Art Nouveau is a decorative style easily recognised by its sinuous, curvilinear forms often based on the exaggeration of vines, flowers and foliage.

Beginning in the late 19th century, Art Nouveau reached its peak in 1900 with the Exposition Universelle in Paris before all but petering out by 1914.

Architecture, decorative art, household furnishings and fittings of many types were adapted by designers into the Art Nouveau style. Modern materials, techniques & innovations were all embraced – fittings for newly introduced electric lighting often incorporated the curved forms of Art Nouveau.

In Australia, Art Nouveau was spread by the growth of art and craft education in technical schools and adopted by various commercial enterprises but it was rarely used for complete room or building schemes. It was also less favoured in England than Continental Europe where it was celebrated as a modern style that rejected historic imitation - in France it was initially known as Le style moderne [modern style], in Germany as Jugendstil [youth style] and in Spain as Modernismo.

A range of sources held by the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection were featured, from catalogues and original design drawings to cabinet handles and a wallpaper sample book.

14 March 2012 - 13 July 2012