Five lots of furniture by Serrurier-Bovy are at auction this week at Horta. Gustave Serrurier-Bovy (1858-1910) was a Belgian architect who, together with his countrymen Henri Clemens Van de Velde (1863-1957) and Victor Horta (1861-1947), became a world reference in Art Nouveau design. He created furniture and metalwork in his factory in Liege. His pieces are exhibited in the D’Orsay Museum in Paris. Several of his creations might be yours if you have the luck and the will to bid for them.
The careers of these three designers, although they all belonged to the same artistic movement, took divergent paths. Serrurier-Bovy focused on furniture production while the other two designed them basically to attain perfect harmony between their own buildings and their interiors. Van de Velde developed his career in Germany until World War I where he played an essential role in the creation of the predecessor of the Bauhaus, the Grand-Ducal School of Arts and Crafts, in Weimar in 1905. Horta finished the Hotel Tassel (in fact, a private residence), the first Art Nouveau building, in Brussels in 1893. Both Horta’s and Van de Velde’s furniture were produced mainly to commission and are, in consequence, extremely exclusive and expensive.
It is true that these pieces of furniture are not easily combined with other styles. They were designed under the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, which intended to recover the craftsmanship of former times against industrial production. Pieces of such craftsmanship quality as the ones at auction at Horta this week would suit wonderfully a house on a prairie, on any side of the Atlantic, were people wish to live happily in contact with nature.