Musee d’Orsay Exhibition

dali elephantsThe exhibition that the Musée d’Orsay presents until February 4, 2016 shows the various influences of Art Nouveau in several artistic fields decoration, furniture, design, etc. Since 1933 with the article by Salvador Dali in the journal Minotaur until the late 1960s with psychedelic graphics album covers.

The confrontation between Art Nouveau pieces with their avatars and allows us to rediscover some pieces of Guimard such as the metro elements, the cover art project for review or study for a superb enamelled lava panel.

New Works on Display

Among the new products of the imagination of our postal workers, in the series’ Collector Timbré “was released this April 27, 2009 a block” Paris 2009 “of 10 self-adhesive stamps illustrated with many photographs symbolizing Paris. Among these symbols, we find the metropolitan course, specifically the detail of a subway entrance by Hector Guimard.

timbre2009Le tight framing of the stamp shows a candelabrum with its red earth and teaches enamelled lava with the inscription “Metropolitan”. The yellow strongly marked tone of the image has little to do with the colors of the stamp issued in 1994 representing the shield cast that makes up the railing of the stations. But fifteen years separate the two stamps; to when the next piece of the puzzle?

This block “Paris 2009” is available at post offices and on the website of La Poste, and the permanent validity stamps you will elegantly overcome your mail.

Stephen Frears: Chéri

The film Chéri Stephen Frears came this Wednesday, April 8 at the cinema.

During filming, this is the hotel Mezzara which lent its interiors luxurious home of the heroine in the film, played by Michelle Pfeiffer.

The walls were papered for the occasion wallpapers with an Art Nouveau. As is often the movies, when a director wants to create an atmosphere in 1900, it combines authentic elements – decor, furniture, etc. – Details of an escalation and accessories more or less “noodles” that are all sinking into kitsch. The golden bed particular, the design is directly inspired graphic of support from balcony artistic fonts Guimard appears as an UFO in the hotel’s world.

Amusing detail, the special effects and editing the film leads us to believe that the hotel is located opposite the Mezzara led a street which you can admire the view in a row from the central balcony of the facade. Connoisseurs will appreciate

Studies on Guimard

Studies on Guimard (1) are generally overlook those who were his students.

stockfeld001-minC’est on the occasion of an exhibition on the Great Breakthrough Strasbourg (2) that one can discover that the architects of this project was a collaborator of Guimard.

To understand the context, historical background is necessary.

Following the 1870 war, Alsace and part of Lorraine annexed by the German empire. Strasbourg, which has become a showcase of the Reich (3), sees its population double in the influx of soldiers but also civil servants, craftsmen, etc.

Otto Back (4) is appointed head of the municipal administration and decided to launch a competition for the extension of the city. Following this, the surface of Strasbourg will triple, articulating with happiness Neustadt (5) to the old town. There will be up to 2,000 construction sites a year!

Back died in 1906, leaving room for Rudolph Schwander, elected mayor, social liberal (6). Concerned about the economic development of the city, he decided to connect with tram station (7) Place Kléber (8) and the new Exchange District, itself connected to the port. Now the old city is a maze of narrow streets, more or less, and even tortuous lined with dilapidated buildings or even unhealthy. The housing of the poorest inhabitants sometimes contain pieces without direct light or ventilation. Poor hygiene is the bed of tuberculosis, diphtheria, typhus, etc.

To avoid speculation, Schwander made secretly buy hundreds of buildings to allow the creation of a traffic Boulevard 18 meters wide in the historic heart. But before committing the irreparable, it is inventory and photograph the remarkable buildings to give way. To rehouse the tenants displaced by the demolition (9), the mayor charged in 1910 Edouard Schimpf (10) to build a garden city in Stockfeld, 6 kilometers south of the historic center (11).

Once past wreckers, architects, through competitions organized by the city, will be able to take over.

Among the latter face a Paul Horn (1879-1959).

After an initial training in Mulhouse, Horn continued his studies in Strasbourg and Karlsruhe. He returned to Mulhouse to work in architecture department of this city in 1906 before continuing his studies in Munich.

End 1907 he went to Paris to Hector Guimard to work as evidenced by a letter of recommendation – letterhead “Hector Guimard Architect Art, Castel Beranger 16 Lafontaine Street” – dated March 10, 1908 and written in the hand the master.

This letter (.. Private collection) is as follows: “I certify that Mr. Paul Horn was employed from 1 December 1907 to this day as a draftsman and architect during his stay in my office has always been serious and hardworking.

Horn continued his studies at Stuttgart before returning to Mulhouse, where he opened an office in association with Schimpf. The latter is also a collaborator fritz beblo, chief architect of the services of the city of Strasbourg.

Horn, informed of the exceptional opportunity offered by the Big Breakthrough, will look to stretch that extends between the Place Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux and Place Kléber, namely the current street of November 22 ( 12). The plots are proposed according to the principle of Erbaurecht (near the leasehold lease). In this regime, the candidate is to provide land for a period of 65 years, after which term such land becomes property of the city and the building that occupies. In addition, the policyholder must pay an annual pension of 4.3% of the land value. Finally, buyers must have at least 25% of the sum required for the construction. Indeed, concerned to avoid “hollow teeth” in the street, the city will offer via the SDG (13), a loan of up to 75% of the work.

