ca. 1890 – 1910
Art Nouveau – Gustav Klimt on the Path to Modernity
The 1890s mark the close of a dynamic, productive century in Europe. The Franco-German War in the 1870s was followed by a long period of peace, which fostered an economic and cultural upswing. In 1896, the first Olympic Games of modern times are held in Athens. With the second wave of the industrial revolution, affordable mass-produced goods fill the stores – which at the same time has a detrimental impact on the sale of handcrafted goods.
Art Nouveau artists oppose the mass trend; they value and strive for individuality. They want art to be everywhere, combine function and aesthetics and celebrate nature with its uniqueness and sweeping forms. In addition to paintings from personalities such as Gustav Klimt, Franz von Stuck and Alfons Mucha, interior design during this period is new and unique. With elaborate decorations, natural motifs and floral elements, art celebrates its entry into everyday life.
At the end of the 19th century, many artists turned away from traditional art ideals and sought modernity in beauty and originality, inspired by the shapes and colors of nature. Among the most famous people in this movement are Alfons Mucha and Gustav Klimt. The latter founded the Vienna Secession art movement in 1897 and became an icon of Art Nouveau, which was the most important style of the movement. He focuses on beauty and femininity in his work. He is especially well-known for his “Golden Phase”, in which he surrounds his models with richly decorated decorations and ornaments. The highlight of this phase is his most famous painting “The Kiss”.