At the turn of the 20th century, artists and craftsmen throughout Europe and America were profoundly affected by a new art style that took its inspiration from nature. Generally referred to as Art Nouveau, the trend influenced all manner of creative types, from painters, illustrators, and architects to ironworkers, interior decorators, and designers of furniture and jewelry. Although broad and varied, the style is almost uniformly characterized by abstract, asymmetrical, curvilinear design. This "new art" both elevated the status of crafts to fine arts and brought objects into a harmonious relationship with their environment through the use of lines that were natural, vital, and, most importantly, organic.
The decorative images in this volume, reproduced from a rare 1902 portfolio, reflect the era's exotic and imaginative approach to architecture and applied design. Sixty plates, 12 in full color and many with partial and varied color, exhibit the influence of the artwork of naturalist Ernst Haeckel on artist René Binet's designs, especially as related to Binet's "Monumental Door," prepared for the 1900 World's Fair in Paris. Illustrations reflecting the styles of Art Nouveau include a wealth of examples that range from doorbells and keys to stairways, fountains, jewelry, ceramics, and other items. Graphic designers, illustrators, architects, artists, and crafters will find this volume a rich source of ornamental ideas, authentic motifs, and design inspiration.