BBC4 has just been repeating a 3 part series on Art Nouveau (I had missed it first time round) - the final episode majored on Vienna and "Sezession" art and architecture. In doing so it spent time in Brussels with a visit to the Horta house (the point being made that Brussels had got into Art Nouveau before Vienna) and then on to the Stoclet Palace. This was relevant because the house and its interior was created by the Wiener Werkstatte led by Hoffman working with his fellow Austrian artists and designers.
I readied myself - would this at last provide an opportunity to see round the interior of the Palace?? No - not even for the BBC could the legal disputes keeping this site closed to visitors be put aside! At this point the BBC adopted a novel approach and employed a drone camera which soared above the surrounding fences and even seemed to fly over the building. I am not sure about Belgian law on the use of drones, so perhaps the drone actually stayed vertically above public property such as roads, and only "appeared" to be flying over the Palace itself.
Anyway it might be of interest to know that the total lock down of this site continues. I presume that the Belgian Government must have got full cooperation from the Stoclet heirs to put forward the nomination since ICOMOS would have wanted to see inside. But the evaluation contains no confirmation, either directly or indirectly that ICOMOS DID actually see inside. The only relevant comment I have found in the Evaluation is "Two letters were sent to the State Party on 9 December 2008 and 30 January 2009 about the following points:......
6. Providing details about possibilities for visiting the property.
7. Providing details about the cooperation of the owners for the nomination."
Whether point 6 refers to visits by the public or the reviewers is ambiguous. However, since the Nomination file makes it quite clear that the building is NOT open to the public and that there is no intention ever to do so it would seem unnecessary to ask about that aspect of "visiting"! The Nomination File itself ONLY contains photos of the exterior. The AB contains a description of the various rooms and their contents which might, or might not, have been the result of a direct viewing by the reviewer. All very strange.
The program is titled in a rather stupid "come on" fashion "Sex and Sensibility : The Allure of Art Nouveau"
- but it is better than the title might suggest! This is the direct link to the program on the BBC Web site which may also help those wanting to find the program without using iPlayer - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01dxw0y