The origin of Art Nouveau is literary, Kafka, Marcel Proust and James Joyce, but within the arts it is architecture where it has the most impact.
At the end of the XIX the Art Nouveau supposes in many places of America and Europe the appearance of a new style of graphic arts, industrial arts and architecture.
The internationalism of gallery owners, magazines and exhibitions gives rise to an expansion in shapes, curves and flowers that mixes with neo-Gothic influences and from the Far East.
The style develops in Brussels from a new industrial wealth that prefers handcrafted interiors and novelties in metal structures.
The Belgian glass industry, which has provided the market for high-quality mirrors since 1870 and the iron industry, which makes filigree constructions with industrially manufactured laminated iron possible, provide architectural elements.
The narrow plots of Brussels, which unlike other cities are used for single-family homes, constitute a challenge for architectural experiments that, in addition to favoring the image of the upstart bourgeoisie, represent with their refinedly illuminated staircases and cared interiors even in the minors details, not only maximum comfort, but pieces of art.
In this case, the exterior facades of the Victor Horta or Paul Hankar buildings are discreet.
Henry van de Velde, who since 1893 disseminates the evolutions of English crafts related to Art and Craft and who designed 4 exhibition rooms for the Art Nouveau gallery of the Japanese Samuel Bing in 1895, went to Berlin in 1900.
He stands out as an author who tries to lay the theoretical foundations of the new style. But neither he nor Victor Horta are present at the Universal Exhibition of 1900 in Paris, since the official promotion of industrial art takes time to jump on the new train.
The works of Josef Hoffmann and Josep Maria Olbrich, representing Austria, stand out for their quality.
Hector Guimard’s new metro stations are the most important thing outside the exhibition grounds.
French creators meet at the Samuel Bing pavilion.
The presentation of the United Workshops for Artisan Art in Munich with works by Richard Riemerschmid, Bernhard Pankov and Herman Obrist is due to commercial interests.
The important role played by Austria is also reflected by the presence of the Vienna Secession, founded in 1897, in which Olbrich signs an artistic manifesto with the Secession building (1897-1898).
But Vienna also does not stop looking abroad, especially at the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh from 1900.
Olbrich’s invitation from Grand Duke Ernesto Luis in 1899 to participate in Hessen in the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony and the buildings he built at the Mathildenhole in collaboration with Peter Behrens mean the creation of a singular work above the house project single family.
The new style has different denominations and variants, in Germany it is Jungendstile due to its relationship with Jugend magazine, in France Art Nouveau, in Austria Sezessiosstil, in the United Kingdom it is Modern Style, in Italy it is Stile Floreale and in Catalonia it is Modernism.
Other outstanding examples of art nouveau are the works of Louis Sullivan in the US, and Antonio Gaudi in Spain, which, as in the cases of Budapest, Nancy and Helsinky, are limited to regional areas.
Being marked by the personality of its creators, the new style does not take long to run out.
What lasts for a long time are mass-produced art supplies and architectural décor, which lend a certain air of fashion to nondescript buildings.