Fr : version française / En: english version

mheu, Historical Museum of the Urban Environment

Bastille Metro station, Paris

Hector Guimard

Bastille Metro station, Paris

Titre : Bastille Metro station, Paris
Auteur : anonyme
Date : 1900
Technique : Postcard, colorized photograph

View this work in the Urban transportation exhibition


Hector Guimard was the principal exponent of the Art Nouveau style in France. Born in Lyons in 1867, he studied decorative arts and architecture. His visit to the Hôtel Tassel in Brussels, a veritable manifesto of Art Nouveau, had a decisive influence on the direction of his work. The movement, which developed in Europe in the 1890s, shunned neoclassical pastiche and sought to take advantage of the new materials and techniques (such as cast iron) in a strict repertoire largely inspired by nature. Like his counterparts in other parts of Europe, Guimard designed numerous apartment buildings and townhouses, including their interior decoration. From Horta to Mackintosh, this unity of approach to all aspects of design is one of the charms of this style, referred to by different names in different countries—Secession in Austria, Tiffany in the United States and Jugendstil in Germany, for example.

 Guimard was hugely successful with the Parisian bourgeoisie. Yet fashions come and go, and while some admired the dragonfly-like glass canopies he designed for the Paris Metro, others mocked the "noodle style". The ultimate snub came when Opéra station was entrusted to a more classical architect [winner of the Premier Grand Prix de Rome], who gave it a more serious-minded colonnade rather than noodles! Guimard died in the United States in 1942 amidst the indifference of his compatriots and it was not until the 1970s that his work was rediscovered and protected.