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Artists Victor Horta
Victor Horta Photo

Victor Horta

Belgian Architect and Designer

Movements and Styles: Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modern Architecture

Born: January 6, 1861 - Ghent, Belgium

Died: September 8, 1947 - Brussels, Belgium

Victor Horta Timeline

Quotes

"If it correct that logic is the basis of the creator's slightest reasoning, I believe it must not be allowed to interfere with one's dream's of 'charm,' that delicate, superfluous entity that often adds to harsh necessity."
Victor Horta
"I alone awaited future clients who would offer the means to show the 'true options' that were incipient in the work I had already done and my hopes for an architecture still to be created through the renunciation of styles and the general use of visible materials. This was not a mad idea to create an architecture from scratch, not even to make it progress one step as an art proper, but a need to express this art through the greatness within architecture itself, in my own idiom rather than in the conventional idiom of styles."
Victor Horta
"There are no straight lines in its design; all the lines are curving."
[On his aedicule in the Parc du Cinquantenaire, 1889]
"I wanted to create a personal work, the building, architectural, and social rationalism of which made me fashionable, because this work suited the rhythm of contemporary architecture and life."
Victor Horta
"Whatever the scope of the building, an artistic effect brings out results and I bravely set to work."
Victor Horta
"An architect can only achieve a status when he receives official commissions, for which he must be in his own country."
Victor Horta
"This was the time when I summarized my theories by claiming that a house must reflect its dweller's life and be his portrait."
[On the Winssinger House]

"I'm telling you, the materials are the same, you know as well as I do. Anyways, while in the past they were used in an empirical manner, a way which did not allow them to work to the limits of their safety due to the fear of the unforeseen, on the other hand, our era, thanks to the experiences and mathematical formulas that it has deduced, is capable of unknown and daring constructions."

Victor Horta Signature

Synopsis

Many creative minds have been said to be undisciplined in their youth. Belgian architect Victor Horta's biographers have even gone further, describing him as "lazy" and a "dunce" as a teenager. Apparently, Horta's father eventually had enough, and as punishment, at age 16 Horta was sent to work on a construction site. There, as he later recalled, he had an epiphany, and saw the rest of his life laid out before him. Indeed, Horta would go on to become one of his country's most accomplished and innovative architects, and one of the first following Belgian independence to achieve international renown, as one of the founders of Art Nouveau in the 1890s. Horta turned to Art Deco as his professional fortunes declined in the aftermath of World War I, and though he was later to receive numerous honors late in life, he had faded largely into obscurity by the time of his death, and several of his key works have been lost. In the last fifty years Horta's reputation has dramatically recovered and he is now recognized for being one of the world's key designers at the dawn of the 20th century.

Key Ideas

Horta is famous for his pioneering work in Art Nouveau and the translation of the style from the decorative arts into architecture in the early 1890s. Horta's inventiveness with Art Nouveau helped to make it something of a national style in Belgium by 1900 before its swift demise in advance of World War I.
Horta's work in Art Nouveau is marked by a keen understanding of the capabilities of industrial advances with iron and glass as structure and infill. Horta's buildings disclose an honest handling of their materials' properties, particularly the ability of iron to be twisted and bent into hairpin forms that extend seamlessly into the accompanying d├ęcor, inside and out, making the buildings "total works of art."
Horta was an adaptable architect who transitioned from Art Nouveau to other styles such as Art Deco as public tastes dictated. Though Horta was respected during his lifetime for his brilliance with Art Nouveau, he himself predicted the style's own demise and that many of his works would be demolished eventually.

Biography

Victor Horta Photo

Childhood and Training

Victor Horta was born in Ghent on 6 January 1861 into a large family. His father, Pierre Horta, was a luxury shoemaker, who, according to Victor, "ran his studio with such an air of superiority that for him it became an art." Victor was attracted to music at a young age, learning to play the violin. It appeared to be one of the very few things he was passionate about; nonetheless, at age 12 he was first attracted to architecture when he helped his uncle on a building site.

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Victor Horta Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

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

Artists

Alphonse Balat
Godefroy Devreese
Eugene Viollet-le-Duc

Personal Contacts

Paul Hankar
Max Hallet
Leon Furnemont
Emile Tassel
Edmond van Eetvelde

Movements

La Libre Esthetique
Les XX
Arts and Crafts MovementArts and Crafts Movement

Influences on Artist
Victor Horta
Victor Horta
Years Worked: 1883 - 1947
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Hector GuimardHector Guimard
Gustave Bovy Serrurier
Marcel Wolfers
Philippe Wolfers
Jean Delhaye

Personal Contacts

Pierre Braecke
Laurie AndersonLaurie Anderson
Charles AtlasCharles Atlas

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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