Jewel of the architecture Art Nouveau in Nancy, the Villa Majorelle is simply magnificent. It is an imposing structure, displaying the very best architectural features from the Ecole de Nancy (School of Nancy). It was constructed by the architect Henri Sauvage for (and with the consequential contribution of) the master of the Ecole de Nancy, Louis Majorelle. The perimeter of the actual garden is much smaller that the original garden of the family Majorelle.
Ceramics were fashionable in the 1900s and are found here in the form of tiles, friezes, chimney tops etc as well as terraces decorated with plants, created by the ceramist Alexandre Bigot (1862-1927). Components of ironwork in the pattern of the flowering plant ‘monnaie du pape’ or ‘Actual Honesty’ were made in the Majorelle workshops: Marquise and gates, support balconies, window grills, entrances, eaves and gutters. The addition of wood then added a depth of colour and warmth to the piece.
The villa belongs to the Ecole de Nancy Museum and is very close to this establishment. It also houses the offices of the Nancy branch of an international research group dedicated to Art Nouveau buildings, le Réseau Art Nouveau Network.
The villa can be visited on weekends and is a monument not to be missed. Only a few hundred meters from the Nancy Station, take the rue de la commanderie or l’avenue foch, which also show excellent examples of Ecole de Nancy architecture.
In 1901-1902, Louis Majorelle (1859-1926), successful artist, built a modern villa in Nancy which he named the Villa Jika (the initials of his wife Jeanne Kretz). It was designed by a young Parisian architect Henri Sauvage (1873-1932 ). The architect broke with the traditional of horizontal and symmetrical design in favor of arranging the openings to reflect the logic of the internal layout.
From the entrance hall, the principle of unity, dear to the artists of Art Nouveau, is highlighted by the use of the flowering plant called ‘monnaie du pape’ or ‘Actual Honesty’ as a motif repeated on all elements. In the stairwell, the dynamic movement of the carved handrails expresses feelings of growth and movement. Plant life was a key part of the artists inspiration.
The volume of the space is illuminated by two large skylights by Jacques Gruber (1870-1936) the creator of all the windows of the house and a valued collaborator of Majorelle since 1895.
The dining room still retains today the original look of the décor, a frieze painted by Francis Jourdain (1876-1958) runs along the upper walls. Farmyard animals, vegetables and fruit trees give an interesting animation to the design. The woodwork and furniture of Villa Majorelle were created in a range of dark woods and are adorned with motifs of wheat, while the windows are topped with stained glass decorated with gourds (members of the pumpkin and squash family). Finally, a stunning polished ceramic fireplace is found in an independent space reserved for smoking.