are in the canopy of the branches that are intertwined above them. There is also an image of three flowers on the headboard, which also refers to the floral motif’s characteristic of Art Nouveau.

With regard to materials, a parallel can be drawn with jewellery. The bed is made of precious wood, which is a characteristic of Art Nouveau materials (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). Art Nouveau jewelers who were moving away from the use of precious stones and metals in favor of glass, enamel, bone and other materials. In this case, the choice of materials also symbolizes the values of the Art Nouveau style, emphasizing the attraction to nature and less traditional decorative technique. In particular, the combination of different types of wood can manifest the value of closeness to nature for the Art Nouveau style.

The composition of this piece of furniture lies in the interweaving of tree branches that form a canopy. Decorative elements on the headboard in the form of flowers add ornamental embellishments, which is typical of the Art Nouveau style. Their absence would make the bed excessively plain for this style. The composition forms a transition from the lower ground to flowers and further to the crowns of trees. The base of the bed is devoid of decorative elements, which helps to focus attention on the top. The curves of the tree branches also resemble a heart, which can emphasize the theme of love in this composition.

For the bed, a combination of two contrasting shades of wood was chosen. Although the colors of the bed are natural, they look bright enough. Mahogany has a vibrant and deep brown, red color that adds to the brightness. The use of bright colors that correlate with natural tones is also typical of Art Nouveau (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). In this case, an enhanced shade of natural wood was used, which preserves its naturalness and adds decorativeness. Light oak allows one to create contrast, so that the composition with flowers looks more accentuated.

The texture of the bed is radiant and smooth, giving it a noble appearance. It is also worth noting that this wood shine interacts favorably with color, which also emphasizes the composition. Combined with color that can fall from different directions and have different characteristics, the curves of the bed take on a more embellished look. In particular, the intertwined canopy branches look more intricate and complex when exposed to light. Incorporating light into a composition to complicate it and interact with colors is also a characteristic of Art Nouveau (“Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation. London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing”). It is difficult to say whether this is the intention in this composition, but the choice of texture advantageously adds depth and variety to it.

In general, this piece of furniture is more of a sculptural piece than a functional one. As part of the interior, made in the Art Nouveau style, this item will be an accent. Despite the lack of bright colors and a variety of materials, it is the shape of the bed that gives it a unique look. The canopy of the bed has a somewhat fairy-tale feel to it, which refers to fairies and other mythical creatures living in the forests. This furniture is a vivid example of the Art Nouveau style, as it embodies all its principles. Thus, Ryan Bed is a functional sculpture that uses Art Nouveau elements.

The Art Nouveau style has its own distinct characteristics that can be found in many art pieces, such as paintings, jewelry, glassware, architecture, and furniture. The style is famous for its bright colors, floral patterns, the use of female figures, as well as unusual materials. The artists of this artistic movement were inspired by the natural world. They tried to create a special art movement that could bring people closer to it, as well as to give a feeling of lightness and tenderness. The style captured the beauty of nature, expressing their ideas through colors, shapes, and themes.

Aigner, C. J. (2020). Artistic glass: One studio and fifty years of stained glass . Ottawa, Canada: ECW Press.

Ashby, C. (2021). Art Nouveau: Art, architecture and design in transformation . London, England: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Biggs Design. (n.d). Ryan Bed . Web.

Dion, R. (1920). Advertising on cardboard “Lotion Un Rêve Lorenzy-Palanca Paris” . Web.

Gaudí, A. (1904). Casa Batlló . Barcelona, Spain. Web.

Grasset, E. (1893). Poster for Grafton Galleries . Web.

Klimt, G. (1907). The kiss [oil, gold leaf] . Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna. Web.

Lalique, R. (1897-1898). Dragonfly-woman brooch made of gold [gold, enamel, chrysoprase, chalcedony, moonstones and diamonds]. Web.

Privat-Livemont, H. (1898). Poster for biscuits and chocolate. Web.

Ruhlmann, J. E., & Rigal, L. P. (1925). The salon–dining room of Lord Rothermere [wood, mirrors, fittings] . Paris, France. Web.

Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company. (1910). Daffodil table lamp [leaded glass, patinated bronze]. Web.

Tiffany, L. C. (1905). Glass window from the Tiffany Residence at Laurelton Hall [Limestone, ceramic, and Favrile glass]. Web.

Wenzel, A. (2022). Klimt: Masters of art . Berlin, Germany: Prestel Publishing.

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IvyPanda. (2024, February 6). Visual Research on the Art Nouveau Style.

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1. IvyPanda . "Visual Research on the Art Nouveau Style." February 6, 2024.


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Art nouveau symbolism is an.

The new woman is scary for many, especially for men. Not only because she personifies a radical change, but because they no longer have the power upon her. eing independent, wise and strong she becomes an adversary, an opponent and therefore a challenge. And it's not only the male pride at stake, but also the acknowledgement that society was really changing. A relevant example for our discussion is the literary character Eliza in Pygmalion. She undergoes a radical change, modifying not only her dress, her speech and life style, but also her goals, ideals and life perspective. From this point-of-view she can be considered a personification of the new woman ideal, despite the fact that in the transformation process she is helped by a man. The artwork that had the most powerful impression on me was the Eiffel tower. Not only it is a technological example of successful thinking taking into consideration….


Art Nouveau, retrieved May 4,2009 from 

Guimard, Hector, retrieved May 3,2009 from 

Rimbaud, Arthur, Vowels, retrieved May 4, 2009 from 

Symbolism, Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, retrieved may 4, 2009 from

Art Nouveau Movement in America

It is much less an expression of breaking away with the past and norms and rules, like the Art Nouveau current was. This is mainly due to the fact that contemporary art has been an expression of the individual freedoms throughout the 20th century and the numerous experimentations during this period produced no limits to the artistic capacity of individuals. The art of the 1990s continues the anxiety expressed in art through the 20th century and adds to it elements characteristic of this decade. More and more, the 1990s formed what is known as the Internet art, along with related segments such as information art. Internet art prefers to use the internet as the main environment of expression. From this perspective, it is less a differentiation in the notion or concept of the artistic expression and more of a different way of presenting the material and ensuring that it reaches….


Duncan, Alastair. Art Nouveau. World of Art. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1994.

