The Braet-Buys-Bartholomeus Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, has completed the collection of solid silver cutlery commissioned by Victor Horta from Wolfers Frères at the start of the 20th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Victor Horta purchased a canteen of solid silver cutlery from the famous Wolfers Frères shop in Brussels. Horta chose the ‘207 Moderne’ Art Nouveau style, which had been created by the store’s artistic director Philippe Wolfers around 1901. Victor Horta had his elegant VH monogram engraved on each of the three hundred and fifty pieces of cutlery, a testimony to Horta’s ambitious policy of entertaining.
A few years later, In 1909, Wolfers Frères in turn called upon Horta to design the company’s new premises, including the interior of its boutique on the Rue d’Arenberg in Brussels. Just as Horta had called upon the most famous silversmith of the period, Wolfers Frères turned to the most famous Belgian architect of the period.
Following Horta’s death in 1947, his widow sold a large part of the cutlery, keeping just a few pieces herself, as well as the rather spectacular serving cutlery. The pieces that were sold were bought by the Art and History Museum in 1998. Thanks to the acquisition of the part retained by Madame Horta by the Braet-Buys-Bartholomeus Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, the original canteen has now been completed and has once more found the place from where Horta purchased it at the beginning of the 20th century. The silver cutlery will be on show at the Museum of Art and History in Brussels from 30 June.
In 2017, Horta’s interior for the Wolfers Frères boutique was identically re-created in one of the museum’s rooms. Give the very special character of this cutlery, as well as its quality and provenance, this acquisition represents an important addition to the collections and a key piece in the cutlery showcase of the Wolfers’ boutique. The canteen of cutlery also makes a significant contribution to re-creating the atmosphere of sophisticated luxury from a period in which Art Nouveau and Art Deco were indicative of ‘good taste’.