Art Nouveau was a style in the decorative and fine arts and architecture that had its beginnings in England towards the end of the 19th century and lasted until the beginning of the First World War. It is associated with Symbolism, but is distinct from it.
Sydney Long is the only Australian painter whose workone could describe as Art Nouveau. His paintings The Spirit of the plains 1897, Pan 1898 and Fantasy c 1914 (as well as his second version of The Spirit of the plains 1914) are undoubtedly the best known manifestations of Art Nouveau in Australia.
The British art magazine, The Studio, promoted the ideas of Art Nouveau around the world, including Australia. Two of Long’s paintings were reproduced in this highly regarded publication: The Spirit of the plains in May 1898 and Pan in February 1899.