La Bluette – Art Nouveau

La Bluette - Art Nouveau
La Bluette – a superb Art Nouveau house by famous 1900 architect Hector Guimard

An Art Nouveau house by Guimard

La Bluette is an art nouveau house in Hermanville in Normandy, France. Art Nouveau architect Hector Guimard built it at the very end of the nineteenth century.

“Bluette” is a French literary term for spark. More often than not, the term also means some sort of minor, witty and unpretentious piece of literature. In the above context, where “La Bluette” is the name of the villa, it could just be wordplay around the colour of this half-timbered Art Nouveau house by Guimard.

It was “built in 1899 at Hermanville sur Mer in Normandy, by […] Guimard on behalf of Prosper Grivellé, a Paris lawyer.
A garage with an upstairs bedroom was added later, around 1925. […] The use of pebbles and shells gives the building its seaside character. A monumental fireplace carved with plant motifs is located in the main room. The whole house and its fences were listed on 15 December 2005.

As Fahrenheit magazine has it:

Hector Guimard (1867-1942) was a French architect, the main French representative of Art Nouveau. […] He identified himself with the theories of Viollet-le-Duc and travelled to England, Scotland, Holland and Belgium, places that inspired him greatly. Following his visit to Victor Horta’s Hôtel Tassel in Brussels, Guimard was influenced by Art Nouveau and evolved towards a freedom in which he revealed his love of nature. In 1900, he built the Canivet house in Paris, the Maison Coilliot in Lille and the entrances to Parisian metro stations, all with a touch of fantasy in which he used metal arcades with prefabricated decorations.


Even though I knew Horta’s work and even visited his Hotel Tassel a few years ago (picture per below), I had always thought. that Guimard had been the inspirer of Art Nouveau, because of the prominence of his work in Paris. Yet, I was wrong.

Horta’s Hotel Tassel in Brussels

About Art Nouveau and Guimard

Many artists can be considered as the precursors of Art Nouveau including Germany’s Ernst Hackel or England’s members of the pre-raphaelite Brotherhood.

Denfert Rochereau

One has pulled down many of Guimard’s entrances to the Paris metro. One even  moved from one station to the other. Gradually, Art Nouveau was hated by Parisians who dubbed it “Style Nouille” (One could translate Nouille by “naff“). Fortunately, our station in Denfert Rochereau (Paris, 14th district) is still there.

Yann Gourvennec
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