Horta

Francesco Borsi, Author, Paolo Portoghesi, With Rizzoli International Publications $85 (413p) ISBN 978-0-8478-1290-5
A pioneer of art nouveau, Belgian architect Victor Horta (1861-1947) developed a theory of forms in the hope of influencing human behavior by inducing harmony and comfort. A cobbler's son, he built houses for the bourgeoisie and, according to the authors, provocatively evoked the world of labor and industrial production. Although we tend to think of art nouveau as an exotic hothouse flower, Borsi ( Vienna 1900 ) and Italian architect Portoghesi ( Postmodern ) argue that many of Horta's designs have a consciously political meaning, for example, the Maison du Peuple, a communal complex in Brussels, symbolizes an alliance between a workers' movement and reforming industrialists. Featuring hundreds of color and black-and-white photographs and drawings, as well as detailed essays, this beautiful album investigates Horta's musical motifs, gothic and symbolist influences, and his golden decade prior to WW I, after which he dropped out of the modernist movement and reverted to an eclectic classicism. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
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