Fascinating art of the Belle Epoque, the Art Nouveau is opposed to traditional forms, in favor of sensuality, of the vividness of swaying lines, mysterious arabesques, asymmetries, of everything able to glorify nature. The name "Art Nouveau", referring to French and Belgian works, has his equivalents in Catalan Modernismo, German Jugendstil or Vienna Secession, for this artistic Spring blooms in entire Europe. It reaches an apogee between 1900 and 1905, and loses its popularity with World War I.
Art Nouveau is first of all a total art, which visionary ambition is to embrace all artistic fields to redefine people's environment, just as De Stijl or the Bauhaus will further try. This is why it is turned to decorative arts, architecture and home decoration, where it makes a true aesthetic revolution. Art Nouveau finds applications in every arts, from jewelery to painting, and easily broadcasts its refined lines with mechanized graphic arts, through posters and typography.
Symbol of Belle Epoque's sweet life in Paris, the "Guimard style", decorating the subway entrances since 1900, is a good example of Parisian tendencies. The Ecole de Nancy, major Art Nouveau center, regroups Emile Gallé, the Daum brothers, Louis Majorelle, Eugène Vallin and Victor Prouvé.