Art Nouveau, also known as "New Art", was an artistic and design movement that emerged in response to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of mass production. It lasted from the late 19th century until the early 20th century and was characterized by its use of flowing, organic forms inspired by nature, as well as its incorporation of new materials and technologies.

The movement originated in Europe, particularly in France and Belgium, as a rejection of the ornate and heavily stylized designs of the Victorian era. Instead, it favored a more natural and fluid aesthetic that was inspired by the shapes and patterns found in plants, animals, and even the human body.

One of the key factors that contributed to the development of Art Nouveau was the influence of Japanese art and design. The asymmetry and organic forms found in Japanese prints and textiles had a significant impact on Art Nouveau designers, who sought to incorporate these elements into their work.

Another factor was the growing interest in the natural world and its forms. Artists and designers were inspired by the beauty of nature and sought to capture its essence in their work.

The importance of Art Nouveau lies in its influence on modern art and design. Many of the principles and techniques developed during the movement, such as the use of new materials and technologies, would go on to shape the course of 20th-century design.

Art Nouveau also had a global impact beyond Europe, with its influence being felt in places such as the United States, Russia, and Japan. In the United States, Art Nouveau was known as the "Tiffany style", after the famous jewellery designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, who was heavily influenced by the movement.