With Covid-measures gradually being lifted, yet another Art Nouveau exhibition has been inaugurated: at the Belgian Gilliot & Roelants Tile Museum in Hemiksem an exhibition about Art Nouveau Tiles has been curated by historic building materials specialist Mario Baeck.
Belgian Art Nouveau Architecture and Wall Tiles
Belgian Art Nouveau architecture – with prominent architects and designers like Henry Van de Velde (1863-1957), Victor Horta (1861-1947), Gustave Serrurier Bovy (1858-1910) – is highly regarded internationally. In an important share of the Art Nouveau buildings from around 1900, the endless potential of the industrial tile is demonstrated. And at an extremely high aesthetic level as well. But this decorating with tiles was often done by the younger and lesser known architects.
In addition to standard tile products, those architects also applied unique and specially made-to-measure tile ensembles and larger panels to decorate the façades, verandas and alcoves of the ornate Art Nouveau buildings. Or to decorate the interiors, and for instance the beautiful winter gardens…
All large and specialized Belgian wall tile factories offered a huge variety of colourful and very attractive designs in their catalogs. The tiles were sold in large numbers and exported internationally due to their high quality of execution as well as design. According to Mario Baeck, those who are introduced to these Belgian tiles for the first time, are often overwhelmed by their beauty.
Roberto Pozzo tile collection
From the impressive Roberto Pozzo tile collection – including more than 9,000 tiles – (managed by the Gilliot & Roelants Tile Museum in Hemiksem since 2016) Baeck has selected some 30 decorative panels and some 300 tiles that are among the finest examples of Belgian production. Both from Gilliot & Cie’s plant and from competitors like Boch Frères, Helman, S.A. La Majolique, Manufactures de Céramiques (from Hasselt), S.A. La Dyle (from Wijgmaal). And from many Walloon factories like the Faienceries from Nimy. In short: this is a MUST SEE exhibition for tile lovers as well as Art Nouveau aficionados in gerneral.
Exhibition Gilliot & Cie and the Belgian Art Nouveau Tile
July 2021 – May 2022
If you are interested in the Art Nouveau tile collections of other European museums, I recommend you read my blog Art Nouveau Tiles in European Collections as well.
Art Nouveau Tiles in European Collections
Glazed Expressions – Magazine Article about the Exhibition (English)
Hergebruik historische tegelmotieven: wettelijk beschermd? (Dutch)
Maison Helman Catalogue
Mario Baeck – Publications online
Ontdek de nieuwe wisseltentoonstelling Gilliot & Cie en de Belgische Art Nouveautegel (Dutch)
© All photos in this article are provided through the courtesy of Mario Baeck.