In 1898, Louis Majorelle entrusted the architect Henri Sauvage (1873-1932) with elaborate plans for his private home in Nancy. The Villa Majorelle – or Villa Jika, after the French pronunciation of Majorelle’s wife Jeanne Kretz’s initials – was built in 1901-1902 and holds a special place in the history of Nancy architecture. The first resolute Art Nouveau building in Nancy, it was designed by one the major Ecole de Nancy artists, Louis Majorelle, and is the result of a perfect collaboration between well-known Parisian and Nancy artists.
Open to the public since 1997, Villa Majorelle illustrates the artistic unity between interior decoration and external architecture advocated by many artists of the period.
"A house built for an artist by an artist"
Primarily concerned with the matter in hand, Mr Henri Sauvage has given this Nancy villa a special character, that of a home that is neither sumptuous nor proud, not that of a prince or a nouveau riche, and not intended to excite the envy of passers-by by a deceptive opulence. We see the house of a busy, sensitive artist with a cultivated mind and a refined eye, who is little interested in other people’s opinions and only wishes to live a good life in a refined, intelligent and pure atmosphere.
Frantz Jourdain in L'Art décoratif, 1902
A rich model dining-room
Reproduced in Majorelle’s catalogues since 1904, the furniture in the dining-room suite “Les blés, modèle riche,” acquired by the Nancy City Council for the Ecole de Nancy Museum, was returned to its original home in 1997 after being restored. Bigot’s fireplace in flambé stoneware, Gruber’s stained glass, Jourdain’s paintings and Majorelle’s furniture and paneling make the dining-room one of the high points of a visit.
Art Nouveau's model house
Classed a historical monument in 1996, the Villa Majorelle’s partial exterior restoration allows for a better comprehension and appreciation of the rich polychrome materials used by the architect. The building will be completely restored in the near future and open to the public with the furniture in its original settings, thus transforming the Villa into a unique example of the Art Nouveau that embraced all art forms and eliminated any distinction between artistic genres.
The Villa Majorelle was the result of an exceptional collaboration between several Paris and Nancy artists. Louis Majorelle, the owner of the villa and one of the major Ecole de Nancy artists, designed the furniture, the decorative woodwork and the wrought-iron work. Designing the house was Henri Sauvage’s (1873-1932), a young Parisian architect and decorator, first major commission. Amongst other artists who collaborated were the ceramist Alexandre Bigot (1862-1927), stained glass artist Jacques Gruber, and painters Francis Jourdain (1876-1958) and, much later, Henri Royer (1869-1938). Lucien Weissenburger was in charge of the worksite during construction.