Décor in the architecture of Riga of the Art Nouveau period

Art Nouveau architecture of Riga is a recognised worldwide achievement. Unlike in most interpretations of Riga’s buildings, this book deals with its close-ups – the architectural décor.

The ambivalence of the material, involving crafts, industrial production and professional art focused on creating unique artefacts, as well as the lack of available documentary facts, has influenced the assessment of the décor both at the time when the relevant buildings were being erected and in the subsequent decades. It is complicated to judge the subordination of architects, designers and clients, particularly when it comes to the architecture of apartment buildings which were most commonly designed in the Art Nouveau style. Irrespective of the evaluative aspects, however, the scope of the phenomenon is so vast that without its comprehensive and well- grounded interpretation not only the architecture in Latvia from the late 19th and early 20th century but also overall history of visual plastic arts of the age and place simply cannot be understood.

Silvija Grosa


The goal of the book is to conduct stylistic analysis of the décor of stone buildings that were erected in Riga at the turn of the 20th century. While the focus is on Art Nouveau, the author has also taken into account other types of styles which existed in parallel to it during the stated period of time. The author has analysed decorative sculptures and paintings on building façades and (where possible) interiors, considering the social context within which they were created and used.