On a day with heavy rain, I was approaching Stoclet Palace in Brussels. As an Art Nouveau and Art Deco enthusiast, this was a dream come true.
Palais Stoclet is one of the most famous private mansions built in Art Deco style. It was designed by the Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911 for the entrepreneur and art lover Adolphe Stoclet. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009.
Josef Hoffmann belonged to the Vienna Secession (Wiener Secession) movement, whose members were unified in their opposition to Historism, the dominant art and architecture style of the second part of the 19th century. Historism is not a genuine style in itself, its main characteristic was that everything from older periods was mixed up and copied. Art and architecture that begin with the prefix ‘Neo-‘, as Neo-Baroque, Neo-Classicism and so forth, is likely to stem from this period.
The Vienna Secession is said to have been the beginning of the Art Deco style, which is related to Art Nouveau. But it differs from Art Nouveau in that it uses more geometric forms. It is less playful, and prefers more stylized organic shapes.
According to the Art Nouveau and Art Deco artists, life should be a Gesamtkunstwerk. Given that, it was only natural that Josef Hoffmann not only designed the architecture, but also the interior and furnishings of the house. Hoffman’s famous colleague and artist Gustav Klimt created the mosaic friezes.
The mansion is still occupied by heirs of the Stoclet family. It is not accessible to the public.
Actually, one finds oneself sneaking around the property, trying desperately to take decent photographs through a six-foot fence.
But neither the bad weather nor the awkward circumstances could curb my enthusiasm for this building.
Enjoy the gallery!
Just in case you want to know how Brussels looks like in beautiful weather, go here.