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Art Nouveau in Brussels

Art Nouveau Brussels, Solvay House

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.

Art Nouveau in Brussels
Musée Horta – Hortamuseum (Victor Horta 1901) © – Jean-Paul Remy – 2022

Why Brussels?

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.

Tassel House, Brussels (C) Wikimedia Commons

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.

Check out this site for the full program.

And this Google Art Nouveau map of Brussels shows you where all the key sites are.

What are some highlights?

Art Nouveau in Brussels
Arthur Rogiers workshop (C) Visit Brussels

So there’s plenty there to keep you busy for a few weekends in 2023!

17 thoughts on “Art Nouveau in Brussels”

  1. I love architecture, objects and illustrations in this style, although I think sometimes it passes from richness to over-ornamentation. But it’s wonderful to be in a building with curving, plant-inspired forms, especially after spending so much of our lives in and amongst concrete blocks, blank walls of glass and endless steel grids. Happy that this city is celebrating this.

  2. I hope to see more of Belgium someday – we stayed in Ghent in Spring 2019 for several days. We especially loved the Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp. I have no doubt that a year could be spent exploring Belgium and there would still be so much more to see. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Denzil, and prompting me to see yours.

  3. I had no idea about that, either, and would have guessed Paris, Vienna or Prague as the places of origin. Which is a shame, as Art Nouveau is really my most favourite style of architecture.
    Next to Art Deco, and on that, Belgium also blew me away! There are so many Art Deco churches, almost in every city. And then the cathedral in Koekelberg, WOW!

    If folks are interested in Art Noveau, you gotta go to Eastern Europe one day, though. In the regions that were Austro-Hungarian until 1918, you still find plenty of Art Nouveau, Secessionist style, and sometimes in combination with local folk art. (Particular beautiful examples are Targu Mures in Romania or Subotica in Serbia.)

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