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Article

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

After the closure in 1933 of the Bauhaus in Berlin, its staff and students dispersed. Many found their way to the USA, where they became highly influential teachers as well as artists and architects. The pedagogical methods developed at the school, particularly in the preliminary course, became commonplace in all levels of art education, as the former centrality in America of life drawing to instruction in the visual arts was now challenged by experimentation with abstract principles of composition and the qualities of individual materials.

Josef and Anni Albers family were the first Bauhäusler to immigrate to the USA. They arrived in 1933 and quickly took up positions at Black Mountain College, NC. In 1950 Josef became chair of the department of design at Yale University, New Haven, CT, from which he retired in 1958. His increasingly rigorous investigations into geometry and colour culminated in a series of paintings entitled ...

Article

Iain Boyd Whyte

(b Hamburg, April 14, 1868; d Berlin, Feb 27, 1940).

German architect, designer and painter. Progressing from painting and graphics to product design and architecture, Behrens achieved his greatest successes with his work for the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), in which he reconciled the Prussian Classicist tradition with the demands of industrial fabrication.

After attending the Realgymnasium in Altona, he began his painting studies in 1886 at the Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe. From there he moved to Düsseldorf, where he studied with Ferdinand Brütt. In December 1889 Behrens married Lilli Krämer, and the following year the couple moved to Munich, where he continued his studies with Hugo Kotschenreiter (1854–1908). Behrens was one of the founder-members of the Munich Secession (see Secession, §1) in 1893 and, shortly afterwards, a founder of the more progressive Freie Vereinigung Münchener Künstler, with Otto Eckmann, Max Slevogt, Wilhelm Trübner and Lovis Corinth. He also joined the circle associated with the magazine Pan, which included Otto Julius Bierbaum, Julius Meier-Graefe, Franz Blei, Richard Dehmel and Otto Eckmann....

Article

Christian Norberg-Schulz

Norwegian architectural and furniture design partnership formed in 1922 by Gudolf Blakstad (b Gjerpen, 19 May 1893; d Oslo, 1986) and Herman Munthe-Kaas (b Christiania [now Oslo], 25 May 1890; d Oslo, 5 March 1970). Blakstad was awarded his diploma as an architect at the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim in 1916. He collaborated with Jens Dunker on the New Theatre, Oslo, from 1919 to 1929. After a preliminary training in Christiania, Munthe-Kaas finished his education at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 1919.

From the beginning of their careers Blakstad and Munthe-Kaas played a leading role in Norwegian architecture. After studying in Italy in the early 1920s, they advocated Neo-classicism in architectural projects, furniture designs and writings. In 1922 they won the competition for the new Town Hall in Haugesund (1924–31), a major work of 20th-century Norwegian Neo-classicism. Above a powerfully rusticated basement, the long office wing with its regular fenestration contrasts with the higher City Council Hall, accentuated by pairs of monumental, free-standing columns. In general the effect is of robust strength and an exciting interplay of horizontals and verticals....

Article

Anna Rowland

(Lajos)

(b Pécs, May 21, 1902; d New York, July 1, 1981).

American furniture designer and architect of Hungarian birth. In 1920 he took up a scholarship at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, but he left almost immediately to find a job in an architect’s office. A few weeks later he enrolled at the Bauhaus at Weimar on the recommendation of the Hungarian architect Fred Forbat (1897–1972). Breuer soon became an outstanding student in the carpentry workshop, which he led in its endeavours to find radically innovative forms for modern furniture. In practice, this meant rejecting traditional forms, which were considered symbolic of bourgeois life. The results of these experiments were initially as idiosyncratic as those of other workshops at Weimar, including the adoption of non-Western forms, for example the African chair (1921; see Rowland, 1990, p. 66) and an aggressively castellated style inspired by Constructivism.

Breuer was impressed by De Stijl, whose founder Theo van Doesburg made his presence felt in Weimar in ...

Article

Annalisa Avon

(b Milan, March 30, 1905; d Milan, March 16, 1999).

