Art Nouveau, an art movement that expanded from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s was a new style of visual arts and architecture that developed in Europe and North America. This movement was heavily influenced by Asian art, as trade was increasing between the two peoples. This art from Japan was overflowing into European and American art in ways the could still be seen in today’s art forms. At its height, Art Nouveau was a concerted attempt to create an international style based on decoration. Being developed by a brilliant and energetic generation of artists and designers, it was way to create an art form to conform to the modern age. Art Nouveau was in many ways a response to the Industrial Revolution. Some artists welcomed technological progress and embrace the advanced possibilities. Others hated the idea of mass produced machine made goods and aimed to elevate decorative arts to the level of fine art by applying the highest standards of craftsmanship and design everyday objects. Whatever side they were on, there were many leading individuals in this age that gave the movement its appeal.
Among them, Eugene Samuel Grasset who, being majorly successful in all areas of applied study, excelled at the illustrations of Art Nouveau. Grasset originally studied architecture, but was not very successful at achieving what he had hoped for. After going to Paris and picking up illustrations as on of his many successful endeavors, he created the illustrations for stories like “Le Petit Nab” and “Histoire de quatre fils Aymon”. Like I stated above, Gasset was labeled by his fellow artists and anyone viewing his work as a universal artist. He understood various materials, how they each required a different approach, as well as their own fines. He was passionate about his work as well as the new technique and materials that were being applied. His work was hugely expressionistic, changing shapes, shapes and lines that seem to jump off the page at you.
Being in the same time period as many other artists, all doing similar works, and most pertaining to graphic design, the were a few overlaps between works. In the example of Jules Cheret, and Eugene Grasset, both being features in your favorite textbook and mine, as both men’s works were similar in many ways. Cheret was regarded as the father of the modern poster. As you look at both Cheret and Grasst’s work, you will see the similarities that came with the times. The biggest similarity being the nature of advertising. Both were widely acclaimed graphic artists, using techniques and technologies that made graphic design into a mass media. These men would go on to create posters that would spread the word about merchandise like cigarettes, and build a bigger audience for theaters. I think that Art Nouveau was a milestone for graphic design development in its early years. The works of Japanese artists that spilled over into art in Europe and the United States was hugely loved and worked with by many artists. Art Nouveau paved the way for the graphic arts as we know it today.
Artlex Art Dictionary, 1996
Gontar, Cybele. “Art Nouveau”. In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/artn/hd_artn.htm