Henry Van de Velde, unknown genius
Made in Belgium : Proud of our artists
Like Victor Horta and Paul Hankar, Henry Van de Velde is considered as a protagonist of the Art Nouveau. Called the “father of the modernity” in Belgium, he is one of the actors of the architecture and decorative arts in Germany.
Rapidly attracted by the painting, the artist becomes a member of the Brussels artist group “Twenty”. Thereafter, he gives up the painting for the decoration and the architecture. Painter, architect, creator of decorative objects, interior decorator, Henry Van de Velde tries several professions. Even the teaching profession. After having create the Weimar School in Germany, he establishes (with the support of the socialist Secretary C.Huysmans) the Higher Institute of Decorative arts or “La Cambre” School in Brussels. His goal: install in the capital a “citadel” of the modern art education and help the economic renewal of Belgium. However, he refused to teach because he judged that it was a constraint to the creativity of the students.
He develops his international career and realizes several pieces of art in Belgium, in Germany, in the Netherlands and in France. But he creates most of its works in Belgium as “Boekentoren” (central library) of the University of Ghent. He is also the author of particular houses, for example “The New House” (his personal house) in Tervuren.
His architecture is different from Horta. The architect attracted the anger of Horta who criticises Van de Velde for his self-education and quickly the both artists became rivals.