Italian architect, engineer and designer. He graduated in civil engineering from the Polytechnic of Milan (1931) and immediately gave his support to the group of Rationalists who were connected with the review Casabella. In 1935 he worked on the restoration of the Villa Borletti in Milan, where one of the traits that distinguished his later work emerged: a balance between apparently irreconcilable elements of styles. In the Dispensario Antitubercolare (1936) at Alessandria, an important Rationalist building, Gardella proved that the language of modern architecture could be highly sensitive to its setting and capable of assimilating the features of the site. It is enhanced by sympathetic use of local materials. This characteristic is present in later works, such as the Casa alle Zattere (1954–8), Venice, in which he made open historicist references to the building’s sensitive context. In 1949 Gardella studied for a degree in architecture at the Istituto Universario di Architettura di Venezia, also teaching there from ...

Article

Charlotte Moser

(b Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Aug 9, 1879; d Paris, Nov 28, 1976).

Irish furniture designer and architect, active in France. In 1898 she entered the Slade School of Art, London, with additional instruction in oriental lacquer technique in D. Charles’s shop in Soho. She moved to Paris in 1902, where she continued her training with the Japanese lacquer master Seizo Sugawara. Her first lacquered furniture, including decorative panels, folding screens, small tables and other large pieces, appeared in 1910 and reflected a unique stylistic pastiche of Far Eastern and French influences. At the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in 1913 her pioneering modern furniture designs attracted the attention of Jacques Doucet. He commissioned three pièces uniques, two chairs and the lacquered screen Le Destin (1914). The screen, with Symbolist-inspired figures on one side and a starkly abstract design on a red-lacquered ground on the other, places Gray among the earliest 20th-century designers using geometric abstraction. She designed a theatrical interior in ...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

(Adolf Georg)

(b Berlin, May 18, 1883; d Boston, MA, July 5, 1969).

American architect, industrial designer and teacher of German birth. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of the Modern Movement, whose contribution lay as much in his work as theoretician and teacher as it did in his innovative architecture. The important buildings and projects in Gropius’s career—the early factories, the Bauhaus complex at Dessau (1925–6), the Totaltheater project for Berlin, the housing estates and prefabricated dwellings—were all more than immediate answers to specific problems. Rather, they were a series of researches in which he sought prototypical solutions that would offer universal applicability. They were also didactic in purpose—concrete demonstrations, manifestos, of his theories and beliefs. His theories sought to integrate the individual and society, art and industry, form and function and the part with the whole. He left Germany for England in 1934; three years later he emigrated to the USA, where he continued to teach, write and design for the rest of his life....

Article

Lars Dybdahl

(b Ordrup, Sept 9, 1894; d Hillerød, Jan 31, 1967).

Danish designer, architect and critic. He gained international fame with his development of the ‘PH’ lamp (1925–6), a ‘classic’ of Danish industrial design, which has remained in continuous production. Henningsen’s education was unorthodox but practical: he boarded with a carpenter, then studied mechanical engineering and architecture in Copenhagen, although he never formally qualified in either profession. He painted in a late Impressionist style, but championed Danish Cubism and Expressionism when he became an art critic in 1918.

During the 1920s he was a strong critic of architecture and urban planning, and in 1926 he founded the influential journal Kritisk Revy (‘Critical Review’), which ran for two years and had contributors from other Nordic countries including Uno Åhrén and Alvar Aalto. It became the journal for emerging Danish Functionalism and aligned itself with international movements, but its divergence from the technologically inspired Modernist aesthetic (such as that of the Bauhaus) was typical of Henningsen’s independent approach. He advocated, among other things, that the terraced house should be the democratic residential form of the future and challenged manufacturers and craftsmen with his demand for ‘honest industrial design’ that would reflect modern life....

Article

Lisbet Balslev Jørgensen

(Jensen)

(b Frederiksberg, Vartov, Dec 15, 1888; d Copenhagen, March 28, 1954).

Danish furniture designer, architect and teacher. He was the son of P(eder) V(ilhelm) Jensen-Klint. He first studied painting at private art schools but went on to learn architecture from his father and from Carl Petersen, who was building the Museum for Fynsk Malerkunst (1912–15) at Fåborg. Klint made his début in furniture design with furniture for the Fåborg museum (1914). During a stay in Java (1914–16) he made contact with a firm of Chinese cabinetmakers who made furniture to his designs. A dining-room design of 1916 for Povl Baumann’s house, Gl. Vartovvej 16, Copenhagen, and the interior design (1916–18; with Carl Petersen) of the Dansk Kunsthandel at Vingårdsstræde 21, Copenhagen, show how he strove to achieve the classical mastery of line and form and East Asiatic colours and textural effects. Klint and Petersen designed the interiors and furnishing of the galleries for C. L. David’s collection at Kronprinsessegade 30, Copenhagen (...

