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Artists Hector Guimard
Hector Guimard Photo

Hector Guimard

French Architect and Designer

Movements and Styles: Art Nouveau, Modern Architecture

Born: 10 March 1867 - Lyons, France

Died: 20 May 1942 - New York, New York, USA

Hector Guimard Timeline

Quotes

"The artist does not create his environment; he is the product thereof."
Hector Guimard
"It is upon us architects that falls more particularly the duty of determining, by our art, not only the artistic, but also the civilizing and scientific evolution of our time."
Hector Guimard
"By studying the principles of art which have guided artists from the earliest period down to the present day, it is possible to make a selection, and that if we will take the trouble to find out how our predecessors managed to discover them, we can by applying the same method to the conditions prevailing in our own times, deduce therefrom the proper modern rules."
Hector Guimard
"Every great epoch has had a stylization of art."
Hector Guimard
"For construction, do no the branches of the trees, the stems, by turn rigid and undulating, furnish us with models?"
Hector Guimard
"When the artist has met the demands of logic, that is to say when he has lived up to the requirements of a particular project and to the conditions in which he must labor, he has in a sense done the work of an engineer. But he must do more if he is to lift himself above the mere material conditions if he is to achieve the harmony and feeling that characterize a true work of art."
Hector Guimard
"A style of architecture, in order to be true, must be the product of the soil it exists and of the period which needs it."
Hector Guimard
"Let the Belgians, the German and the English evolve for themselves a national art, and assuredly in so doing they will perform a true, sound, and useful work."
Hector Guimard
"Nature is a big book from which we can draw inspiration, and it is in that book that we must look for principles, which, when found, have to be defined and applied by the human mind according to human needs."
Hector Guimard

"I love architecture, because in its essence, in its structure, in its function, and in all of its manifestations, it contains within itself every one of the other arts, without exception."

Synopsis

Hector Guimard practiced what he preached. His architectural creations tend to embrace each of the different branches of the arts, from painting and sculpture to graphics and even typography. The seamless harmony and flow that reigns in the aesthetic of Guimard's buildings and other works very much mirrors the kind of harmonious environment and society that Guimard hoped the world could eventually achieve politically, though this never came to pass. Guimard's version of Art Nouveau was nationalistic (he was French), but also focused on community and the friendly acknowledgement of differences between the varied nationalities and ethnicities of the world. Today Guimard is regarded as one of the most individualistic artists of his era, one of the innovating founders of Art Nouveau who developed a personal aesthetic that is often instantly recognizable and distinguishable even from his fellow practitioners of the style.

Key Ideas

Guimard is by far the best-known French Art Nouveau architect, to the extent that in some French circles Art Nouveau was referred to as "Style Guimard," a moniker promoted by Guimard himself. His work is easy to distinguish amongst other practitioners of the style, with plastic, abstracted and sometimes bizarre vegetal and floral imagery in iron, glass, and carved stone that is usually twisted and bent into irregular and asymmetrical forms.
Though well-educated at the École nationale des arts décoratifs, and familiar with many of the leading French architectural theorists, Guimard attended but did not receive a diploma from the École des Beaux-Arts as was the norm for most French academic architects at the end of the 19th century, and was often thought of during his lifetime as outside the mainstream of architectural practice.
Guimard's work has recently been discovered to be rather political - particularly pacifist and socialist. The strange forms in his architecture are intended to function as great kinds of social levelers, favoring no social or economic class above any other in terms of their familiarity or ability to be interpreted. As a result, they also constitute a step towards artistic abstraction, one of the great developments of 20th-century modernism.
Guimard's Paris Métro entrances are his signature work and classic emblems of Art Nouveau, which combine the movement's embrace of nature as well as the advances of technology, standardization, and modernization. Their sinuous, unusual forms stand out against the typical street environments, making them ideal for their functions, and they have become worldwide icons for mass transit design.

Biography

Hector Guimard Photo

Early Life and Education

Hector-Germain Guimard was born in Lyons in March 1867. He was the first of several major architects to be born that year, two months before Frank Lloyd Wright, four months before Henry Hornbostel, and nine before Josef Maria Olbrich. His father was an orthopedist originally from Toucy, while his mother was a seamstress from Larajasse. Guimard developed a difficult relationship with his parents: at age thirteen the family moved from Lyons to Levallois-Perret, just outside the northwestern city limits of Paris, and soon afterward Guimard apparently ran away from home, finding refuge in the home of Apollonie Grivellé, a rich landowner in the suburban 16th arrondissement of Paris.

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Hector Guimard Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Hector Guimard
Interactive chart with Hector Guimard's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc
Victor-Marie-Charles Ruprich-Robert
Charles Genuys
Gustave Raulin
Emile Vaudremer

Personal Contacts

Alexandre Bigot
Victor HortaVictor Horta
Paul Hankar

Movements

Art NouveauArt Nouveau
Gothic RevivalGothic Revival
The BaroqueThe Baroque
The RococoThe Rococo

Influences on Artist
Hector Guimard
Hector Guimard
Years Worked: 1888 - 1930
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Eugène Vallin
Emile André
Louis Majorelle
Louis Trézel
Alexandre Charpentier

Personal Contacts

Henri Sauvage
Frantz Jourdain
Charles Plumet
Paul SignacPaul Signac

Movements

Art DecoArt Deco
The International StyleThe International Style

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Content compiled and written by Peter Clericuzio

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Peter Clericuzio
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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