In French, the term beaux arts means fine arts. Based on ideas taught at the legendary École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the Beaux Arts style flourished between 1885 and 1920.
Beaux Arts buildings have many of these features:
- Massive and grandiose
- Constructed with stone
- Triangular pediments
- Lavish decorations: swags, medallions, flowers, and shields
- Grand stairway
- Large arches
- Symmetrical façade
Famous Beaux Arts Buildings:
- Paris Opéra, France
- The Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington DC
- Vanderbilt Marble House, Newport, Rhode Island
- Rosecliff Mansion, Newport, Rhode Island
- Union Station, Washington DC
- Grand Central Terminal, New York
- Haiti National Palace
- New York Public Library
- Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City
- Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California
- Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, California
- Carnegie Hall, New York City
- The Waldorf, New York City
- The Presidential Palace, Hanoi, Vietnam
About the Beaux Arts Style
The Beaux Arts style originated in the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Many American architects studied at this legendary architectural school, where they learned about the aesthetic principles of classical design and brought them to the United States.
Also known as Beaux Arts Classicism, Academic Classicism, or Classical Revival, Beaux Arts is a late and eclectic form of Neoclassicism. It combines classical architecture from ancient Greece and Rome with Renaissance ideas. Beaux Arts is characterized by order, symmetry, formal design, grandiosity, and elaborate ornamentation. In the United States, the Beaux Arts style led to planned neighborhoods with large, showy houses, wide boulevards, and vast parks. Due to the size and grandiosity of the buildings, the Beaux Arts style is most commonly used for public buildings like museums, railway stations, libraries, banks, courthouses, and government buildings.
The popularity of the Beaux Arts style waned in the 1920's, and within 25 years the buildings were considered ostentatious. Later in the 20th century, postmodernists rediscovered an appreciation of the Beaux Arts ideals.
Learn More About Beaux Arts
bO-zär'; or bO-zar' in French
Beaux Arts is often misspelled. Common misspellings include:
- Beau Arts
- Bow Arts