Stoclet Palace

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

Stoclet Palace
Palais Stoclet  (French)
Stocletpaleis  (Dutch)
Stoclet Palace
Alternative namesStoclet House
General information
TypePrivate house
Architectural styleVienna Secession
LocationWoluwe-Saint-Pierre, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Coordinates50°50′07″N 4°24′58″E
Construction started1905 (1905)
Completed1911 (1911)
ClientAdolphe Stoclet
Design and construction
ArchitectJosef Hoffmann
Other designersGustav Klimt, Franz Metzner, Fernand Khnopff
Official nameStoclet House
Criteriai, ii
Designated2009 (33rd session)
Reference no.1298
State Party Belgium
RegionEurope and North America

The sumptuous dining and music rooms of the Stoclet Palace exemplified the theatrical spaces of the Gesamtkunstwerk, celebrating sight, sound, and taste in a symphony of sensual harmonies that paralleled the operas of Richard Wagner, from whom the concept originated. In his designs for the Stoclet Palace, Hoffmann was particularly attuned to fashion and to the Viennese identity of the new style of interior, even designing a dress for Madame Stoclet so that she would not clash with her living room decor as she had while wearing a French Paul Poiret gown.[3]

The mansion is still occupied by the Stoclet family and is not open to visitors. The building has received protected status by the Monuments and Sites Directorate of the Brussels-Capital Region[4] and it was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in June 2009.[5]


The Stoclet Palace was commissioned by Adolphe Stoclet (1871–1949), a wealthy industrialist and art collector. He chose 35-year-old Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956), a founder member of the Vienna Secession, a radical group of designers and artists established in 1897. Hoffman abandoned fashions and styles of the past and produced a building that is an asymmetrical compilation of rectangular blocks, underlined by exaggerated lines and corners.[6]

The starkness of the exterior is softened by artistic windows, which break through the line of the eaves, the rooftop conservatory, and 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.[7]

The Stoclet Palace was the first residential project for the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), co-founded by Hoffman in 1903. Josef Hoffman and 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 minimal clutter. This was an avant-garde approach, presenting a 'reformed interior'[8] where function dictated form. The interior of the building is decorated with marble paneling and artworks,[9] including mosaic friezes[10] by Gustav Klimt (designed by Klimt and carried out by Leopold Forstner[11]) and murals by Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel.[12] The integration of architects, artists, and artisans makes Stoclet Palace an example of a Gesamtkunstwerk, one of the defining characteristics of Art Nouveau. Klimt's sketches for the dining room are in the permanent collection of the Museum für angewandte Kunst (MAK) in Vienna.

The Stoclet Palace is on Avenue de Tervueren in the municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre in Brussels.[13] The building was designed to appear from the road as a stately city mansion. Seen from the garden at the back the Stoclet Palace "becomes a villa suburbana with its rear facade sculpturally modelled by bay windows, balconies and terraces" in the words of architectural historian Annette Freytag, which gave the Stoclet family a building with "all the advantages of a comfortable urban mansion and a country house at the same time." [14]

Adolphe Stoclet died in 1949, and the mansion was inherited by his daughter-in-law Annie Stoclet. Following Annie's death in 2002, the house was inherited by her four daughters.[15] The Stoclet Palace is currently not open to the public. Press reports have described the mansion as being looked after by two caretakers while there is dissension between Stoclet's four granddaughters as to the future of the Stoclet Palace.[15][16]

See also


  1. Sharp 2002, p. 44
  2. Watkin 2005, p. 548
  3. Intimus : interior design theory reader. Taylor, Mark, 1955-, Preston, Julieanna. Chichester: John Wiley. 2006. ISBN 9780470015704. OCLC 63397636.CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. "Woluwe-Saint-Pierre - Palais Stoclet - Avenue de Tervueren 279-281 - HOFFMANN Josef". Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  5. "Stoclet House". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. July 4, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2009.
  6. "70 Wonders of the Modern World". Reader's Digest, 1998, p. 1.
  7. Freytag 2010, p. 347
  8. John Parker
  9. Sembach 2002, p. 225
  10. Freytag 2010, p. 366
  11. "Palais Stoclet ist Weltkulturerbe". 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2016-06-15.
  12. The Renaissance Society, Modern Austrian Painting Archived 2012-04-06 at the Wayback Machine
  13. Fletcher 1996, p. 1072
  14. Freytag, Annette, "The Stoclet Frieze" in Natter 2012, pp. 103–104
  15. Baring, Louis, Charles (February 10, 2007). "Glimpse into Klimt's hidden dream world". Telegraph. Retrieved July 24, 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. Wise, Michael (February 1, 2012). "An Enchanted House Becomes a Family's Curse". WSJ. Retrieved July 23, 2014.


  • Various Authors. "1910-1918 pictures of the Palais Stoclet". Bildarchiv Foto Marburg (in German). German documentation Center for Art History. Retrieved 18 October 2011. Rare collection of 52 B/W pictures from the exterior, the interior and the gardens of the Stoclet Palace taken in the years following the completion of the building.
  • Freytag, Anette (2010). "Josef Hoffmann's unknown masterpiece: the garden of Stoclet House in Brussels (1905-1911)". Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. 30 (4): 337–372. doi:10.1080/14601176.2010.485733. ISSN 1460-1176.
  • Fletcher, Banister (1996). Sir Banister Fletcher's a History of Architecture (20th ed.). London: Architectural Press. ISBN 978-0-7506-2267-7.
  • Honnef, Klaus (2000). Art of the 20th Century. Köln: Taschen. ISBN 978-3-8228-5907-0.
  • Natter, Tobias, ed. (2012). Gustav Klimt. Taschen. ISBN 978-3-8365-2795-8.
  • Sharp, Dennis (2002). Twentieth Century Architecture. Mulgrave: Images Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-86470-085-5.
  • Sembach, Klaus-Jurgen (2002). Art Nouveau. Köln: Taschen. p. 225. ISBN 978-3-8228-2022-3.
  • Watkin, David (2005). A History of Western Architecture. London: Laurence King Publishing. ISBN 978-1-85669-459-9.

Further reading

  • Kurrent, Friedrich; Strobl, Alice (1991). Das Palais Stoclet in Brüssel (in German). Salzburg: Verlag Galerie Welz. ISBN 978-3-85349-162-1.
  • Noever, Peter (2006). Yearning for Beauty: the Wiener Werkstätte and the Stoclet House. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz Publishers. ISBN 978-3-7757-1778-6.
  • 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 (eds.). 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.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  • 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 (ed.). Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann. Pioneers of Modernism. Munich: Prestel. pp. 204–251. ISBN 978-3-7913-5149-0.
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