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Each morning when I take the Tram to work I pass by this wonderful, somehow eccentric building. It is intriguing and so I took a very, very long walk on Sunday to explore the area I usually pass by and take a few pictures of it.

I found out that it is the Palais Stoclet that I have been eyeing each day for the last months. It was completed by the architect Josef Hoffman in 1911 and was commissioned by Adolphe Stoclet, a banker and art collector. As a young men he had been sent to Vienna by his father to get to know the railway trade. There he became acquainted with the architect which he commissioned to build the Palais shortly after.  It was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2009. The interior is apparently decorated by the one and only Gustav Klimt. Why do I say apparently?! Because it is still in private hands, I mean very private. So there is no possibility to see the interior unless you are friends with the owners. However, most of the sketches for the mosaic friezes you can see in the Museum für angewandte Kunst (MAK) in Vienna now. Including both architects, interior decorateurs and artists in the process of the house building is one of the key elements of Jugendstil (or Art Nouveau) and is termed Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art). Rumour has it, that his wife Suzanne, who was a daughter of an art historian as it happens, carefully matched the flowers in each of the vases in the building to the tie which Stoclet wore that day. One more prove that he took the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk by heart. For the exterior Norwegian marble was used. But time is taking its toll. It doesn’t look as impressive as I imagine it would have looked in its glorious times, but it is still very prepossessing.

It is a very lovely walk from Stockel to the Parc Cinquantenaire anyway, so say hi to this lovely building on the way! You can find it on 279/281 Avenue de  Tervueren.

 

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