Art Nouveau Art Architecture and

To be sure, under the label Art Nouveau, there resides a long list of diverse artistic styles, from two dimensional arts to constructive and geometrical arts. Art Nouveau was an important architectural movement, inspired by the inherent patterns of nature. For example, C.F.A. Voysey's textile prints showcase plant forms in free curves, while Christopher Dresser's design philosophy stemmed from his knowledge of botany. Aubrey Beardsley (1872-98) is famous for his style of illustration that used curving linear forms. The work of Alphonse ucha (1860-1939), of France, uses similar themes, as does Henri Toulouse-Lautree (1864-1901) and Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). Victor Horta (1861-1947), the Belgian architect and designer, had a body of work known for embodying all the qualities that are typical of Art Nouveau design. The Tassel house in Brussels (1892) has a symmetrical row-house facade with relatively conventional architectural styles. On the inside, though, there is a staircase of complex….

Mucha, Jiri. Alphonse Mucha: His Life and Art. (NY: St. Martin's Press, 1966), 123.

6.Sayer, Derek. The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).

7. Svacha, Rostislav. The Architecture of New Prague 1895-1945. (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1995).

Art Nouveau the School of Nan

Emile Galle and Louis Majorelle and the Art Nouveau Movement Art Nouveau is best defined as a style in the visual arts that came to the fore in a number of European and North American cities in the early 1890s, and remained a force to be reckoned with until the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, when it faded quite speedily from view. The style emerged as a revolutionary style of art, existing as a form of protest against so-called academic art institutions and from the intense activity of a collection of movements, manufacturers, public institutions, publishing houses, individual artists, entrepreneurs and patrons. Its main areas of activity were in the decorative arts, though it affected all forms of visual culture. The defining characteristic of Art Nouveau -- the factor that made it into an intellectually and socially cohesive force -- was modernity. It was the first deliberate, internationally….

Victor Horta Art Nouveau Movement

According to Schmutlzer, "The buildings of Horta reveal the full importance of architectural initiative" (114). In his book, a History of Modern Architecture, Joedicke (1959) reports that, "In the nineteenth century a circle of adventurous artists, known as 'Les XX,' had already appeared in Brussels, who were strongly influenced by illiam Morris and his followers. In 1893 Victor Horta, who belonged to this group, built the house in the Rue de Turin in Brussels at a period when there were still few signs of the new movement on the Continent" (44). A number of innovations can be identified for the first time in this project, as well as in Horta's the Maison du Peuple (1897), wherein iron was systematically used; prior to these pioneering efforts, iron had only be used in factories and exhibition buildings. "Iron as a building material," Joedicke enthuses, "which permitted a more open floor plan, now….

Works Cited

Ballantyne, Andrew. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Boyd, Andrew, Andrew Carden and H.R. Hitchcock et al. World Architecture: An Illustrated History. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1963.

Cantor, Norman F. (1988). Twentieth-Century Culture: Modernism to Deconstruction. New York: Peter Lang, 1988.

Cassou, Jean, Emil Langui and Nikolaus Pevsner. Gateway to the Twentieth Century: Art and Culture in a Changing World. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1962.

Art Influence of Japanese Art on Western

Vincent Van Gogh, Frank Lloyd right and Madeleine Vionnet. hat did this 19th century artist, architect, and fashion designer share in common? Very simply: They all incorporated Japanese techniques into their works of genius. hen Commodore Perry opened the doors to this Eastern country in 1853, an abundance of unique and influential styles of art rushed out and captured the imaginations of artists throughout the estern world. As author Emile Zola once said, It is certain that our students painting with black bitumen, were surprised and enhanced by these horizons, these beautiful vibrating spots of the Japanese painters in watercolours. There was a simplicity of means and an intensity of effect which struck our young artists and then influenced them with a painting filled with air and light This flow of Japanese artistic riches and influence continues to this day. Ask any graphic designers including those at alt Disney Company what country….

Coburn, F.W. "Mr. Benson's Birds," The Boston Herald, November 16, 1913, 28.

Encyclopedia of Visual Art. Grolier Educational Corp., 1984 printing. Danbury, CT: 1983.

Gardiner, Debbi. Japan, Inc., January 2003. Anime in America. 8/03/03.

Japan Economic Society, November/December 2002. Impact of the Kimono on Modern Fashion. . Visited 8/04/03.

L'esprit Nouveau Pavillon De L'esprit

Le Corbusier's Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveaue was most essentially a statement to that effect, deliberately upsetting accepted aesthetic modes (Gronberg 1992; Gronberg 1998). Critics and colleagues saw the "machine for living" that Le Corbusier created as an installation at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris, 1925, as an abandonment of aesthetic principles and roundly shunned both the structure and Le Corbusier (Gronberg 1992). Seeing modern life more as an extension of the efficiency and productivity of the office rather than the personalization and decorations of a traditional home, the living space that Le Corbusier presented was very minimalist and truly belonged more to the school of modernism -- which hadn't even really solidified -- than Art Nouveau (Gronberg 1992; Gronberg 1998). As striking as this departure was, the backlash from critics is somewhat understandable. The stance that was taken against Le Corbusier and the vehemence with which he and….

Gronberg, T. Designs on Modernity: Exhibiting the City in 1920s Paris, Manchester University Press, 1998.

3) Gronberg, T. 'Speaking Volumes: The Pavillon de l' Esprit Nouveau', Oxford Art Journal, 1992, Vol.15, no. 2, pp. 58-69

Analyzing the Total Work of Art Charles Renee Mackintosh

Total ork of Art: Charles Renee Mackintosh Born on June 7, 1868, in Glasgow, Mackintosh, worked as an apprentice under one of the local architects named John Hutchison, however, he changed to the more stable and established Honeyman and Keppie city practice in 1889. As a way of complementing his architectural apprenticeship, Mackintosh got enrolled into evening classes at the school of art in Glasgow, where he partook in a number of drawing programs. hile in the art school, Mackintosh in the company of Herbert MacNair, his friend and colleague, ran into the famous artist sisters, Frances and Margaret Macdonald. These four talented artists formed a group and specialized in furniture designs, illustration and metalwork, and developed several weird-looking images, which were very distinctive. Such images included abstracted female images and certain metamorphic lines that reminded one of Aubrey Beardsley. They got to be known as the spook school, a nickname….

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Web. 10 March 2016. 

