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Title: Interieurontwerpen van Paul Cauchie, art-nouveaudesigner aan de vooravond van WO I
Author(s): METDEPENNINGHEN, Catheline
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Interieurgeschiedenis en Design
Volume: 39    Date: 2014-2016   
Pages: 117-143
DOI: 10.2143/GBI.39.0.3170119

Abstract :
Paul Cauchie (1872-1952) is renowned especially because of his art nouveau sgraffiti on building façades and because of his remarkable home at 5 Frankenstraat in Etterbeek. Nonetheless he can also be regarded as an interior designer, for the Cauchier workshop designed original interiors, sgraffiti, furniture, mosaics, stained-glass windows, wallpaper, tapestries, embroidery and other textile decorations. In addition, the workshop also applied imitation wood and marble, antique bronze, as well as lincrusta and linoleum. Cauchie opted for a fairly rational and geometrical style of art nouveau, but he gradually incorporated more and more elements from the traditional styles into his work. Through drawings, old photographs, and executed designs that have been preserved, this paper offers a survey of interior designs by Paul Cauchie during the period 1900-1914. Cauchie decorated the pronaos of the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent with sgraffiti and he also designed the mosaic floor. In domestic buildings he embellished the terrace walls and sometimes also the ceilings with sgraffiti, and he designed decorations for stairwells. He could draw and execute not only the sgraffiti, but also the wainscoting, stairs, doors, windows, and lighting fixtures, either with or without subcontractors. Numerous living spaces were decorated by him as well, the most famous example being the interior of his own home in Etterbeek, but we also know various design drawings by him for other living spaces. Besides domestic buildings, he also embellished a number of church interiors with sgraffiti, adapting his designs to the style of the existing church interior. Some of his interior sgraffiti have been covered up or painted out, only to come to light in recent years during restoration or building work. The Cauchie workshop also provided textile decorations: for example, the curtains in his own home were embellished in a variety of techniques. It is likely that his wife Lina Voet played an important part in this. In addition, Paul Cauchie even designed a stage curtain. In addition, he used stencils to paint onto fabrics. And finally, he painted a large scene on canvas to serve as a wall decoration for a winter garden. Cauchie’s stained-glass windows are known to include smaller panels with characteristic geometric and stylised floral compositions as well as figurative designs. He did not hesitate to design large scenes. Besides fixed wall furnishings he also designed single pieces of furniture. We know of some examples from his domestic dwellings, mostly through photographs. It is remarkable that he always adapted his furniture to the existing space so that it is really about overall concepts. World War I disrupted Cauchie’s career. During the war he designed interiors for cheap wooden collapsible emergency houses in The Hague. Very little is known about new interior designs after the war and by then the heyday of sgraffito was over. Cauchie became a painter instead.

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