Home » In Brussels it is the year of Art Nouveau – World

In Brussels it is the year of Art Nouveau – World

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In Brussels it is the year of Art Nouveau – World

Hotel Hannon, Bruxelles. Photo Jean-Paul Remy © visit.brussels

World – In 1893 Victor Horta completed the Hôtel Tassel, the first iconic Art Nouveau building in Brussels. The metamorphosis had just begun: in a few years the city would be embellished with a thousand buildings built in the elegant and floral style of the Belle Époque. After exactly 130 years, Brussels is once again the capital of Art Nouveau thanks to a rich cultural programme: exhibitions, scientific events and initiatives, but also walks and bike tours, workshops for adults and children, meetings, shows and special visits to architectures that have made the city a point of reference worldwide.

Just like the artistic movement that flourished between the 19th and 20th centuries, the 2023 celebrations also have a decidedly international character: to tell the links between the currents that developed in the various European cities, collaborations have been established with Vienna under the aegis of the Réseau Art Nouveau Network , Prague, Budapest, Ljubljana, Bratislava, and even overseas with Havana and Quebec City. Another central element of the review is the idea of ​​sustainability, of which the protagonists of the movement were pioneers. Frightened by the consequences of industrialization, artists, architects and craftsmen in fact hoped for a return to nature – whose forms inspire the decorations of the time – as well as a new attention to the quality and durability of objects.

Museo Horta, Bruxelles. Photo Jean-Paul Remy © visit.brussels

The most beautiful exhibitions to see in the year of Art Nouveau
There are truly numerous events designed to highlight the Art Nouveau soul of Brussels: those who love going to exhibitions will be spoiled for choice. At the Museum of Art and History, for example, we will find an exhibition dedicated to the legendary Stoclet house, now a UNESCO heritage site. Retracing its genesis, we will discover that the artists and professionals who came from Vienna designed and created this masterpiece, where the Jugendstil – the Central European version of Art Nouveau – was making sparks. If the architectural project was signed by the great Josef Hoffmann, the craftsmen of the Wiener Werkstätte adorned the interiors with surprising attention to detail and Gustav Klimt decorated the dining room with the famous frieze of theTree of Life. On show, the most beautiful rooms of Casa Stoclet will be accessible thanks to life-size interactive 3D reconstructions.

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But the genius of fin de siécle Brussels is 100% Belgian and his name is Victor Horta, the architect-artist for whom each house was a total work of art, a sort of “shell” built around its inhabitants. We will have the opportunity to get to know him closely in two exhibitions that present him in a new light, also exploring his lesser-known works: Victor Horta and the grammar of Art Nouveau at the BOZAR – Palazzo delle Arti from 17 October e Victor Horta vs Art Nouveau. Horta’s Vocabularyat the Horta Museum until next January 8th.

Art Nouveau 2023 © visit.brussels

Alongside Horta, the events of 2023 also bring the other protagonists of this extraordinary creative season back into the spotlight: from 1 June at Casa Hannon the exhibition Art(s) Nouveau(x) Belge(s). Van de Velde, Serririer-Bovy, Hankar & Co, will underline the plural character of the movement. At the Maison Autrique, on the other hand, we will get to know the artist and graphic designer Privat Livemont (until January 2024), while the painter and decorator Victor Van Dyck will be on stage until 1 July at the Association du Patrimoine Artistique and the famous architect Austrian Josef Hoffmann – guest of honor in Brussels today as then – will be speaking at the Museum of Art and History from 6 October.
Furniture, objects, posters and above all the works of the famous artist have arrived from the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague Alphonse Mucha for the exhibition La donna nell’Art Nouveau: from musa to femme fatale (until 26 June at the Representation of the city of Prague to the European Union), and from September the Design Museum will present resonances. Meeting between Art Nouveau and plastic designwhere we will discover the influence of this style on the 20th century.

Furthermore, during the year, a permanent center dedicated to Art Nouveau will be inaugurated at theHotel van Eetveldeanother of Horta’s jewels, nestled in the heart of the European quarter: conceived to boost research on the 19th-20th century movement, the center will have the task of highlighting how much Art Nouveau is still current, promoting its dialogue with art Contemporary.