Current, Karen. Greene & Greene: Architects in the Residential Style, Fort Worth, Texas: Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, 1974. Print.

Finger, Anke and Danielle Follett (eds.) The Aesthetics of the Total Artwork: On Borders and Fragments, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. Print

Harris, Nathaniel. The Life and Works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Bath: Lomond Books, 2000. Print.

Lesson Plan for Gustav Klimt Art Class

Gustav Klimt Lesson Plan Central Focus "Describe the central focus and purpose for the content you will teach in the learning segment". Students will learn the art of Gustav Klimt, which will assist in creating the work of art that will resemble Klimt's style. Moreover, students will be introduced to the Gustav Klimt's artwork focusing on his love for cats. (Weidinger, 2007).Students will also learn their artistic style and utilize their patterns and shapes to fill up their works. Moreover, students will continue to build and develop the basic skill sets utilizing art tools such as paint, glue, scissors, and oil pastels. Students will also learn how to utilize the line variation, stylized form, symbol, color, and media variety with the ability to create their "Tree of Life". Moreover, the lesson plan will assist students to learn about cool and warm colors incorporating them into the artistic styles of Gustav Klimt. (Smith, 1998). "Given….

Milton Glaser Man of Art

Another favorite is the Dylan poster that is, again, not complicated in its appearance. The silhouette of Dylan is topped off with a mass of hair that is in the form of thick curly lines in bright colors. This image is one that is difficult to forget once it is seen. These images are iconic and they remain with us because they grab our attention without being overdone. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center poster is another design that is a favorite because Glaser has taken what we consider everyday elements and turned them into something that is recognizable but different enough to garner a second or third look. I enjoy the School of Visual Arts poster because it captures what artists do with a few words and what appears to be a simple image. Glaser's style is one that cannot be defined in a few words but, like most….

Barnicoat, John. "Poster." Oxford Art Online. Information Retrieved 29 Jan. 2009. 

Glaser, Milton." Oxford Art Online. Information Retrieved 29 Jan. 2009.

Judith and the New Frau in German Art

ho Assassinated Holofernes?The assassination of Holofernes is depicted in the Old Testament in the Book of Judith as an act of trust in God carried out through Judith. The Book of Judith tells the story of the Assyrians laying siege to the Israelites. The Israelites are afraid, while Judith, characterized as beautiful, chaste of full of trust in God, alone hatches a plan to settle the matter. She leaves with her maid Bethulia for Holofernes camp to ingratiate herself to him. He becomes drunk both by alcohol and her beauty. In his intoxicated state, he becomes her victim in his tent that night, as she decapitates him, causing the Assyrians to scatter in fear now that their leader has been killed. She returns to Israel and remains chaste. Two works of art that depict this story are Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi (1614) and Franz Stucks Judith and Holorfernes….

Works CitedWade, Mara. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"The Reception of Opitz\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" Judith\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" During the Baroque.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" Daphnis 16.1 (1987): 147.West, Shearer. The Visual Arts in Germany, 1890-1940: Utopia and Despair (New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2001.

Post World War II Art

Artists Since 1945 hat are the influences and events that caused Abstract Expressionism to develop? hat are the two modes of Abstract Expressionism? Compare and contrast these two modes and specially discuss the work of two artists from each mode. Share why you chose these four artist. During and after orld ar II, artistic expression was destroyed in Europe. This is because, the onslaught of the Nazis created an environment of persecution. In some cases, these activities were based upon artists using their expressionism as a form of criticisms and social critiques. hile at other times; a host of individuals were persecuted because of their race or nationality. The result is that they fled to locations such as New York to be able to continue with their work. This played a major role in determining how Abstract Expressionism developed by taking a different approach that questioned and challenged the status quo. These….

Adams, Ellen. After the Rain. Ann Arbor: Proquest, 2007. Print.

French Influence Upon Catalan Modernists

Symbolism first developed in poetry, where it spawned free verse. Forefathers included the poets Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Rimbaud; practitioners included Laforgue, Moreas, and Regnier. The Swiss artist Arnold Becklin is perhaps the most well-known Symbolist painter; his pictures are like allegories without keys, drenched in melancholy and mystery. Other artists working in this vein include Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau. The Surrealists drew heavily on the Symbolists later on. Catalan Artists Catalan masters played a major role in the development of 20th Century modern art in many fields. For example, modernism expressed by Gaudi, Rusinol, Gimeno, Camarasa, Picasso, Nonell or Miro epitomized the efforts of the Catalan people. Still, most of them expressed their talents outside Spain in Paris where many of them lived and worked before going home to continue their expression. Like anyone honing a craft, they needed a foundation of knowledge for their art and Paris offered this….

2000. Catalan Masters. Available at" Accessed on 9 January 2005.

2002. Notes on Picasso: Important Terms, People, and Events. Available at . Accessed January 2005.

Art Nouveau in Catalonia. Available at;. Accessed 9 January 2005.

Catalan Painting. Available at . Accessed January 2005.

Designers During the Second Half

New theories and esthetic visions brought a violent change in popular taste, bringing a fascination for the fantastic, the mythical, the exotic, taking inspiration from eastern civilizations (Japanese, Islamic), naturist ornamentation such as flowers and vegetal designs, waving lines that would induce motion and symmetry. The new art style became a commercial kind of work, since it was aimed towards the masses and the every day life. The industrial design was dictated by fashion and the public taste, that was rapidly changing as the speed of modern life brought new ideas almost constantly and commercial tools, such as films and advertising, influenced in that change. The difference between the Arts and Crafts and the Art Nouveau movements was mainly the approach towards the creation itself. While the Art Nouveau was promoting the use of mechanical techniques to create art objects that would be used in common life, the Arts and….

Art Nouveau, available at: 

Howard, J., 1996, Art Nouveau: international and national styles in Europe, Manchester

Ryan, D., Art Nouveau in Europe, available at

The Arts and Crafts movement, available at

Rodin David it Is Amazing

The bronze cools and the plaster mold is broken. The sculpture is cleaned, ground and welded to blend the surface texture. Finally, the bronze sculpture is treated with chemicals and heat to give it color or "patina" when it reacts with the air (Hatcher 72-74). Now one can easily see all the creativity, time and resources that went into this sculpture. How different from odin's sculpture is this second piece of art, "The Oath of Horatii" by Jacques-Louis David. In about 1781, very early in his career as artist, David started thinking about the Horatii from a play dealing with Ancient oman history: The oman Horatii (named after legendary triplets) and the Alban Curatii were chosen to fight each other to death in order to determine the stronger town. The two families fighting were related by marriage, so it would be a tragedy no matter who was victor. Horatii won….

