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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

Swiss, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 31 July 1863, in Rolle (Vaud); died 1948, in Lausanne.

Painter, engraver, decorative artist. Figure compositions, figures, portraits. Murals, designs for stained glass, furniture.

Art Nouveau.

Ernest Bieler was the uncle of André Charles Bieler. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Jules Lefebvre and Gustave Boulanger. He divided his time between the mountainous regions of the Valais and the shores of Lake Geneva; his body of work evokes the everyday life of the peasant communities in the Valais and the Canton of Vaud at the beginning of the twentieth century. Bieler was commissioned to paint compositions for the ceiling of the Victoria hall in Geneva; decorative panels and windows for the federal government building in Bern; stained glass windows for the Vevey church of St-Martin; and decorations for the vintners' festival. Additionally, he exhibited woodcut engravings and designed furniture....

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

French, 19th – 20th century, male.

Active in the USA from 1940.

Born 4 August 1883, in Bordeaux; died 24 August 1950, in New York.

Decorative artist, architect, designer, draughtsman. Furniture.

Art Deco.

Pierre Chareau worked in France until 1939, then went to live in New York. He regularly participated in the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in Paris. In ...

Article

Polish, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1866, in Lubaczów; died 1924, in Cracow.

Painter, draughtsman, illustrator, decorative artist, ceramicist, sculptor, designer. Portraits, genre scenes, landscapes. Furniture.

Symbolism, Art Nouveau.

Debicki studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna from 1881 to 1884, then in Munich, Paris, Lemberg (now Lviv, Ukraine) and Cracow. He first settled in Lemberg and began teaching in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1876, in Paris; died 1955.

Painter, designer.

Art Deco.

Maurice Dufrêne was essentially an interior designer and, in his day, an important contributor to furniture design. His approach was neat and precise by comparison with the excessive ornamentation of previous periods. He exhibited in Paris at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, of which he was a member from 1909. His work also featured prominently in the decorative arts section of the Salon d'Automne and he played a major role in the organisation of the 1937 Exposition Universelle in Paris....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1893; died 1941.

Sculptor, designer, decorative artist. Furniture.

Art Deco.

Jean-Michel Franck was one of the great decorators in France in the 1940s. The inlay work of his furniture established his fame. His work as a sculptor, however, is little documented....

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

British, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 7 June 1868, in Glasgow; died 10 December 1928, in London.

Designer, watercolourist. Designs for furniture and textiles.

Art Nouveau.

Glasgow School.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh began work in an architectural studio at the age of 16, and subsequently trained at Glasgow School of Art between ...

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

Austrian, 20th century, male.

Born 3 April 1887, in Sankt-Michael, near Salzburg; died 16 April 1923, in Mödling, near Vienna.

Painter, designer, architect, designer. Designs for wallpapers, jewels, ceramics, fabrics and glass, furniture.

Art Nouveau.

Wiener Werkstätte group.

The brother of Ernst Peche, Dagobert Peche received his architectural training from Friedrich F. Ohmann at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. In Vienna he produced fabric designs for the decoration firms of Johann Backhausen, Philipp Haas, the Wiener Porzellanmanufaktur Böck, the Vereinigte Wiener und Gmunder Keramik. In ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 14 July 1887, in Nantes; died 1949.

Painter, designer, designer. Furniture.

Art Deco.

René Prou was responsible for the decoration of many luxury liners, in particular the La Fayette III, and contributed to the decoration of the Palais des Nations in Geneva and the Villa Noailles in Hyères. He was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur....

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 24 February 1882, in Paris; died 1938, in Paris.

Designer, draughtsman, designer, architect, watercolourist. Theatre decoration, furniture.

Art Deco.

Armand Rateau studied at the École Boulle from 1894 to 1898. After obtaining his diploma, he set himself up as a designer and sculptor. From ...