September 03, 2007

Hector Guimard

I have already previously mentioned and shown some of the famous Paris metro entrances my Hector Guimard (1867-1942). Guimard did also a lot of other things. He was basically an architect, working during the Art Nouveau period (with names like Horta, Gaudi), but not really pretending to belong to the movement.
He lived and worked in the southern part of the 16th ardt. and here you can find a great concentration of buildings he designed, although there are a few other ones around Paris and in the province. (If you feel for a nice walk, at the end of the post you can find a list and where to find these buildings.)

Typical for Guimard and Art Nouveau is to combine the building structure and the decoration, using steel and sometimes armed beton (which both were new then). The later Art Deco built first and then added the decoration.

Guimard was in fashion for a rather short period around the turn of the centuries and a lot that he created has later disappeared. He is now again in fashion and today we seriously regret all that has got lost, including a number of metro station entrances and buildings. One remarkable creation was a concert hall (also in the 16th arrondissement, “Humbert de Romans”) which was demolished only after a few years (the owner went bankrupt).

Guimard became famous at 30 with the building of Castel Béranger. This was just before he created the metro entrances and you can clearly recognise the style.Most of the remaining buildings cannot be visited and some are even difficult to see from outside as they sometimes are in small, private, streets. This part of Paris is full of those (fashionable and expensive). I managed to squeeze in to some of them, but not the way I would have liked. Narrow streets and parked cars make it also difficult to get the views you wish.

One building was temporarily open for public, Hôtel Mezzera, from where I have also some pictures of the interior. Remarkable is that Guimard designed everything, inside decoration, furniture, lamps, stained glass windows… There were 30 Guimard buildings within the area I visited. 17 remain and they are today classified, at least for the exterior part, in a few cases also for the interior. This area was very village like when these houses were built. That gave more space for innovation than if the Haussmannian rules from the centre of Paris would have to be followed. I will revert with some other architectural innovations from the same area. It’s worth looking on Guimard’s work in detail and I would recommend that you have a look on the original photos on my other blog, “Peter – photos”.


Maranta said...

Nice research! I saw you found it and many others! That's a neat job!

Besides, I am the first one signing. That's a great honour! See you!

Azer Mantessa said...

but still u manage to capture them thru artistic angles ... wooooo

Ming the Merciless said...

Very interesting! I've never heard of him before but now I have.

Love the map showing the sites.

Kate said...

I often wonder what it would feel like to have that kind of talent. The man is truly a genius. You are truly a history buff, Peter. I am getting personal, I know, but I'm curious about your profession before you retired? (You don't have to answer that, but...educator? architect? historian? or, ?????

Cergie said...

Comme c'est documenté et intéressant ! Mais comme je te l'ai dit, rien ne vaut mieux que d'aller voir sur place !
J'irai donc one day.
Une petite remarque toutefois : le plan c'est génial, la liste génialissime, dommage que tu ne mettes pas plus en avant l'arrondissement
Tout le monde n'a pas le plan avec les noms de rues même si tu as écrit :

"He lived and worked in the southern part of the 16th ardt..."

Cet indice, il faut le trouver !

lyliane six said...

Encore une belle leçon d'histoire ce matin, car je ne connaissais ce monsieur que par ses entrées de métro.Tu nous apprends qu'il faut se promener à Paris le nez en l'air, il y a plus de belles choses à voir qu'en bas, tu devrais intituler ton blog : LE NEZ AU VENT.

hpy said...

Du ar verkligen noggrann! Trevliga promenader. Hoppas vadret haller sig torrt.

Peter said...

The honour is on mys side and I thank you for this fist "official" vivit to my blog! I'm happy if you are satsified, especially as I understand that you have a good idea about art nouveau, art deco...


So, good, at least someone learnt something from my blog! Guimard has a long time suffered from being fairly unknown, except perhaps for his metro entrances of which not so many remain.

Thanks for your kind comments about Guimard (and to me). Before retiring I was just in "business", the last years working for the world number one (or two) in forest products (paper, board, pulp, wood...). I guess I'm a bit curious also, so when I visit places now - when I have all my time - I try to learn for myself and then, via the blog, hopefully to "teach" something to my visitors.

Good remark. So here I underline that all the places visited and the addresses given are in the 16th arrondissement!

Bien! Mais, comme tu le sais, � Paris il faut aussi regarder ou on met les pieds.

Merci. En ce moment il pleut (mais j'ai d�j� mes photos pour demain).

Ash said...

Awesome pictures and info, as always!

Cergie said...

Peter, Marguerite s'est carapatée ou bien je l'ai pas vue !

Une roulotte pour HPY
Une péniche pour moi comme maison, ça m'irait très bien !
Et toi ?

Cergie said...

Alors je te commente en frenglish, tu me réponds en Englais, HPY te commente en Nordish (Suédish ?)tu lui réponds en Franch...

Peter said...

