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Art Nouveau

Fireplace, 1895–98, designed by Hector Guimard

Art Nouveau had many names and influences throughout western Europe and the United States, and can be described as a brief-yet-significant softening of the applied arts from the end of the nineteenth century until the beginning of World War I. The free-flowing curves found in nature inspired this generation of artists to break away from rigid artistic traditions and the rise of mass production by combining the principles of both the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetics movements with elements of Japanese design. As much a reform as a style, Art Nouveau sought to unify fine and decorative arts into cohesive architectural environments.