Calvet, Arlette. Unpublished Studies for "The Oath of the Horatii" by Jacques-Louis David. Master Drawings, (1968) 6.1: 37-42, 81-90.

Chilvers, Ian. Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Eitner, Lorenz. An Outline of 19th Century European Painting: From David through Cezanne. New York: Westview Press, 1992.

Hatcher, Evelyn Payne. Art as Culture: An Introduction to the Anthropology of Art.: Westport, CT.: Bergin & Garvey, 1999.


Art  (general)

The new woman is scary for many, especially for men. Not only because she personifies a radical change, but because they no longer have the power upon her. eing…

It is much less an expression of breaking away with the past and norms and rules, like the Art Nouveau current was. This is mainly due to the…

To be sure, under the label Art Nouveau, there resides a long list of diverse artistic styles, from two dimensional arts to constructive and geometrical arts. Art Nouveau was…

Emile Galle and Louis Majorelle and the Art Nouveau Movement Art Nouveau is best defined as a style in the visual arts that came to the fore in a number…


According to Schmutlzer, "The buildings of Horta reveal the full importance of architectural initiative" (114). In his book, a History of Modern Architecture, Joedicke (1959) reports that, "In the…

Vincent Van Gogh, Frank Lloyd right and Madeleine Vionnet. hat did this 19th century artist, architect, and fashion designer share in common? Very simply: They all incorporated Japanese techniques…

Le Corbusier's Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveaue was most essentially a statement to that effect, deliberately upsetting accepted aesthetic modes (Gronberg 1992; Gronberg 1998). Critics and colleagues saw the "machine…

Total ork of Art: Charles Renee Mackintosh Born on June 7, 1868, in Glasgow, Mackintosh, worked as an apprentice under one of the local architects named John Hutchison, however, he…

Art - Design

Gustav Klimt Lesson Plan Central Focus "Describe the central focus and purpose for the content you will teach in the learning segment". Students will learn the art of Gustav Klimt, which will…

Another favorite is the Dylan poster that is, again, not complicated in its appearance. The silhouette of Dylan is topped off with a mass of hair that is…

Research Paper

ho Assassinated Holofernes?The assassination of Holofernes is depicted in the Old Testament in the Book of Judith as an act of trust in God carried out through Judith. The…

Artists Since 1945 hat are the influences and events that caused Abstract Expressionism to develop? hat are the two modes of Abstract Expressionism? Compare and contrast these two modes and…

Symbolism first developed in poetry, where it spawned free verse. Forefathers included the poets Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Rimbaud; practitioners included Laforgue, Moreas, and Regnier. The Swiss artist Arnold…

New theories and esthetic visions brought a violent change in popular taste, bringing a fascination for the fantastic, the mythical, the exotic, taking inspiration from eastern civilizations (Japanese,…

The bronze cools and the plaster mold is broken. The sculpture is cleaned, ground and welded to blend the surface texture. Finally, the bronze sculpture is treated with…

iMessage with PQ3: The new state of the art in quantum-secure messaging at scale

Today we are announcing the most significant cryptographic security upgrade in iMessage history with the introduction of PQ3, a groundbreaking post-quantum cryptographic protocol that advances the state of the art of end-to-end secure messaging. With compromise-resilient encryption and extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks, PQ3 is the first messaging protocol to reach what we call Level 3 security — providing protocol protections that surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps. To our knowledge, PQ3 has the strongest security properties of any at-scale messaging protocol in the world.

When iMessage launched in 2011, it was the first widely available messaging app to provide end-to-end encryption by default, and we have significantly upgraded its cryptography over the years. We most recently strengthened the iMessage cryptographic protocol in 2019 by switching from RSA to Elliptic Curve cryptography (ECC), and by protecting encryption keys on device with the Secure Enclave, making them significantly harder to extract from a device even for the most sophisticated adversaries. That protocol update went even further with an additional layer of defense: a periodic rekey mechanism to provide cryptographic self-healing even in the extremely unlikely case that a key ever became compromised. Each of these advances were formally verified by symbolic evaluation, a best practice that provides strong assurances of the security of cryptographic protocols.

Historically, messaging platforms have used classical public key cryptography, such as RSA, Elliptic Curve signatures, and Diffie-Hellman key exchange, to establish secure end-to-end encrypted connections between devices. All these algorithms are based on difficult mathematical problems that have long been considered too computationally intensive for computers to solve, even when accounting for Moore’s law. However, the rise of quantum computing threatens to change the equation. A sufficiently powerful quantum computer could solve these classical mathematical problems in fundamentally different ways, and therefore — in theory — do so fast enough to threaten the security of end-to-end encrypted communications.

Although quantum computers with this capability don’t exist yet, extremely well-resourced attackers can already prepare for their possible arrival by taking advantage of the steep decrease in modern data storage costs. The premise is simple: such attackers can collect large amounts of today’s encrypted data and file it all away for future reference. Even though they can’t decrypt any of this data today, they can retain it until they acquire a quantum computer that can decrypt it in the future, an attack scenario known as Harvest Now, Decrypt Later .

To mitigate risks from future quantum computers, the cryptographic community has been working on post-quantum cryptography (PQC): new public key algorithms that provide the building blocks for quantum-secure protocols but don’t require a quantum computer to run — that is, protocols that can run on the classical, non-quantum computers we’re all using today, but that will remain secure from known threats posed by future quantum computers.

To reason through how various messaging applications mitigate attacks, it’s helpful to place them along a spectrum of security properties. There’s no standard comparison to employ for this purpose, so we lay out our own simple, coarse-grained progression of messaging security levels in the image at the top of this post: we start on the left with classical cryptography and progress towards quantum security, which addresses current and future threats from quantum computers. Most existing messaging apps fall either into Level 0 — no end-to-end encryption by default and no quantum security — or Level 1 — with end-to-end encryption by default, but with no quantum security. A few months ago, Signal added support for the PQXDH protocol, becoming the first large-scale messaging app to introduce post-quantum security in the initial key establishment. This is a welcome and critical step that, by our scale, elevated Signal from Level 1 to Level 2 security.

