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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.
Direction des Monuments et des Sites de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale
Directie Monumenten en Landschappen van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest
CCN, boîte - bus 1
BE - 1035 Bruxelles - Brussel
Phone: +32 022042439/41
Fax: +32 022041522
E-mail: mwasseige(a)mrbc.irisnet.be, gcondereis(a)mbhg.irisnet.be
Musée Horta Saint-Gilles - Hortamuseum Sint-Gillis
rue Américaine 25 Amerikaansestraat
BE - 1060 Bruxelles - Brussel
Phone: +32 025430490
Fax: +32 025387631
Art Nouveau in Brussels
La maison Autrique
Le Centre urbain asbl. - De Stadswinkel vzw.
Les Musées royaux d'Art et d'Histoire (MRAH)
De Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis (KMKG)
Archives d'Architecture Moderne
Centre international pour la Ville, le paysage et l'Architecture (CIVA)
With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union