The name Victor Horta has a real ring to it. He is known not only to art-historians and architects but also to the public at large, even if only because his name once adorned a banknote. The celebrated Belgian architect left his mark on twentieth-century architecture. Indeed, the house he built for Emile Tassel in Brussels is often credited as being the first truly art-nouveau-style building. It led the way to a contemporary architecture characterized partly by an irrepressible desire to innovate. In this richly illustrated book, Michèle Goslar paints a marvellous picture of Victor Horta based on his designs and on information about his private life. In so doing he sheds new light on the character of an architect about whom relatively little was previously known. Though the book is primarily a biography, it also considers new art-historical and architectural findings. The book takes a chronological approach to the life and work of the highly-gifted architect that Victor Horta undoubtedly was. The text is enriched with 600 pictures which beautifully illustrate the architects life and work. The biography not only gives the first complete overview of Hortas designs, it also paints an overall picture of the life of the architect, which was only partially known until now. This adds an extra dimension because it provides insight into the oeuvre as a whole. My star has waned, but not my architecture, I dont think stated Horta in 1939, when with mixed feelings he wrote his Memoire. And indeed, his architecture has not been reduced to a footnote in history. In fact, since 2000 four of the houses he designed Tassel, Solvay, Van Eetvelde and his own home have been recognized by UNESCO as world heritage. This tribute is in itself enough to make Hortas star shine brightly. This biography will give it even more of a glow.
Victor Horta (1861-1947) L'homme. L'architecte. L'Art Nouveau.
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