At Level 2, the application of post-quantum cryptography is limited to the initial key establishment, providing quantum security only if the conversation key material is never compromised. But today’s sophisticated adversaries already have incentives to compromise encryption keys, because doing so gives them the ability to decrypt messages protected by those keys for as long as the keys don’t change. To best protect end-to-end encrypted messaging, the post-quantum keys need to change on an ongoing basis to place an upper bound on how much of a conversation can be exposed by any single, point-in-time key compromise — both now and with future quantum computers. Therefore, we believe messaging protocols should go even further and attain Level 3 security, where post-quantum cryptography is used to secure both the initial key establishment and the ongoing message exchange, with the ability to rapidly and automatically restore the cryptographic security of a conversation even if a given key becomes compromised.

iMessage now meets this goal with a new cryptographic protocol that we call PQ3, offering the strongest protection against quantum attacks and becoming the only widely available messaging service to reach Level 3 security. Support for PQ3 will start to roll out with the public releases of iOS 17.4, iPadOS 17.4, macOS 14.4, and watchOS 10.4, and is already in the corresponding developer preview and beta releases. iMessage conversations between devices that support PQ3 are automatically ramping up to the post-quantum encryption protocol. As we gain operational experience with PQ3 at the massive global scale of iMessage, it will fully replace the existing protocol within all supported conversations this year.

Designing PQ3

More than simply replacing an existing algorithm with a new one, we rebuilt the iMessage cryptographic protocol from the ground up to advance the state of the art in end-to-end encryption, and to deliver on the following requirements:

  • Introduce post-quantum cryptography from the start of a conversation, so that all communication is protected from current and future adversaries.
  • Mitigate the impact of key compromises by limiting how many past and future messages can be decrypted with a single compromised key.
  • Use a hybrid design to combine new post-quantum algorithms with current Elliptic Curve algorithms, ensuring that PQ3 can can never be less safe than the existing classical protocol.
  • Amortize message size to avoid excessive additional overhead from the added security.
  • Use formal verification methods to provide strong security assurances for the new protocol.

PQ3 introduces a new post-quantum encryption key in the set of public keys each device generates locally and transmits to Apple servers as part of iMessage registration. For this application, we chose to use Kyber post-quantum public keys, an algorithm that received close scrutiny from the global cryptography community, and was selected by NIST as the Module Lattice-based Key Encapsulation Mechanism standard, or ML-KEM . This enables sender devices to obtain a receiver’s public keys and generate post-quantum encryption keys for the very first message, even if the receiver is offline. We refer to this as initial key establishment.

We then include — within conversations — a periodic post-quantum rekeying mechanism that has the ability to self-heal from key compromise and protect future messages. In PQ3, the new keys sent along with the conversation are used to create fresh message encryption keys that can’t be computed from past ones, thereby bringing the conversation back to a secure state even if previous keys were extracted or compromised by an adversary. PQ3 is the first large scale cryptographic messaging protocol to introduce this novel post-quantum rekeying property.

PQ3 employs a hybrid design that combines Elliptic Curve cryptography with post-quantum encryption both during the initial key establishment and during rekeying. Thus, the new cryptography is purely additive, and defeating PQ3 security requires defeating both the existing, classical ECC cryptography and the new post-quantum primitives. It also means the protocol benefits from all the experience we accumulated from deploying the ECC protocol and its implementations.

Rekeying in PQ3 involves transmitting fresh public key material in-band with the encrypted messages that devices are exchanging. A new public key based on Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) is transmitted inline with every response. The post-quantum key used by PQ3 has a significantly larger wire size than the existing protocol, so to meet our message size requirement we designed the quantum-secure rekeying to happen periodically rather than with every message. To determine whether a new post-quantum key is transmitted, PQ3 uses a rekeying condition that aims to balance the average size of messages on the wire, preserve the user experience in limited connectivity scenarios, and keep the global volume of messages within the capacity of our server infrastructure. Should the need arise, future software updates can increase the rekeying frequency in a way that’s backward-compatible with all devices that support PQ3.

With PQ3, iMessage continues to rely on classical cryptographic algorithms to authenticate the sender and verify the Contact Key Verification account key, because these mechanisms can’t be attacked retroactively with future quantum computers. To attempt to insert themselves in the middle of an iMessage conversation, an adversary would require a quantum computer capable of breaking one of the authentication keys before or at the time the communication takes place. In other words, these attacks cannot be performed in a Harvest Now, Decrypt Later scenario — they require the existence of a quantum computer capable of performing the attacks contemporaneously with the communication being attacked. We believe any such capability is still many years away, but as the threat of quantum computers evolves, we will continue to assess the need for post-quantum authentication to thwart such attacks.

A formally proven protocol

Our final requirement for iMessage PQ3 is formal verification — a mathematical proof of the intended security properties of the protocol. PQ3 received extensive review from Apple’s own multi-disciplinary teams in Security Engineering and Architecture (SEAR) as well as from some of the world’s foremost experts in cryptography. This includes a team led by Professor David Basin, head of the Information Security Group at ETH Zürich and one of the inventors of Tamarin — a leading security protocol verification tool that was also used to evaluate PQ3 — as well as Professor Douglas Stebila from the University of Waterloo, who has performed extensive research on post-quantum security for internet protocols. Each took a different but complementary approach, using different mathematical models to demonstrate that as long as the underlying cryptographic algorithms remain secure, so does PQ3. Finally, a leading third-party security consultancy supplemented our internal implementation review with an independent assessment of the PQ3 source code, which found no security issues.

In the first mathematical analysis, Security analysis of the iMessage PQ3 protocol , Professor Douglas Stebila focused on so-called game-based proofs. This technique, also known as reduction, defines a series of “games“ or logical statements to show that the protocol is at least as strong as the algorithms that underpin it. Stebila’s analysis shows that PQ3 provides confidentiality even in the presence of some key compromises against both classical and quantum adversaries, in both the initial key establishment and the ongoing rekeying phase of the protocol. The analysis decomposes the many layers of key derivations down to the message keys and proves that, for an attacker, they are indistinguishable from random noise. Through an extensive demonstration that considers different attack paths for classical and quantum attackers in the proofs, Stebila shows that the keys used for PQ3 are secure as long as either the Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman problem remains hard or the Kyber post-quantum KEM remains secure.

