Social Research Glossary


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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



core definition

Jugendstil is the version of art nouveau developed in Germany.

explanatory context

Herman Obrist's exhibition of tapestries in Munich is taken as the initiating of Jugendstil. There are two strands to Jugendstil. First, floral Jugendstil based on English floral art nouveau, and seen in the illustative work of Otto Eckmann. Second, abstract Jugendstil, influenced by the Belgian architect van de Velde, and also in the work of Peter Behrens.

analytical review

Seiferle, (2018) states:

Partaking in the Art Nouveau trends elsewhere in Europe, Jugendstil in Germany revolutionized and popularized modern design and crafts at the turn of the 20th century. The term Jugendstil, meaning "Young Style," was derived from the magazine Die Jugend, and the style tended toward floral motifs, arabesques, and organically inspired lines and eventually moved toward abstraction and functionalism. Importantly, it emphasized workshops, where groups of designers worked with industrialists for mass production to disseminate products. 

Jugendstil would become an important touchstone for Expressionists in Germany and Austria who were creating new visions of the modern subject and urban centers as well as later Bauhaus experiments in combining fine and applied arts.

Key Ideas:

The dominant forms of Jugendstil furniture, architecture, and illustrations were organic shapes and lines that were at once simple and dynamic. It shared with the international Art Nouveau movement naturalistic floral motifs, but as the style evolved, the organic shapes contrasted with more abstract and geometric forms to create a more complex dynamism.

Many of the Jugendstil artists were well versed in multiple art forms, and they strove to create a gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art. The idea of the gesamtkunstwerk evolved over the 19th century, and Jugendstil took its core aim - a desire to synthesize all of the arts - to create carefully designed environments that would be harmonious with human use.

While Jugendstil emphasized the individual imagination, it also strove to bring art and design to a wide audience. Setting up workshops across Germany, Jugendstil artists worked with industrial designers to create objects that could easily be mass produced.

associated issues


related areas

See also

art nouveau


Seiferle, R., 2018, Jugendstil, The Art Story website, available at, accessed 7 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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