Styles: All That Glitters

At the turn of the century, European taste makers found themselves caught up in the snaky tendrils of a self-conscious style called art nouveau. Not only candlesticks and furniture, but whole buildings were designed to flow with floral grace. From the Paris Métro stations of Hector Guimard to the décor of Maxim's, symmetry was out, organic flow was in, and nothing from the insect or aquatic world was too exotic. La Belle Époque lasted little more than a couple of decades (1880-1905), but in that brief span produced a series of small masterpieces,...

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