The iMessage PQ3 protocol is a well-designed cryptographic protocol for secure messaging that uses state-of-the-art techniques for end-to-end encrypted communication. In my analysis using the reductionist security methodology, I confirmed that the PQ3 protocol provides post-quantum confidentiality, which can give users confidence in the privacy of their communication even in the face of potential improvements in quantum computing technology. —Professor Douglas Stebila

In the second evaluation, A Formal Analysis of the iMessage PQ3 Messaging Protocol , Prof. David Basin, Felix Linker, and Dr. Ralf Sasse at ETH Zürich use a method called symbolic evaluation. As highlighted in the paper’s abstract, this analysis includes a detailed formal model of the iMessage PQ3 protocol, a precise specification of its fine-grained security properties, and machine-checked proofs using the state-of-the-art symbolic Tamarin prover . The evaluation yielded a fine-grained analysis of the secrecy properties of PQ3, proving that “in the absence of the sender or recipient being compromised, all keys and messages transmitted are secret” and that “compromises can be tolerated in a well-defined sense where the effect of the compromise on the secrecy of data is limited in time and effect,” which confirms that PQ3 meets our goals.

We provide a mathematical model of PQ3 as well as prove its secrecy and authenticity properties using a verification tool for machine-checked security proofs. We prove the properties even when the protocol operates in the presence of very strong adversaries who can corrupt parties or possess quantum computers and therefore defeat classical cryptography. PQ3 goes beyond Signal with regards to post-quantum defenses. In PQ3, a post-quantum secure algorithm is part of the ratcheting and used repeatedly, rather than only once in the initialization as in Signal. Our verification provides a very high degree of assurance that the protocol as designed functions securely, even in the post-quantum world. —Professor David Basin

Diving into the details

Because we know PQ3 will be of intense interest to security researchers and engineers as well as the cryptographic community, this blog post is really two posts in one. Up to now, we laid out our design goals, outlined how PQ3 meets them, and explained how we verified our confidence in the protocol with independent assessments. If you’d like to understand more detail about the cryptographic underpinnings, the remainder of the post is a deeper dive into how we constructed the PQ3 protocol.

Post-quantum key establishment

iMessage allows a user to register multiple devices on the same account. Each device generates its own set of encryption keys, and the private keys are never exported to any external system. The associated public keys are registered with Apple’s Identity Directory Service (IDS) to enable users to message each other using a simple identifier: email address or phone number. When a user sends a message from one of their devices, all of their other devices and all of the recipient’s devices receive the message. The messages are exchanged through pair-wise sessions established between the sending device and each receiving device. The same message is encrypted successively to each receiving device, with keys uniquely derived for each session. For the rest of this description, we will focus on a single device-to-device session.

Because the receiving device might not be online when the conversation is established, the first message in a session is encrypted using the public encryption keys registered with the IDS server.

Each device with PQ3 registers two public encryption keys and replaces them regularly with fresh ones:

  • A post-quantum Kyber-1024 key encapsulation public key
  • A classical P-256 Elliptic Curve key agreement public key

These encryption keys are signed with ECDSA using a P-256 authentication key generated by the device’s Secure Enclave, along with a timestamp used to limit their validity. The device authentication public key is itself signed by the Contact Key Verification account key, along with some attributes such as the supported cryptographic protocol version. This process allows the sender to verify that the recipient device’s public encryption keys were uploaded by the intended recipient, and it guards against downgrade attacks.

When Alice’s device instantiates a new session with Bob’s device, her device queries the IDS server for the key bundle associated with Bob’s device. The subset of the key bundle that contains the device’s authentication key and versioning information is validated using Contact Key Verification. The device then validates the signature covering the encryption keys and timestamps, which attests that the keys are valid and have not expired.

Alice’s device can then use the two public encryption keys to share two symmetric keys with Bob. The first symmetric key is computed through an ECDH key exchange that combines an ephemeral encryption key from Alice with Bob’s registered P-256 public key. The second symmetric key is obtained from a Kyber key encapsulation with Bob’s post-quantum public key.

To combine these two symmetric keys, we first extract their entropy by invoking HKDF-SHA384-Extract twice — once for each of the keys. The resulting 48-byte secret is further combined with a domain separation string and session information — which includes the user’s identifiers, the public keys used in the key exchange, and the encapsulated secret — by invoking HKDF-SHA384-Extract again to derive the session’s initial keying state. This combination ensures that the initial session state cannot be derived without knowing both of the shared secrets, meaning an attacker would need to break both algorithms to recover the resulting secret, thus satisfying our hybrid security requirement.

Post-quantum rekeying

Ongoing rekeying of the cryptographic session is designed such that keys used to encrypt past and future messages cannot be recomputed even by a powerful hypothetical attacker who is able to extract the cryptographic state of the device at a given point in time. The protocol generates a new unique key for each message, which periodically includes new entropy that is not deterministically derived from the current state of the conversation, effectively providing self-healing properties to the protocol. Our rekeying approach is modeled after ratcheting, a technique that consists of deriving a new session key from other keys and ensuring the cryptographic state always moves forward in one direction. PQ3 combines three ratchets to achieve post-quantum encryption.

The first ratchet, called the symmetric ratchet, protects older messages in a conversation to achieve forward secrecy. For every message, we derive a per-message encryption key from the current session key. The current session key itself is then further derived into a new session key, ratcheting the state forward. Each message key is deleted as soon as a corresponding message is decrypted, which prevents older harvested ciphertexts from being decrypted by an adversary who is able to compromise the device at a later time, and provides protection against replayed messages. This process uses 256-bit keys and intermediate values, and HKDF-SHA384 as a derivation function, which provides protection against both classical and quantum computers.

The second ratchet, called the ECDH ratchet, protects future messages by updating the session with fresh entropy from an Elliptic Curve key agreement, ensuring that an adversary loses the ability to decrypt new messages even if they had compromised past session keys — a property called post-compromise security. The ECDH-based ratchet has a symmetrical flow: the private key of the outgoing ratchet public key from the sender is used with the last public key received from the recipient to establish a new shared secret between sender and receiver, which is then mixed into the session’s key material. The new PQ3 protocol for iMessage uses NIST P-256 Elliptic Curve keys to perform this ratchet, which imposes only a small 32-byte overhead on each message.

