|Art Nouveau's emphasis on nature was a reaction to the
problems of the city, like crowded housing, air pollution, and increased
industry. People in the cities longed for a simpler time. Romantic
themes based on the pleasures of the countryside characterized the
art and literature of this period. But Art Nouveau also grew out of
an interest in new scientific discoveries, illustrated scientific
books, and biological research. Artists saw the vigorous growth and
attractive movement of plants as themes, not just decoration.
Art Nouveau found expression in designs for furniture, jewelry, architecture, even the subway stations of Paris. It represented what was new and modern in an effort to reject Old World historical styles. It has been called the first movement to recognize the demands of the modern world, unifying an object with its decoration.