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What Are the Characteristics of Art Nouveau Tables?

Art noveau often features plant and flower motifs.
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  • Written By: Jennifer Leigh
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2014
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Tables created in the Art Nouveau style had simple lines, inlays and an organic feel that can be seen replicated in artwork, architectural elements and other types of furniture in this period. Art Nouveau tables can be recognized by their whiplash lines, which are curving and swirling lines that are found in nature. These lines, rarely found in furniture except in the Art Nouveau style, can be found in Art Nouveau tables in both the legs and table tops. This was an attempt at making functional tables that were useful as well as beautiful.

Art Nouveau is a style of art that developed in the late 1800s through the early 1900s and was translated into various forms in architecture and furniture. There are examples of Art Nouveau all over the world, but one of the main characteristics is that its creators attempted to push the edges of pre-existing boundaries. This art movement went against the classical work that had previously been done and tried to change the way that people saw art. It is possible that Art Nouveau was influenced by Japanese art of the time, which often incorporated curvy lines and swirls.

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The table tops are often not square or rectangular but instead have rounded or concave edges with curvy corners. There are often lines in unexpected places in these tables, such as underneath the table or on the bottom of the table top. This provides a graceful visual appeal to the piece of furniture. Some Art Nouveau tables have elaborate carving on the legs or table tops, which often provides additional curves and lines reminiscent of nature.

Many Art Nouveau tables have inlays in the table tops. These inlays were made out of various types of organic materials, such as shell, stained glass and stone, to give the top of the table a unique and decadent look. Inlays made out of these materials provide a natural element to the table top, which adds to the connection between civilization and nature that many Art Nouveau creators were after.

Pieces such as Art Nouveau tables were often handmade as a protest against the mass production of furniture and other items that was being made. True Art Nouveau tables from the time period likely have a marking on them by the person who made them. This might not be true of Art Nouveau reproductions, which became popular in the 1960s.

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