Décorations Peintes pour Devantures et Intérieurs de Magasins

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Once again, I was going to post something more substantial this week but I’m still exceptionally busy, and my plans were further thwarted by the arrival in my RSS feed of this new upload at the Internet Archive. Décorations Peintes pour Devantures et Intérieurs de Magasins is a short but beautiful collection of Art Nouveau signs and shopfronts compiled by Henry Guédy. The date—1905—places it near the end of the Art Nouveau movement but the style was evidently still popular enough at this point to warrant a guide for sign painters looking for something à la mode. The shopfront photos show the commercial application of the style in Parisian streets, although many of these façades will have since been replaced by less adventurous designs (see this post for an example). Monsieur Guédy’s book may be viewed in full and downloaded here.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Hector Guimard’s Castel Béranger
Chemiserie Niguet
Rue St. Augustin, then and now
Hector Guimard elevations
Infernal entrances
Hector Guimard sketches
Temples for Future Religions by François Garas
Elizabetes Iela 10b, Riga
Atelier Elvira
Louis Bonnier’s exposition dreams
The Maison Lavirotte
The House with Chimaeras

Hector Guimard’s Castel Béranger

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Art Nouveau is never far from these pages or from my own work, as has been the case this week when work-related research turned up this recent addition to the scanned books at the Internet Archive. Hector Guimard is best known today for his entrances to the Paris Metro not all of which survived the ravages of the 20th century. His designs for the Castel Béranger, an apartment block in Paris, slightly precede the Metro commission, and were intended by Guimard as a showcase for his own development of the Art Nouveau style.

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Like Frank Lloyd Wright, Guimard attended to every detail of the building’s construction and interior design, furniture included, and that’s what you have here, a book length guide to the building inside and out. The asymmetrical wrought-iron gate is a familiar sight from studies of Art Nouveau but other views of the building are less common. Compared to Alphonse Mucha’s control and Victor Horta’s sinuous curves, Guimard’s decoration can appear undisciplined but the wildness also makes it seem in advance of its time. Some of the wallpaper patterns for the Castel Béranger contain shapes that wouldn’t be seen again in a design context until the psychedelic posters of the 1960s. Guimard believed he was designing for the future but didn’t live to see the world that could make use of such stylistic delirium.

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Continue reading “Hector Guimard’s Castel Béranger”

Chemiserie Niguet

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Spotted at Beautiful Century, this scan of a postcard showing the flower shop which now occupies what was originally the Chemiserie Niguet in Brussels. The shop is in the Rue Royale, and the Art Nouveau storefront was installed in 1896 from a design by Belgian architect Paul Hankar (1859–1901). Considering this is one of Hankar’s few Art Nouveau designs to have survived the depredations of “Brusselization” I was surprised that the only illustration in any of my books was the early plan below. (In fairness, Victor Horta tends to dominate any general discussion of Belgian Art Nouveau architecture.)

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Magasin Niguet (1896).

Searching for the shop as it is today on Google Maps reveals the view below. Shame about the camera catching the rubbish awaiting collection. The bland 20th-century facades surrounding the storefront make its presence an incongruous one but at least it’s survived, unlike this Parisian establishment.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Rue St. Augustin, then and now
Hector Guimard elevations
Infernal entrances
Hector Guimard sketches
Temples for Future Religions by François Garas
Elizabetes Iela 10b, Riga
Atelier Elvira
Louis Bonnier’s exposition dreams
The Maison Lavirotte
The House with Chimaeras

Rue St. Augustin, then and now

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Boutique art nouveau, 45 rue st. Augustin (2e arr, 1904–05).

Despite being reasonably familiar with Eugène Atget’s celebrated photos of Paris, this picture of a very elaborate Art Nouveau façade is something I’d not seen until now. The photo is part of the George Eastman House collection of Atget prints, and is unusual for showing a very contemporary shopfront. Atget generally preferred premises redolent of an older, pre-Haussmann Paris, like the window full of barometers at Au Griffon, 39 Quai de l’Horloge. The Rue St. Augustin façade is an especially baroque example of Art Nouveau excess with a flying fish, a large butterfly (or moth) supporting the window, and the ubiquitous fin de siècle female floating above it. Naturally I had to know if the decor had survived but a quick look at Google Maps revealed the mundane scene below. The apartment entrance next door is pretty much unchanged but the wine shop that’s there now shows no traces of its delirious past.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Hector Guimard elevations
Infernal entrances
Hector Guimard sketches
Temples for Future Religions by François Garas
Elizabetes Iela 10b, Riga
Atelier Elvira
Louis Bonnier’s exposition dreams
The Maison Lavirotte
The House with Chimaeras

Hector Guimard elevations

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Design for the Facade of Societé Immobilière de la Rue Modern, No. 6 (1909).

Drawings by French architect and designer Hector Guimard (1867–1942), the man who gave Paris those plant-like entrances to the Metro stations. The examples here can be seen in greater detail at the Google Art Project where there’s a few more of his works including his typically organic smoking bench. One thing I like about the architectural drawings is seeing the way he stylised his lettering. Frank Lloyd Wright used to do the same on his plans but I doubt there are any architects today who do the same.

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Elevation of an Apartment Building, Société Immobilière, rue Moderne (now rue Agar) (1909–11).

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Rear Facade, Castel d’Orgeval, Parc Beauséjour, near Paris: Elevation (1904).

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Hector Guimard sketches
Temples for Future Religions by François Garas
Elizabetes Iela 10b, Riga
Atelier Elvira
Louis Bonnier’s exposition dreams
The Maison Lavirotte
The House with Chimaeras