The distnctive Art Nouveau style dominated the scene at the turn of the 20th century. Especially in European capitals where the period was coined the “Belle Epoque” in Paris. Fortunately, there are still corners of the world where one can spot a gorgeous storefront embellished in Art Nouveau “attire.”
These storefronts can be dazzling to the eye, particularly if you’ve been shopping in a gigantic shopping mall. They bring inspiration and beauty to the city streets and so, for the purpose of celebrating them, we have selected photographs of some of the most stunning Art Nouveau storefronts from around the world.
As you might have guessed, the French term Art Nouveau means New Art. It is considered the first modern style of the 20th century that strongly confronted the eclectic historical styles alongside it, and in a short period, it spread like wildfire through both Europe and North America.
A force in visual arts, design, and architecture, Art Nouveau was a revolutionary style that defied the norms of the industrialized society and mass production, often pointing to and using traditional techniques and emphasizing craftsmanship.
Just a glimpse at these charming storefronts is enough to know that Art Nouveau artists loved freedom and defied the precise geometry of Neoclassical forms. Their nature-inspired designs quickly became fashionable in France and by the turn of the 20th-century, art magazines and international exhibitions made Art Nouveau the most popular style in Europe.
Although everything began in Paris, other European cities such as Vienna, Barcelona, Glasgow, Munich, Brussels, Turin, and even some cities in Scandinavia, such as Alesund in Norway, enjoyed the fashionable style. Even today, many stunning Art Nouveau buildings can be seen throughout these cities, delighting passersby.
The colorful movement appeared around 1890, but it was popularized in 1895, when the famed art dealer Siegfried Bing opened a gallery in Paris called Maison de l’Art Nouveau, showcasing different works created in this particular style.
Ever since its appearance, the style provoked a debate among architects, artists, and designers. Some loved the new style, while others were not that fond of it.
There is still an ongoing debate whether or not Art Nouveau was an architectural style, with some claiming that it was only used for decorative detail.
However, it was the Paris World’s Fair of 1900 (also known as the 1900 Exposition Universelle) that truly brought the style to the masses, catalyzing the integration of the style into the popular culture of the time.
The movement didn’t last long, and less than a decade after Art Nouveau was popularized and flourishing in both Europe and the United States, it started falling out of favor.
The movement that shaped the civic identity of many cities and deeply influenced art and architecture was practically over by 1905 and by the beginning of World War I, it was officially over.
We are lucky that this style continues to be a presence in our lives through art and architecture.
These selected photographs are just a small sample of what this style has to offer, as there are plenty more of these magical storefronts still waiting to be discovered.