Because the second ratchet uses classical cryptography, PQ3 also adds a conditionally executed Kyber KEM-based ratchet. This third ratchet complements the ECDH-based ratchet to provide post-compromise security against Harvest Now, Decrypt Later quantum attacks as well.

The use of a post-quantum ratchet can cause significant network overhead compared to an ECDH-based ratchet at the same security level. The post-quantum KEM requires sending both a public key and an encapsulated secret instead of a single outgoing public key. In addition, the underlying mathematical structure for quantum security requires significantly larger parameter sizes for public keys and encapsulated keys compared to Elliptic Curves.

To limit the size overhead incurred by frequent rekeying while preserving a high level of security, the post-quantum KEM is instantiated with Kyber-768. Unlike the IDS-registered public keys used for the initial key establishment, ratcheting public keys are used only once to encapsulate a shared secret to the receiver, significantly limiting the impact of the compromise of a single key. However, while a 32-byte ECDH-based ratchet overhead is acceptable on every message, the post-quantum KEM ratchet increases the message size by more than 2 kilobytes. To avoid visible delays in message delivery when device connectivity is limited, this ratchet needs to be amortized over multiple messages.

We therefore implemented an adaptive post-quantum rekeying criterion that takes into account the number of outgoing messages, the time elapsed since last rekeying, and current connectivity conditions. At launch, this means the post-quantum ratchet is performed approximately every 50 messages, but the criterion is bounded such that rekeying is always guaranteed to occur at least once every 7 days. And as we mentioned earlier, as the threat of quantum computers and infrastructure capacity evolves over time, future software updates can increase the rekeying frequency while preserving full backward compatibility.

Completing the public key ratchets, whether based on ECDH or Kyber, requires sending and receiving a message. Although users may not immediately reply to a message, iMessage includes encrypted delivery receipts that allow devices to rapidly complete the ratchet even without a reply from the recipient, as long as the device is online. This technique avoids delays in the rekeying process and helps support strong post-compromise recovery.

Similar to the initial session key establishment, the secrets established through the three ratchets are all combined with an evolving session key using HKDF-SHA384 through sequential calls to the Extract function. At the end of this process, we obtain a final message key, which can now be used to encrypt the payload.

Padding and encryption

To avoid leaking information about the message size, PQ3 adds padding to the message before encryption. This padding is implemented with the Padmé heuristic, which specifically limits the information leakage of ciphertexts with maximum length M to a practical optimum of O(log log M) bits. This is comparable to padding to a power of two but results in a lower overhead of at most 12 percent and even lower for larger payloads. This approach strikes an excellent balance between privacy and efficiency, and preserves the user experience in limited device connectivity scenarios.

The padded payload is encrypted with AES-CTR using a 256-bit encryption key and initialization vector, both derived from the message key. While public key algorithms require fundamental changes to achieve quantum security, symmetric cryptography algorithms like the AES block cipher only require doubling the key size to maintain their level of security against quantum computers.


Each message is individually signed with ECDSA using the elliptic curve P-256 device authentication key protected by the Secure Enclave. The receiving device verifies the mapping between the sender’s identifier (email address or phone number) and the public key used for signature verification. If both users have enabled Contact Key Verification and verified each other’s account key, the device verifies that the device authentication keys are present in the Key Transparency log and that the corresponding account key matches the account key stored in the user’s iCloud Keychain.

The device’s authentication key is generated by the Secure Enclave and never exposed to the rest of the device, which helps prevent extraction of the private key even if the Application Processor is completely compromised. If an attacker were to compromise the Application Processor, they might be able to use the Secure Enclave to sign arbitrary messages. But after the device recovers from the compromise through a reboot or a software update, they would no longer be able to impersonate the user. This approach offers stronger guarantees than other messaging protocols where the authentication key is sometimes shared between devices or where the authentication takes place only at the beginning of the session.

The message signature covers a wide range of fields, including the unique identifiers of the users and their push notification tokens, the encrypted payload, authenticated data, a ratchet-derived message key indicator that binds the signature to a unique location in the ratchet, and any public key information used in the protocol. The inclusion of these fields in the signature guarantees that the message can only be used in the context intended by the sender, and all the fields are exhaustively documented in the research papers from Stebila, Basin, and collaborators.

End-to-end encrypted messaging has seen a tremendous amount of innovation in recent years, including significant advances in post-quantum cryptography from Signal’s PQXDH protocol and in key transparency from WhatsApp’s Auditable Key Directory. Building on its pioneering legacy as the first widely available messaging app to provide end-to-end encryption by default, iMessage has continued to deliver advanced protections that surpass existing systems. iMessage Contact Key Verification is the most sophisticated key transparency system for messaging deployed at scale, and is the current global state of the art for automatic key verification. And the new PQ3 cryptographic protocol for iMessage combines post-quantum initial key establishment with three ongoing ratchets for self-healing against key compromise, defining the global state of the art for protecting messages against Harvest Now, Decrypt Later attacks and future quantum computers.

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Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau was an artistic movement that united the architecture and decorative arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These were the European enthusiasts who practiced the variety of styles. The objectives of Art Nouveau were to escape the traditional historical styles and modernize a design. Consequently, the representatives of the movement united natural and flowing forms with the angular figures and evolved elegant designs. One should mention that both geometric and organic forms inspired the artists to create. As a result, the traditional hierarchy of the arts was abolished as the representatives of Art Nouveau did not consider sculpture and painting superior to craft-based decorative arts. Besides, this essay explores the relationship between the history of Art Nouveau and the emergence of global modernity.

The Key Ideas of Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau was the result of leaving behind the historical styles and the way of transferring to modernism and creativity. Earlier periods were characterized by poorly made objects and the decorative arts were necessary to make the revolution in art. One should mention that the representatives of Art Nouveau raised the status of craft, produced modern and genuine design and revived good workmanship. Such forgotten crafts as silver-smoothing and furniture design had become the most sophisticated work and proved the necessity of craftsmanship.

