Victor Horta

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Victor Horta
BirthplaceGhent, Belgium

Horta, Victor

The leading architect in the Art Nouveau style (c. 1900). The Tassel House, Brussels (1892) was his first work in the Art Nouveau style. Both the L’Innovation department store (1901) and the Maison de Peuple (1899), Brussels (1901), had large metal and glass Art Nouveau facades (both now demolished).
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Horta, Victor


Born Jan. 6, 1861, in Ghent; died Sept. 8, 1947, in Brussels. Belgian architect.

Beginning in 1876, Horta attended the Academy of Arts in Ghent. In 1880 he enrolled at the Academy of Arts in Brussels, where he studied under A. Balat. He was a professor at the Free University in Brussels from 1892 to 1912, the Academy of Arts in Antwerp from 1919 to 1927, and the Academy of Arts in Brussels from 1912 to 1931. He was the director of the last institution from 1927 to 1931.

Horta was one of the earliest exponents of art nouveau. In his designs he strove to achieve the ideal of an integrated work of art. His structures, particularly his private dwellings, are characterized by a free plan, forms that imitate nature, plasticity of spatial composition (both of interiors and facades), extensive use of metal and glass, and, above all, the organic unity of all the structural components (down to the details of interior decoration). Horta revealed the decorative possibilities of metal and glass. In his interiors and, later, his facades, Horta used an abundance of floral ornament. He was the first to introduce supple, “whiplash” lines into the stylistics of art nouveau.

Horta’s most important works include the Hôtel Tassel (1892–93), the Hôtel Solvay (1895–1900), the Maison du Peuple (1896–99), and the Innovation Store (1901). All the above-mentioned buildings are in Brussels. Horta later turned to neoclassicism (Central Railway Station, Brussels).


Delevoy, R. L. Victor Horta. Brussels, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.