Parisian "Art Nouveau"
The metro stations that Hector Guimard (1867-1942) designed around 1900 are the hallmarks of Parisian "Art Nouveau". They unify the great contemporary interest in iron constructions - which had reached its height with the construction of the Eiffel Tower in 1889 - with the new organic forms of Art Nouveau that had nothing in common with the conventional engineering constructions. His quite controversial metro entrances are characterized by very striking and abstract forms that seem to have been inspired by nature, evoking a fantastic world that is in permanent motion. They are in strong contrast with the Rationalism of the urbanization executed by Baron Haussmann in the middle of the 19th century as well as with the historicist buildings. Guimard followed the model of the great Belgian Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta.
The great effect of Guimard's main work coined the terms "Style Métro" or "Style Guimard" as synonyms for Art Nouveau. As so many of his contemporaries, Guimard understood his activities as a Gesamtkunstwerk, as creating art with a harmony between architecture and interior design, following the ideal of the Arts and Crafts Movement. This is also how he designed the Hôtel Paul Mezzara (1911).
Furniture of the Parisian Art Nouveau is characterized by flowing organic lines that are more geared to French Late Baroque than to the elsewhere popular Japanese use of forms. Important furniture designers were Eugène Gaillard, Edouard Colonna and Goerges de Feure.
Along with jewelry art, poster design was another fruitful field of activity of the Parisian Art Nouveau. It would soon leave the grounds of its conventional function as a carrier of advertisements, and became a form of art that was highly sought after by art dealers and collectors. Poster art reached its heyday in the 1890s and was revolutionized by major improvements in lithographic color printing techniques. The style of the Paris Art Nouveau posters is characterized by a typical liking for decorative forms in motion. They are often charged with a certain sex appeal, whereas the range of topics greatly varies from artist to artist. For instance, posters of the Moravian native Alfons Maria Mucha (1860-1939) are obliged to Symbolism, whereas Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) dedicates his spontaneous scenes to contemporary life in Paris.