Thursday, July 28, 2011

Art Nouveau Vs. Art Deco: styles demystified

I've had an interesting influx of clients with the art deco/art nouveau interest in their invitations. One was inspired by her event site, which architecturally is Art Nouveau and the other has an engagement ring with a beautiful art deco design to it. Here's the thing, sometimes I think I'm pretty clear on the differences, but so often the 2 styles are confused in my head (and in my client's heads). Are they in yours? Like, is a fascinator an art deco accessory or an art nouveau? I'm actually still not sure on that one. I think it's more art nouveau.

I did a little teensy bit of research so that I had these two periods of fine art and architecture straight in my mind. Here's the low-down:

Art Nouveau came first:
According to Wikipedia, it was a "reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it was inspired by natural forms and structures, not only in flowers and plans, also in curve lines. The architects tried to be in harmony with the natural enviroment. It is also considered a philosophy of design of furniture. They must be designed according to the whole building and making part of ordinary life." This period was from the 1890s to the 1900s.

I think: organic lines and shapes, fairies, flowers and dragonflies, designs that are often contained in a structured shape (for instance, a tree is organic but fills or creates a rectangular shape) and roman toga-draped figures like Bacchus (that part is completely my interpretation and you should know that I received poor grades in Art History)

Here are some examples of various modern-day interpretations and original art:
This invitation is designed by Dear Emma Stationery, available on etsy.

Source: via Margot on Pinterest
Source: via Margot on Pinterest

To add to the confusion, when I looked up Art Nouveau architecture in Cincinnati, I got the whole Art Deco/Nouveau wonder it's confusing to us! I did see this crazy place, which I watched morph into whatever it is now as I was a young gal in an apartment near this house. I had a good laugh to see it in the "Art Nouveau" architecture sample. Really, what is that????
Source: via Margot on Pinterest


Art Deco came next:
Again, I turn to Wiki and it tells us that Art Deco "began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. Art Deco's linear symmetry was a distinct departure from the flowing asymmetrical organic curves of its predecessor style Art Nouveau; it embraced influences from many different styles of the early 20th century, including Neoclassical, Constructivism, Cubism, Modernism and Futurism[5] and drew inspiration from ancient Egyptian and Aztec forms."

The top of the Chrysler Building in NYC is an example of this style. When I put Art Deco in a nutshell, it is all about straight but dynamic lines, black and gold, geometric shapes, bas relief scultptures, movie star glam and designs that look like it's got it's chest puffed out and heading for the moon, you know what I mean? Onward and upward to the future and beyond kind of thinking.

Here are some examples: (actually, I think this dress on the left is nouveau and deco on the right)
Source: via Margot on Pinterest
Source: via Margot on Pinterest

In Cincinnati, we are fortunate to have some amazing examples of Art Deco architecture. The Cincinnati Omni Netherland Hotel (I think I got that right, they keep adding more names to themselves), The Union Terminal and the 20th Century Theater in Oakley.
Source: via Margot on Pinterest
Source: via Margot on Pinterest
Source: via Margot on Pinterest

Do we have it down now? And when we google one, we can distinguish from the other when google tries to confuse us, right? Right? Right. Have a great day!

1 comment:

  1. Angela Roskop ErismanJuly 28, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Awesome post, Margot!

    P.S. The Netherland is now a Hilton.


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