Social Research Glossary


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home


Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


A fast-paced novel of conjecture and surprises


Art nouveau

core definition

Art nouveau is a term in art criticism and art history that refers to a decorative style that spread from London over much of Europe in the period 1880–1914

explanatory context

Art nouveau was an art of ornament deliberately opposed to art historicism. Its attempt to create a new style manifested itself mainly in the practical and applied arts, graphic art and small-scale sculpture.


Art nouveau is known by other names in Europe, including Jugendstil (Germany), Modern Style (France), Modernista (Catalonia), Stile Liberty (Italy), Sezessionstil (Austria).


In Britain, art nouveau is usually assumed to have begun with William Blake and traced through the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Aubrey Beardsley, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Charles Ricketts, Frances and Margaret Macdonald, Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo and the arts and crafts movement of William Morris.

analytical review

Tate Gallery (undated):

Art nouveau is an international style in architecture and design that emerged in the 1890s and is characterised by sinuous lines and flowing organic shapes based on plant forms.

This complex international style in architecture and design was parallel to symbolism in fine art. Developed through the 1890s it was brought to a wider audience by the 1900 Exposition Universelle.

In Britain, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's designs exemplify the style, but in his work its characteristic flowing lines and organic shapes are seen within severe but eccentric geometry. Key examples of Art Nouveau are Paris Metro station entrances by Guimard; Tiffany glass; chair designs by Charles Rennie Mackinstish and his Glasgow School of Art; and the book designs of Aubrey BeardsleyCharles Ricketts and followers such as Arthur Rackham. Art nouveau flourished in the first decades of the twentieth century but was killed off by the First World War.

associated issues


related areas

See also


art history


modern style



stile liberty


Tate Gallery, nd, 'Art nouveau', available at, accessed 21 November 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Home