The performing arts will also celebrate this very special year. From 7 to 15 October the festival Artonov will celebrate the philosophy of Art Nouveau as a return to nature, quality and beauty as an ideal of life, focusing attention on the different declinations of the truly multidisciplinary movement: from music to architecture, through dance, theater and painting .

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HUmbrellatel van Eetvelde, Bruxelles. Photo Jean-Paul Remy © visit.brussels

The places of Art Nouveau: eight dream homes
Even today, there are almost a thousand Art Nouveau buildings scattered throughout the urban fabric of Brussels. Walking through the streets of the city, it is common to come across splendid facades, which often hide equally spectacular interiors. In 2023, admiring them will be easier than usual: many of the buildings and collections will be accessible to the public throughout the year, starting with the three masterpieces by Victor Horta included in the Unesco World Heritage, the Hôtel Solvay, the Horta Museum and the ‘Hotel van Eetvelde.

At Horta Museum it will be possible to visit the studio and home of the great architect, which preserves the original furniture, stained glass windows, mosaics and paintings, while theHotel Solvay it flaunts the luxury and sophistication of one of the richest and most modern private residences of the time. For the house of his son, the chemist and industrialist Ernest Solvay spared no expense: Horta received carte blanche and was able to design even the furnishings down to the smallest detail. Beyond the elegant bay windows that characterize the façade, a red-orange universe opens up with suggestive atmospheres, complete with every comfort available at the end of the 19th century.

HUmbrellatel van Eetvelde, Bruxelles. Photo Jean-Paul Remy © visit.brussels

Furthermore, from 1 June, it will reopen its doors after a long closure Hannon House, authentic jewel of architecture and decoration recently restored. Designed in 1902 by the architect Jules Brunfaut for the esthete and collector Edouard Hannon and his wife Marie, Casa Hannon is a very original residence, where the personal tastes of the owners meet a French-inspired design. Entering the rooms reconstructed for the occasion, one is struck by the intimate and dreamlike atmosphere, of Symbolist ancestry, rendered by marvelous architecture, furniture and decorations.

Not to be missed are also Autry Housebuilt by Horta and recently restored, e Cauchie houseresidence and studio of a famous couple of decorator artists – Paul Cauchie and Caroline Vouet – who made it their manifesto starting from the scenographic painted facade.
Finally, the 2023 celebrations will offer the exclusive opportunity to visit valuable residences still in private hands, such as Casa Hallet e House of Frisonlie to Casa Roosenboom visitors will be able to follow the progress of the restoration work live.

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HUmbrellasuch as Hannon, Saint-Gilles, Brussels. Photo Jean-Paul Remy © visit.brussels

The Art Nouveau nei musei di Brussels
Some of the most interesting Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels have been turned into museums. It is the case of Museum of Musical Instrumentswith one of the richest collections in the world, which is housed in the exceptional Old England complex in a singular building with a metal facade, and the Cartoon Museumwhere the architectures of Horta frame the adventures of Tintin and the Smurfs, in a captivating journey through the history of the ninth art.

With the collections of End of the Century Museum, on the other hand, you immerse yourself up to your neck in the culture of the Belle Époque, when Brussels was an artistic crossroads of global importance. Ranging from painting to photography, from sculpture to literature, music, architecture and theatre, this museum restores the spirit of an era through the works of the most important Belgian artists. Not to be missed along the way is the prestigious Gillion Crowet Collectionwith Art Nouveau treasures from France and Belgium.

Old England Building. Photo Jean-Paul Remy © visit.brussels

Finally, the essential stop on an Art Nouveau tour is the Museum of Art and Historywhich from next autumn will offer a new itinerary on the topic. After the reconstruction of the furniture of the historic Jewellery Wolfersfurther innovations are awaited, such as the famous Winter Garden designed by Victor Horta for the collector Jean Cousin.

In the palaces, museums and districts of Brussels, thematic tours and special experiences will help design a unique journey into the universe of Art Nouveau, bringing to the fore the most curious and interesting aspects of this unrepeatable season. And for those who want a trip outside the city, the nearby centers of Anderlecht and Ixelles are ready to reveal further wonders.
The complete program of initiatives is available on the website https://www.visit.brussels.

Hotel Tassel, Brussels. Photo Jean-Paul Remy © visit.brussels

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