On the 150th anniversary of the birth of the architect Paul Jaspar (1859-1945), the Commission royale des Monuments, Sites et Fouilles (Royal Monuments, Sites and Excavations Commission), together with the Liège city authorities, is staging an exhibition (from September 5th to October 25th) on one of the key figures of Belgian Art Nouveau. Recognised as one of the great actors of Belgium's modern and regionalism movement, Jaspar developed an original language, mixing Neo-Mosan Art and Art Nouveau. The exhibition presents Jaspar's personal and professional life in chronological order, through plans, photographers, drawings and personal objects.
After looking at his family background and education, the exhibition analyses the various styles that Jaspar worked in: Eclecticism, Art Nouveau and Beaux-Arts. The exhibition opens a window into the personal lives of important people in the world of politics, industry and art. The house of the painter Rassenfosse is, in particular, illustrated in numerous architectural drawings as well as in other works (paintings, prints, furniture) from public and private collections. The exhibition's centrepiece is the recreation of the Bénard house's dining room (Liège's first Art Nouveau building), which gives a fine idea of what the interior of a late 19th century bourgeois house looked like. Some emblematic constructions, like the Pavillon des Armuriers at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition and La Renommée theatre hall in Liège (one of the first buildings in Belgium in which reinforced concrete played a leading role), are illustrated in previously unpublished and surprising documents. A section dedicated to the architect's "archaeological" reflections rounds off this look at a man who devoted his life to architecture and heritage.
Historian, University of Liège