The strict definition of Art Nouveau is: A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it is characterized by organic– especially floral and other plant-inspired– motifs, as well as very stylized, flowing curvilinear forms. Although Art Nouveau was replaced by 20th-century modernist styles, it is considered now as an important transition between the historicism of Neoclassicism and modernism.
When it comes to definite Art Nouveau designs, in antique iron beds, I’ve only ever come across a hand full over the years. Many of the later Victorian beds I’ve had some of the curving lines of the Art Nouveau period. But few iron beds I’ve seen or had had all the elements of Art Nouveau.
If you look closely at the bed in this photo, you’ll notice the similarities between it’s scrolled interior iron rods and the scrolled iron stair case in the photo to it’s left. Also take note that the design and interior pattern of the bed, all emanate from a central location (the large center casting). Although very free form and flowing, the designs on the staircase banister also have central points they start from.
In the Victorian period, I’ve found numerous antique iron beds that I wasn’t crazy about the design or interior pattern. That has never been the case with any of the Art Nouveau beds I’ve come across.
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