Musée d'Orsay: Henry van de Velde Tea table

Henry van de Velde
Tea table

Tea table
Henry van de Velde (1863-1957)
Tea table
H. 65; W. 43 cm
© ADAGP, Paris © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / René-Gabriel Ojéda

Table à thé [Tea table]

From his very first pieces of furniture, Van de Velde had mastered his art, and later, in his writings, he merely applied a theory to what he had produced intuitively: "For a work to be beautiful it has to be useful"; "The line must express the force of the object of which it is a part"; "The decorative quality must come from the form itself, and not just be added on".

These are the principles that characterised the tea table created for the Brussels banker Louis Bauer in 1896. It reveals a tight design whose organic development excludes all superficial embellishment, in order to highlight the elegance of the curves. The care with which it is made shows Van de Velde's love for artisanal skills. The quality of this production recalls its creator's nostalgia for the lost beauty of a pre-industrial society, a beauty he wished to recreate by offering new designs for even the most ordinary objects.

Enlarge font size Reduce font size Print