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In response to Classicism, Art Nouveau imposes no obligation on the artist. Conceived as an art of freedom, Art Nouveau broke free from the constraints that had previously hindered creation. Codified forms which are characteristic of the academic approach are shattered, and Art Nouveau emerged as a transgressive art form, with eroticism as a key element...

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Art nouveau

At la Pinacothèque de Paris, from 18 April 2013 to 08 September 2013

The Decorative Revolution

The  two exhibitions displayed simultaneously in both spaces of the Pinacothèque de Paris allow visitors to discover the first retrospective of French Art Nouveau and its evolution towards Art Déco, through one of its icons, Tamara de Lempicka.

As a reaction to classicism, Art Nouveau did not impose any obligation on the artist. Deemed to be the art of freedom, it threw off the conventions that had hitherto restrained creativity. The codified forms, characteristic of academicism flew apart as though to make of Art Nouveau a transgressive art form within whose core eroticism became an unavoidable ingredient.

Designed as a total art form, Art Nouveau was everywhere. It covered every aspect of life. It had to be a music, a sound, a game, it was could also cover painting as well as furnishings, jewellery, architecture and glassworks, a reference to nature, to women, to plants: the interpenetration of everything within everything, provided it chased away austerity and rules.

The best-known names in Art Nouveau are among the most famous at the turn of the 19th to the 20th centuries. They are Gallé, Daum, Mucha, Majorelle, Horta, Van de Velde, Gaudí, Guimard, Lalique, Grasset, Steinlein, Ruskin, Klimt or Bugatti. They overturned life’s patterns and transformed its aesthetics to make it more agreeable and decorative.

Art Nouveau was at its peak between 1890 and 1905. It rapidly became the basis for an abundant production that triumphed after the Exposition Universelle in 1900 and that became the basis for a denunciation from the “inventors” of the movement. Contemptuously qualifying Art Nouveau as a “noodle” or “taenia” style, its opponents suggested a notion of limpness within the strictly ornamental and decorative images it wished to impose.

Just before World War One, these criticisms finally led to an evolution of Art Nouveau towards a definitely less sophisticated style. It was weakened to the extent of becoming more geometrical and it finally made way for Art Deco, which took over from 1920 onward. Totally denigrated for more than ten years, it was finally the Surrealists who worked toward a rehabilitation of Art Nouveau during the 1930s.

The exhibition we are putting on today is the first French Art Nouveau retrospective in Paris since 1960. A genuine event, it shows over two hundred objects that, in all areas of life and of the arts, overwhelmed the aesthetics and the cultural mind-set of the planet that up till then had lived within the canons of classicism and academicism for over three centuries. This exhibition has focused on the founders of that movement and on its main creators, summoning in a very exhaustive manner the best of their production, except for architecture.

Thank to Paul Greenhalgh, world-renowned specialist of Art Nouveau and director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, who has agreed to bring all his expertise to this project as curator. Thanks also to Mrs Gretha Arwas, wife of Mr Victor Arwas, great collector and specialized author on Art Nouveau, as well as to Mr Robert Zehil and Mrs Mucha who, thanks to their generous participation have made this exhibition possible.

Exhibition made in collaboration with 

Art nouveau lamps are switched on every day from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm,
excepted on Wednesday and Friday from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

- Fees -


  • Combined ticket Art nouveau + Tamara de Lempicka

(on sale until 4:00 pm, on Wednesdays and Fridays until 6:00 pm)
The two temporary exhibitions : Art nouveau, The Decorative Revolution + Tamara de Lempicka, The Queen of Art Deco

Full fee 18 €
Reduced fee* 15 €
Skip the waiting lines ! Buy your ticket online ! >

Full fee online 19,50 €
Reduced fee*online 16,50 €

  • Combined ticket Art nouveau + Tamara de Lempicka + Les Collections

(on sale until 4:00 pm, on Wednesdays and Fridays until 6:00 pm)
The two temporary exhibitions : Art nouveau, The Decorative Revolution + Tamara de Lempicka, The Queen of Art Deco + Les Collections

Full fee 22 €
Reduced fee* 18 €
Skip the waiting lines ! Buy your ticket online ! >

Full fee online 23,50 €
Reduced fee*online 19,50 €


  • Single ticket 1 temporary exhibition

Full fee 12 €
Reduced fee* 10
Skip the waiting lines ! Buy your ticket online ! >
Full fee online 13,50 €
Reduced fee*online 11,50 €


  • Single ticket Les Collections

Full fee 8
Reduced fee* 6
Skip the waiting lines ! Buy your ticket online ! >
Full fee online 9,50 €
Reduced fee*online 7,50 €



  • Twinned ticket 1 temporary exhibition + Les Collections

Full fee 18 €
Reduced fee* 15
Available only at the ticket office.


  • Pinacopass

Annual subscription 60

Découvrir le Pinacopass >



  • The partnership Pinacothèque de Paris & Château de Versailles

One exhibition of choice + Les Collections & Passport High Season (April – October) 35 €
One exhibition of choice + Les Collections & Passport Low Season (November – March) 28 €
Discover the combined ticket with the palace of Versailles >


Would you like to know more about fees ? >

* Reduced fee (on presentation of a justifying document). For young people from 12 to 25, students, job seekers (document must be less than one year old), Maison des artistes, conference guides and lecturers, Pinacopass accompanying person. 
(on presentation of a justifying document) Children under 12,
invalidity card-holders, invalidity card-holders accompanying person (if mentioned on invalidity card), RSA and ASS (documents must be less than one year old), ASPA, conderence guides and teachers with a group reservation, journalists (with press card), ICOM.


Pinacothèque 1

28, place de la Madeleine
75008 Paris

01 42 68 02 01

Open every day
From 10:30 am to 6:30 pm
Ticket office closes at 5:45 pm.

Late openings
Every Wedneday and Friday until 9:00 pm
Ticket office closes at 8:15 pm

1st May, 14th July, 25th December and 1st January 
Open from 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm 
Ticket office closes at 5:45 pm


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