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Art Nouveau: 10 Most Beautiful Buildings in the World

Antoni Gaudi, The front side of Casa Batllo seen from public street, ca. 1904, Barcelona, Spain. Moyan Brenn/Wikimedia Commons.

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau: 10 Most Beautiful Buildings in the World

With so many options to choose from, it is hard to narrow down a list of the most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings in the world. So here’s a small portion of what can be found.

Defining Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau was an international style in architecture and design that emerged in the late 19th century. Characterized by “sinuous lines and flowing organic shapes based on plant forms,” it flourished mostly between 1890-1910 in Europe and the United States. Furthermore, it branched from the arts and crafts movement which began only a short time before.

Morris & Co wallpaper sample book Brooklyn Museum
Morris & Co.,Wallpaper Sample Book 1, pg. 127, Pattern #323. Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA.

While this article focuses on the architectural aspect, Art Nouveau also crossed over into posters, illustrations, jewelry, and interior design. Well known architects of the period were Otto Wagner, Victor Horta, Antoni Gaudi, and Jules Lavirotte to name a few.

Art Nouveau Architecture from Around the World

Since examples of Art Nouveau are scattered throughout the world, it is known by different names according to the region: Liberty style, Tiffany style, Secession, Skonvirke, Modernismo, or Jugendstil. Furthermore, the style ranges in intricacy as well, from the ornate to the simple.

1. Majolikahaus: Vienna, Austria


Known as Secession style in Austria, Otto Wagner’s Majolikahaus is a prime example of Art Nouveau elements. The exterior is made of small tiles, a style known as majolica. Here the tiles come together to form a floral pattern.

Otto Wagner Majolikahaus Arch Daily
Otto Wagner, Majolikahaus, façade detail, 1888-89, Vienna, Austria. ArchDaily.

2. Alberta Street: Riga, Latvia

The street in Riga, Latvia contains some beautiful examples of Art Noueveau design elements. An entire series of articles could be written on the architecture of this city, alone.

Art Nouveau, M.Eisenstein, N.Mandelstam,  K.Pēkšēns, Alberta Street Buildings, ca. 1901-08, Riga, Latvia.
M.Eisenstein, N.Mandelstam,  K.Pēkšēns, Alberta Street Buildings, ca. 1901-08, Riga, Latvia. Magnetic Latvia Travel.

3. Museum of Applied Arts: Budapest, Hungary


Designed by Ödön Lechner and built between 1893-1896, the building combined both regional styles of Art Nouveau with Oriental elements.

Ödön Lechner, Museum of Applied Arts, 1893-96, Budapest, Hungary
Ödön Lechner, Museum of Applied Arts, 1893-96, Budapest, Hungary. Yoav Dothan/Wikimedia Commons.

4. Cit Turin: Turin, Italy

Among the great architecture of this Northern Italian town, there are many Art Nouveau buildings. Take for instance, this particular building located in Cit Turin.

Art Nouveau buildings: Giovan Battista Benazzo, Casa Tasca on Via Beaumont, 3, Turin, Italy.
Giovan Battista Benazzo, Casa Tasca on Via Beaumont, 3, Turin, Italy. Diana Zahuranec.

5. Jugendstilsenteret: Ålesund, Norway


The ‘Art Nouveau town’ of Ålesund was the epicenter for Art Nouveau architecture in Scandinavia. A terrible fire ravaged the city in 1904, but the city was soon rebuilt with a blend of Scandinavian regional styles in mind. The Jugendstilsenteret is the city’s Art Nouveau museum.

Art Nouveau buildings: Hagbarth Martin Schytte-Berg, Jugendstilsenteret Museum, 1905–1907, Alesund, Norway.
Hagbarth Martin Schytte-Berg, Jugendstilsenteret Museum, 1905–1907, Alesund, Norway. Tony Hall/Wikimedia Commons.
The art nouveau town of Alesund, Norway. CNN Channel/Youtube.

6. The Fine Arts Palace: Mexico City, Mexico

The Fine Arts Palace is considered to be THE cultural center of Mexico City and showcases both aspects of Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

Fine Arts Palace Mexico City Art Nouveau Adamo Boari, Palacio de Bellas Artes, ca. 1904-1910, Mexico, Mexico
Adamo Boari, Palacio de Bellas Artes, ca. 1904-1910, Mexico, Mexico. Art Nouveau Club.

7. Villa Majorelle: Nancy, France


This French home was built for the furniture maker Louis Majorelle. Click here to take a virtual tour of the historic monument. The villa has been open to the public since the late 1970s.

Henri Sauvage, Villa Majorelle, ca. 1901-02, Nancy, France.
Henri Sauvage, Villa Majorelle, ca. 1901-02, Nancy, France. Nancy Tourism.

8. The Little Singer Building: New York City, New York

Ernest Flagg studied under the Beaux Arts movement. However, here in this 12 story wrought-iron building, there are clear examples of the Art Nouveau movement which paralleled the timeline of Beaux Arts.

: The Little Singer Building New York City Ernest Flagg
Ernest Flagg, The Little Singer Building, 1904, New York, USA. Beyond My Ken/Wikimedia Commons.

9. Eliseyev Emporium: St. Petersburg, Russia

Completed in 1903, this building is now home to retail spaces and a theater. The architect, Gavril Baranovsky, was commissioned by the wealthy merchant Grigoriy Grigorievich Eliseyev to build another building for the family’s already large portfolio. It was temporarily renamed during the Bolshevik Revolution but has always been known as the Eliseyev Emporium by those in St. Petersburg.

Art Nouveau buildings: Eliseyev Emporium St Petersburg Russia Gavril Baranovsky
Gavril Baranovsky, Eliseyev Emporium at Night, 1903, St.Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg.

10. Hotel Chile: Buenas Aires, Argentina

Due to a fire and subsequent repairs in the late 1980s, the building does not have much of its original ornaments. However, the structure still stands on Avenida de Mayo in the Argentinian capital.

Art Nouveau buildings: Hotel Chile, Buenas Aires Argentina Art Noueveau, Louis Dubois
Louis Dubois, Avenida de Mayo Hotel Chile, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Roberto Fiadone/Wikimedia Commons.

More Info:

There is no possible way to include every Art Nouveau building in one article. In Riga, Latvia alone, there are over 800 examples of this style. So here are a few more examples, just for fun, from an artists’ colony in Darmstadt, Germany, to various buildings in Brussels.

Germany:

Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt 4K Aerials. Skynamic, Youtube.

Belgium:

Visit Brussels: Art Nouveau Jewels. Youtube.

Read more about Art Nouveau in:

Art historian (art lover, artist), coffee drinker, writer, Mom to 2 girls, and wife to a pilot. BA in History and an MA in Art History. Favorite art style is Impressionism. Favorite theme is the Annunciation. Located in Central Kansas.

 

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