Hector Guimard
Central panel of a large balcony

Central panel of a large balcony
Hector Guimard (1867-1942)
Central panel of a large balcony
Between 1905 and 1907
Cast iron
H. 81; W. 173 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Panneau central de grand balcon [Central panel of a large balcony]


This cast iron balcony was designed by Hector Guimard for a complex of rental apartment buildings, in the rue de La Fontaine in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.

Between 1903 and 1907, the architect and decorator began to work with the "Saint-Dizier founders, Leclerc et Cie", who manufactured ornamental cast iron fixtures for the Haute Marne region. The idea was to develop a repertoire of new designs for cast iron and to enhance the creativity of industrial art. The firm went bankrupt but helped to develop what was known as the "Guimard style", which even extended to the detail of façade ornaments. "When I see a house, or when I design a piece of furniture, I think of the spectacle we offer people," Guimard said.

Indeed, even the balcony ornaments use the naturalist vocabulary proper to Art Nouveau, inspired by plant life. The treatment here is abstract and symbolic: waving lines translating the sinuous movement of climbing plants which flower in a central bouquet. It describes the cycle of nature and life in general, in a positive movement embracing ample forms and sprouting leaves.




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