Inventive, rhythmic, and colourful, with winding curves of plants and flowers: this is Art Nouveau. Nancy boasts a significant legacy from this golden age, including the Villa Majorelle. We spoke with the person who knows the subject the best: curator Valérie Thomas.
An Art Nouveau immersionat the Villa Majorelle
Are you familiar with Art Nouveau? The Ecole de Nancy Museum, the Daum collections at the Fine Arts Museum, and the Villa Majorelle are among the best examples in Nancy of this movement that began in the late 19th century.
“Art Nouveau supported renovating living spaces to be more pleasant and adapted to the times“, explains Valérie Thomas, curator of the Ecole de Nancy Museum.
Today, the Villa Majorelle is one of the most eloquent examples. Just a few hundred metres from Nancy’s train station, you can walk there via Rue de la Commanderie or Avenue Foch, both of which display remarkable examples of Nancy School architecture. Come on in, the door is open.
“The materials of the house contribute to a certain unity, giving it apleasant, warm, and harmonious feel. Above all, the site offers a very different experience than visiting a museum: there are few information panels so that visitors really feel like they are guests in a house.”
The idea is to feel at home. But how couldn’t you? In 1901, Louis Majorelle, a successful furniture designer and industrialist, entrusted the plans for the home to architect Henri Sauvage, who was greatly influenced by Hector Guimard, designer of the Parisian metro stations. The Villa Majorelle combines comfort with the beauty of shapes, with plants being the essential source of inspiration.
A home with a unique personality, specific to the aims of Art Nouveau, especially “the embodiment of the local identity“, as history buffs are well aware.
“The villa was a way to display the wealth of the region to the Germans who had annexed Alsace and Moselle, but not Meurthe-et-Moselle.”
A 100% Art Nouveau Promenade
Upon your arrival in Nancy, immerse yourself in the past and relive the unique atmosphere of the Art Nouveau period with ourmultimedia audio guides. We highly recommend a stroll through the streets of the city centre, the heart of this global artistic heritage.
“Still today you can admire the beautiful stained-glass roof by Jacques Gruber in what is now the LCL bank. There’s also the Vaxelaire department store, where unfortunately only a few bays from the period remain“, notes Valérie Thomas.
There’s also plenty to explore outside the city centre, including Saurupt Park where you can see beautiful Art Nouveau houses.
“I especially recommend the Glycines villa by Émile André which has been remarkably preserved. There are also other homes from the 1910s and 1920s, to get a feel for the typical architecture of the time.“
The Villa Majorelle – virtual tour
Relive history in the present through technology. A champion of modernity, the Villa Majorelle has gone digital with its visitor’s application, available for download on the usual platforms. The app is full of additional information about the works and rooms of the Villa.
Visitors with reduced mobility can now virtually access the terrace and other areas of the Villa.