This sober desk, designed by Victor Horta (1861-1947) is unique. It was part of the personal furniture of the famous architect, internationally recognized as one of the pioneers of Art Nouveau. The desk was acquired by the Léon Courtin – Marcelle Bouché Fund and can now be seen at Horta’s house, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its presence in the Horta Museum in Brussels serves to re-create the original atmosphere of the artist’s workplace.

A marriage of curves and straight lines

This office desk shows the architect’s evolution as a designer and is a perfect illustration of what we might call Horta’s ‘sober’ style, one that favours a more restrained and functional design that brings together discrete curves and straight lines. The mahogany desk has five drawers, two of which are in lighter-coloured wood. This combination of colours, the overhanging desk top and the slightly curved legs contribute to creating the desk’s visual harmony.

A homecoming to Horta’s home and studio

The acquisition of this unique and authentic desk brings with it additional historical value because it was part of the architect’s own personal collection of furniture. Its presence in the Horta Museum completes the collection, which formerly lacked a desk belonging to the architect. Exceptional in both its style and provenance, the desk is placed in Horta’s office, thereby helping to recreate the atmosphere that reigned when Horta worked there.

A setting listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site

Victor Horta’s house-studio, together with the Hôtels Tassel, Solvay and van Eetvelde, are four of Horta’s major architectural works that have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000. This means that these prestigious residences have met the following criteria established by UNESCO: ‘They represent the most accomplished expression of the influence of Art Nouveau in art and architecture; they are an exceptional testimony of a radically new approach and they brilliantly illustrate the transition from the 19th to the 20th century in terms of art, thought and society.’

Accessible to the general public

This rare and authentic desk had remained in private hands for many years. Thanks to its acquisition in 2023 by the Léon Courtin – Marcelle Bouché Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, it is now kept at the Horta Museum in Brussels, where it can be seen by the general public.

Material / technique: 
Mahogany wood
170.5 cm x 70.5 cm x 76 cm
Type of acquisition: 
Acquired by the Léon Courtin – Marcelle Bouché Fund
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
Hortamuseum, Brussels