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Is It Art Nouveau or Art Deco?

When I first studied interior design I would constantly muddled up Art Nouveau and Art Deco. I did this until I reminded myself Art Nouveau means new art came first in the late 1800’s and lasted for about three decades. Art Deco was the style of the 1920’s and 1930’s. So I thought I would spend the next few blogs looking at both styles. 

All this came to mind while I passing the wonderful shop Passion for Design. They specialise in Art Nouveau and Art Deco decorative pieces. 

The most common Art Nouveau motif was peacock feathers. Patterns included abstracted insect wings, bird feathers, shells, vines, flowers and S curves. The hallmark of the style the curved undulating lines known as whiplash lines and plant like forms.

Motifs and Patterns
·         Peacock feathers
·         Insect wings
·         Bird feathers
·         Shells
·         Vines
·         Flowers
·         S curves

Colours were muted and varied. Violet (purple) and yellow were popular. Natural vegetable dyes were used in wallpaper, chintzes and other materials. Art Nouveau has primary a decorative style. The Japanese print influence was also a feature of this style.


A series of movements brought unity of painting, sculpture and architecture for the first time. The Art Nouveau influenced every art form including, poster, advertising, jewelry, ceramics, glassware, silver, lamps and clothing fashions. And of course interior design/decorating and architecture. 


The Art Nouveau style was unsuited to mass production and it to decline by 1910. However the style was important; it redefined conventional style mainly in architecture creating relationships between industry and art. This helped pave the way for modern architecture and art.  


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