In 1893 the architect Victor Horta designed the first Art nouveau building for professor Emile Tassel. This terrace house was the first convincing example of the rejuvenation that architecture was to undergo. This project soon let to new opportunities: mansions for Armand Solvay and Edmond Van Eetvelde, the Maison du Peuple for the Socialist Party,… To profuse variety of colour in the interior, the direct expression of programmatic needs in its architecture, the transformation of purely technical demands, the visible use of steel beams in the interior, the play of natural light inside the building, the same elements that are found in Victor Horta’s work.

Paul Hankar’s influence determined the course of the further development of Art Nouveau. His achievements bear testimony to his love of building materials and colourful combinations of them, of traditional methods and techniques. A striking feature of Hankar’s numerous shop fronts is the slenderness and elegance of the woodwork, which looks as if it was curved and bent by nature itself. Henry van de Velde considers the “line as a force”, as an elementary force of nature.

The example of pioneers like Horta, Hankar and van de Velde lead to the influence of Art Nouveau spreading from Brussels to the whole of Europe.

Brussels soon evolved from a beautiful 19th century city abundant with remarkable examples of eclectic architecture, into the capital of Art Nouveau. Once it had found its real domain, Art Nouveau diverged into various styles: Horta adepts like Gustave Strauven and Ernst Blérot, further developed its floral aspects. Léon Sneyers and Paul Hamesse, both students of Paul Hankar, developed the pure rationality of architecture to the point where the bare white plane had acquired a right to exist as architecture. Designers like Paul Cauchie, Victor Taelemans, Jean-Baptiste Dewin each tried to find their own personal style within this geometric trend. The street was transformed into a stage for unfolding of a oeuvre, the peak of artistic skill and workmanship.

Image artist function date
Ernest Blérot architect, decorator, property developer 1870-1957
Paul Cauchie architect, painter, decorator, sgraffito specialist, designer 1844-1952
Adolphe Crespin painter-decorator, poster artist, sgraffito author 1859-1944
Fernand Dubois sculptor, silversmith 1861-1939
Alfred William Finch painter, engraver, ceramist 1854-1930
Paul Hamesse architect, decorator, designer 1877-1956
Paul Hankar architect, decorator, designer 1859-1901
Victor Horta architect, decorator, designer 1861-1947
Henry Jacobs architect 1864-1935
Privat Livemont poster artist 1861-1936
Antoine Pompe architect, silversmith, designer 1873-1980
Paul Saintenoy architect, decorator 1862-1952
Gustave Serrurier-Bovy architect, cabinetmaker, decorator 1858-1910
Léon Sneyers architect, designer, cabinetmaker 1877-1948
Gustave Strauven architect, inventor 1878-1919
Henry van de Velde painter, architect, decorator, designer, cabinetmaker 1863-1957
Philippe Wolfers silversmith, jewel designer, sculptor 1858-1929
Cover Author Description date Link
Pierre & François Loze; Belgique Art Nouveau- De Victor Horta à Antoine Pompe,
EIFFEL Editions, 1991, ISBN 2-930010-05-3

Franco Borsi & Hans Wieser Bruxelles- Capitale de l'Art Nouveau
Marc Vokar Editeur, 1992, ISBN 2-87012-008-7

Françoise Dierkens-Aubry & Jos Vandenbreeden Art Nouveau en Belgique- Architecture & Interieurs
Editions DUCULOT, 1991, ISBN 2-8011-0956-8

Eric Hennaut La Façade Art Nouveau à Bruxelles - Artisans et Métiers
Editions Archives d'Art Modernes, 2005, ISBN 2-87143-159-0

Françoise Aubry, Christine Bastin & Jacques Evrard Art Nouveau à Bruxelles. De l'architecture à l'ornementalisme
Editions Quo Vadis, 2005, ISBN 2-9600394-4-0

Anne Van Loo & Fabrice Van de Kerckove Henry Van de Velde, Récit de ma vie
Anvers-Bruxelles-Paris-Berlin I 1863-1900, Editions VersA Flammarion, 1992, ISBN 2-08-010907-3

Anne Van Loo & Fabrice Van de Kerckove Henry Van de Velde, Récit de ma vie
Berlin-Weimar-Paris-Bruxelles II 1900-1917, Editions VersA Flammarion, 1995, ISBN 2-08-010908-1

Guy Dessicy, Françoise Dierkens-Aubry, Bruno Fornari, Jos Vandendreeden, Marc Henricot, Linda Van Santvoort, & René Dalemans Paul Cauchie - Décorateur, Architecte, Peintre,
Editions Maison Cauchie, 1994

Françoise Aubry, Christine Bastin & Jacques Evrard Horta ou la passion de l'architecture
Editions Ludion, 2005, ISBN 90-5544-571-1

François Loyer, Paul Hankar La Naissance de l'Art Nouveau
Editions Archives d'Architecture Moderne, 1986, ISBN 2-87143-043-8

Partner:
urban.brussels
Mont des Arts 10-13
1000 Brussels
Belgium
Phone: +32 (0) 2 432 83 18
E-mail: alalleaume@urban.brussels 

Horta Museum
Rue Américaine 25
1060 Bruseels
Belgium
Phone: +32 (0)2 543 04 90
Fax: +32 (0)2 538 76 31
E-mail: info@hortamuseum.be

CIVA
Rue de l’Ermitage 55
1050 Brussels
Belgium
Phone: + 32 (0)2 642 24 50
E-mail: info@civa.brussels  

Links

Brussels
Art Nouveau in Brussels
La maison Autrique
Homegrade
Les Musées royaux d’Art et d’Histoire (MRAH) – De Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis (KMKG)
Archives d’Architecture Moderne
Sint-Lukasarchief vzw

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