Art Nouveau Bucharest – architectural Sunday 14 September

Dear readers,

I will organise a thematic architectural tour this Sunday 14 September ’14, between 11.00h – 13.00h, on the subject of the exceedingly interesting, but often elusive Art Nouveau architecture of Bucharest. This cultural excursion may be of interest to any of you visiting the city as a tourist or on business looking to find out more about its fascinating historic architecture and identity.

The innovative and flamboyant Art Nouveau current that emerged at the end of c19th, as a reaction to the rigidity of the historicist styles, had also an important impact in Fin de Siècle Romania. One of its notable influences was the articulation within its coordinates of the local national style, known today as Neoromanian, in a similar manner with other emerging national styles in the rest of Eastern Europe. Today the once exquisite Art Nouveau remnants are hard to notice by the untrained eye, although they are quite numerous, but scattered throughout the area of old Bucharest and often obscured by inclusion within ampler architectural assemblies rendered in historicist c19th styles. This tour endeavours to locate and explain the meaning and message of  some of the significant Art Nouveau representations that embellish the city center and give you an overall image about this style and its impact on the architectural development of Romania’s capital.

Book by emailing v.mandache@gmail.com or using the comments section of this post. You will be informed of meeting place on booking.

I look forward to seeing you at the tour,

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses (tel: 0040 (0)728323272)

Art Nouveau Bucharest – architectural tour (©Valentin Mandache)

Historic Houses of Romania tour: Art Nouveau Bucharest

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

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If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Sample of photographs from Saturday 31 March tour: the Art Nouveau architecture of Bucharest

Historic Houses of Romania tour: Art Nouveau Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The tour was well attended and we had the opportunity to see and discuss in detail some of the most important and spectacular Art Nouveau architectural structures of Bucharest, scattered over quite a large area stretching from Lascar Catargiu boulevard to the University Square. The highlights were three churches that exhibit brilliant Art Nouveau features: Amzei, Boteanu and the Russian Church, the most magnificent Art  Nouveau monument (the building is in the Neo-Russian style of the 1900s, expressed within Art Nouveau coordinates) of Bucharest. I hope that the few photographs presented here, which I took during the tour, would do justice to those wonderful sites, now so much ignored by the Bucharest people and authorities.

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Images from today’s architectural tour: Art Nouveau Bucharest

Art Nouveau Bucharest: images from today's Historic Houses of Romania tour (©Valentin Mandache)

1900s Ploiesti doorway

1900s Ploiesti doorway

I found in one of my occasional trips to Ploiesti last summer, a well preserved house dating from the 1900s in a style halfway between neo-baroque and neoclassical, which was also embellished with a splendid wrought iron doorway that displayed some interesting Art Nouveau motifs. The area endowed with the amplest such design was the upper window of the doorway, presented in the second photograph bellow. It shows a flowing, whiplash shape, flower motif typical of the Art Nouveau decorative panoply. The house is illustrative for the urban architecture of the first decade of the c2oth Romania, when the historicist style buildings also encompassed and often seamlessly integrated fashionable Art Nouveau elements, as is the case with this doorway assembly.

The doorway of a 1900s Ploiesti house (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style ironwork decorating the upper window of a 1900s doorway in Ploiesti, southern Romania (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Art Nouveau garden gate

Art Nouveau style garden gate dating from the 1910s, Gradina Icoanei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

I discovered the rare for Bucharest Art Nouveau style garden gate, detailed in the photographs presented here, during the architectural history and photography tour, which I organised this just passed Sunday in Gradina Icoanei area of Bucarest. It is located on a private cul-de-sac road and as a result difficult to see from the main street. Solely the lower half of the structure, or rather a part of that sector, is original, created a century ago, constituted from a curvaceous wrought iron plant motif arranged in a typical Art Novueau tulip bulb pattern. Its upper half is quite an uninspired contemporary addition stitched on to increase the height of the fence and thus deter eventual intruders, a fact that reflects the stark contrast between the happy and prosperous times of the La Belle Époque Bucharest when this gate was put in place and today’s social topsy-turviness generated by Romania’s wild transition form communism to capitalism of the last two decades.

