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Style Art Nouveau / Ref.14067

Pierre BRAECKE, Art Nouveau style handle with the inscription “L. Solvay”, 1901

Width: 6'' ¼  16cm
Height: 13'' ¾  35cm
Depth: 2'' ¾  7cm

20th century

Good condition

This handle bearing the inscription "L. Solvay" comes from the house of Lucien Solvay (1851-1950), a journalist, art historian and poet. He was also a member of the Solvay family, one of the greatest patrons of Art Nouveau. This house was built in 1901 by the architect Georges Hobé at number 76 rue Gachard in Ixelles (Brussels).

Hobé commissioned sculptor Pieter Braecke (1858-1938) to create this handle, which adorned the front door of Lucien Solvay’s house. This work is both functional and highly decorative. Its base, adorned with a feather recalling the commissioner's literary activities, also bears the inscription that gives his name. The recess in the handle is formed by the body of a woman drawing a bow; a drapery emphasises its curve.

Pieter Braecke was one of Victor Horta's most loyal friends. When the architect built his house and studio in 1903, the sculptor designed the door handles himself. They take up the idea of inscribing the name of the owner of the house and feature the motif of the drapery enveloping the woman in the Solvay handle, in a stylised way.

The shape of the woman's body is also reminiscent of the Braecke statuettes crowning the sideboards in the dining room created by Victor Horta at number 22 Voorstraat, Kortrijk.

Finally, a handle similar in shape to that of Lucien Solvay can be found on the front door of the house built by the architect Ch. Sée in 1909 at number 51 rue Forestière, Brussels. As with Braecke, a female sculpture in relief forms the handle. Sée drew his inspiration from Braecke, since the rue Forestière house was not completed until eight years after the Solvay house.

At the time of its conception, the imposing door handle created by Pieter Braecke for Lucien Solvay had both a practical and highly decorative purpose. Today, it retains mainly its ornamental interest, making it an art object. The delicacy of the sculpture and the prominence given to the personality of the commissioner make it one of the most interesting testimonies both to the history of Lucien Solvay's commission for his house and to the art of Pieter Braecke.

Price: on request

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