The artists of Art Nouveau changed the vision and beliefs about crafts and inspired others to create the art of buildings and interiors. The attention was paid to the smallest objects and details that were decorated to be ornamental and unique. The representatives of Art Nouveau believed that this was the object that should dictate its form. The movement was short-lived as it was less collective. Not every artist supposed geometric forms of plants such as rectangles and squares attractive and exciting. Architects, visual artists, and designers were united to create the style of design for the modern art. Additionally, Art Nouveau was the reaction against Victorian-era decorative art that was too predictable and traditional.

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One should mention that the movement did not have boundaries presenting graphic art, printing of works on playbills, magazine advertisements, and exhibition catalogs. New forms of Art Nouveau were controversial, debatable and ambiguous. The natural world was the key muse of the artists. As a result, they were free in the choice of objects, forms, and meaning. The main features of Art Nouveau were curvy, elongated and sinuous lines, exotic woods, semi-precious stones and silver, female forms, stylized nature and vertical lines. Art Nouveau was influenced by botanical research, rococo style and crafts.

It is evident that objects were in the center of Art Nouveau. The artists designed flowers, ornaments, fireplaces, lighting, door handles, stained glass, furniture, tiles, wallpaper, walls color schemes and floors. The conceptual traits of Art Nouveau were imaginary, abstraction, conceptualization, minimalism, orientation on the natural world and simplicity. The ambiguity that provoked a lot of interpretations was another feature of Art Nouveau that proved transferring to the global modernity and leaving behind traditionalism of Victorian era. Art Nouveau was so rich that it was difficult to predict whether it evoked magic atmosphere and charm or shock and fear. The distinction of lines and colors was a proof of modernization of art and its movement to era of technologies. Calmness and non-aggressiveness of colors of the depicted objects made them different from the traditional art forms.

Conceptual meaning of objects was more important than their depiction. As a result, abstract expressionism did not always provoke astonishment and approval. It means that the representatives of Art Nouveau should not only present their vision of the modern art but fight against stereotypes and traditionalism of art forms that deprived craftsmanship of the place during the Victorian period. Imagery and physicality of objects were the driving forces of the representatives of Art Nouveau. Expressionism, minimalism, and cubism were the ways of the depiction of the natural world differently through colors, compositions, space and abstraction. The artists ruined the boundaries and limitations between the real and imaginary. The attention was paid to the perception and vision of the depicted objects.

The advantage of the artists of Art Nouveau was that they were not afraid to experiment with different materials making them look alive and realistic. They could make panels and floors depict the state of consciousness and perception. They fused with the objects involving creativity and creating mystery. Presently, it often remains a mystery for students who are assigned to write about this art form and share their perceptions. Our art essay writing service can help with this task and enable you to learn more based on vivid textual representations and comprehensive explanations offered by professionals.

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Georgia O’Keefe and her Works

Georgia O’Keefe was one of the brightest and most talented artists of Art Nouveau whose works revealed the traits of that movement and presupposed modernization not only of art but even of its perception. Her vision of the modern art was not aimed at shifting art trends. On the contrary, it intended to look for abstract and essential forms in nature. It means that Georgia O’Keefe concentrated her attention on natural objects. One should mention that her great finesse and powers of observations made her paintings unusual and untraditional. She ruined the canons of Victorian art that was too pompous, sophisticated and complicated.

Bones, flowers, and landscapes fascinated her the most. Her life experience and place of living were the sources for her creative ideas. She contributed to Art Nouveau as she was one of the American representatives, and she was a woman that was a rare case among painters. One should mention that Georgia O’Keefe had developed as an artist and a painter under the influence of the modernist photographers and painters.

Her work “Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue” was created in 1931. Her depiction of this painting on canvas made it a bit traditional. However, the subject of that work was really shocking and unexpected for the audience. The colors of the painting were meaningful and symbolic as red, white and blue were the colors of the American flag. It means that Georgia O’Keefe wanted to identify and promote the American artistic style as it lagged behind the European one. Her symbols of America are not stereotypical as she did not use landscapes and natural beauty as regionalist artists did. On the contrary, she managed to reveal urban problems and represent American enduring spirit.

“Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue” was an iconic painting as it symbolized also the American West and was like a joke on the American art scene. One should mention that the work was based on perception and cultural background of the audience. Cow’s skull was an unusual object for depiction that provoked fear and disgust. However, peaceful colors and association with the American flag changed the opinion about the work. Vertical lines also made “Cow’s Skull: Red, White, and Blue” calmer and not so aggressive. Minimalism and abstractness reinforced the depth and symbolism of the depicted objects.

Another distinctive work of Georgia O’Keefe was “White Canadian Barn” that was painted with oil on canvas. That painting differed from the previous one with the commitment to the geometric forms. Summer trip to Gaspe Peninsula of Canada inspired her to create such work that belonged to the theme series. The barn was the key object that was stark in design and color. The narrow and horizontal proportion of “White Canadian Barn” and flat rectangular forms of the walls and roof proved its belonging to Art Nouveau. Three distinct areas such as ground, building and denoting sky divided the space into three areas.

One can say that “White Canadian Barn” is made in three-dimensional form that made it modernist and innovative. It is evident that commitment to geometry and form proved the orientation of Georgia O’Keefe toward Art Nouveau and violation of traditional and old-fashioned subjects and forms. Frontal presentation put forward the barn as an object of the painting. The massive size and somber coloring added it some mystery and unpredictability. Every detail from the geometric shape and architectural element to black doorways proved the breadth of the painting and depiction of every object as a small and important painting with its own meaning and form.

In conclusion, one should say that Art Nouveau is the movement and design, creativity and modernization that violates the canons of the traditional and stereotypical art vision and benefits the emergence of global modernity. The value of Art Nouveau is that it managed to turn the usual objects in the masterpieces and symbolic things. Flowers, ornaments, fireplaces, lighting, door handles, stained glass, furniture, tiles, wallpaper, walls color schemes and floors could be the inspiring subjects for the artists of Art Nouveau. The conceptual traits of Art Nouveau are imaginary things, abstraction, conceptualization, minimalism, orientation toward the natural world and simplicity.

Georgia O’Keefe is not only a revolutionary artist of Art Nouveau but also of the American painting that was not as famous as a European one. Her modernist vision of art is reflected in her works “White Canadian Barn” and “White Canadian Barn”. Both paintings are oriented toward the abstractionism and geometric simplicity. However, design of every object showed depth of meaning and symbolism. Live Chat Order Now

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