Art Nouveau style garden gate dating from the 1900s, Gradina Icoanei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Art Nouveau doorway awnings

One of the hallmarks of Fin de Siècle Bucharest is its great multitude of glazed doorway awnings, of a design similar with those fashionable in the France of that period. Indeed, if I were to chose an architectural symbol of Bucharest, then high on the list would be the glazed French Fin de Siecle style awning. Standing out among them and few in numbers are those rendered in a clear Art Nouveau style, featuring free flowing curves, effusive floral ornaments or whiplash shape motifs. I found two better preserved such rare architectural artefacts, which I would like to present in the photograph bellows. I am not sure if the glass (or other material) skin that covers the metal framework is the original one or is a later replacement, a detail which however does not diminish from the exceedingly pleasing visual impression made by these century-old structures.

Art Nouveau style doorway awning, 1900s house designed by architect Dimitrie Maimarolu, Mantuleasa area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style doorway awning, house dating from the 1900s, Piata Victoriei area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

The dancing Art Nouveau style graces of Mantuleasa quarter

This post is a teaser for tomorrow’s photography architectural tour in the Mantuleasa historic quarter of Bucharest at which you are all invited (meeting point in front of Bucharest Tourist Information office from within the University Subway area between 8.45am and 9.00am. The tour will take place between 9am and 12.00 and costs 35 lei (Romanian currency) each.

Bellow are two interesting Art Noveau style basrelief panels dating from the 1890s representing scenes with dancing graces, inspired from ancient Greek and Roman mythology, located in Mantuleasa area of Bucharest. The dancing graces motif was frequently encountered in Art Nouveau visual arts compositions, being promoted by greats such as the actress Sarah Bernhard, the painter Alphonse Mucha, so important for the Art Nouveau current, who used the beautiful Sarah Bernhard as his model, or the dramatist Edmond Rostand to cite just a few.

The panels presented here were produced, in my opinion, as a direct consequence of Sarah Bernhardt’s presence in the mid 1890s Bucharest when she and her theatre company performed widely acclaimed plays at the National Theatre that comprised dancing graces scenes and also because of the popularity of Edmond Rostand’s writings among the high society of Bucharest who at parties and gatherings in their palaces acted in his plays, clad in fairy costumes similar with those presented in these architectural panels. Even the then Queen Elizabeth of Romania and Marie, the Crown Princess, were known to have acted at the Royal Palace in such plays by Rostand.

Dancing graces, Art Nouveau style in Mantuleasa quarter, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The panel above shows a group of dancing graces, accompanied by music from a flute and tambourine in a scene imagined from the ancient classical mythology (dionysiac mysteries if we judge after the grape fruit used as headdresses or some kind of harvest festival).

Dancing graces, Art Nouveau style in Mantuleasa quarter, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The second Mantuleasa dancing graces panel presents a group of teenage looking female personages, holding each other and also carelessly revelling, accompanied by a Greek flute (syrinx) and tambourine, which somehow reminds me of the dionysiac initiation misteries from the great fresco at the Villa of the Misteries in Pompeii. I like the grace standing alone on the left hand side of the panel, which holds in her hand an open papyrus scroll, a personification Calliope, the muse of poetry, perhaps.

Dancing graces, Art Nouveau style in Mantuleasa quarter, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The photograph above shows the house hosting the two Art Nouveau style dancing graces panels from the Mantuleasa quarter of Bucharest. The overall architectural style of the house is a modest Beaux Arts, which is greatly enhanced by those wonderful basreliefs, constituting a reminder of the wonderful and creative years experienced by this city during the Fin de Siécle period.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Art Nouveau pavilion in Ocna Sibiului spa town

Ocna Sibiului (German: Salzburg; Hungarian: Vizakna) is a small spa town in historic Saxon Transylvania developed especially during the Victorian era, when the region was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Many of its hotels, restaurants and baths were designed in the Art Nouveau style, as is shown in the old postcard bellow (published in the early 1910s). I have not visited yet the place, but I understand that a number of those wonderful Art Nouveau edifices and decorations are still around and even “restored”, which in the context of today Romania should in fact mean aggressive restoration. I like the sight of the Saxon church bell-tower, pictured in the background of the postcard, rising over the old village and spa pavilion.

