Art Nouveau in Germany
The German term "Jugendstil" for Art Nouveau is derived from the title of one of the movement's most important weekly magazines called "Jugend" (Youth). The euphoric mood, deliberately expressed by the name, was on par with the programmatic rejection of Historicism and - as stated in the preface - the "traditional". However, the juvenile insurrection in Germany took place in the 1890s, a little later than in the rest of Europe, and was by far less revolutionary than in England or France. Art Nouveau in Germany, especially in Munich, tied in with certain ideals of the Wilhelminian style, against which it actually wanted to revolt.
A certain continuity can be found especially in painting, it is hard to tell the difference from the symbolist movement on the one hand, on the other hand it is in line with notions of Wilhelminian style, particularly as far as the choice of topics is concerned, the so-called "Neu-Germanentum" (New Germaneness). A romantization of the past in a political-ideological sense took place in the empire, notions thereof can also be found in Art Nouveau's mythic depictions of the golden age. On the other hand, the utopian ideas of harmony with nature, the life reform movement at the turn of the century and the related monistic philosophy have to be regarded as counterparts. They postulated the unity of body and soul, nature and spirit and god respectively. The depictions of naked and dancing figures have to be seen in this context.
Illustrations as well as arts and crafts played an important role in Art Nouveau, the workshops where more or less geared at the British Arts and Crafts Movement. They coalesced around the "Vereinigten Werkstätten" (United Workshops) and the "Deutschen Werkbund" (German Work Federation).
Just as other countries, Germany was also geared at Japanese art. A first "floral" period was followed by an abstract concept of the line, thus opening new ways for expressionist art.
Art Nouveau's most important centers up until World War I were Munich, Darmstadt and Berlin. Remarkable artists were Otto Eckmann, Hermann Obrist, August Endell and Peter Behrens.