Thanks! I saw that you commented also on my photo blog. For Guimard, I would recommend other readers to do the same thing. It's worth looking on the details!

Yes, sorry pour la confusion! I will essayer att göra bättre nästa gàng!

di.di said...

that was another very informative blog posting.. Peter, thanks for tracking down those details.

krystyna said...

Hi Peter!
Breathtaking is your post!
I want to award you:

The ‘Power of Schmooze Award’ is The Award for bloggers who “effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship”.

I pass this award to you. Check out my evolving blog - take a look at the left hand side.
(you award 5 others)

Olivier said...

en un post,tu aurais de quoi faire vivre un blog entier pendant un an ;o)). J'adore les travaux de Guimard. Ces entrees de metro sont sublimes, c'est bete que toutes les entrées ne soient pas reste comme cela.

Peter said...

drama div@:
A pleasure!

Sincere thanks for this great honour!!

Tu as raison, mais une fois lancé, je n'ai pu m'arrêter! Tant pis pour moi - et peut-être les lecteurs!

Zhang Chunhong said...

Quel travail! Non seulement celui de Guimard, mais aussi le tien.

Neva said...

I love how you can do the map with in "business" would make a great teacher.As always, an inspiration and hard to follow in your your award!!!!Schmooze, indeed!

Peter said...

zhang and neva:
Merci and thanks!

SusuPetal said...

I seem to remember the metropolitan stairs from the first picture, I believe I stayed in a hotel nea by. But, that was a long time ago and memory is very flexible.

I love Art Nouveau, thanks for this guided tour once again.

Cuckoo said...

Well researched post Peter. The first pic just took my heart away. Never seen such things when I was there. Should say never tried to see them. :)

Emilieee said...

The metro entrance just simply beautiful! I love the quirkiness of it. So special. We don't have such inspiring metro entrance here. Too bad! :((

Anonymous said...

Nice work Peter. I also visited your other blog and went through a whole list of photos. I didn't see any bad ones. All good.

Peter said...

The entrance on the first picture is from Porte Dauphine. It's today the only remaining one with exactly this design.

I understand you decided for a Paris trip. I will show you a number of nice metro entrances!

emily linn:
So, now you also have a good reason for coming here!

Thanks, I appreciate!

Ruth said...

I just love his style, of course. Your efforts are tireless.

BTW, I placed you on my sidebar at Paris Deconstructed. I don't know when I'll update with a new post, and I'm afraid I don't know when that will be.

What does "PHO" stand for?

Anonymous said...

I meant, I won't post until I visit Paris again, and I don't know when that will be. The way I wrote it was JUST a bit redundant, and it was repetitive too. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the extensive list. Despite my background, I'm not too familiar with Guimard. The "total design" is something I'm sympathetic to, normally it's difficult for an architect to achieve except in smaller scale domestic projects. In this genre some of my favourites include those by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and Frank Lloyd Wright, but Guimards work looks very characteristic. Need to have a look sometime - only 4hr30m from Zurich to Paris now

Peter said...

Thanks for the sidebar. Hope your new visit to Paris will be fairly soon!

Mackintosh and Horta were clear references for Guimard - I think they all met. Frank Lloyd Right is certainly also a good reference!

Would be nice to remake my stroll through this area together with you. A lot of experimental architecture was tried there, including by Le Courbusier, Mallet-Stevens...

Anonymous said...

Le Corbusier - aha - the Swiss again... ;). I definitely plan to come to Paris, but probably later in the year. Next couple of months are tied up with family visiting and work. Yes - it would be nice to get a guided tour

sonia a. mascaro said...

Just a great post, Peter! You did a wonderful job here. I learn so much with you. Thank you for sharing this amazing photos and information!

Thanks so much for the greetings to Sofia and nice words to all of us!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm really overwhelmed, Peter, and we must thank you a lot that you give us such wonderful impressions of Paris that a stranger to the city would never find. And the work you do to give us information ... thanks again for this.

I'm also astonished that one can find such places in Paris, private streets, wonderful buildings and I'm smiling a bit and see you in my inner eye: Peter, breaking the 'rules', trying to get in and get a photo, all for us, your fans :-))

black feline said...

can u provide me a free air ticket to Paris..Im addicted..thanks to all your good stuff!

Peter said...

Hope to see you in Paris for a stroll around these and other buildings. Yes, Le Corbusier was born Swiss, but... he took French citizenship in 1930!

Thanks for your always nice words!

Thanks! Yes there are a lot of private streets. Mostly you need to pay a good price to be at such a place, but there are exceptions and with a bit of luck...!

black feline:
I may consider it. I trust you don't need a return ticket also?

Sara said...

congratulations!!! fantastic blog :)

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Mark said...

Thank you very much for the interesting information. We are visiting Paris next week and look forward to seeing many of the Metro stations and buildings from your blog in person. Technology is grand. Greetings from Atlanta, GA and all the best to you and yours.

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