The article examines the social history of Art Nouveau. Perm architectural buildings of the late 19th and ealy 20th centuries, as well as the exhibits of the Perm regional museum are taken as an example. The author considers the Art Nouveau through the lens of Cultural Modernity that gives an opportunity to raise questions about the formation of the middle class, tradition, identity, urban modernism, and consumerism. Creativity potential of Art Nouveau was associated with art and bourgeois elite. However, due to the emergence of new media, changes in the urban environment, the construction of railway stations, bridges, schools, shopping malls, cinemas, and churches, all urban strata experienced the changes. Social activity of Art Nouveau is disclosed through the urban everyday routine and individual life. Style has found universal expression in consuming culture, circulation of goods and ideas. Art Nouveau was a symbol of renewal, freedom, and optimism. Modernization of decorative art was seen as a stimulus for social change. However, the turn of the centuries was a time of mass production of traditions. Art Nouveau contains some echoes of the long 19th century. Provincial architecture along with new technologies remained committed to a traditional style and decor. Rationality and the use of new materials were combined with modernity in ornamentation and extravagance. Objects of living rooms, dining rooms, ladies' boudoirs and closets, utilitarian and idle things “designed” a person of the turn of the centuries and suggested interweaving of modern and traditional values.
Key words: Art Nouveau, Belle Époque, urbanization, utilitarianism, consumerism, tradition, cultural modernity.