Art Nouveau style pavilion in Ocna Sibiului (old postcard, Valentin Mandache collection)

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Round-like profile Art Nouveau doorway

Art Nouveau style doorway, Casa Dinu Lipatti (cca 1900s), Catargiu Blvd, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Presented above is the well proportioned round-like profile Art Nouveau style doorway, crowned by an ample and expressive mascaron in the same style, adorning the Dinu Lipatti house in Bucharest. The building is a mixture of styles, including neo-rococo and even some Neo-Romanian elements, in which the Art Nouveau features predominate. The edifice is an early creation of architect Petre Antonescu, one of the most seminal Romanian architects, known especially for his grand Neo-Romanian style edifices. This particular building shows Antonescu’s versatility in many design genres at an early stage in his career.

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I endeavour through this series of periodic articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

Burned down Art Nouveau style building

This once charming Art Nouveau building, dating from the end of the 1890s, has been ruined in a fire, during the property boom of the late 2000s in Bucharest. It is located in Lipscani, the old commercial quarter of Bucharest, an area that for a decade and a half after the fall of communism was left derelict by the city authorities, despite its obvious huge tourist  potential. During the last property boom, many historic buildings in the area were targeted by rapacious property developers for the valuable land plots  which they occupy. A favourite method of destruction, in order to obtain the much coveted demolition permit for historic buildings, was the arson, usually blamed on squatters who sometime occupied those properties. Lipscani has  started in the last two years to experience a sort of a renaissance as a place full of cafes and restaurants and it is just hopped that such an entrepreneur would revive or least save the beautiful Art Nouveau façade of this building. Bellow are recent photographs containing details of these rare for Bucharest type of ornaments.

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

Art Nouveau style building dating from the end of the 1890s, Lipscani area, Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavour through this daily series of articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring or selling a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing and transacting the property, specialist research, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contactpage of this weblog.

“Historic Houses of Romania” mentioned on EU’s Reseau Art Nouveau Network site

Dear readers,

I am delighted to tell you that the “Historic Houses of Romania“ blogsite is mentioned on one of the leading internet resources dedicated to the Art Nouveau style, the website Reseau Art Nouveau Network. This is a site developed under the EU’s auspices by institutions from a number of countries with a rich Art Nouveau heritage. Romania has only two mentions there, one of them being this blog, which can be found at the Links section scrolling down the list of countries to the entry for Romania.

Valentin Mandache, expert in Romania’s historic houses

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I endeavour through this daily series of daily articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Art Nouveau round doorway

Art Nouveau style round frame doorway, 1900s house in Victoria area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

This is a quaint example of Bucharest Art Nouveau style round doorway embellishing a house now heavily altered through a series of renovations undertaken during the last century since the edifice was built. The doorway itself keeps only a fraction from the original ornaments and motifs, such as the Romanian ethnographic woodcarvings of the door poles and the awning inspired from that of the doorways peculiar to the Neo-Romanian architectural style, a national-romantic order initially developed, like other European national styles, as an offshoot of the Art Nouveau current. The glass panes and the gridirons protecting them are 1930s 0r ’40s replacements of the original artefacts. Despite all of these serious interventions, the doorway is still conveying the Art Nouveau ethos of innovative and surprising shapes and design.

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I endeavor through this series of daily articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Art Nouveau Mascaron: The Head of A Victorian Lady

Art Nouveau style mascaron adorning a 1890s house in the ASE area of Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

The above female head representation among flower garlands is a predilect theme in the late Victorian decorative arts, including the Art Nouveau current, that have so many references to fairies and paradisiac gardens full of flowers. It was best personified by the actress Sarah Bernhardt, posing in flower adorned costumes and décor, immortalised by the painter Alphonse Mucha. From here the motif was adopted and adapted to many instances and circumstances, such as this Bucharest mascaron, which probably depicts a local Fin de Siècle beauty.

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I endeavor through this series of daily articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Bucharest Art Nouveau Bay Window Bottom

An expressive, French inspiration Art Nouveau style bay window bottom from a 1900s street corner house in Unirii area of Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this daily series of articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Blue Frame Art Nouveau Window

A good example of an Art Nouveau style hald-round window adorning a early 1900s house in Dorobanti area of Bucharest. (©Valentin Mandache)

I like the colour contrast between the blue paint of the frame and the grey and white of the wall ornaments.

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I endeavor through this daily series of images and small articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.