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Horta, Baron Victor

Horta, Baron Victor (1861–1947). Belgian architect, one of the most brilliant protagonists of Art Nouveau. He absorbed Viollet-le-Duc's theories, admired the works of Eiffel and Boileau, and learned much about iron-and-glass from his mentor Balat. He made his name with the exquisite Hôtel Tassel, 6 Rue Paul-Émile Janson, Brussels (1892–3), in which the exposed iron-work and curvaceous decorations showed Art Nouveau at its most inventive and refined. The success of the Hôtel Tassel brought other commissions for buildings in Brussels, including the Huis van Eetvelde, Palmerstonlaan (1895–7), the ingenious and beautiful Hôtel Solvay, 224 Avenue Louise (1894–1900), and the brilliant Maison du Peuple, Place Émile van de Velde (1895–9—shamefully demolished 1964), with its curved iron, glass and masonry façade, and a light-filled interior with exposed ironwork and much fine detailing. His own house at 22–23 Rue Américaine (1898–1901—now the Musée Horta) and the Hôtel Aubecq, 520 Avenue Louise (1899–1900), both in Brussels, were ingeniously planned and marvellously detailed, with metal and masonry effortlessly joined. Thereafter, Horta's work became more pedestrian: his Central Railway Station (1911–37), and his Palais des Beaux-Arts (1919–28), both in Brussels, have reinforced-concrete structures, and lack all the grace and charm of the Art Nouveau work. He designed numerous funerary and other monuments.

Bibliography

Aubry et al. (1996);
F. Borsi (1969);
Delevoy (1958);
Dernie et al. (1995);
Hoppenbrouwers et al. (1975);
Hustache (1994);
Loo (ed.) (2003);
Loyer (1986);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Tschudi-Madsen (1967);
Jane Turner (1996)

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Horta, Victor, Baron

Victor Horta, Baron, 1861–1947, Belgian architect. The Tassel House in Brussels (1892–93), his first mature work, was the earliest monument of art nouveau. It was excelled only by his later works, such as the Baron von Eetvelde house (1895) and the demolished Maison du Peuple (1896–99), both in Brussels. The houses are especially significant for their interior architecture. The irregularly shaped rooms open freely onto one another at different levels. The plantlike design of the iron balustrade is echoed in the curving decorative lines of the mosaic floors, plaster walls, and other surfaces. Horta later reverted to a more traditional mode of architectural expression.

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