Art Nouveau and Art Deco are the two great artistic movements of the early 20th century.
Art Nouveau began at the end of the 19th century, with its first beginnings from 1880 to 1990. It is the very famous René Lalique who will project this movement and its actors on the international scene. All in curves and untied, the Art Nouveau jewels are inspired by nature, feminine forms, tales and pagan legends and the Middle Ages. The great novelty in Art Nouveau jewelry is also in the materials and technicality: we return to ancestral know-how and crafts, as the art of stained glass that will inspire the master enamellers. Jewelers are using less valuable stones, they are looking for a visual rendering. Large and long pearls, glass, lacquer, moonstones, stones of little used colors like peridot.
In total opposition to this movement, Art Deco will emerge a few years later. Around 1915, the desire for rigor, geometry and clean lines will emerge. The decorative and the spaghetti curve are over: it is the line that must guide the gesture, clear, precise, decided.
Platinum and white gold eclipse yellow gold. The jewelers give pride of place to diamonds, onyx, turquoise and emeralds. The maharajas arrived in Paris with chests full of stones and had the most beautiful jewels of the beginning of the century made. Art Deco is a global art, it does not only affect jewelry. Architecture, graphics, fashion, everything changes. The arrival of the war will put an end to this creative impetus in the mid 30s.
Art Nouveau and Art Deco are two very different movements and at the same time, they have similarities in creativity, the desire to innovate and transgress. Often we like both of them as much as the other, even though they are in total stylistic opposition. That’s the beauty of art.
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