To follow up on our previous post which presented the “advertising” facades of specialists in ceramics, ironwork, sculptures and construction contractors, here are today those of the experts in mosaics, sgraffito, stained glass, painting as well as some architects who were able to express, with talent, their art of their own houses and workshop facades.
The art-nouveau period, so rich in Brussels, were golden years for craftsmen. The art of mosaic, an ancestral technique, has enabled the creation of delicate and colorful decorations of great solidity, as well on floors as on walls. They have been very well preserved and we can still admire them more than a century after their implementation.
Joseph Godchoul worked for the greatest architects including Victor Horta.
The mosaics decorating the Solvay and Max Hallet hotels, among others, are by his hand, as well as those of the colonnaded hemicycle of the Cinquantenaire. Joseph Godchoul had his workshop in St-Gilles where his sign is still clearly visible, in perfect condition.
This other technique, so spectacularly applied in art-nouveau residences, also had its star craftsmen.
One of the masters, the Austrian Clas Gruner Sterner, had his house-workshop built in 1902 by Ernest Delune. A real jewel, known and appreciated throughout the world, this facade is remarkable for its architecture but above all for the quality of the master glassmaker’stained glass windows, whose workshop can still be seen in the loggia on the top floor.
An architect must live in a house of his creation, thus showing his future clients his creativity, his talents and sometimes also the craftsmen with whom he collaborates.
Adrien Blomme wanted to be more subtle. On the facade of his large private house where he had his offices, at 52 avenue Franklin Roosevelt, he embeds, on either side of the front door, two beautiful bas-reliefs, by the hand of famous sculptor Ossip Zadkine , which represent the architect’s tools.
In Laeken, in 1909, architect Eugène Leman designed an Art-Nouveau-inspired house for painter-decorator Gustave Losange-Salu. On top of the facade, undoubtedly work of the artist, one can admire a large and remarkable sgraffito which illustrates architecture on the left side, and painting on the right side.
In Ixelles, in 1905, it was prolific Ernest Blerot who designed a double building, house and studio for famous portrait painter Louise de Hem. In the center of the facade of her workshop, a large sgraffito represents on the left a young woman painting, probably a portrait of Louise !
Finally, here is what is without any doubt the most beautiful “business card” façade in Brussels. Recognized and admired throughout the world by specialists and lovers of Art Nouveau and sgraffito, the essential and sublime Cauchie house.
Designed and decorated by Caroline and Paul Cauchie, both great sgraffito specialists, this facade demonstrates, in its upper part, the exceptional qualities of the artist couple.
On the ground floor, on either side of the entrance hall, two panels are treated like advertisements of the time.
Mr and Mrs Cauchie detail in writing the extent of their talents and the services offered to their customers. A one-of-a-kind catalog facade. And a house to visit without fail.