Henry Van de Velde, Art Nouveau and Intellectual Anarchism

Erik Buelinckx


The conception of Art Nouveau in Belgium as a kind of bourgeois art should be seen in a broader social context, because most of the early Art Nouveau artists were heavily influenced by the socialist and anarchist ideas of their time, notwithstanding the fact that almost all of them were indeed of bourgeois origins. Especially in the case of Henry Van de Velde, these influences would shape his life and career. He was familiar with the theories of anarchist thinkers Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, the socialist ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement and absorbed some of Nietzsche's philosophy.


art nouveau; anarchism; decorative arts; architecture; Henry Van de Velde; Friedrich Nietzsche

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ISSN: 2083-0599 (online); 2082-6923 (print)