Article

Christian Norberg-Schulz

(b Christiania [now Oslo], Aug 14, 1900; d Cuzco, Peru, Aug 29, 1968).

Norwegian architect and designer. He graduated as an architect from the Norwegian Polytechnic in Trondheim in 1926. He worked as an assistant to architects in Oslo and in 1928 travelled extensively in Europe before starting his own practice in Oslo with Sverre Aasland (b 1899) in 1929. Together they designed the Frøen housing development (1929–30), the block of flats at Pavels Gate 6 (1930), Oslo, the Havna housing development, Oslo, including Villa Dammann (1930–32), and a grain silo in Kristiansand (1933–6).

Korsmo was a major exponent of the Modern Movement in Norway during the 1930s, and continued to expound its tenets after World War II. His first important work, the Villa Dammann, is a good illustration of his sensitive and original approach. It is reminiscent of the work of Erich Mendelsohn and W. M. Dudok: the exterior walls are concrete, interrupted in places by brick. A large, semi-cylindrical projection on the south side accommodates the living-room, and it is broken only by a horizontal strip of windows, set high so as to give a large wall area for the display of a painting collection inside....

Article

Peter Carter

(b Aachen, March 27, 1886; d Chicago, IL, Aug 17, 1969).

German architect, furniture designer, and teacher, active also in the USA. With Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier, he was a leading figure in the development of modern architecture. His reputation rests not only on his buildings and projects but also on his rationally based method of architectural education.

He was born Ludwig Mies but later adopted his mother’s name, van der Rohe. The son of a master stone mason, Mies van der Rohe had no formal architectural education. He attended the Domschule in Aachen until 1900 and then the local trade school (1900–02) while working on building sites for his father, from whom he acquired a respect for the nature of building materials. The town’s many fine medieval buildings stimulated a youthful interest in architecture, and their characteristically clear and honest construction exerted a lasting influence upon his creative work. Two years as a draughtsman and designer for a firm specializing in stucco decoration followed, before he left for Berlin in ...

Article

Marijke Küper

(Thomas)

(b Utrecht, June 24, 1888; d Utrecht, June 25, 1964).

Dutch architect and furniture designer. He started work in his father’s furniture workshop at the age of 12, and then from 1906 to 1911 he worked as a draughtsman for C. J. Begeer, a jeweller in Utrecht. During 1904–8 he took evening classes in drawing and the study of ornamentation at the Kunstindustrieel Onderwijs der Vereeniging of the Museum van Kunstnijverheid in Utrecht. His interests nevertheless extended further than the applied arts. Around 1906 he attended classes given by the architect P. J. C. Klaarhamer (1874–1954), a like-minded contemporary of H. P. Berlage. This contact with Klaarhamer, who at that time shared a studio with Bart van der Leck, was of great importance for Rietveld’s development, for it was through them that he learnt of recent national and international trends in architecture and the applied arts.

In 1917 Rietveld set up a furniture workshop in Utrecht; the following year ...

Article

Sjarel Ex

(b Zaandijk, May 28, 1885; d Wassenaar, Sept 27, 1977).

Dutch designer and typographer . After working in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement, he came into contact in 1917 with De Stijl, which fundamentally changed the course of his work. Through Vilmos Huszár and Jan Wils, he met H. P. Berlage, for whom he worked as a draughtsman, and international artists working in typographic design, such as Kurt Schwitters, El Lissitsky and Jan Tschichold. His international importance is based on typographical works, such as those he made between 1923 and 1930 for NKF, the Dutch cable works, and for PTT, the Dutch postal service. His advertisements, inspired by Dada, often used a wide range of typography and could be read as messages, poems or advertising slogans, while being appreciated simply as designs. Zwart was also active as an interior designer; his most successful work in this field was the kitchen (1938) that he designed for the ...