Brussels has declared 2023 as the Year of Art Nouveau, and the city as the Capital of Art Nouveau.
What is Art Nouveau?
Art Nouveau is a late 19th and early 20th century aesthetic movement that produced a highly expressive style of architecture, interior design, furniture, décor, glasswork, jewellery, and visual arts.
Art Nouveau style is inspired by the natural world. Its key characteristics are sinuous, sculptural, organic shapes, arches, curving lines, and sensual ornamentation. Common motifs include stylized versions of leaves, flowers, vines, insects, animals, and other natural elements. Decorative elements found on the inside and outside of buildings include intricate mosaic work, stained and curved glass, and decorative wrought iron.
In 1893, Belgian architect Victor Horta put the finishing touches to Tassel House in Brussels. This building is considered to be the founding work of the Art Nouveau movement. It caused a stir, with its impressive modern façade and its sumptuous interiors in stained glass, mosaics and wrought iron. There are believed to be around Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels.
To mark the appearance of Art Nouveau 130 years ago, the City of Brussels is organizing a comprehensive programme of events to celebrate Art Nouveau in all its diversity and stake its claim as the capital of this international artistic movement.
What’s happening in Brussels in 2023?
A full programme will showcase major aspects of Art Nouveau through updated and enhanced museum programmes, numerous large-scale exhibitions, festive events, guided tours, and conferences.
And this Google Art Nouveau map of Brussels shows you where all the key sites are.
What are some highlights?
- A new museum: the Hannon House
- An Art Nouveau information centre: the bureau Van Eetvelde: Built by Victor Horta, this exceptional building is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The Bright Festival (16-19 February) and the Iris Festival (6-7 May) will be tinged with Art Nouveau for the occasion.
- Iconic buildings and collections will be accessible all year round. They include seven works of art by Victor Horta: the Horta Museum, the Hôtel Solvay, the Hôtel Van Eetvelde, the Autrique House, the Comics Art Museum, the Temple of Human Passions and the Wolfers Frères jewellery shop.
- Exhibitions include “Victor Horta and the Grammar of Art Nouveau” at BOZAR and “Victor Horta versus Art Nouveau. Horta’s vocabulary” at the Horta Museum.
- An interactive phygital experience around the stones on the façade of Hôtel Aubecq.
- Guided tours, conferences, workshops and publications.
- Initiatives aimed at specific audiences, such as schools, persons with a visual impairment and persons with reduced mobility.
- An Art Nouveau Pass will offer discounts for temporary exhibitions and guided tours dedicated to Art Nouveau.
So there’s plenty there to keep you busy for a few weekends in 2023!