Health and Safety
Event hero image

Hector Guimard: A Forum of Ideas

  • Saturday, October 21 • 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  • Forum • $40 Members* / $50 Non Members / $25 Students with ID

  • On Site • Enter via 54 W. Chicago Ave

  • In English

This event has passed

Cet évènement est passé


Hector Guimard had a commitment to sharing beautiful, sensuous, accessible designs for both civic architecture and everyday objects with a wide audience and his use of mass production technologies resonate with current concerns about accessibility, affordability, and sustainability. Convening an international group of speakers, this forum will highlight new research that reexamines Hector Guimard’s legacy in the context of his wife’s significant contributions and his own prescient ideas about designing for home and community. 

This forum is held in partnership with the Driehaus Museum and their exhibition, Hector Guimard: Art Nouveau to Modernism, but is being held at the auditorium of the Alliance Française de Chicago at 54 W. Chicago Avenue.

* Alliance Française members
Registration to this event also gives AF members free admission to the Driehaus Museum on October 14 & 15, and October 21 & 22 – on presentation of your AF member card!


10:00 AM-12:00 PM

  • Exhibition co-curator David A. Hanks, discussing the collecting history of Guimard, especially in the United States
  • Co-curator Sarah Coffin, on Adeline Guimard’s work, and how she helped enshrine her husband’s legacy
  • Nicolas Horiot, architect and Président du Cercle Guimard, to discuss The Cercle Guimard’s efforts to create a Guimard museum

1:30-2:30 PM

University of Chicago Professor Leora Auslander on the unique qualities of Hector Guimard’s orthodox synagogue

2:45 - 4:00 PM

  • Isabelle Gournay on Guimard’s Auteil environment and its connection to other planned communities like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian architecture
  • Columbia University professor Barry Bergdoll on Guimard’s standardized and mass-operational housing projects



About Hector Guimard

Hector Guimard (1867-1942) is the French architect and designer whose name is synonymous with the French Art Nouveau movement. He is best-known for his designs for the Paris Métro, which are so emblematic of the French Art Nouveau style that it was sometimes referred to as “le style Métro.” Representing a radical break from the classical and revival styles of the nineteenth century, Art Nouveau embraced natural forms while integrating architecture with the decorative and fine arts. The Driehaus Museum’s exhibition Hector Guimard: Art Nouveau to Modernism explores Guimard’s commitment to sharing beautiful, sensuous, accessible designs for both civic architecture and everyday objects with a wide audience, as well as Guimard’s modern entrepreneurial approach to promoting his work through Le Style Guimard branding and his use of mass-production technologies. The show also explores the critical role played by his wife and collaborator Adeline Oppenheim Guimard, presenting new scholarship that underscores her critical role as her husband’s creative partner during his lifetime and ardent steward of his legacy.

About the speakers

Leora Auslander is Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor in Western Civilization in the College and Professor in the departments of Race, Diaspora, and Indigeneity and History at the University of Chicago. The primary national focus of her research is modern France, but she investigates research problems best treated transnationally. She teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century European social and cultural history with a focus on France and Germany; material culture, everyday life, and the built environment; Jewish history; gender history and theory; race in the Atlantic world; colonial and postcolonial Europe.

Barry Bergdoll is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University. Professor Bergdoll’s broad interests center on modern architectural history, with a particular emphasis on France and Germany since 1750. In exhibitions at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and at the Museum of Modern Art, where he served as Philip Johnson Chief Curator from 2007 to 2013, Bergdoll has offered a series of exhibitions intended to offer more inclusive visions of subjects from Mies van der Rohe (and his relationship to garden reform and landscape), the Bauhaus, Henri Labrouste, Le Corbusier, Latin American post-war architecture, and most recently Frank Lloyd Wright.

Sarah Coffin is an Independent Consultant, Curator, Lecturer, and Decorative Arts and Architectural Historian who retired as Senior Curator and Head of the Product Design and Decorative Arts Department at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Prior to Cooper Hewitt, she was a Vice President specialist at Sotheby’s becoming the firm’s Decorative Arts Representative in addition to cataloguing. Earlier professional roles were at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a curatorial researcher in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department, fellow in the Met’s American Wing, researcher in the Furniture Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and, while a student, assistant in the American Arts department of the Yale University Art Gallery.

Isabelle Gournay (Emerita – University of Maryland) received a professional degree in architecture from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, a certificate of museum training from the Ecole du Louvre and a doctorate in art history from Yale University. Her major area of research and publications – including Paris on the Potomac, The French Influence on the Architecture and Art of Washington, D.C. (2007)—have focused on cross currents between France and the United States, and her new book projects study “Beaux-Arts architects” in US and Canadian societies, and Washington, D.C.’s Townsend House, designed by Carrere and Hastings. She co-edited Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).

David A. Hanks has extensive experience in the museum field, including curatorial positions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Recent exhibition projects include Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Richard H. Driehaus Collection (2013), Partners in Design: Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Philip Johnson (2016) and Hector Guimard: Art Nouveau to Modernism, which opened at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, in 2022. As Curator for The Stewart Program for Modern Design and its international design collection, his recent focus has been on creating the Designed by Women website, developed in collaboration with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Nicolas Horiot is an architect and Président du Cercle Guimard.

These programs are possible in part thanks to the Jean Bodfish Memorial Fund and the support of our partners: Villa Albertine, the French Consulate in Chicago, the Driehaus Museum and Hana Pietri Gallery.

Our event partners


Share this page