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Not-to-be-missed Art Nouveau exhibitions

Brussels City Museum © Eric Danhier
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Expo Style Congo CIVA © Filip Dujardin
Mathilde Oechsner

In 2023, Brussels puts Art Nouveau in the spotlight and unveils its many treasures. In addition to discovering the capital’s 9 must-see Art Nouveau museums, we present a selection of this year’s not-to-be-missed exhibitions, classified by theme.

Icing on the cake, they’re all accessible with the Art Nouveau Pass!

Certainly Victor Horta, but not only…

Victor Horta is considered the father of Art Nouveau. The Horta museum is obviously devoting an exhibition to him, but one that seeks to understand the architect by thinking outside the box. The exhibition Victor Horta versus Art nouveau. Horta’s vocabulary runs until January 8, 2024. Looking for an insight into the fundamental themes of Horta’s work? The exhibition Victor Horta and the Grammar of Art Nouveau at BOZAR from October is sure to provide some answers.

And for those who would like to discover other major architects of the period, the Art and History Museum retraces the work of Austrian Josef Hoffmann, creator of the Palais Stoclet.

Art nouveau and colonization

It’s impossible to dissociate an artistic movement from its own time. Guided tours through Brussels, organized by ARAU, explore the links between Art Nouveau and colonization. Like the exhibition Style Congo. Heritage & Heresy at the CIVA until September 3, 2023. Artworks, documents and materials from the museum’s collections form a visual chronicle of the representation of the Congo at international exhibitions held between 1885 and 1958. The Art Nouveau movement, at the time also called Congo Style”, reflected a fascination with exotic” materials and forms.

Nature as inspiration

The artists, architects and craftsmen of the time drew their inspiration from nature. Until January 14, 2024, the Autrique House is dedicating an exhibition to Brussels artist Privat Livemont, known for his posters and the numerous sgraffiti he created to decorate the facades of Art Nouveau houses in Brussels. A series of conferences and workshops are organized throughout the year, to learn all about the artist and the techniques he used.

For Back to nature 1900, the Brussels City Museum has brought out a selection of highly diverse pieces from its collections, with the common thread being the inspiration artists found in nature. Embroidery, painting, fashion, architecture… Until November 5, 2023, you’ll be able to discover works that have never been shown before or are rarely exhibited.

Focus on objects

Art Nouveau was not just an architectural movement, but also an artistic one. Furniture, decorative objects, bookbindings and jewelry were all created in this style. Three museums invite you to focus on these unique and precious objects. At the BELvue Museum, Art Nouveau objects from the collections of the King Baudouin Foundation reveal their fascinating stories until January 7, 2024. The Design Museum Brussels opts for a dialogue between pieces from its collection of plastic design objects and Art Nouveau pieces from private collections in Brussels. The exhibition Resonances. Encounter between Art nouveau en plastic design is on view from September 15. 

From November, the Horta Museum welcomes the fashion and accessories collections of the Fashion & Lace Museum. Here, you can admire the clothing styles of the period through common garments, as well as pieces of exceptional craftsmanship and materials.

Take advantage of this year to immerse yourself in Art Nouveau by attending one of the many guided tours or lectures on the subject, strolling through the city to admire the sublime facades, and why not literally immerse yourself in the atmosphere by having a drink in the capital’s Art Nouveau brasseries and cafés.

The 2023 edition of the Art Nouveau Pass has also been expanded: for €20 or €30, this year you can choose 3 visits from 9 museums and 11 exhibitions. You’ll also benefit from numerous discounts with the pass’s partners. 

With this program, you’ll have no excuse not to enjoy Brussels’ Art Nouveau treasures all year round!