Dec. 31 Art Minute: Hector Guimard, “Fireplace”

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Hector Guimard (French, 1867–1942), Fireplace. Pearwood, bronze, and wrought iron, 1902–1903. Max H. 36 3/4 in., Max L. 45 3/4 in. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1988.62. Gallery 35

Hector Guimard (French, 1867–1942), Fireplace. Pearwood, bronze, and wrought iron, 1902–1903. Max H. 36 3/4 in., Max L. 45 3/4 in. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott, 1988.62. Gallery 35

In Paris, the sweeping curves and natural forms of Hector Guimard’s Art Nouveau designs are seemingly everywhere, especially on his famous cast iron subway entrances for the Paris Métro. But in addition to his projects for public spaces, he also designed houses, along with all of the furnishings and decorations.

This fireplace came from Castel Val, the house Guimard designed for Louis Chanu, a maritime insurance broker, in Auvers-sur-Oise outside Paris. It was later removed when a subsequent owner renovated the interior. The whiplash lines, stylized flowers, and organic curves of the fireplace create a powerful expression of the sensuous Art Nouveau style.


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