Exhibition - The Wolfers Frères jewellery shop, designed by the architect Victor Horta.

 

From 29 November 2017 one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau creations in Belgium will be open to the public:  the interior of the exclusive jewellery business of the Wolfers family, a completely designed environment by Victor Horta.  The Cinquantenaire museum will display inside the shop the masterpieces of its Art Nouveau and Art Deco collections.

In 1850, Louis Wolfers, a German migrant, set up in his name a small workshop in Brussels for the production of silverwork. The business expanded steadily, with Louis’s three sons, Philippe, Max and Robert becoming involved in it from an early age.

jewellery by museum


Upon their respective marriages and accompanying marriage settlements, each of the sons became a partner: Philippe Wolfers in 1885, Max in 1890 and Robert in 1897, a year that also saw their cousin Albert becoming a partner and the firm thenceforth going under the new name of Wolfers Frères.
The fine shop was initially situated close to the Cathedral of St. Michael, on the corner of the rue de Loxum and the rue de la Montagne, but became the subject of compulsory purchase as a result of the planned link between the North and South railway stations in the capital. In 1909, the Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta was commissioned to design new premises incorporating a workshop and a luxurious shop, the prestige of Wolfers Frères demanding a design from the most famous architect of the time. The new building on the rue d’Arenberg in Brussels was inaugurated on 4 November 1912 with great splendour.
The success of Wolfers Frères was down to a well-considered business strategy. Each of the partners had a clearly defined function: Philippe was the artistic director, Max concentrated on the business contacts, Robert built the machinery, and Albert controlled the finances.

museum jewellery

In that constellation, Philippe Wolfers stood out as a creative genius, being responsible for unique creations that were exhibited at the major art exhibitions at home and abroad between 1894 and 1929. His work – praised everywhere, but exorbitantly expensive – served to publicize the entire range of the Wolfers Frères output, all of which was designed by him. He enjoyed international fame and is regarded as one of the great figures of Belgian Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

 

pictures @ kmkg-mrah
picture1: Broche "Niké", Philippe Wolfers, 1902, gold, enamel, carnelian,rubies, amethyst, diamonds, pearl, Coll. Fondation Roi Baudouin
picture 2: Pendentif "Libellule", Philippe Wolfers, 1902-1903, gold, enamel, rubies, opal, diamonds, Salon Triennal des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles 1903
Coll. Fondation Roi Baudouin