Stoclet Palace

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Stoclet Palace
Palais Stoclet (French)
Stocletpaleis (Dutch)
Stoclet Palace Hoffmann Brussels 1911.jpg
Stoclet Palace
Alternative names Stoclet house
General information
Type Private house
Architectural style Vienna Secession
Location Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Brussels, Belgium
Coordinates 50°50′07″N 4°24′58″E / 50.83528°N 4.41611°E / 50.83528; 4.41611Coordinates: 50°50′07″N 4°24′58″E / 50.83528°N 4.41611°E / 50.83528; 4.41611
Construction started 1905 (1905)
Completed 1911 (1911)
Client Adolphe Stoclet
Design and construction
Architect Josef Hoffmann
Other designers Gustav Klimt, Franz Metzner, Fernand Khnopff
Official name: Stoclet House
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii
Designated 2009 (33rd session)
Reference no. 1298
State Party  Belgium
Region Europe and North America

The Stoclet Palace (French: Palais Stoclet, Dutch: Stocletpaleis) is a private mansion built by architect Josef Hoffmann between 1905 and 1911 in the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre area of Brussels, Belgium, for banker and art lover Adolphe Stoclet.[1] Considered Hoffman's masterpiece, the Stoclet's house is one of the most refined and luxurious private houses of the twentieth century.[2]

The mansion is still occupied by the Stoclet family and is not open to visitors. It was designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO in June 2009.[3]


Detail of the preparatory design by Gustav Klimt for the mosaic friezes of the main dining room of the Stoclet Palace (Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna).

The Stoclet Palace was commissioned by Adolphe Stoclet (1871-1949), a wealthy industrialist and avid art collector. He chose 35 year old Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956), a founder-member of a radical group of designers and artists who called themselves the Vienna 'Sezession', established in 1897. Hoffman abandoned the fashions and styles that had come before and produced a building of true modernity; an asymmetrical compilation of rectangular blocks, underlined by exaggerated lines and corners.[4]

This no-nonsense starkness is softened by the artistic windows, which break through the line of the eaves, the rooftop conservatory and the bronze sculptures of four nude males by Franz Metzner, which are mounted on the tower that rises above the stairwell. Regimented upright balustrades line the balconies, touched with Art Nouveau ornamentation.[5]

The Stoclet Palace was the first residential project for the Wiener Werkstatte (Vienna Workshops), co-founded by Hoffman in 1903. Josef Hoffman as his colleagues designed every aspect of the mansion, down to the door handles and light fittings. The interior is as spartan as the exterior, with upright geometric furniture and an avoidance of clutter. This was a fashionably avant-garde approach, presenting a 'reformed interior'[6] where functions dictates style. The interior of the building is decorated with marble paneling and artworks,[7] including mosaic friezes[8] by Gustav Klimt and murals by Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel.[9] This integration of architects, artists, and artisans makes Stoclet Palace an example of Gesamtkunstwerk, one of the defining characteristics of Jugendstil. The sketches of Klimt's work for the dining room can be found in the permanent collection of Museum für angewandte Kunst (MAK) in Vienna.

The Stoclet Palace was built on Avenue de Tervueren in the municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Brussels.[10] The building was designed to be, when seen from the road, a stately city mansion. When seen from the garden at the back, in the words of architectural historian Annette Freytag, the Stoclet Palace "becomes a villa suburbana with its rear façade sculpturally modelled by bay windows, balconies and terraces." Thus, Hoffman gave the Stoclet family a building which offered the family "all the advantages of a comfortable urban mansion and a country house at the same time." [11]

Adolphe Stoclet died in 1949, and the house was inherited by his daughter-in-law Annie Stoclet. Following Annie's death in 2002, the house was inherited by her four daughters.[12] The Palais Stoclet is currently not open to the public. Press reports have described the house as being looked after by two caretakers while there is dissension between Stoclet's four grand-daughters as to the future of the Palais Stoclet.[12][13]


  1. ^ Sharp 2002, p. 44
  2. ^ Watkin 2005, p. 548
  3. ^ "Stoclet House". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. July 4, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  4. ^ "70 Wonders of the Modern World". Reader's Digest, 1998, p. 1.
  5. ^ Freytag 2010, p. 347
  6. ^ John Parker
  7. ^ Sembach 2002, p. 225
  8. ^ Freytag 2010, p. 366
  9. ^ The Renaissance Society, Modern Austrian Painting
  10. ^ Fletcher 1996, p. 1072
  11. ^ Freytag, Annette, "The Stoclet Frieze" in Natter 2012, pp. 103-104
  12. ^ a b Baring, Louis, Charles (February 10, 2007). "Glimpse into Klimt's hidden dream world". Telegraph. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  13. ^ Wise, Michael (February 1, 2012). "An Enchanted House Becomes a Family's Curse". WSJ. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Kurrent, Friedrich; Strobl, Alice (1991). Das Palais Stoclet in Brüssel (in German). Salzburg: Verlag Galerie Welz. ISBN 3-85349-162-6. 
  • Noever, Peter (2006). Yearning for Beauty: the Wiener Werkstätte and the Stoclet House. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz Publishers. ISBN 3-7757-1778-1. 
  • Sekler, Eduard F. (1967). Rudolf Wittkower, ed. The Stoclet House by Joseph Hoffmann. Essays in the History of Architecture. London: Phaidon. OCLC 82161568. 
  • Sekler, Eduard F. (1985). Josef Hoffmann : the architectural work : monograph and catalogue of works. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-06572-4. 
  • Klimt, Gustav (2012). Christoph Thun-Hohenstein and Beate Murr, ed. Gustav Klimt: Erwartung und Erfüllung: Entwürfde zum Mosaikfries im Palais Stoclet [Expectation and fulfillment: cartoons for the mosaic frieze at Stoclet House] (in German and English). Ostfildern: Hatje/Cantz. ISBN 978-3-7757-3305-2. 
  • Weidinger, Alfred (2011). "100 Years of Palais Stoclet - New Information on the Genesis of Gustav Klimt´s Construction and Interior Decoration". In Husslein-Arco, Agnes. Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann. Pioneers of Modernism. Munich: Prestel. pp. 204–251. ISBN 978-3-7913-5149-0. 

External links[edit]