Thus Paul Horn will purchase in 1913 of allowances lying plots to 13, 15, 21 & 24 of the street of November 22 and the 9, place kléber. To finance itself, he calls to his family (14), and contracts with the SDG a loan for a period of 50 years at a rate of around 5%. The importance of the financial commitment requires that buildings be quickly profitable. Thus the ground floor of these will be vested in the trade. Still in a cost-effective, it chooses plots located at a crossroads, and opts for reinforced concrete (15), both for the foundations for the structure.

The facades express an architectural language of historicism loan. Thus the spans are separated by colossal pilasters, while the elements are arranged symmetrically, in accordance with a classical architecture. The spans are divided into three parts: a ground floor surmounted by a mezzanine which is detached from the upper part by an architrave and a cornice. Following three stages square whose verticality is emphasized by the half-engaged pilasters. Then follow each new architrave and cornice, possibly accompanied by a balcony to distinguish the attic floor, thus breaking the impression of verticality. The commission supervises the appearance of facades of these and imposes the choice of pink sandstone (16) as coating. Horn manage to negotiate some buildings use concrete made from shell limestone.

stockfeld002 Minle-9, place Kléber deserves some attention: it is at the end of the street of November 22 (and is No. 1 in the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois). Its location is particularly special since all passengers on the tram descending Place Kléber pass by this building. Horn will therefore accommodate a restaurant, a tea room, game rooms, and the upper floors of offices and apartments.

The neighboring parcel, located at 3, rue des Francs-Bourgeois (17) is acquired by SDG in order to build a cinema Union Theater (18). Horn is responsible for building and its furnishings. Its initial project plans to mark the entrance of the cinema with a monumental Marquise guimardienne influences (19). Unfortunately, the Committee on facades will crop the enthusiasm of our architect who will return to a more classical facade. The projection room, Napoleon III style, is classified and restored.

At 15, rue du 22 Novembre, Horn had built a hotel (20) he will redecorate a living between 1926 and 1927 by Sophie Taeuber-Arp in the spirit of the Dutch De Stijl movement (21).

In 1922, André and Paul Horn get for a 90-year concession of the right wing of the Aubette (place Kléber). They entrust to Theo van Doesburg, Arp and his wife Sophie Taeuber-Arp design of an ambitious restoration and recreation complex, namely:

– Ground floor: a café-brasserie, a restaurant, a tea room, a bar, an American bar, a vault-dancing;

– On the mezzanine: a billiard room;

– On 1st floor: large en-dancing cabaret, a large party room that can serve as cinema or dance.

This set, designed according to the principles of the modern movement De Stijl, is considered by some experts as the “Sistine Chapel of modern art.” In 1938 the Horn brothers are giving concession. Out of fashion, decoration is hidden by his successor, to be rediscovered in the 1970’s This set will be classified a few years later and restored between 1975 and 2006.

(1) This remark remains generally valid for other architects of Art Nouveau, like Horta, van de Velde or Mackintosh, but less so for Hoffmann, Wagner, or Gaudí.


(3) But also a garrison town, because of its strategic location.

(4) On its own, it will combine the functions of the mayor and city council.

(5) “New City” in German, which is now called German district.

(6) It is in the most popular areas that get the most votes. Neustadt, occupied by the German bourgeoisie, is in fact shunned by native Alsatians.

(7) It is a major railway station, newly built by the Germans. The last, in a cul-de-sac, dated from Napoleon III.

(8) The most central square of Strasbourg.

(9) Nothing but the area between the street of Old Market aux Vins and the High Street will see the demolition of 126 homes housing 3460 residents.

(10) An exhibition dedicated to him at CAUE until April 15, 2010 (

(11) This garden city, now classified but ignored by tourist guides, celebrates 100 years and is the subject of a joint exhibition with that of Great Breakthrough.

(12) This way, part of the route of the Great Breakthrough, initially was called Neue Straße (Rue Neuve) before being renamed from the date of the liberation of Strasbourg at the end of the first war.

(13) The Süddeutsche Diskonto Gesellschaft, a bank in Mannheim, Alsatian banks are too cautious to engage in this project.

(14) Among his brothers – André, pharmacist, and Camille, shopping – and his mother.

(15) This material offers a cheaper cost than traditional techniques and its implementation is much faster.

(16) Material of Strasbourg’s favorite monuments, the first example is the cathedral.

(17) Hochstrasse originally.

(18) became UT cinema and ABC before being called at this hour Odyssée cinema.

(19) Under the terms of Petry Florence (see bibliography)

(20) Called Excelsior originally, it carries the hotel name Hannong at present.

(21) Title of a magazine and an artistic movement founded in 1917 under the leadership of van Doesburg, Piet Mondriaan, Rietveld among others. For more information: or or


F. Petry, The “Great Breakthrough” street in Strasbourg: construction Horn brothers. Master’s thesis, Strasbourg, 2000.

F. Petry, Paul Horn (1879-1959), Historical Building Alsace, 2001, No. 4, pp. 245-264.