The Nouveau school of decorative art which originated in Europe in the 1880s and flourished until World War I, utilized rich ornamentation, concentrating on unusual expressions of nature- curving, elongated stamens, stems, and leaves- as its themes. Japanese art and artifacts had a major influence on the style, and the asymmetrical shapes of the Orient were frequently used.

In architecture the Art Nouveau style was expressed in dancing, twisting ironwork. Outstanding Art Nouveau designers include Aubrey Beardsley, Charles Mackintosh, Hector Guimard, Gustav Klimt, and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

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