Réseau Art Nouveau Network
“Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certified in 2014
Appearing in the late 19th century, Art Nouveau spread rapidly in Europe through international exhibitions, travelling artists, letters and journals. This artistic revolution was mainly inspired by natural forms and structures, not only flowers and plants, but also curved lines. However, Art Nouveau, which disappeared fast during the First World War, was strongly discredited, and it was not until the latter half of the 20th century that the style began to be appreciated in its historical context, and that efforts were made for its preservation.
The Art Nouveau trend was driven by aesthetic ideals and an enthusiasm for modernity, exploiting the possibilities of industrial technologies and new materials, combined with meticulous workmanship and a scrupulous eye for detail. Each country’s creative centres brought their own flavour to the style by incorporating local specificities (Jugendstil in Germany, Stile Liberty in Italy, Style Sapin in Switzerland, Modernismo in Spain, Sezessionsstil in Austria) resulting in a wonderful concordance of architecture, furniture and decoration, called the “total work of art”.
The Art Nouveau Network offers the tourist numerous activities, exhibitions and materials aimed at permitting an understanding and appreciation of the rich legacy of this art style. Targeted at both children and adults, they bring the visitor to realise the dimension of Art Nouveau, its relationship with nature, society, ecology and technical innovation. There are over 20 cities with a rich and varied Art Nouveau heritage to explore.
Council of Europe values
Although each local representation of the style has distinctive characteristics, there was a common will of European artists at this time to innovate, create, influence each other and exchange, which led to a real European dimension of this heritage which lies on our very doorstep and which is sometimes in danger. Art Nouveau is a reflection of our cultural values and of the importance of intercultural dialogue.