PALAIS STOCLET in Brussels on World Heritage list, Unesco 27th of June 2009
In the music room a grand piano made by Bösendorfer according to Hoffmann’s design.
The music room with a grand piano made by Bösendorfer according to Hoffmann’s design
Vienna and the Secession group
in 1871 Adolphe Stoclet was born in Brussels into a rich family of bankers and civil engineers. His career was thus predetermined. Against the will of his family, he married the extravagant daughter of a Parisian art dealer, Suzanne Stevens. A civil engineer like his father, Stoclet specialised in the then new railway construction business which brought him to Vienna.
Soon, the Stoclets became acquainted with prominent members of Viennese society, notably artistic circles around Gustav Klimt, doyen of the Secession group. These artists negated the old-fashioned style of “Gründerzeit” and created the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau). The architect Josef Hoffmann was one of the founder-members of the group.
Adolphe Stoclet met him for the first time in the Villa of the painter Carl Moll at the “Hohe Warte”, an exclusive area of Vienna. Stoclet was deeply impressed by the architecture of the villa and asked Hoffmann, to design a building for him at the Hohe Warte. From the beginning Hoffmann envisaged a total work of art. The concept behind it was to bring art into the daily life of everybody, a concept that eventually failed, due to the high costs of “daily art”.
However, with the Palais Stoclet, the dream of the Wiener Werkstätte for one moment became true: from the cutlery to the garden, everything was styled homogenously... but not in Vienna, as Stoclet was called back to Brussels after the deaths of his father and brother.
Bösendorfer according to Hoffmann’s design
Josef Hoffmannn’s designs were based on geometric principles. He engaged all top artists of his time, amongst them Gustav Klimt, Kolo Moser etc. for the designs of the palais. The realization of the designs was executed by Wiener Werkstätten. Stoclet did not restrict Hoffmann in any way.
In April 1914 “The Studio”, the leading English Art Journal, wrote: “One of the most notable achievements in the sphere of modern domestic architecture.
The music room – a “must” of that period – has its own stage. And the Bösendorfer grand piano according to Hoffmann’s design is a very important part of it.
Josef Hoffmann grand piano
View from the garden
All photos from “The Studio” Vol. 61 No. 253, 15. April 1914
Digital images (c) Margaretha Mazura; Bösendorfer
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