Adolphe Crespin, 'Paul Hankar

Adolphe Crespin, 'Paul Hankar

Adolphe Crespin (1859-1944)
'Paul Hankar, Architecte'
1894
Colour lithograph
Museum no. E.288-1921

The Artist
Adolphe Crespin and Paul Hankar are both seen as pioneers of Belgian Art Nouveau. Hankar's own house on Rue de Facqz in Brussels, which he built in 1893, was (along with Victor Horta's Hôtel Tassel) the first piece of Art Nouveau architecture. As well as painting murals for many of Hankar's buildings, Crespin designed some of the earliest Art Nouveau posters.

The Image
This print was made especially for Hankar, Crespin's friend and colleague. It shows Hankar at work in his studio.

Crespin has used images of architects' tools as decoration: set squares, a ruler and a plumb line form borders and patterns across the image. The search for new forms of ornament was a preoccupation of Art Nouveau artists. Here is one of its most interesting and novel outcomes.

A hexagonal, 'honeycomb' structure occupies the background of the print. Images of bees complete the pattern. This perhaps suggests the tireless industry of Hankar's studio: a 'hive of activity'.

This print can be found in Prints and Drawings Study Room box TOPIC 21b.