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Victor Horta

Victor Horta

*  1861 Gent
† 1947 Brüssel

The Belgian architect and Art nouveau artist Victor Horta was born in Gent in 1861. Horta began to study architecture at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Gent in 1873 and attended the Royal Athenaeum there from 1874 to 1877. In 1878 Victor Horta went to Paris, where he worked until 1880 in the studio of the interior designer Jules Debuyson. In 1881 Victor Horta finished his studies at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. That same year Victor Horta also worked in the practice of the architect Alphonse Balat, an exponent of Neo-Classicism. In 1884 Victor Horta was awarded the Godecharle Prize for his design for a parliament building. In 1892 Victor Horta started designing private houses and public buildings in Brussels, for which he used cast iron for structural reasons but also because it was so decorative. In 1892/93 Victor Horta built Hôtel Tassel, with an interior notable for its exposed cast-iron construction and the use of glass; the furnishings and appointments possessed sumptuously organic forms and gently linear decoration. In 1893 Victor Horta built Maison Autrique, followed in 1895/96 by Maison Winssinger and Hôtel Eetvelde (1895-1900), all of them buildings Victor Horta conceived as total works of art in the Art nouveau style. Victor Horta designed the Maison du Peuple (1896-1899) with façades entirely constructed of cast iron and glass. In 1900/01 the "À l'Innovation" department store was built after plans by Victor Horta. From 1912 lehrt Victor Horta taught at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels and was director of it from 1913 until 1915. Between 1916 and 1919, Victor Horta was in London and the United States of America. In the years that followed, however, Victor Horta virtually abandoned Art nouveau, turning instead to a style that tended toward Neo-Classicism, as exemplified by the Palais des Beaux-Arts (1922-1928) in Brussels. Victor Horta was a pioneering exponent of Art nouveau and one of the most influential designers in this pervasive.