Hector Guimard (1867-1942)

One of the most famous French Art Nouveau Architect and Designer, Hector Guimard was deeply influenced by the work of Belgian Viollet-le-Duc and French Architect Victor Horta.

Hector Guimard with his wife

image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hector_Guimard#/media/File:Adeline_and_Hector_Guimard.jpg

About his life

Hector Guimard was born in Lyon, France, but he studied decorative arts and architecture in Paris, where he later established his own practice. Inspired by some of the new architectural theories circulating in late 1800s, he produced some exceptional avant-garde works. In particular, the radical ideas of French architect Viollet-le-Duc and the sinuous architecture of Belgian Victor Horta greatly influenced his designs. In 1895, after visiting the first Art Nouveau building, Victor Horta’s “Hotel Tassel” in Brussels, Guimard proceeded to a complete re-evaluation of his artistic approach.

info source: http://www.senses-artnouveau.com/biography.php?artist=GUI

Entrance to the Porte Dauphine metro station, Guimard, 1898-1905, Paris

What were his major works?

From 1894 to 1898, following his discovery of Horta’s Tassel Hotel, Guimard made radical changes to the style of Gothic architecture which he had planned for Castel Beranger, which became one of the first Art Nouveau structures outside Belgium. He made it dynamic, through the use of projections and indentations. The structure is embellished by the highly innovative matching of materials like hammered iron, brick, stone and ceramics, while a refined naturalistic decoration fills the interior with exuberant, curvilinear plant motifs.

Castel Beranger, Guimard, 1894-1898, Paris

image source: http://www.famous-architects.org/hector-guimard/#jp-carousel-610

From 1898 to 1905 he designed and created the station entrances of Paris Metro. Guimard’s amazing metal Art Nouveau designs (c.1899-1901), with their flowing lines and floral shapes, shocked Parisians, who thought his use of iron far too Germanic. As a result, most of his metro station entrances, including all of the large ones, were later demolished.

From 1909 to 1912, he designed a luxury residence known today as Hotel Guimard. Guimard designed most of the interior objects and fixtures himself as well as a number of unique items of furniture, which were considered to be integral parts of the structure.

info source: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/architecture/hector-guimard.htm

Hotel Guimard, Guimard, 1909-1912, Paris
Desk and chair, Guimard, 1909–1912

images source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paris_16_-_H%C3%B4tel_Guimard_-1.JPG

image source: http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Art_Nouveau_furniture

How can we identify Guimard’s style?

His work is easy to distinguish amongst other practitioners of the Art Nouveau 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.

info source: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-guimard-hector.htm

Detail of the entrance of the Porte Dauphine metro station

image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:La_station_art_nouveau_de_la_porte_Dauphine_(Hector_Guimard)_(2699263422).jpg


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